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Simbha

If I were an evil overlord... err... urban planner

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A while back, I started a topic called something like 'What would make our city better?' I recently started thinking about something a little different, but related...

How would you like to see the cityscape to develop - realistically - over the next (say) 20 years?

I'd just like to see how our visions coincide (or don't). Here's my wishlist, although it certainly doesn't address all the areas of the city (or, even, inner loop)...

Downtown: Like, probably, most of you I'd like to see more buildings/less surface lots. I'd like to see one or two more 1,000+ foot buildings, several more 500-800 footers and the rest be 300-500 footers to fill out the bulk. I'd like to see the the (newly renovated) Market Street park expand to include the parking lot across Preston street. In fact, I wouldn't mind if Preston Street between Milam and Travis were made a pedestrian-only block. (I realize this last part may be really obstructive, though.) I'd like to see more development in the warehouse district - of warehouses (which will come with greater density, I imagine)

Midtown/Northern area of the Museum District: I'd like to see this area develop into dense residential with mixed-use mid- and shorter high-rises. It doesn't all have to be 'upscale'. I'd just like to see this area become the walkable residential/nearby neighborhood I think would fill out the cityscape well. I'd like to see centralized, multi-level parking in this area. I'd like to see one or more major artist residences built here or in Montrose.

Museum District/Hermann Park: I'd like to see the area around Hermann Park develop some greater density with a mix of (say) five or six more major museums/mid-rise residential/some commercial space (with restaurants). I would personally like to see the Hermann Park golf course be removed - to be replaced with more 'proper' park-space; I realize, however, that there might be a lot of resistance to this. Not formally cityscape, but - as I've posted elsewhere - I'd like to see a bus circulator that hits the museums (and, maybe, the theater district).

Texas Medical Center: No real changes, here, actually. I think it's coming along real swell. rolleyes.gif

Rice Village: I'd like to see this area become pedestrian-only, but with one or more centralized garages.

Uptown: I'd really like to see this area become more pedestrian-friendly with centralized garages, pedestrian road overpasses, wider walkways and lesser setbacks from the sidewalks. And, more highrise development mixed in.

Buffalo Bayou between DT and River Oaks: I'd love to see this area develop with some store kiosks/restaurants along the bayou - like a mini-San Antonio Riverwalk. That, and - along with more mid-/high-residential and commercial development, I'd like to see it become a sort of 'major NPO/NGO campus' district - an extension of some of the development/leasing that's there now.

Ethnic Enclaves: I'd like to see more pedestrian-friendly development in these areas, with more culturally-styled/less 'commercial' architecture.

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What is "proper" park space? I love the golf course there (as do many people)! There is already a ton of park space around?!?!

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Midtown/Northern area of the Museum District: I'd like to see this area develop into dense residential with mixed-use mid- and shorter high-rises. It doesn't all have to be 'upscale'. I'd just like to see this area become the walkable residential/nearby neighborhood I think would fill out the cityscape well. I'd like to see centralized, multi-level parking in this area. I'd like to see one or more major artist residences built here or in Montrose.

My ideal in this area would be to see dense development along major arteries - Richmond, Westheimer, Kirby, Shepherd, Montrose - zero setback retail on the ground floor to encourage foot traffic with offices, multifamily residential and parking above. Residential streets would be primarily single family. It's been done with great success in more mature cities.

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What is "proper" park space? I love the golf course there (as do many people)! There is already a ton of park space around?!?!

Personally, I think there can never be enough park space in a city, but your point is taken. That, in fact, is the reason I had put it in single quotes myself.

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Personally, I think there can never be enough park space in a city, but your point is taken. That, in fact, is the reason I had put it in single quotes myself.

Answer the question.

Edited by TheNiche

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Interesting tidbit:

"In 1922, the lush and scenic 18-hole Hermann Park Golf Course was built, starting a rich tradition of golfing excellence that has prospered for more than 70 years. The golf course was the first public golf course in America to welcome all races." (Emphasis added -per Visithoustontexas.com)

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I'd like to see the number of apartments, mid/high-rises that some of these areas have had for the past 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 years. Not sure where I could get that data.

I'm tempted to say that there hasn't been that much growth in these types of structures, but on second thought, I bet I'd be pleasantly surprised. Even with this recession we've seen projects at least being completed and some smaller new ones announced.

