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Simbha

What would make our city 'better'?

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I just got back from a month-long trip to Spain and had a blast. I spent a good bit of time in Valencia and Barcelona - two nice cities (I particularly enjoyed the latter). The trip got me thinking about what I enjoy about some cities over others, and my wife and I have even decided in the last weeks to move inside the loop (museum district) to be a little closer to what we like.

... but it's not enough! I love Houston, but there are things about the city that, if changed, could make it 'better' (at least for me). I was just wondering what other people's thoughts were. Here are some of my thoughts (in most cases, very generic).

1. Make the city (really, what I'd call the Golden Triangle of - roughly - DT, UT, and TMC/Hermann Park and areas in-between) more walkable.

2. Make the Golden Triangle more connected - both in terms of skyline/development (more midrises) and transportation.

3. More public art/fountains (yes, I'm aware of the theft problems) and more visibility of what's in place.

4. Development of a grand, central plaza (not a park).

5. More trees/foliage. I've often heard people say that Houston doesn't have "natural beauty" but it's one of the greenest cities I've seen. I think more of this would be a great step forward.

6. Development of Buffalo Bayou around downtown as a denser urban park with shops, cafes, entertainment venues.

7. Make uptown (in particular) more pedestrian-friendly.

8. Development of a massive monument to serve as a center point for the city (a la Eiffel Tower). I know a lot of people don't care for these sorts of things, but I think they're great for bringing notoriety to a city. My two suggestions in this regard are a significantly larger Sam Houston sculpture on the roundabout in Hermann Park or a steel sculpture celebrating the city's oil heritage (perhaps with an energy-focused museum at ground level). I'm thinking something on the order of 30+ meters. Having said that, I never cared for The Spirit of Houston's design.

9. Make the city more bike-friendly.

10. Rename the UH branch campuses so they're not "UH-X." A silly thing, probably, but I've always felt that Houston gets a bad rep for not having enough colleges/universities. Maybe a bit true, but I think one thing that contributes to this is the perception that there is one "UH." I suggest the following names: Houston College (UHD), Clear Lake University (UHCL), University of Victoria (UHV).

11. A central transportation hub. I know that there were plans for one (I think, north of downtown near the Hardy rail yards) but I don't know the status of this.

12. Edit: Forgot to add... A central market (not 'Central Market').

Probably not a great list. I'm not a developer/architect/etc (just a schmuck who works in the oil patch) but these are my thoughts, nonetheless. Just curious what others' are. Also, if you know of initiatives similar to the above, please let me know... I'd be interested in involving myself if I could.

Simbha

If you know of some of these happening, I'd like to know more.

Edited by Simbha
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I just got back from a month-long trip to Spain and had a blast. I spent a good bit of time in Valencia and Barcelona - two nice cities (I particularly enjoyed the latter). The trip got me thinking about what I enjoy about some cities over others, and my wife and I have even decided in the last weeks to move inside the loop (museum district) to be a little closer to what we like.

... but it's not enough! I love Houston, but there are things about the city that, if changed, could make it 'better' (at least for me). I was just wondering what other people's thoughts were. Here are some of my thoughts (in most cases, very generic).

1. Make the city (really, what I'd call the Golden Triangle of - roughly - DT, UT, and TMC/Hermann Park and areas in-between) more walkable.

2. Make the Golden Triangle more connected - both in terms of skyline/development (more midrises) and transportation.

3. More public art/fountains (yes, I'm aware of the theft problems) and more visibility of what's in place.

4. Development of a grand, central plaza (not a park).

5. More trees/foliage. I've often heard people say that Houston doesn't have "natural beauty" but it's one of the greenest cities I've seen. I think more of this would be a great step forward.

6. Development of Buffalo Bayou around downtown as a denser urban park with shops, cafes, entertainment venues.

7. Make uptown (in particular) more pedestrian-friendly.

8. Development of a massive monument to serve as a center point for the city (a la Eiffel Tower). I know a lot of people don't care for these sorts of things, but I think they're great for bringing notoriety to a city. My two suggestions in this regard are a significantly larger Sam Houston sculpture on the roundabout in Hermann Park or a steel sculpture celebrating the city's oil heritage (perhaps with an energy-focused museum at ground level). I'm thinking something on the order of 30+ meters. Having said that, I never cared for The Spirit of Houston's design.

