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Houston Tunnels


Frank M

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How funny. Talking about how we beat the heat, and they show a picture of the hottest part of the system. It must be 80 every time I walk by Beck's Prime. I don't think anyone pumps air in that part.

Last time we were at Beck's we walked out becuase it was so dang hot. How do people stand eating there? That place is dirty.

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How funny. Talking about how we beat the heat, and they show a picture of the hottest part of the system. It must be 80 every time I walk by Beck's Prime. I don't think anyone pumps air in that part.

Last time we were at Beck's we walked out becuase it was so dang hot. How do people stand eating there? That place is dirty.

LOL!!! I worked downtown near there for eight years...I never thought Becks was all that. Eats (above ground) has got a better burger...

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LOL!!! I worked downtown near there for eight years...I never thought Becks was all that. Eats (above ground) has got a better burger...

Beck's was and maybe still just a see and be seen place (or so we all thought so). I never saw anything unique about it. For one thing coming back to the office reeking of the smoke was the worse. Talk about heart attack food? this is it. Very over-rated place. When did the tunnel system become historic? whadup witdat yall. :blink:

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  • 5 months later...
I'd like to go down there. I thought you were talking about car tunnels. Have any of you walked down there?

Texhwyman.com said that there are no tunnels that are part of the state highway system. It said the current tunnels in Texas are the Addison Airport Tunnel in Addison, one in Big Bend National Park, and the Washburn Tunnel.

I heard that Federal Road goes to and through the Washburn Tunnel. Is it also part of the state highway system with a numbered road?

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Texhwyman.com said that there are no tunnels that are part of the state highway system. It said the current tunnels in Texas are the Addison Airport Tunnel in Addison, one in Big Bend National Park, and the Washburn Tunnel.

I heard that Federal Road goes to and through the Washburn Tunnel. Is it also part of the state highway system with a numbered road?

I don't think so the old maps of Pasadena i've seen list it as "N. Richey Rd"(or shaver i can't remember)

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I could not decide where to post this one, so this forum won, but in today's NYT, there was this story on the tunnel system in Houston:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/21/us/21tun...amp;oref=slogin

KUHF Houston Public Radio did a big story on the downtown tunnels last year. It's better than the Times story, and you learn more about the tunnels. http://www.kuhf.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=19976

Edited by FilioScotia
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You know, it is surprising on how difficult it is to find actual documented information on the tunnels. I get asked so often about them and the only thing I can refer to is that they were originally hooked up in the 30's and were inspired by Rockefeller Plaza in NYC.

I actually point out the tunnels to some visitors who have some downtime in downtown during business hours. Most seem very appreciative of being pointed out to it, and in later visits, use the tunnels when the weather is nasty.

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You know, it is surprising on how difficult it is to find actual documented information on the tunnels. I get asked so often about them and the only thing I can refer to is that they were originally hooked up in the 30's and were inspired by Rockefeller Plaza in NYC.

I actually point out the tunnels to some visitors who have some downtime in downtown during business hours. Most seem very appreciative of being pointed out to it, and in later visits, use the tunnels when the weather is nasty.

Ricco: Here's a link to an electronic version of the Downtown tunnel map: www.houstondowntown.com/Home/GeneralInfo/GettingAround/Maps/. You can also call the Downtown District for copies of the printed map. Downtown's hotels, and most of the office buildings, have them if you ask.

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Ricco: Here's a link to an electronic version of the Downtown tunnel map: www.houstondowntown.com/Home/GeneralInfo/GettingAround/Maps/. You can also call the Downtown District for copies of the printed map. Downtown's hotels, and most of the office buildings, have them if you ask.

I'm sorry, I should have clarified:

There is little HISTORICAL documented information that is found on these tunnels.

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The way I understand it, the Washburn Tunnel goes under a ship channel. Isn't the north side of it called Federal Road and the south side of it in Pasadena called Richey?

No. Richey Street does lead to the Washburn Tunnel in a roundabout way, but it's not the direct route. The main artery that goes straight to the Tunnel from Pasadena is Shaver Street. Look at it on a street map and you'll see what I mean.

Shaver is a major artery on that side of the county. Under several names, it runs from old Hwy 90 in northeast Harris County, south through Jacinto City, Pasadena and South Houston all the way to the Gulf Freeway on the far southeast side.

Edited by FilioScotia
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Didn't Nixon visit the tunnels in the early 70's?

In those days there were no bridges over the ship channel. Motorists had to "visit" the tunnels to get from one side of the channel to the other.

The Loop 610 bridge over the channel opened in March of 73. As amazing as it may seem, before '73, the only channel crossing points between downtown Houston and Galveston Bay were the Washburn Tunnel, the Baytown Tunnel, and the Lynchburg Ferry.

Absolutely true. When one tunnel or the other was closed because of an accident down inside, and it happened, people had to go many miles out of their way just to get from over here to over there, and back.