All that to say, I was initlally going to say I don't see the landscape changing a ton in the next 5-10 years, but I hope I'm proven wrong. I think change can be hard to see sometimes b/c we do have a relatively big midtown/downtown area.

The galleria is already an enemy of the car. It's torture driving in that area. I'm not sure it'd be pleasant to see it grow without major pedestrian ameneties implemented, which I don't really think will happen.

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Answer the question.

I took the question to be rhetorical but if you insist...

Here's a definition of a park: "A park is a protected area, in its natural or semi-natural state, or planted, and set aside for human recreation and enjoyment, or for the protection of wildlife or natural habitats. It may consist of rocks, soil, water, flora and fauna and grass areas. Many parks are legally protected by law."

A golf course can qualify under this definition. It is "set aside for human recreation and enjoyment." But, I do not consider it to be in a natural or semi-natural state. Golf course grounds are heavily fertilized and landscaped continuously. Clearly, a man-made park is often landscaped but I think there is a big difference between the rest of Hermann Park and the golf course - in terms of the upkeep of the physical space.

There is another fundamental difference between golf courses and 'proper park space': A child arriving at a golf course cannot simply allow their dog to chase a Frisbee, and a group of people cannot simply set up a volleyball net or toss around a football. The specifics are unimportant; what I'm getting at is that golf courses are inherently restrictive areas with a singular function while what I consider 'proper' park space has much more flexibility in its utility.

There is no clear demarcation between the two - which is why I put it in quotes. But, I think there are differences - and I think most people would agree to the spirit of the differences I've highlighted above.

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I took the question to be rhetorical but if you insist...

Thank you. Your exhaustive explanation has restored balance to the universe.

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[There is no clear demarcation between the two - which is why I put it in quotes. But, I think there are differences - and I think most people would agree to the spirit of the differences I've highlighted above.

Nicely put.

As a non-golfer I would get more personal satisfaction in seeing the Hermann Park Golf Course land revert, with some assistance, to something resembling a natural state. Yet I recognize that there's enough space in Hermann Park to accommodate people of various interests. Playing 18 holes might not be in everyone's budget (I think it's around $50)- but a municipal course allows people who can't afford country club dues to enjoy a favorite recreation. Now that the course is under private management, I hope that it's self-sustaining.

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Uptown: I'd really like to see this area become more pedestrian-friendly with centralized garages, pedestrian road overpasses, wider walkways and lesser setbacks from the sidewalks. And, more highrise development mixed in.

I would actually say The Galleria is one of the most walkable places in Houston. I never thought of it that way until I started working in one of the Galleria Towers. But there's a lot there. Hotels. Offices. Retail (of course, it's a mall). Parking. Dining. Entertainment. Sports (an ice-rink). And the way you get from one to the other is on foot.

To look at it another way. I actually walk a lot further from my car to my desk, in the Galleria, than I did when I worked in Midtown -- and it's the high point of my day. That's a good thing.

I'd like to see them add apartment and condo towers to The Galleria; along with the necessities like a good pharmacy and grocery store. They also need outdoor green space. An Uptown version of Discovery Green. I like your idea of pedestrian road overpasses. I've had a similar idea of skybridges connecting the Mall to neighboring buildings and shopping centers.

Most of all, I'd like to have a transit center attached to The Galleria. Something like the downtown transit center at Travis and Pierce; but you go up an escalator, and you're in the Mall.

Actually at this point it might not really be a "Mall" per se. It'd be its own, functioning neighborhood within the City.

Edited by WAZ
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I would actually say The Galleria is one of the most walkable places in Houston. I never thought of it that way until I started working in one of the Galleria Towers. But there's a lot there. Hotels. Offices. Retail (of course, it's a mall). Parking. Dining. Entertainment. Sports (an ice-rink). And the way you get from one to the other is on foot.

I agree; I'm not trying to suggest it's not. Just pointing out ways in which it might become more walkable.

Most of all, I'd like to have a transit center attached to The Galleria. Something like the downtown transit center at Travis and Pierce; but you go up an escalator, and you're in the Mall.

Actually at this point it might not really be a "Mall" per se. It'd be its own, functioning neighborhood within the City.

