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The Pierce Elevated/I-59 Redesign Thread

Pierce Skypark or Demolish Pierce Elevated?  

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  1. 1. Pierce Skypark or Demolish Pierce Elevated?

    • Pierce Skypark
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    • Demolish Pierce Elevated
      97


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looks like they are planning on (hopefully) going through with this idea..(!!!)

they just left some of the old 45 on the north side of downtown as downtown connectors. pretty smart, though im going to tweak them a bit in a revision here shortly.

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I think the idea is for a double-decker expy - 59 mainlanes below grade (since it's already below grade after Pierce) and 45 mainlanes above grade (allowing for east-west cross streets to still pass through at grade). At pierce, above grade 45 mainlanes would simply curve over to existing southern alignment.

I can't imaging trenched side-by-side freeways here as what happens to existing developments like Ballpark Lofts or Dan Nips soon-to-be City View Terrace. I can't imagine the Greater East End Development arm would be happy losing existing developments in favor of a larger barrier freeway, further separating them from Downtown, especially as the GRBCC/Disco Green area booms. So I don't see expansion of site boundaries, rather it'll be a solution maintained within the current boundaries of 59. So to maximize the current site boundaries, maybe the use of cantilevering could allow more room for lanes both below-grade (a la North Central Expy) and above grade, overhanging over the Chartres St side.

As for the West side (former Pierce elevated) my personal hope it the eliminate all access ramps that crowd over Buffalo Bayou and only have 1 bridge connecting to Southern Downtown & Midtown - possibly allowing for the opportunity of a beautiful signature bridge over a reinvigorated Buffalo Bayou Park at Downtown's most photogenic spot.

Edited by tigereye

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This option is probably no longer in the cards but never seen this rendering - a trenched I-45 rerouted down Houston Ave (along with a deck park over I-10)

Downtown%20I45%20sinking%20proposal.0.jp

Edited by tigereye
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in that case, there are "deck parks" over 45 too.. the 10 "deck park" appears to be just one span with a trail across it, and 45 has a few of those across Houston Ave. (dont get me wrong, i would be happy if we got even those).

is this the plan where they realigned i10 through the Hardy Yards site?

edit and i love the lake in front of downtown. something i figured they could do at the Justice Site for the Swimming Hole campaign and what not.

Edited by cloud713

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The only thing the Houston office of TxDOT has in foresight is to look at an existing road and think "I bet I can add a couple more lanes to that."

 

What you're asking is a heavy lift.

 

I have zero confidence that this project is anything other than rebuilding the Pierce elevated w/ more lanes.

 

It's so sad b/c this could be an amazing catalyst for Houston. I mean, I can't state just how amazing it would be to Midtown / 4th Ward / Downtown if we were to get rid of the Pierce.

 

This would IMO spark the call for a redesign of 59 to the 59/45/288 interchange as well as a call for that interchange to be redesigned. 

 

But alas, TxDOT is TxDOT and we're going to get a really crappy recommendation unless politicians get involved.

 

What city council person has downtown in their district?

 

Even more so, with 3 stadiums, a promenade, a hugely successful park, the convention center, and some really great infill planned, removing 59 and leaning on the pierce elevated and i10 to remove that section of 59. That would be an amazing catalyst for all of Houston, not just midtown.

 

Maybe I don't have the vision, but there's no realistic way to remove any one of the 3 'walls of downtown' without making the other two 10 times worse, and I don't see the "advanced design" plan listed on the previous page not making it worse. 

 

Smart traffic flow would help (for instance, why does it make sense to have an exit from 59 southbound to 45 northbound? or from i10 westbound to 45 southbound?). making better use of under-utilized portions (direct more traffic off the pierce and onto 59/i10 as it is), and turning the areas underneath the elevated portions of the freeway into something more than parking lots and sleeping areas for the homeless (paint and a lot of lights under pierce elevated, bring in food trucks and other vendors, give me a fresh market under there, cover strips of the portions of the freeways that are trenched with pedestrian friendly crossings).