If Nixon came to Houston anytime before March of '73 and went to Pasadena, Galena Park, Baytown, or other places in east Harris County, you can bet the ranch that the Presidential motorcade "visited" one tunnel or the other -- or both.

Edited by FilioScotia
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I've lived here almost my entire life and have never been in the tunnels. Have I missed anything?

Am I wrong to suspect that the tunnels expanded in the '60s and '70s with the unstated purpose of keeping the professionals segregated from all the bus-riding riffraff (like myself) up on the streets? This would also explain why information on the tunnels is not prominently posted on the streets.

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I've lived here almost my entire life and have never been in the tunnels. Have I missed anything? Am I wrong to suspect that the tunnels expanded in the '60s and '70s with the unstated purpose of keeping the professionals segregated from all the bus-riding riffraff (like myself) up on the streets? This would also explain why information on the tunnels is not prominently posted on the streets.

Where in the world did you get a suspicion like that? Yes you are wrong to think the tunnels were built with any intent to segregate people. They were built to provide a cooler and more comfortable way to get around downtown on foot. Nothing more -- nothing less.

You don't find information about the tunnels posted on the streets because the tunnels are not public walkways. They are privately owned by the people who own the buildings over them, and there is no access from the streets. You have to go into a building that's connected to the tunnels to get into them.

Think of each tunnel as an extension of the building's basement. The building owner owns it out to the middle of the street, where it connects with the tunnel that goes under the building across the street.

This is why the tunnels close when the buildings on the street close. They're open 7am to closing time Monday through Friday and they're not open on weekends, because most of the buildings over them aren't open.

You should check them out some time, but you'll have to go during the day on a weekday, and I think you'll be disappointed. You will only find restaurants and fast food eateries of all kinds, where downtown people go to lunch, along with a tiny handful of small retail outlets and small shops providing various services.

The tunnels are not an underground shopping center, and they are deliberately kept that way to avoid competing with retail stores up on the streets.

The downtown business people don't want the tunnels to be a shopping mecca or a tourist attraction. They just want them to be a way for people to move around downtown in air conditioned comfort. That's what they are, and that's all that they are.

Edited by FilioScotia
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The downtown business people don't want the tunnels to be a shopping mecca or a tourist attraction. They just want them to be a way for people to move around downtown in air conditioned comfort.

So keep your riff raff ass up on the street, Julio. Nothing to see here, move along.

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Where in the world did you get a suspicion like that? Yes you are wrong to think the tunnels were built with any intent to segregate people. They were built to provide a cooler and more comfortable way to get around downtown on foot. Nothing more -- nothing less.

You don't find information about the tunnels posted on the streets because the tunnels are not public walkways. They are privately owned by the people who own the buildings over them, and there is no access from the streets. You have to go into a building that's connected to the tunnels to get into them.

Think of each tunnel as an extension of the building's basement. The building owner owns it out to the middle of the street, where it connects with the tunnel that goes under the building across the street.

This is why the tunnels close when the buildings on the street close. They're open 7am to closing time Monday through Friday and they're not open on weekends, because most of the buildings over them aren't open.

You should check them out some time, but you'll have to go during the day on a weekday, and I think you'll be disappointed. You will only find restaurants and fast food eateries of all kinds, where downtown people go to lunch, along with a tiny handful of small retail outlets and small shops providing various services.

The tunnels are not an underground shopping center, and they are deliberately kept that way to avoid competing with retail stores up on the streets.

The downtown business people don't want the tunnels to be a shopping mecca or a tourist attraction. They just want them to be a way for people to move around downtown in air conditioned comfort. That's what they are, and that's all that they are.

Actually, there are several public access to the tunnels, including on Travis, Fannin, and Wells Fargo Tower.

The shops are mostly down there for "support" of the people that work in the buildings, but they were put in for additional revenue for the buildings.

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Actually, there are several public access to the tunnels, including on Travis, Fannin, and Wells Fargo Tower.

There's "public" access to the tunnels almost everywhere. Anyone can go to the tunnels, but you have to go into one of the buildings to get to them. There's no access from outside on the streets.

Building owners don't want people roaming around in their basements when their buildings are closed. That's why the tunnels close when the buildings close, and they're not open on weekends.

And yes the shops in the tunnels are there for "support" of the people that work in the buildings, and they were put in for additional revenue for the buildings, but not to compete with the retail stores at street level.

The manager of the Houston Downtown District told me this has been an issue since the tunnel expansion began in the 1960s. There's an ongoing tug-of-war between those who want the tunnels to be a shopping and entertainment mecca that will pull people into the downtown area, and the street level establishments who would have to compete with that.

Personally, I think someone needs to do SOMETHING to revive downtown. It's dying, again.

Edited by FilioScotia
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