Excellent idea, IMO. Both DT and TMC have a transit center. Why not the Uptown area (and, maybe, Greenway Plaza).

Edited by Simbha
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Rice Village: I'd like to see this area become pedestrian-only, but with one or more centralized garages.

Rice Village already is one of the more pedestrian-freindly districts of the city. I'm not sure there would be a benefit to making it pedestrian-only - removing the existing street parking would likely make the pedestrian pavement areas too wide. The Village does a decent job with steet parking instead of reliance on car parks. Slow moving traffic works fine with a heavy concentration of pedestrians, but American pedestrian malls (a bit of a fad in the 1970s) have almost always fared poorly.

Buffalo Bayou between DT and River Oaks: I'd love to see this area develop with some store kiosks/restaurants along the bayou - like a mini-San Antonio Riverwalk. That, and - along with more mid-/high-residential and commercial development, I'd like to see it become a sort of 'major NPO/NGO campus' district - an extension of some of the development/leasing that's there now.

As much as possible I'd like to see this as a natural bayou area. Remove the cloverleaf intersection at Memorial and Shepherd, or better yet demolish the freeway section of Memorial from Shepherd to downtown. While we're dreaming, I would like to see the Pierce Elevated either demolished or tunneled.

Museum District/Hermann Park: I'd like to see the area around Hermann Park develop some greater density with a mix of (say) five or six more major museums/mid-rise residential/some commercial space (with restaurants). I would personally like to see the Hermann Park golf course be removed - to be replaced with more 'proper' park-space; I realize, however, that there might be a lot of resistance to this. Not formally cityscape, but - as I've posted elsewhere - I'd like to see a bus circulator that hits the museums (and, maybe, the theater district).

Good ideas all.

Ethnic Enclaves: I'd like to see more pedestrian-friendly development in these areas, with more culturally-styled/less 'commercial' architecture.

By "culturally-styled" do you mean architecture that resembles what is perceived to be traditional styles in their areas of ethnic origin? Sorry, but I don't think you can ask people to want to live in sterotyped "culturally-styled" buildings to match their race or whatnot. These are people, not tourist exhibits.

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I would actually say The Galleria is one of the most walkable places in Houston. I never thought of it that way until I started working in one of the Galleria Towers. But there's a lot there. Hotels. Offices. Retail (of course, it's a mall). Parking. Dining. Entertainment. Sports (an ice-rink). And the way you get from one to the other is on foot.

It's *possible* to walk in the Galleria area, but that's about all that can be said. Sidewalks are anorexic, streets are wide and busy, all a pedestrian has to look at are the bottom floors of multistorey carparks or stripmalls. Once you get into the actual mall it's a different story (I like walking round the shops myself), but to call the actual streets surrounding it walkable is a very literal use of the word and should not imply that any pleasure is to be derived from the experience.

Edited by sidegate

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It's *possible* to walk in the Galleria area, but that's about all that can be said. Sidewalks are anorexic, streets are wide and busy, all a pedestrian has to look at are the bottom floors of multistorey carparks or stripmalls. Once you get into the actual mall it's a different story (I like walking round the shops myself), but to call the actual streets surrounding it walkable is a very literal use of the word and should not imply that any pleasure is to be derived from the experience.

I don't think wide and busy streets necessarily make a place less walkable. All an extra lane does is force someone to walk an extra twenty feet. A less busy street makes me think less people are in the area, too. I know in Europe the streets are very busy and you basically have to dodge the cars just to get across.

I'd say the complaint that it's not walkable is not due to the streets but the distance of the buildings from the street.

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Wider streets = more traffic = greater intimidation factor for a pedestrian. Since you've brought Europe into the discussion....I'm not saying Europe gets it right all the time by any means, but there is, in my experience, generally more acknowledgement of the existence of people who don't get around by car. That's why I think the type of development in Midtown is to be encouraged.

But I agree, if there were more retail close to the sidewalk, and wider sidewalks, the traffic factor wouldn't matter as much.

Edited by sidegate

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Wider streets = more traffic = greater intimidation factor for a pedestrian. Since you've brought Europe into the discussion....I'm not saying Europe gets it right all the time by any means, but there is, in my experience, generally more acknowledgement of the existence of people who don't get around by car. That's why I think the type of development in Midtown is to be encouraged.

