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How would you change: West Loop/Galleria/Uptown?

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This worked so well with Montrose, let's try another nabe.

Pretend you're a fairly powerful urban planner. Not exactly Sim City, but still given the latitude and budget to do what you see is fit. How would you change the West Loop/Uptown/Galleria area? What parts would you keep? What parts would you get rid of? What would you add?

Let you imagination run.

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These are fun!

It would take a really big budget for this, but I would try to build more through streets so there was more of a grid. The worst thing about the area is the traffic, and a more effective street grid would go a long way to helping disperse traffic (which is why you rarely have major traffic jams downtown).

I would also give some thought to closing the Westheimer exit off the West Loop. The exit is too close to 59, and the weaving of cars entering and exiting the loop contributes to the permanent traffic jam there.

This may be kind of silly, but I would also try to make the exterior of the Galleria more striking. It is the key building of the whole area, but it always seems almost invisible from the street with the bland 1970s design. It needs a tower or monument or something to give it a more memorable face.

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I agree with you about the Galleria. It is far more psychologically significant than visually. I know much of the exterior was renovated a few years ago, but it should be more like Times Square and less like a nuclear bunker.

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Subway down Post Oak Blvd. Connect Uptown line to Downtown near Memorial w/ new rail. Redevelop strip mall across from BLVD place to office/apartments/condos/hotel. Get the proposed Deyaar and Ritz buildings done at proposed heights.

Bury the West Loop...? Would never happen, but could be cool.

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Definetly make it more pedestrian friendly. Remove some of the parking lots, add a light rail or Elevated Rail line, and move some of the storefronts closer to the street.

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I'd turn at least one of the intersections into a giant brick-paved (or stone-paved) plaza that takes up not just the intersection itself but a lot of the surrounding sidewalk areas and parking lots. The area will function the same but visually it will all look like part of the same plaza.

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1. Tunnel Westheimer from Voss to Buffalo Speedway.

2. Get rid of Hidalgo exit on SB 610 West.

3. Ditto what the ed and Subdue said about theGalleria's appearance.

4. Build Mercer II at the back of Mercer I, or just implode Mercer I for all the annoyance it'd given me while driving on 59.

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Double deck the west loop. Bottom deck has ramps, top deck shoots right through.

Find someplace to stick a movie theater. Probably underground.

Extend the ice rink so that entire level of the Galleria (shops and everything) are on ice. Make everyone wear skates down there.

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I like a couple of the underground ideas here. Burying 610 would be a huge project, but certainly not undoable (except in a political sense). It's certainly not a larger undertaking than the Big Dig, or the Chunnel, or widening the Katy Freeway yet again.

Meme's theater idea makes sense -- why do movie theaters take up so much space? They have no windows and no need to see outside. Just have a marquee building for the entrance and tickets and maybe concessions and then bury the rest of it under the parking lot. Or even better -- some nice walkable retail.

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Convert more streets to one-way to improve flow, like Downtown. One example might be making Post Oak all northbound, paired with the 610 feeder southbound. Maybe make Westheimer one-way westbound east of the W.Alabama split, keep W.Alabama one-way eastbound, and tunnel it under 610 to reconnect to a bi-directional Westheimer somewhere inside the loop.

610 there does need extra capacity. Probably either elevated or underground express lanes without all the local exits/entrances.

Edited by ToryGattis

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Meme's theater idea makes sense -- why do movie theaters take up so much space? They have no windows and no need to see outside. Just have a marquee building for the entrance and tickets and maybe concessions and then bury the rest of it under the parking lot. Or even better -- some nice walkable retail.

I can't take credit for that idea. The Galleria area used to have several underground theaters. There were 4 screens under the Galleria itself, and another 2 under the Saks Pavilion or whatever that used to be called. If we use Costco's map, which we don't, then the Greenway should be included.

The Champs-Elysees has lots of really nice movie theaters. I don't understand why they ran them all out of the Galleria.

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Meme's theater idea makes sense -- why do movie theaters take up so much space? They have no windows and no need to see outside. Just have a marquee building for the entrance and tickets and maybe concessions and then bury the rest of it under the parking lot. Or even better -- some nice walkable retail.

I suspect it has to do with the cost of excavating and building underground, instead of the usual movie theater solution of cheap slab concrete painted over.

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I'm pretty happy with the area as it is, but Zone d'Erotica needs to go.

Yeah, a classy shopping district like that needs a much better sex shop.

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I'd implode that nearby really ugly Holiday Inn Select. Oh, and a condo INSIDE the Galleria! I'd make sure the Houston Metro runs there, too.

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Double deck the West Loop from 59 to I-10 AND put it underground. Ground level = giant park/esplanade connected to Memorial Park. 1st underground level = local highway; 2nd underground level = express lanes connecting 59 and I-10 without stops between.

Knock down both the Zone D'Erotica AND the adjacent Dillards, and build a new Uptown Transit Center on that site. Connect it to The Galleria via sky-bridge. Build a monorail or subway to connect the Uptown Transit Center with the Downtown Transit Center. Run express buses from the Uptown Transit Center all the way around the Loop, stopping at the transit centers and Park & Rides adjacent to the Loop.

Build more connecting sky-bridges between buildings: sort of like Downtown's tunnel system only elevated.

Build a line of luxury condos along the East side of the West Loop from 59 to Westheimer - fronting on the new esplanade.

That's all I can think of now. But since we're playing this game - may I suggest two other 'if you could play God' scenarios?

1: You just bought the Sharpstown Mall - what do you do with it?

2: You have complete control over bus routes in Metro. What routes do you impliment?

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Double deck the West Loop from 59 to I-10 AND put it underground. Ground level = giant park/esplanade connected to Memorial Park. 1st underground level = local highway; 2nd underground level = express lanes connecting 59 and I-10 without stops between.