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Eliminating the current I-45 alignment in favor of a dual signed eastern side 59 and 45 would be a BIG mistake.

 

Imagine the gridlock one little fender bender will create. The whole system will begin to back up because of the choke point. At least now if the east side is backed up you can go around the west side of Downtown to bypass the problem and vice versa. That one little accident would put thousands of cars onto Downtown streets trying to bypass the gridlock.

 

To improve flows on the Pierce:

 

1) Create a west side of Midtown highway so that Southwest Freeway to/from North Freeway traffic bypasses the Pierce altogether. Create a two lane cut-and-cover Spur extension under both Smith and Louisiana. Create exits/entrances at Elgin, McGowen, and Gray in addition to a direct connector to/from 45.

 

2) Create a 45 to 288 S direct connector similarly to what being done with the 610/290/10 interchange to eliminate the backups and weaving that happens after exiting the Pierce.

 

3) Eliminate the 59/288 exit to 45 North at the Pierce. Create a dedicated direct connector north of Downtown for 45 North Freeway bound traffic from 288 (or 59 drivers that didn't take the Spur).

 

What's even better is the direct connectors can be built without completely shutting down freeways for years at a time as other proposals may require. Cut-and-cover of a bypass under Smith and Louisiana thru Midtown wouldn't be pretty, but it wouldn't be devastating if done a block or two at a time. 

 

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Eliminating the current I-45 alignment in favor of a dual signed eastern side 59 and 45 would be a BIG mistake.

 

Imagine the gridlock one little fender bender will create. The whole system will begin to back up because of the choke point. At least now if the east side is backed up you can go around the west side of Downtown to bypass the problem and vice versa. That one little accident would put thousands of cars onto Downtown streets trying to bypass the gridlock.

 

To improve flows on the Pierce:

 

1) Create a west side of Midtown highway so that Southwest Freeway to/from North Freeway traffic bypasses the Pierce altogether. Create a two lane cut-and-cover Spur extension under both Smith and Louisiana. Create exits/entrances at Elgin, McGowen, and Gray in addition to a direct connector to/from 45.

 

2) Create a 45 to 288 S direct connector similarly to what being done with the 610/290/10 interchange to eliminate the backups and weaving that happens after exiting the Pierce.

 

3) Eliminate the 59/288 exit to 45 North at the Pierce. Create a dedicated direct connector north of Downtown for 45 North Freeway bound traffic from 288 (or 59 drivers that didn't take the Spur).

 

What's even better is the direct connectors can be built without completely shutting down freeways for years at a time as other proposals may require. Cut-and-cover of a bypass under Smith and Louisiana thru Midtown wouldn't be pretty, but it wouldn't be devastating if done a block or two at a time. 

 

I don't know if anyone wants a dual signed 59/45. The idea would be to have them separated but along the same alignment. 59 trenched while 45 is elevated or something like that.

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I received an email notice this morning from TxDOT:

 

They will be holding public meetings regarding the proposed North Houston Highway Improvement Project:

 

April 23 at Aldine Ninth Grade School

April 28 at HCC Central Campus

April 30 at Jefferson Davis High School

 

Each is 5:30pm - 7:30 pm  Open House format.

 

 

The most interesting part of the email:

 

"The proposed project . . . would [realign] . . .  sections of I-45, I-10, and US 59 in the downtown Houston area.  The proposed project also consists of improving connections to SH-288 and US 59 south of downtown."   This makes it sound like the map we've been discussing above is the real thing.

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I received an email notice this morning from TxDOT:

 

They will be holding public meetings regarding the proposed North Houston Highway Improvement Project:

 

April 23 at Aldine Ninth Grade School

April 28 at HCC Central Campus

April 30 at Jefferson Davis High School

 

Each is 5:30pm - 7:30 pm  Open House format.