Just my opinion, but I don't think there is any kind of pedestrian fear in the Galleria area. Cars rarely go over 30 mph, and isn't that the speed limit downtown? People all over the world run in front of traffic, even when it's not their turn. I don't think fear is an issue.

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Sidegate gets it right though, intimidation is a factor in trying to create pedestrian areas. Wide streets do discourage walking. I think one of the biggest factors limiting the long-term viability of Midtown as a residential area is that the north-south streets especially are too wide. It could make a big difference to narrow the streets by converting the lanes by the sidewalks to parking as is done in Rice Village. Using streets for parking would have an additional benefit of reducing the demand for surface lots.

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It's *possible* to walk in the Galleria area, but that's about all that can be said. Sidewalks are anorexic, streets are wide and busy, all a pedestrian has to look at are the bottom floors of multistorey carparks or stripmalls. Once you get into the actual mall it's a different story (I like walking round the shops myself), but to call the actual streets surrounding it walkable is a very literal use of the word and should not imply that any pleasure is to be derived from the experience.

I was actually talking about The Galleria Mall itself. It's big enough that it could function as its own neighborhood within Uptown. If it did, it'd be one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Houston.

I agree that the problem with Uptown that it has pockets of walkability, but they aren't connected. The key should be to connect these pockets. I think a series of well-placed skybridges and elevated walkways would work wonders. Maybe even an elevated, linear park like New York's High Line.

It's not a new model for Houston. The Texas Medical Center makes heavy use of skybridge links between buildings. But the ones in Uptown should be easier to get to, bigger, and more public than the TMC version.

Edited by WAZ

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Sidegate gets it right though, intimidation is a factor in trying to create pedestrian areas. Wide streets do discourage walking. I think one of the biggest factors limiting the long-term viability of Midtown as a residential area is that the north-south streets especially are too wide. It could make a big difference to narrow the streets by converting the lanes by the sidewalks to parking as is done in Rice Village. Using streets for parking would have an additional benefit of reducing the demand for surface lots.

Right. Street width can also be mitigated to an extent by using pedestrian islands (graphic below) that offer a sense of security, sort of a safe haven, halfway across the road. Haven't seen these around much but appropriately placed they would make crossing a wide street easier, especially for people who don't move so quickly, without the logistical headache of narrowing the entire street.

pedestrian-crossing-island.jpg

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I agree that the problem with Uptown that it has pockets of walkability, but they aren't connected. The key should be to connect these pockets. I think a series of well-placed skybridges and elevated walkways would work wonders. Maybe even an elevated, linear park like New York's High Line.

It's not a new model for Houston. The Texas Medical Center makes heavy use of skybridge links between buildings. But the ones in Uptown should be easier to get to, bigger, and more public than the TMC version.

Yeah, I like this idea for the Galleria and environs.....

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Nicely put.

As a non-golfer I would get more personal satisfaction in seeing the Hermann Park Golf Course land revert, with some assistance, to something resembling a natural state. Yet I recognize that there's enough space in Hermann Park to accommodate people of various interests. Playing 18 holes might not be in everyone's budget (I think it's around $50)- but a municipal course allows people who can't afford country club dues to enjoy a favorite recreation. Now that the course is under private management, I hope that it's self-sustaining.

More like $75 these days, so greens fees as low as $10.50 (if you're willing to play when it's getting dark) and no higher than $26.50 represents a tremendous value. I don't golf a lot, but I've been a few times, and it's really valuable to many people. Besides, Hermann Park is huge even without the golf course. No need to tear it up.

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I don't golf a lot, but I've been a few times, and it's really valuable to many people. Besides, Hermann Park is huge even without the golf course. No need to tear it up.

The point of my statement was as a personal wishlist - and to stimulate conversation. I'm not a golfer, and don't see myself ever taking it up. I don't dispute that it adds value. The purpose of the thread (for me) was to see what other people would like to see if they could what themselves wanted.

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Just my opinion, but I don't think there is any kind of pedestrian fear in the Galleria area. Cars rarely go over 30 mph, and isn't that the speed limit downtown? People all over the world run in front of traffic, even when it's not their turn. I don't think fear is an issue.

I respectfully disagree. A car traveling less than 5 mph can break a leg, as I can personally testify. A car traveling 30 mph can seriously injure or kill a person.