9. Make the city more bike-friendly.

10. Rename the UH branch campuses so they're not "UH-X." A silly thing, probably, but I've always felt that Houston gets a bad rep for not having enough colleges/universities. Maybe a bit true, but I think one thing that contributes to this is the perception that there is one "UH." I suggest the following names: Houston College (UHD), Clear Lake University (UHCL), University of Victoria (UHV).

11. A central transportation hub. I know that there were plans for one (I think, north of downtown near the Hardy rail yards) but I don't know the status of this.

12. Edit: Forgot to add... A central market (not 'Central Market').

Probably not a great list. I'm not a developer/architect/etc (just a schmuck who works in the oil patch) but these are my thoughts, nonetheless. Just curious what others' are. Also, if you know of initiatives similar to the above, please let me know... I'd be interested in involving myself if I could.

Simbha

If you know of some of these happening, I'd like to know more.

13: For NIMBYs to STFU.

14: For Outter Loopers to STFU and stay out of our business.

EDIT: oops.

Edited by ricco67

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More bike paths, better dual-mode transportation integration (bikes on trains during commute hours), a decent ramen place, a Gaza style wall built to wall off Katy and Woodlands from Houston and a targeted nuclear strike of Sugar Land.

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I just got back from a month-long trip to Spain and had a blast. I spent a good bit of time in Valencia and Barcelona - two nice cities (I particularly enjoyed the latter). The trip got me thinking about what I enjoy about some cities over others, and my wife and I have even decided in the last weeks to move inside the loop (museum district) to be a little closer to what we like.

... but it's not enough! I love Houston, but there are things about the city that, if changed, could make it 'better' (at least for me). I was just wondering what other people's thoughts were. Here are some of my thoughts (in most cases, very generic).

1. Make the city (really, what I'd call the Golden Triangle of - roughly - DT, UT, and TMC/Hermann Park and areas in-between) more walkable.

2. Make the Golden Triangle more connected - both in terms of skyline/development (more midrises) and transportation.

3. More public art/fountains (yes, I'm aware of the theft problems) and more visibility of what's in place.

4. Development of a grand, central plaza (not a park).

5. More trees/foliage. I've often heard people say that Houston doesn't have "natural beauty" but it's one of the greenest cities I've seen. I think more of this would be a great step forward.

6. Development of Buffalo Bayou around downtown as a denser urban park with shops, cafes, entertainment venues.

7. Make uptown (in particular) more pedestrian-friendly.

8. Development of a massive monument to serve as a center point for the city (a la Eiffel Tower). I know a lot of people don't care for these sorts of things, but I think they're great for bringing notoriety to a city. My two suggestions in this regard are a significantly larger Sam Houston sculpture on the roundabout in Hermann Park or a steel sculpture celebrating the city's oil heritage (perhaps with an energy-focused museum at ground level). I'm thinking something on the order of 30+ meters. Having said that, I never cared for The Spirit of Houston's design.

9. Make the city more bike-friendly.

10. Rename the UH branch campuses so they're not "UH-X." A silly thing, probably, but I've always felt that Houston gets a bad rep for not having enough colleges/universities. Maybe a bit true, but I think one thing that contributes to this is the perception that there is one "UH." I suggest the following names: Houston College (UHD), Clear Lake University (UHCL), University of Victoria (UHV).

11. A central transportation hub. I know that there were plans for one (I think, north of downtown near the Hardy rail yards) but I don't know the status of this.

12. Edit: Forgot to add... A central market (not 'Central Market').

Probably not a great list. I'm not a developer/architect/etc (just a schmuck who works in the oil patch) but these are my thoughts, nonetheless. Just curious what others' are. Also, if you know of initiatives similar to the above, please let me know... I'd be interested in involving myself if I could.

Simbha

If you know of some of these happening, I'd like to know more.

We have a massive monument - its the Astrodome - now its a waste of space. Most famous monuments and what not have some historical reference. If Houston were to do something like this, most people (at least on this board) would probably hate it, as it would most likely end up being a gigantic oil Derick.

Im all for a lot on your list, especially developing the Bayou....but before anyone would ever build anything down on the bayou they would have to solve the huge flooding problem the bayou has, and I believe that is pretty cost prohibitive. I'm pretty sure everyone has seen the bayou well outside of its normal banks, and when that flood is ripping through, it would pretty much rip everything with it.