Knock down both the Zone D'Erotica AND the adjacent Dillards, and build a new Uptown Transit Center on that site. Connect it to The Galleria via sky-bridge. Build a monorail or subway to connect the Uptown Transit Center with the Downtown Transit Center. Run express buses from the Uptown Transit Center all the way around the Loop, stopping at the transit centers and Park & Rides adjacent to the Loop.

Build more connecting sky-bridges between buildings: sort of like Downtown's tunnel system only elevated.

Build a line of luxury condos along the East side of the West Loop from 59 to Westheimer - fronting on the new esplanade.

That's all I can think of now. But since we're playing this game - may I suggest two other 'if you could play God' scenarios?

1: You just bought the Sharpstown Mall - what do you do with it?

2: You have complete control over bus routes in Metro. What routes do you impliment?

You've got ideas man. Let me bump this up for the editor to see.

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Double deck the West Loop from 59 to I-10 AND put it underground. Ground level = giant park/esplanade connected to Memorial Park. 1st underground level = local highway; 2nd underground level = express lanes connecting 59 and I-10 without stops between.

Knock down both the Zone D'Erotica AND the adjacent Dillards, and build a new Uptown Transit Center on that site. Connect it to The Galleria via sky-bridge. Build a monorail or subway to connect the Uptown Transit Center with the Downtown Transit Center. Run express buses from the Uptown Transit Center all the way around the Loop, stopping at the transit centers and Park & Rides adjacent to the Loop.

Build more connecting sky-bridges between buildings: sort of like Downtown's tunnel system only elevated.

Build a line of luxury condos along the East side of the West Loop from 59 to Westheimer - fronting on the new esplanade.

That's all I can think of now. But since we're playing this game - may I suggest two other 'if you could play God' scenarios?

1: You just bought the Sharpstown Mall - what do you do with it?

2: You have complete control over bus routes in Metro. What routes do you impliment?

I would add to what you said.

I want to knock down the shopping centers down Post Oak and turn the area into a tourist destination. I would make it more like Hollywood Blvd. Then I like to attract a cable networks to the area, where they would tape everything from talkshows to movies and sitcoms. People would be come to the area from all over to sit in as audience members and see the stars.

Since the Turnberry tower is cancled, I would turn that into a high dense Rode Drive area.

Move Dillards into the old Macy's, tear down that area (Zone D Erotica, Gas Station, old Dillads, etc) make it high dense mixed use.

Some how come to an agreement with the church near the Galleria and have them move into the new high dense mixed use area mentioned above. Build a new area of the Galleria in that spot with a Bloomingdales.

I will add more when I can think of it.

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METRO is coming down Post Oak Blvd, and agree with tearing down the Dillards/gas station and Zone D'. Reface the Galleria and Hotel. Along the loop, I would get rid of anything retail and have them move into the Galleria or Blvd Place. There's enough supportive retail space in place/planned for them to move. Create a plaza/open air areas along the loop that give it a greener look.

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Post Oak blvd could perhaps be converted into something similar to the Ronda de Dalt in Barcelona Spain; lots of vehicular movements in the center, and street style lanes on the sides, with the center being sunken. It is kinda like a mini freeway with some portions in a cut-and-cover setup, while still allowing for pedestrian and road traffic on the sides. Buildings could still go right up to the "feeders", since it is not quite a true freeway.

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If this is too extreme, perhaps the intersections could be updated to resemble some of the ones in the TMC (Fannin@Holcome, I think), which is quite similar to the Ronda de Dalt setup, but without the continuous grade seperation for the central lanes. This way, all of the heavier traffic can still pass the intersection uninterrupted, and perhaps make the whole thing a tad more pedestrian friendly.

houst12630s.jpg

Edited by UrbaNerd

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Here's what I would do:

1. Get rid of the strip centers. Double the width of the sidewalks and put the store fronts along closer to the streets and build parking garages behind the shopping centers. I do agree on getting rid of some retailers, and making them move into The Galleria, BLVD Place, and River Oaks District. Use the areas that they use to be on as parks/green spaces.

2. Have a subway under Post Oak with about four stops (Richmond, Galleria/Westheimer, San Felipe, and Uptown Park).

3. Somehow connect the Dillard's to the Galleria better (underground tunnel, bridge, etc.). Redevelop the Dillard's parking lot into a new section of The Galleria and get rid of the Zone D' Erotica.

All I can think of now.

Edited by Trae

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get rid of strip centers (namely the ones along post oak between westheimer and san felipe).

lightrail stop (as subway) sat the galleria mall.

get rid of free standing drug stores, banks, etc.

encouarge developers to include commercial and retail space on first floors of residential/ office buildings.

build a 1000' statue of bill white

move strip clubs/ pawn shops further up westheimer. or put them on richmond. that place is beyond hope anyway.

drop 610 below grade (like 59 towards downtown)

building height limited as to not overtake williams tower

encourage more independent shops, restaurants, boutiques as opposed to being dominated by cookie cutter chains.

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sorry to revive an old thread, but i was reminded of the idea of taking 610 underground when i read this article. it seems our friends to the north are on to something.

http://www.dallasnew...k.a44c6d61.html

Construction of a deck park over the Woodall Rodgers Freeway downtown is slated to begin in mid-September. The state Department of Transportation announced Monday that it has awarded a $44.5 million contract to build a 5.2-acre bridge over the freeway between Pearl and St. Paul streets to Atlanta-based Archer Western.

The Sept. 14 groundbreaking is a little later than the August date officials had hoped for, but the park remains on schedule to open in mid-2011. All of its planned features, including a children's garden, pavilion and promenade, are expected to be finished by 2012.

http://www.woodallro...rg/swf/main.htm

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