 

 

The most interesting part of the email:

 

"The proposed project . . . would [realign] . . .  sections of I-45, I-10, and US 59 in the downtown Houston area.  The proposed project also consists of improving connections to SH-288 and US 59 south of downtown."   This makes it sound like the map we've been discussing above is the real thing.

 

*mindblown*

 

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I agree, it looks like the realignment is going to be recommended. I hope they can start locking up right-of-way as soon as possible to avoid the potentially huge expense of buying and demolishing property which is developed between now and the start of construction, such as the planned City View Terrace, a 12-story, 336-unit luxury apartment project on the city block bounded by Bell, Clay, Chartres and St. Emanuel streets.

http://m.bizjournals.com/houston/morning_call/2015/02/exclusive-groundbreaking-planned-for-52-million.html?page=all&r=full

 

I am intrigued by the statement in the announcement relating to US 59

 

plus realignment of sections of I-45, I-10, and US 59 in the downtown Houston area.

 

US 59 does not appear to be realigned in the future plan depiction. The US 59 corridor will be widened and the US 59 lanes could be shifted on the widened corridor, but I don't view that as a "realignment". I think it is unlikely that the US 59/I-10 interchange will be moved since it is relatively new, Perhaps (or probably) the statement was poorly phrased to create the ambiguity and there really is no realignment of US 59.

 

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I agree, it looks like the realignment is going to be recommended. I hope they can start locking up right-of-way as soon as possible to avoid the potentially huge expense of buying and demolishing property which is developed between now and the start of construction, such as the planned City View Terrace, a 12-story, 336-unit luxury apartment project on the city block bounded by Bell, Clay, Chartres and St. Emanuel streets.

http://m.bizjournals.com/houston/morning_call/2015/02/exclusive-groundbreaking-planned-for-52-million.html?page=all&r=full

I am intrigued by the statement in the announcement relating to US 59

US 59 does not appear to be realigned in the future plan depiction. The US 59 corridor will be widened and the US 59 lanes could be shifted on the widened corridor, but I don't view that as a "realignment". I think it is unlikely that the US 59/I-10 interchange will be moved since it is relatively new, Perhaps (or probably) the statement was poorly phrased to create the ambiguity and there really is no realignment of US 59.

I believe they do/did? plan on shifting the flyover ramps from the proposed 59/45 to 10/45 transition.

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Seems like there's been a public announcement:

http://www.chron.com/news/transportation/article/I-45-moving-sinking-and-shifting-from-Pierce-6216991.php#photo-7861743

 

 

 

In downtown, sweeping changes are planned, including realigning the freeway to run parallel to U.S. 59. Moving the freeway would mean eliminating the Pierce Elevated, which carries I-45 across the central business district.

 

 

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Now that it is official that TxDOT is recommending a plan for which the Pierce Elevated is no longer needed for highway purposes, there are two sites (that I'm aware of) promoting its preservation and reuse for park purposes.

 

http://PierceElevatedPark.com promotes its use as a recreational facility similar to the Memorial Park jogging loop. I'm the operator of that site. :)

 

http://www.pierceskypark.com/ is a more formal effort to create a facility similar to the High Line in New York City.

 

I think both ideas are far more valuable than a strip of half-block-wide vacant lots, which would result from demolition. The PierceElevatedPark.com proposal should be less expensive and easier to achieve financially, while the PierceSkyPark.com proposal is more artsy and architecturally interesting.

 

 

Edited by MaxConcrete
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I thought part of the reason people whined about the Pierce was BECAUSE it was an elevated structure with dark, spooky parts underneath and physically divided Midtown and Downtown.

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I thought part of the reason people whined about the Pierce was BECAUSE it was an elevated structure with dark, spooky parts underneath and physically divided Midtown and Downtown.

 

You could say the same thing about the High Line in New York City, which is hugely successful and now a top tourist attraction for the city.

 

If the structure is repurposed as a park, it would attract new development and no longer be perceived as a barrier, and the "dark, spooky" space underneath would be less of a concern.