Only thing I am actually against is adding bike lanes. I dont mind bike lanes if they are a before hand thought.... but I am adamantly against Houston taking away vehicular traffic lanes to add bike lanes. Houston is too dang hot 85-90% of the time to make biking a realistic form of transportation to or from the office. Another 10% of the time its raining, or too cold. Taking away a vehicular lane of traffic for the 5% of the time a person could realistically bike in Houston as a mode of transportation simply does not make sense.

Edited by Marksmu

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More bike paths, better dual-mode transportation integration (bikes on trains during commute hours), a decent ramen place, a Gaza style wall built to wall off Katy and Woodlands from Houston and a targeted nuclear strike of Sugar Land.

And I was going to suggest closing off Houston and turning it into one big penitentiary.  

snake_pliskin.jpg

NYMBY: New York Money Bag Yankees? 

Edited by Fringe
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I like the idea of a monument of some kind. Perhaps we can steal Huntsville's giant MC 900 Foot Sam Houston.

They've already got their monument... the penitentiary.

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If there was a place where you could go and feel the sense of a city. Where people walked around on a daily bases like in other cities. The closes thing I can think of to Houston having that type of atmosphere is in the Galleria. Downtown tries but I don't know its kind of hard to explain.

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If there was a place where you could go and feel the sense of a city. Where people walked around on a daily bases like in other cities. The closes thing I can think of to Houston having that type of atmosphere is in the Galleria. Downtown tries but I don't know its kind of hard to explain.

Eh... I take it you've never been in Montrose or the Rice/TMC/Museum district. Yes, we'd all like that mindset to expand, but it ain't as bad as some people would like to paint it to be.

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Eh... I take it you've never been in Montrose or the Rice/TMC/Museum district. Yes, we'd all like that mindset to expand, but it ain't as bad as some people would like to paint it to be.

Well the question was asked and I answered. Montrose and the Rice have somewhat of what I was talking about, but not the to the fullest. The Rice Village Area is really just a shopping center that looks semi-urban. And Montrose has the right idea, but the area doesn't mesh well (sidewalks no good, etc). I talking more of a place where people live work and play and you can really feel that people live their and not just driving through in a car. West Ave has the right idea, but it should be like 10 times as big! That is just my opinion Simbha asked and I answered. You don't have to agree.

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Well the question was asked and I answered. Montrose and the Rice have somewhat of what I was talking about, but not the to the fullest. The Rice Village Area is really just a shopping center that looks semi-urban. And Montrose has the right idea, but the area doesn't mesh well (sidewalks no good, etc). I talking more of a place where people live work and play and you can really feel that people live their and not just driving through in a car. West Ave has the right idea, but it should be like 10 times as big! That is just my opinion Simbha asked and I answered. You don't have to agree.

I wasn't referring to Rice Village, but rather Rice University. I guess I should have specified. If you've ever been to Madrid (granted this isn't Valencia or Barcelona), you'll notice the Rice/TMC/Museum District distincly resembles that city, and it carries the same level of visible pedestrian traffic. You're trying to compare the Galleria to a European city, and I was pointing out you're looking at the wrong part of town. Houston does have a lot of what Simbha is looking for, only it's in pockets.

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[...]Houston does have a lot of what Simbha is looking for, only it's in pockets.

Agreed. I'd only like to see it more connected. Better mass transit can help; 'more' of it can help, too.

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[...] Most famous monuments and what not have some historical reference. If Houston were to do something like this, most people (at least on this board) would probably hate it, as it would most likely end up being a gigantic oil Derick.

I was kind of thinking of something like a very tall, stylized oil derrick. Perhaps something with girders that 'twist' upwards - definitely NOT a standard oil derrick, but instead something very tasteful and artistic but that is still rooted in the city's history. The San Jacinto monument's good in this regard - with the exception of its location. Actually, I kind of had the idea of first starting a massive parade (a la NYC's Thanksgiving Day Parade) with a theme of energy. I think that would bring a lot of local (read: multinational) oil companies to sponsor floats, etc. Then, maybe use that as a way to begin an organization with the express intent of building a monument to the city's energy heritage.