But it's not the speed of the cars that's so terrifying; it's the volume of traffic, the distracted drivers and poorly designed pedestrian crossings which worry me. At street level t's a scary place to walk.

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But it's not the speed of the cars that's so terrifying; it's the volume of traffic, the distracted drivers and poorly designed pedestrian crossings which worry me. At street level t's a scary place to walk.

No...I don't find the Galleria area at street level to be the least bit scary a place to walk around.

Just be aware of your surroundings is all, and if you're only intending to walk home because you're falling-down drunk, then do yourself (and the driver that might've run you over) a favor and call a cab.

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Texas Medical Center: No real changes, here, actually. I think it's coming along real swell. rolleyes.gif

I disagree. I work there and the number of quality restaurants in the area leaves a lot to be desired. There are lunch options in the Village but the 20 minute walk there and back makes a daily trip unfeasible. There are great swathes of Med Center real estate given over to anonymous stucco facades or sterile landscaping, that are made all the more glaring by the small pockets of zero-setback retail that do exist (the strip with Chipotle in it comes to mind). Think of these spaces occupied by local restaurants, gift shops, hell even a convenience store - quite aside from the 70,000 people who work there, the number of out-of-towners that passes through each year is mind-boggling. There is some retail and restaurants in the actual office buildings, but I'm talking about breathing a bit of life into the streets of the Medical Center. BCM has Luby's, St Luke's has McDonalds. Bleh doesn't even come close. Sure there's the new Commons, but can't the world's biggest and best medical center do just a wee bit better with its streetscape....?

Edited by sidegate

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I respectfully disagree. A car traveling less than 5 mph can break a leg, as I can personally testify. A car traveling 30 mph can seriously injure or kill a person.

But it's not the speed of the cars that's so terrifying; it's the volume of traffic, the distracted drivers and poorly designed pedestrian crossings which worry me. At street level t's a scary place to walk.

The way in which I would agree, which I think is where you might be trying to get at, is that the volume of traffic, in Houston, is frightening, because Houstonians are not really used to driving with pedestrians. As a pedestrian crossing the street in Houston probably has to be more attentive than a pedestrian in NYC or Chicago. I'm sure in those places a pedestrian feels much more safe just because the drivers there are more alert and aware of them.

If the drivers of the Galleria were replaced with Chicagoans, with the same pedestrian awareness they'd have in Chicago, I would think most of us would be very comfortable crossing Westheimer.

Edited by lockmat
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The way in which I would agree, which I think is where you might be trying to get at, is that the volume of traffic, in Houston, is frightening, because Houstonians are not really used to driving with pedestrians. As a pedestrian crossing the street in Houston probably has to be more attentive than a pedestrian in NYC or Chicago. I'm sure in those places a pedestrian feels much more safe just because the drivers there are more alert and aware of them.

If the drivers of the Galleria were replaced with Chicagoans, with the same pedestrian awareness they'd have in Chicago, I would think most of us would be very comfortable crossing Westheimer.

That's a very good point. Not only are Houstonians not used to driving with and around pedestrians (and bikes), it sometimes feels that drivers actually resent having them around. I've even heard cyclists complain that people in cars have thrown things at them. More traffic-calming and pedestrian friendly designs like the islands shown above can slow down cars and make it safer for everyone.

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Wider streets = more traffic = greater intimidation factor for a pedestrian. Since you've brought Europe into the discussion....I'm not saying Europe gets it right all the time by any means, but there is, in my experience, generally more acknowledgement of the existence of people who don't get around by car. That's why I think the type of development in Midtown is to be encouraged.

But I agree, if there were more retail close to the sidewalk, and wider sidewalks, the traffic factor wouldn't matter as much.

Have you been to New York City? Or even Los Angeles (which is probably a better example)?

Edited by Trae

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That's a very good point. Not only are Houstonians not used to driving with and around pedestrians (and bikes), it sometimes feels that drivers actually resent having them around. I've even heard cyclists complain that people in cars have thrown things at them. More traffic-calming and pedestrian friendly designs like the islands shown above can slow down cars and make it safer for everyone.

Don't fool yourself into thinking that I'll slow down. I'll only turn up the Zeppelin to enhance the experience of the gauntlet that 'traffic calming' has created. I'm like that. I'm not alone, either.