 

Edited by MaxConcrete

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How would you fix the dark spooky spots beneath the elevated structure?  I'm unfamiliar with NYC's high-line park, so I don't know what's underneath it there.

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Ughhhh. These are just people wanting their own version of New Yorks Highline. At least that elevated track has character. The pierce doesn't! Demo it. Create a new boulevard including a signature bridge going over Buffalo Bayou.

 

EDIT: Ok seeing the site. I actually think the part separate midtown and downtown could be turned into something awesome! However the part between I-10 and Bagby should be demoed!

Edited by Luminare
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Handouts for the Public meetings which will be held throughout the course of this week and next week:

 

Its still not perfect.....but holy crap they really going the extra mile! The scope of this project is enormous. It might turn into the biggest reroute in US history not just in Houston or Texas!

 

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For more info on the images and other images as well the link is here:

 

http://www.ih45northandmore.com/scoping_documents4.aspx

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Interesting... it looks like they've completely overlooked the Hardy extension into downtown.  :mellow:

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Now that it is official that TxDOT is recommending a plan for which the Pierce Elevated is no longer needed for highway purposes, there are two sites (that I'm aware of) promoting its preservation and reuse for park purposes.

http://PierceElevatedPark.com promotes its use as a recreational facility similar to the Memorial Park jogging loop. I'm the operator of that site. :)

http://www.pierceskypark.com/ is a more formal effort to create a facility similar to the High Line in New York City.

I think both ideas are far more valuable than a strip of half-block-wide vacant lots, which would result from demolition. The PierceElevatedPark.com proposal should be less expensive and easier to achieve financially, while the PierceSkyPark.com proposal is more artsy and architecturally interesting.

Forgive my ignorance, I love the enthusiasm, but as the person below you pointed out, the whole point was to get rid of the elevated structure.

As for downplaying that "half block vacant strip of real estate", you realize that strip of land represents potentially billions of dollars in real estate development, right?

If developments could tie into the Pierce i wouldn't mind seeing a few short stretches of one half the structure remain. I don't think we need a 6 lane wide elevated park, but a 3 lane wide segment might not be too imposing.

The main part I see remaining would be the northwest side, linking elevated podiums at the Post Office site to a potentially redeveloped Justice Complex site, following down the Allen Parkway exit ramp to Buffalo Bayou park. You could link the Heights Bike Trail to the elevated with a little bit of creativity.

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nah, the Hardy Downtown Connector is there (in brown) to the left of the black RR tracks.

and WOOOO!!! unfortunately they say the green space is just conceptual and depends on separate funding/development. so I'm not going to get my hopes up for the deck park, but I'm glad they are trying to get rid of the Pierce.

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nah, the Hardy Downtown Connector is there (in brown) to the left of the black RR tracks.

and WOOOO!!! unfortunately they say the green space is just conceptual and depends on separate funding/development. so I'm not going to get my hopes up for the deck park, but I'm glad they are trying to get rid of the Pierce.

If the city of Houston sees TXDot make a full commitment to this then I guarantee you the City will most certainly take advantage of whatever amenities would go ontop of some of these depressed portions of the reroute.

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so whats the deal with that low income(?) neighborhood that will be completely wiped out for this?

That would be Clayton Homes, a subsidized housing complex. It should be relocated, but its not the residents' land.

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Forgive my ignorance, I love the enthusiasm, but as the person below you pointed out, the whole point was to get rid of the elevated structure.

The point of the web sites is that by preserving the structure and repurposing it, you create something interesting and distinctive which can set downtown Houston apart from other downtowns. Suppose you would replace it with buildings, most likely 5-6 floor apartment structures. Not very interesting. And we all know about the perennial popularity of the Memorial Park jogging trail; the idea is to duplicate that kind of popularity with the recreation park, and offer a viewing platform for the curious and tourist-types.

 

As for downplaying that "half block vacant strip of real estate", you realize that strip of land represents potentially billions of dollars in real estate development, right?