Im all for a lot on your list, especially developing the Bayou....but before anyone would ever build anything down on the bayou they would have to solve the huge flooding problem the bayou has, and I believe that is pretty cost prohibitive. I'm pretty sure everyone has seen the bayou well outside of its normal banks, and when that flood is ripping through, it would pretty much rip everything with it.

Yeah, obviously an issue. But, I think that more can be done along the sides of Memorial/Allen Parkway which in turn could be more connected through pedestrian (and vehicular) bridges. One of the most interesting things I saw in Valencia was the Turia Gardens. These are actually built in the dry riverbed of the Turia river, which was diverted in the 1960s. The gardens, particularly near the Calatrava-designed Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, have multiple beautiful vehicular and pedestrian bridges that cross overhead. For example, one is called (I believe) the Puente de Flores and has many flowers adorning its median. Something like that would do really well to connect the two sides of the Bayou in that area - and, I think, really enhance local property values.

Only thing I am actually against is adding bike lanes. I dont mind bike lanes if they are a before hand thought.... but I am adamantly against Houston taking away vehicular traffic lanes to add bike lanes. Houston is too dang hot 85-90% of the time to make biking a realistic form of transportation to or from the office. Another 10% of the time its raining, or too cold. Taking away a vehicular lane of traffic for the 5% of the time a person could realistically bike in Houston as a mode of transportation simply does not make sense.

I can't actually argue with that. I guess I should have put "milder summers" on my list. :D

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I've always thought that the one pie-in-the-sky plan that would do wonders for this city is the Buffalo Bayou Masterplan. It would transform the city in so many positive ways by reducing flooding, restoring some natural beauty, and creating the exact type of spaces you're master list dreams of. Check it out at buffalobayou.org. If I had Bill Gates' money, I'd make it happen tomorrow. It would have the positive effects of Discovery Green on a much larger scale.

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I've always thought that the one pie-in-the-sky plan that would do wonders for this city is the Buffalo Bayou Masterplan. It would transform the city in so many positive ways by reducing flooding, restoring some natural beauty, and creating the exact type of spaces you're master list dreams of. Check it out at buffalobayou.org. If I had Bill Gates' money, I'd make it happen tomorrow. It would have the positive effects of Discovery Green on a much larger scale.

Thats a pretty big plan. Im not sure that Bill Gates has enough cash to do that much digging. Many of those waterways are brand new. There are sanitary sewers, water lines, electric utilities, and all kinds of other things that would pose a logistical super nightmare.

I think its a great plan, but I dont think its too realistic...I love water, I love boating, I love the outdoors...I would love the plan, but I just dont see something like that ever taking off.

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1. Commuter rail to the suburbs and longer light rail lines. Cypress and Sugar Land have rails that they can use, but Katy is a bit harder.

2. Rebuild the railroad that used to parallel Westpark Tollway and Southwest Freeway. This would not only allow Katy-ians to go through commuter rail, it might also alleviate Houston's heavy rail traffic.

3. Another thing I noticed is how highways really destroy pedestrian traffic. The dark and cavernous highway overpasses of even the suburbs fall under this, and so is the narrow, rusty pedestrian bridges over I-10. This is one example.

4. A theme park!

5. A commuter rail between Galveston and Houston.

6. Additional retail: the Galleria is the only major "retail stronghold" in a city of Houston's size. That really should be different...maybe a giant "Mall of Texas" in another part of town.

7. Turning the abandoned MKT in Houston proper into a nice paved trail (Heights residents might protest if it was a light rail instead)

8. I would suggest canals, but Houston shouldn't try to look like a Woodlands knock-off (not that the Woodlands isn't knocking off everyone else)

Edited by IronTiger
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Here's a thought. Instead of constantly fearing flooding, embrace it; damn up the streams and bayous and turn Houston into the Gulf Coast Venice. 

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Since we're talking in platitudes about mostly-absurd subject matter, I think that the City and County should grant $10,000 to every one of its citizens, financed via the Houston/Harris County Sports Authority. By the logic of certain posters on this forum, that wouldn't constitute a tax on the citizenry even if the Sports Authority ended up at high risks of insolvency in the very near future. For the citizens, according to such a viewpoint, it would be an unmitigated win/win. Free money!

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Parkways. Turn major secondary arteries into parkways with underpasses (with adequate sump pumps, of course) to reduce at-grade intersections of streets and railroad crossings. Move car traffic. In line with what has been suggested above, make it pretty.