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Don't fool yourself into thinking that I'll slow down. I'll only turn up the Zeppelin to enhance the experience of the gauntlet that 'traffic calming' has created. I'm like that. I'm not alone, either.

As long as "most" people slow down, that could be called a success.

On another note, did you go to the Jason Bonham concert the other night? They were a pretty decent cover band overall, although I thought it sort of lame that they needed two guitarists to cover for one Jimmy Page.

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Speaking of golf, does anyone know if there is a place where I can rent a set of clubs? I'd love to take some to the municipal course, but the only places I know that rent are expensive private courses.

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Speaking of golf, does anyone know if there is a place where I can rent a set of clubs? I'd love to take some to the municipal course, but the only places I know that rent are expensive private courses.

Herrman Park rents decent clubs, Callaway's I think. I think Memorial Park does as well. Call them up and ask.

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I disagree. I work there and the number of quality restaurants in the area leaves a lot to be desired. There are lunch options in the Village but the 20 minute walk there and back makes a daily trip unfeasible. There are great swathes of Med Center real estate given over to anonymous stucco facades or sterile landscaping, that are made all the more glaring by the small pockets of zero-setback retail that do exist (the strip with Chipotle in it comes to mind). Think of these spaces occupied by local restaurants, gift shops, hell even a convenience store - quite aside from the 70,000 people who work there, the number of out-of-towners that passes through each year is mind-boggling. There is some retail and restaurants in the actual office buildings, but I'm talking about breathing a bit of life into the streets of the Medical Center. BCM has Luby's, St Luke's has McDonalds. Bleh doesn't even come close. Sure there's the new Commons, but can't the world's biggest and best medical center do just a wee bit better with its streetscape....?

Oh, I agree with what you're saying. Although I don't work in the TMC, I live in the museum district and would love to see more restaurants in this area. The broad point of this thread, though - for me, at least - was to address 'cityscape' (i.e., the broader outline of the city and its skyline, in particular. Of course, I deviated from this somewhat myself so there's no foul in calling for more restaurants. I'm just pointing out that I was being somewhat deliberate in not addressing this issue.

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That's a very good point. Not only are Houstonians not used to driving with and around pedestrians (and bikes), it sometimes feels that drivers actually resent having them around. I've even heard cyclists complain that people in cars have thrown things at them. More traffic-calming and pedestrian friendly designs like the islands shown above can slow down cars and make it safer for everyone.

I'd like to see more bike lanes around the city. I'm not a cyclist; my bike's probably 12 years old and may have seen action for the first half of that period. Even so, I realize the importance of bikes for many people as both forms of exercise and transportation.

However, one personal observation... I am tired of cyclists not obeying the rules of the road. It is my understanding (and only makes sense to me) that a bicycle in Houston (or Texas -- not sure which) is considered a street vehicle and is entitled - indeed, required - to use the vehicular lanes in most cases. The purpose of bike lanes is simply to ease the traffic that may come about from bicycles using the 'normal' lanes and for the safety of all... But, that cyclists are required to obey the rules of the road like any other vehicle. I can't tell you - and probably don't have to - how many times I've seen a cyclists run a red light, veer into traffic, etc. I think that, if cyclists were to obey the vehicular rules, they'd get the respect of any other operator of a moving vehicle.

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Oh, I agree with what you're saying. Although I don't work in the TMC, I live in the museum district and would love to see more restaurants in this area. The broad point of this thread, though - for me, at least - was to address 'cityscape' (i.e., the broader outline of the city and its skyline, in particular. Of course, I deviated from this somewhat myself so there's no foul in calling for more restaurants. I'm just pointing out that I was being somewhat deliberate in not addressing this issue.

Restaurants...retail.....whatever. Anything to break up the miasma of beige stucco and landscaping at eye level. A city's outline begins with its streets.

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As much as possible I'd like to see this as a natural bayou area. Remove the cloverleaf intersection at Memorial and Shepherd, or better yet demolish the freeway section of Memorial from Shepherd to downtown. While we're dreaming, I would like to see the Pierce Elevated either demolished or tunneled.