I think "billions" big exaggeration. Keep in mind there is a ample supply of parking lots and lower-tier commercial properties south of the Pierce Elevated that are available for development. There is no shortage of developable property. Available properties will become more valuable of course, with or without demolition. The idea is that properties south of the elevated structure will become even more valuable if they connect into the park (for example apartments), and restaurants/bars could have street level and park-level areas.

 

I don't think we need a 6 lane wide elevated park, but a 3 lane wide segment might not be too imposing.

I agree, the recreation path would still be feasible if only half the Pierce Elevated is preserved. But that would eliminate many options, such as food truck areas, pavilions, plazas and event zones. A realistic plan would probably preserve the full width in certain areas and maybe half the width in other areas, to open up areas on the ground level for access and plazas.

 

The main part I see remaining would be the northwest side, linking elevated podiums at the Post Office site to a potentially redeveloped Justice Complex site, following down the Allen Parkway exit ramp to Buffalo Bayou park. You could link the Heights Bike Trail to the elevated with a little bit of creativity.

The freeway corridor will remain on the northwest side, according to the TxDOT plans online. In fact, even tying the Pierce Elevated recreation path into Buffalo Bayou trails could be difficult since the TxDOT plans show the freeway starting at Jefferson and going north. But it could be done with a little planning.

 

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I feel like the idea of having our own highline is kinda cheesy, tbh. It screams "me too!", just demo it

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I like the idea, but I would prefer the park cap over 59/69/45 - it needs money to exist

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Handouts for the Public meetings which will be held throughout the course of this week and next week:

Its still not perfect.....but holy crap they really going the extra mile! The scope of this project is enormous. It might turn into the biggest reroute in US history not just in Houston or Texas!

RElNRwz.jpg

kfaCdNv.jpg

CbjU3M1.jpg

zQmArcT.jpg

bup5Pc6.jpg

bhZr43W.jpg

ZH0saHf.jpg

AFEf6Pm.jpg

For more info on the images and other images as well the link is here:

http://www.ih45northandmore.com/scoping_documents4.aspx

The big thing I take away from this is not only the removal of Pierce Elevated, but the amount of freeway distances that will become depressed both behind the convention center and even 59 in between the Spur and 288 split. This is in addition to sections already depressed. Lots of opportunities to create miles of deck parks surrounding the city center. (Maybe they could be used for bike trails!)

It's like Houston's version of the Boston Big Dig/Central Artery project ...hopefully just not as costly.

Edited by tigereye
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nah, the Hardy Downtown Connector is there (in brown) to the left of the black RR tracks.

and WOOOO!!! unfortunately they say the green space is just conceptual and depends on separate funding/development. so I'm not going to get my hopes up for the deck park, but I'm glad they are trying to get rid of the Pierce.

 

Klyde Warren Park in downtown Dallas, opened in 2012, placed a deck park over three city blocks where the Woodall Freeway was trenched. It cost $110 million, with about $50 million for the deck and $60 million for the park amenities.It was about 50% privately funded.

 

But the proposed trench with US 59 and I-45 is about twice as wide as Woodall Rodgers Freeway. So I think we are looking at some serious money, probably $200 million just for the space behind the convention center..

 

I'm thinking TxDOT will design the freeway on the east side of downtown so that it can be overdecked if/when funding becomes available. I can't see the City of Houston alone coming up with the money, it will need to be a joint effort of many agencies and funding sources.

 

Edited by MaxConcrete
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Klyde Warren Park in downtown Dallas, opened in 2012, placed a deck park over three city blocks where the Woodall Freeway was trenched. It cost $110 million, with about $50 million for the deck and $60 million for the park amenities.It was about 50% privately funded.

But the proposed trench with US 59 and I-45 is about twice as wide as Woodall Rodgers Freeway. So I think we are looking at some serious money, probably $200 million just for the space behind the convention center..

I'm thinking TxDOT will design the freeway on the east side of downtown so that it can be overdecked if/when funding becomes available. I can't see the City of Houston alone coming up with the money, it will need to be a joint effort of many agencies and funding sources.