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Since we're talking in platitudes about mostly-absurd subject matter, I think that the City and County should grant $10,000 to every one of its citizens, financed via the Houston/Harris County Sports Authority. By the logic of certain posters on this forum, that wouldn't constitute a tax on the citizenry even if the Sports Authority ended up at high risks of insolvency in the very near future. For the citizens, according to such a viewpoint, it would be an unmitigated win/win. Free money!

well, seeing as how we're in mostly absurd territory, in addition to my check from the COH, I'd like a championship Astros team.

....and street food vendors. It makes no sense that I can't get a hot dog or a schwarma or a brisket sammich on a downtown/midtown/uptown streetcorner in the 4th freaking largest city in the country. Oh, and alternate for-hire transport. More jitneys! End the cabbie cabal!

Edited by crunchtastic

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Parkways. Turn major secondary arteries into parkways with underpasses (with adequate sump pumps, of course) to reduce at-grade intersections of streets and railroad crossings. Move car traffic. In line with what has been suggested above, make it pretty.

major secondary artery? is that like a minor primary artery?

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well, seeing as how we're in mostly absurd territory, in addition to my check from the COH, I'd like a championship Astros team.

....and street food vendors. It makes no sense that I can't get a hot dog or a schwarma or a brisket sammich on a downtown/midtown/uptown streetcorner in the 4th freaking largest city in the country. Oh, and alternate for-hire transport. More jitneys! End the cabbie cabal!

Well in that case, if we're going all pie-in-the-sky here, I want a mountain or two. It doesn't have to be huge, a 4,000 footer will do. The northeast side of town between Houston and Crosby would be perfect for it.

Let's make it happen!

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Well in that case, if we're going all pie-in-the-sky here, I want a mountain or two. It doesn't have to be huge, a 4,000 footer will do. The northeast side of town between Houston and Crosby would be perfect for it.

Let's make it happen!

I think the closest you may get is a 'dome with some snowy slopes. :rolleyes:

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Well in that case, if we're going all pie-in-the-sky here, I want a mountain or two. It doesn't have to be huge, a 4,000 footer will do. The northeast side of town between Houston and Crosby would be perfect for it.

Let's make it happen!

I read on here not too long ago that Pearland was getting its very own mountain. Alot of the residents of Shadow Creek are upset because they are building that mountain out of trash, but its going to be a mountain. Im not sure they will make it 4000ft, but it was something like 400 or 700ft. Now to just get a bit more snow and your wish is half granted.

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Presumably there are all sorts of arcane rules that are preventing street vendors from operating. Haute Texan Tacos had to shut down at Woodrow's because the Health Department was enforcing a rule that there can't be tables within 100 feet of a food trailer. Still, Houston's street food atmosphere is better than some cities. There's the Taqueria Tacambaro truck serving delicious sweetbread tacos behind Canino's, there's the Bansuri Indian Food Corner truck serving Indian food at Wilcrest and West Bellfort, there's Melange Creperie making crepes in front of Mango's, Tacos Tierra Caliente truck on Montrose.

Edited by kylejack
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On the serious side, clean up the freeways. Especially 45 and 59 north coming in from Intercontinental. First impressions for people coming to our city are not good and probably a little scary.  Take down the billboards, build walls or some type of screens for dilapidated areas and add more trees.  Don't know what, if anything,  can be done for people coming into Hobby short of nuking the whole southeast side of town.  

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On the serious side, clean up the freeways. Especially 45 and 59 north coming in from Intercontinental. First impressions for people coming to our city are not good and probably a little scary. Take down the billboards, build walls or some type of screens for dilapidated areas and add more trees. Don't know what, if anything, can be done for people coming into Hobby short of nuking the whole southeast side of town.

If you forced cabbies to take new arrivals from Hobby down telephone instead of airport to 45 - it would not take much to make the area attractive. The area north of Hobby, though not a great place to live, has houses that are in very good condition still. That section has a tree lined median, and only a little trashy areas that would have to be spruced to make the exit from hobby not so ugly.

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On the serious side, clean up the freeways. Especially 45 and 59 north coming in from Intercontinental. First impressions for people coming to our city are not good and probably a little scary.  Take down the billboards, build walls or some type of screens for dilapidated areas and add more trees.  Don't know what, if anything,  can be done for people coming into Hobby short of nuking the whole southeast side of town.  