Interesting point on this one. Personally, I like the "super-street"/expressway portion of Memorial. In fact, I wouldn't get rid of it--I would refresh it. To me, Memorial is one of the city's most signature drives, and a (long overdue) repaving coupled with improved bridgework, a simplification of the Waugh interchange (similar to the Shepherd interchange), a replacement of the chain-link fence median with something like wrought iron and stone, decorative lighting, more landscaping of overpasses and retaining walls (a la the Living Bridge in the park), and fresh updated signage would do wonders for Memorial. I know some hate to use other places as references, but Memorial (and Allen for that matter) should be our versions of the great parkways in DC and New York.

It just has a tired feel to it today. The 75th anniversary of Memorial's opening will be in 2031. Maybe something like this can be done by then??

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It just has a tired feel to it today. The 75th anniversary of Memorial's opening will be in 2031. Maybe something like this can be done by then??

Perhaps, but as I recall the quality of the pavement is still excellent on account of that there is little stop-and-go traffic (or especially truck traffic).

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Interesting point on this one. Personally, I like the "super-street"/expressway portion of Memorial. In fact, I wouldn't get rid of it--I would refresh it. To me, Memorial is one of the city's most signature drives, and a (long overdue) repaving coupled with improved bridgework, a simplification of the Waugh interchange (similar to the Shepherd interchange), a replacement of the chain-link fence median with something like wrought iron and stone, decorative lighting, more landscaping of overpasses and retaining walls (a la the Living Bridge in the park), and fresh updated signage would do wonders for Memorial. I know some hate to use other places as references, but Memorial (and Allen for that matter) should be our versions of the great parkways in DC and New York.

It just has a tired feel to it today. The 75th anniversary of Memorial's opening will be in 2031. Maybe something like this can be done by then??

Are cloverleaf interchanges that evil?!? I always prefer something like that over an interchange with lights. The only update I would possibly suggest is a dedicated lane on waugh for entrance and exit rather than trying to merge right after the cloverleaf turn (i.e. Memorial West to Waugh North).

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Are cloverleaf interchanges that evil?!? I always prefer something like that over an interchange with lights. The only update I would possibly suggest is a dedicated lane on waugh for entrance and exit rather than trying to merge right after the cloverleaf turn (i.e. Memorial West to Waugh North).

The amount of space they occupy and their configuration renders a large area of real estate close to downtown effectively off limits to any form of development. Given the pressure on land use in the area, it's highly prodigal.

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The amount of space they occupy and their configuration renders a large area of real estate close to downtown effectively off limits to any form of development. Given the pressure on land use in the area, it's highly prodigal.

I like the cloverleaf too. You don't necessarily have to be a pedestrian to enjoy the use of parks and open spaces, after all.

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Are cloverleaf interchanges that evil?!? I always prefer something like that over an interchange with lights. The only update I would possibly suggest is a dedicated lane on waugh for entrance and exit rather than trying to merge right after the cloverleaf turn (i.e. Memorial West to Waugh North).

Not evil, but wasteful, especially on an intersection like that one that doesn't really have to carry all that much traffic. What makes it doubly unfortunate is that all used to be a city park. I'd rather remove the cloverleaf and return it to parkland.

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Not evil, but wasteful, especially on an intersection like that one that doesn't really have to carry all that much traffic. What makes it doubly unfortunate is that all used to be a city park.

The cloverleaf would be rendered ineffective in its current form if there were more traffic. But for now (and likely the foreseeable future), it is perfectly appropriate as a traffic control device. It is unnecessary to spend money that we don't have fixing what ain't broken.

I'd rather remove the cloverleaf and return it to parkland.

The cloverleaf is parkland.

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The cloverleaf would be rendered ineffective in its current form if there were more traffic. But for now (and likely the foreseeable future), it is perfectly appropriate as a traffic control device. It is unnecessary to spend money that we don't have fixing what ain't broken.

You raise a good point. I've driven that interchange many times and it's a smooth flowing piece of infrastructure due to the low traffic level. I've driven other cloverleaf interchanges in other cities that are a weaving, yielding mess because of too much traffic. I imagine if the Memorial Dr. cloverleaf were replaced with something akin to the signalized interchange at Allen Parkway and Waugh simply for the sake of aesthetics, it would not be efficient as the current setup.

Plus, it has the only 1950's mod style bridge that I know of in Houston, plus points in my book.

memorial_bridge.jpg

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