Deport all our resident neat freaks to Dallas.

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"The area north of Hobby, though not a great place to live..."

"Don't know what, if anything, can be done for people coming into Hobby short of nuking the whole southeast side of town."

Wow - nice, guys... :wacko:

But yeah, I guess it's not the *greatest* place to live (unlike the Heights or Sugar Land, say)...

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If you forced cabbies to take new arrivals from Hobby down telephone instead of airport to 45 - it would not take much to make the area attractive. The area north of Hobby, though not a great place to live, has houses that are in very good condition still. That section has a tree lined median, and only a little trashy areas that would have to be spruced to make the exit from hobby not so ugly.

Nothing makes me want to come to a city quite like being banned from using a taxi on a major highway. That'll really boost the tourism industry.

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On the serious side, clean up the freeways. Especially 45 and 59 north coming in from Intercontinental. First impressions for people coming to our city are not good and probably a little scary.  Take down the billboards, build walls or some type of screens for dilapidated areas and add more trees.  Don't know what, if anything,  can be done for people coming into Hobby short of nuking the whole southeast side of town.  

I agree 100% with everything you said! The Hobby Airport Area looks like your in a 3rd World country.

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I agree 100% with everything you said! The Hobby Airport Area looks like your in a 3rd World country.

How many 3rd World countries have you been in?

Not to say it's not rough, but geez.

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[The SE side - Threat or Menace?]

Wow - nice, guys... :wacko:

But yeah, I guess it's not the *greatest* place to live (unlike the Heights or Sugar Land, say)...

That's OK, such perceptions will keep the property values affordable for those of us who appreciate character. Once Metro has finished inflicting its toy train set on Fulton and the yuppies and hipsters begin to infect my formerly-placid neighborhood, I expect I'll eventually be forced to move to the SE side, assuming it's still the last relatively unspoiled frontier within any reasonable proximity of the loop. I'd far rather live in a semi-industrial area than one where I have to put up with clench-cheeked HOAs and people who daydream of recasting Houston in the mold of Northern California.

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Presumably there are all sorts of arcane rules that are preventing street vendors from operating. Haute Texan Tacos had to shut down at Woodrow's because the Health Department was enforcing a rule that there can't be tables within 100 feet of a food trailer. Still, Houston's street food atmosphere is better than some cities. There's the Taqueria Tacambaro truck serving delicious sweetbread tacos behind Canino's, there's the Bansuri Indian Food Corner truck serving Indian food at Wilcrest and West Bellfort, there's Melange Creperie making crepes in front of Mango's, Tacos Tierra Caliente truck on Montrose.

The rules are not "arcane". They are recent. For all of its bragging on its variety and numbers, the Houston restaurant industry is terrified of street vendors, and used its muscle to vurtually eliminate street vending. The stated reasons for the opposition is "sanitary concerns", but it is a crock. They were afraid of competition from a hot dog vendor. Bunch of wimps.

How many 3rd World countries have you been in?

Not to say it's not rough, but geez.

He's been to Atlanta, so he probably knows what 3rd world looks like.

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I like the idea of a monument of some kind. Perhaps we can steal Huntsville's giant MC 900 Foot Sam Houston.

They've already got their monument... the penitentiary.

900ft statue? Last time i saw it, it was more like 50ft.

But I would also endorse the Buffalo Bayou idea, and yes i'm pretty sure that even Bill Gates could afford that. Wasn't it estimated at a cost of like 20 billion or something? That way the entire buffalo bayou complex that stretches through the cities center makes up Houston's version of Central park, nothing against Discovery Green. Perhaps even line it with low rise and midrise structures on the north and south sides of it as it snakes its way through the city. And along its backside, a rail system that connects UT and DT(NOT THE CURRENT STREET LEVEL VERSIONS!!!) Either elevated(like Chicago's EL) or Subway(ala New York). Only we could do one better by making either version alot more pleasing to the eye.

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Thats a pretty big plan. Im not sure that Bill Gates has enough cash to do that much digging. Many of those waterways are brand new. There are sanitary sewers, water lines, electric utilities, and all kinds of other things that would pose a logistical super nightmare.

I think its a great plan, but I dont think its too realistic...I love water, I love boating, I love the outdoors...I would love the plan, but I just dont see something like that ever taking off.

Actually, they are proceeding with that plan, slowly but surely , step by step. On the whole, they are proceeding better than most "master plans" (e.g. the Main Street Master Plan a few years back)

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19514 is correct. I actually took some friends from New Hampshire along the Bayou this past weekend. We hiked around from Shepherd to downtown. They really enjoyed it. It's wild to be in area that looks so wild but when you look up you see skyscrapers all around. They also were pleasantly surprised by all of the outdoorsy things to do along the bayou (hiking, biking, canoeing, skate park, disc golf course, etc...). We ended up downtown and did the touristy thing of paying for the ferris wheel and shark train and then hit up Market Square for some drinks and then fish tacos before we ended up back at their hotel across from the Pavilions. The bayou system is the one thing we have that sets us apart. We just need to embrace it even more.

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  Reading yesterday's Alison Cook column about the Reading Terminal Market made me think this is something very doable for Houston and could be a great attraction if done right and in the right location.  I have never personally been to Philadelphia’s Reading Market but I have been to Pike’s Place Market in Seattle which appears to very similar. A market here combining Gulf Coast seafood and our abundant Tex-Mex influences I think would be a big hit. 

Why can't Houston have a Reading Terminal Market?

Edited by Fringe

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Reading yesterday's Alison Cook column about the Reading Terminal Market made me think this is something very doable for Houston and could be a great attraction if done right and in the right location. I have never personally been to Philadelphia’s Reading Market but I have been to Pike’s Place Market in Seattle which appears to very similar. A market here combining Gulf Coast seafood and our abundant Tex-Mex influences I think would be a big hit.

Why can't Houston have a Reading Terminal Market?

Looks like an excellent idea, in my opinion. I've not been there (having only been to Philly once as a teenager); the description seems to imply that it's for prepared foods (as opposed to, say, raw meats and veggies). I wonder if this could be combined with some local crafts. Also, I love the idea of that Philbert the Pig sculpture acting as a depository for loose change for charities.

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  Reading yesterday's Alison Cook column about the Reading Terminal Market made me think this is something very doable for Houston and could be a great attraction if done right and in the right location.  I have never personally been to Philadelphia’s Reading Market but I have been to Pike’s Place Market in Seattle which appears to very similar. A market here combining Gulf Coast seafood and our abundant Tex-Mex influences I think would be a big hit. 

Why can't Houston have a Reading Terminal Market?

From Cook's article:

"It occurred to me that half the fun was getting mustard all over me and trying to balance my coffee cup on the nooks and crannies of various stalls."

A likely-stained shirt or pants along with a risk of being drenched with my own scalding hot coffee...neither of these things sound very fun to me, so I can only possibly conclude that the other 50% must be equally underwhelming.

There aren't very many cities that have larger downtown office markets than Houston, but Philly is one of them. Their downtown area is also genuinely mixed-use, measured in neighborhoods rather than a handful of residential buildings. It's also an old city, and old cities by nature of their pre-automotive legacy are typically tourist-friendly by their very nature. A place like this Reading Terminal Market fits with the context of that environment.

We are not that city, and we shouldn't pretend to don its vestiges.

But perhaps more importantly, we're the city that eats prairie and poops restaurants (credit to memebag for that phrase). Having everything under one roof in Houston is for the unadventurous. SCREW THAT. If either a tourist or a resident isn't willing to drive a lot and go out of their comfort zone to experience our city then all they're going to get out of it is a very small slice of it, mostly contrived and boring. And there's absolutely nothing unauthentic we can do to change that.

Don't get me wrong. We can improve downtown and it's cultural offerings, just not by offering up an imitative and derivative urban form. We should instead do what makes sense for us, given our climate, our neighborhoods, and our local culture. The downtown tunnels are a good example of that. It's not that the idea of tunnels are unique to our city, just that they make the most sense here, so we've taken them to a much further extent. We should promote them and make them more tourist-friendly.

We should also promote places such as the Bellaire corridor and make tourists slog down it to select from one of dozens of anonymous little Asiatic holes-in-the-wall if they want to experience Houston's culture. That kind of experience cannot be transplanted to a glorified food court. Dare I say...you'd miss out on 'half the fun.' ;)

Edited by TheNiche
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