Add another $100 million or so in modern dollars for the original building of the Woodall Freeway, too. I imagine with that, right of way, demolition, and traffic control, probably closer to $400 million.

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I would really like to see more details about the northern section over the bayou. It would bring peace to my soul to know that there are plans to rid the city of the ribbons of concrete over the bayou.

I-10/I-45 when they are aligned is already quite a beast. I guess adding more would be a compromise for getting rid of the pierce elevated. Even without a park on top, sinking 59 by the GRB and that side of Downtown would also be a colossal victory.

This city is certainly on the right track. Maybe at a slower pace... But still a pace.

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The point of the web sites is that by preserving the structure and repurposing it, you create something interesting and distinctive which can set downtown Houston apart from other downtowns. Suppose you would replace it with buildings, most likely 5-6 floor apartment structures. Not very interesting. And we all know about the perennial popularity of the Memorial Park jogging trail; the idea is to duplicate that kind of popularity with the recreation park, and offer a viewing platform for the curious and tourist-types.

 

I think "billions" big exaggeration. Keep in mind there is a ample supply of parking lots and lower-tier commercial properties south of the Pierce Elevated that are available for development. There is no shortage of developable property. Available properties will become more valuable of course, with or without demolition. The idea is that properties south of the elevated structure will become even more valuable if they connect into the park (for example apartments), and restaurants/bars could have street level and park-level areas.

 

I agree, the recreation path would still be feasible if only half the Pierce Elevated is preserved. But that would eliminate many options, such as food truck areas, pavilions, plazas and event zones. A realistic plan would probably preserve the full width in certain areas and maybe half the width in other areas, to open up areas on the ground level for access and plazas.

 

The freeway corridor will remain on the northwest side, according to the TxDOT plans online. In fact, even tying the Pierce Elevated recreation path into Buffalo Bayou trails could be difficult since the TxDOT plans show the freeway starting at Jefferson and going north. But it could be done with a little planning.

yeah i get it.. sorry if i came off like a prick with my opening statement. its just that as others have pointed out, theres really no character to the Pierce. its just like any other concrete overpass. isn't the Highline structure more like the elevated Chicago El trains? those have a neat ambiance to them. concrete poles and beams don't really do much for me personally.

why would the buildings replacing it be "mostly 5-6 floor apartment structures"? the west side of downtown is pretty slammed with tall skyscrapers. 609 Main will likely sell for 500+ million dollars if/when whoever leases it decides to buy it out. a couple of those office towers mixed with some residential towers could easily add up to a couple billion. 

what buildings are currently up against the Pierce besides 2016 Main? you would have to demo existing structures and build new developments to tie into the Pierce. starting to dip into these "savings".

i like the idea of a full width plaza somewhere along it narrowing down to the half size stretches to open up the areas below. i don't think any stretch of the park would need to go beyond Main St though if it were to happen.

yeah true.. the Pierce park would definitely have to tie into Buffalo Bayou Park.

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Totally confused by those photos, I'll need to click the link for more detail.

 

If a park was placed on 59, GRB would need another major face lift or a really good paint job on that side. Not need, but it would be nice.

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Totally confused by those photos, I'll need to click the link for more detail.

 

If a park was placed on 59, GRB would need another major face lift or a really good paint job on that side. Not need, but it would be nice.

 

I was thinking this as well.

 

Oh how I would love a completely refaced GRB.

Edited by sdotwill84

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While everyone is happy that the plans call for the Pierce Elevated to be eliminated as a barrier between Midtown and Downtown, I see some things that will likely cause some understandable controversy. This may be called the North Houston Highway Improvement Project, but the southern end of the project is in 3rd Ward and it looks like some of the street grid in the area to the west of Almeda, namely Cleburne, Caroline, Crawford, Austin, Eagle, Blodgett and Barbee Streets will be cut off in some parts if I-69/US59 is trenched. It also shows a new offramp from I-69/US59 to Almeda at Truxillo plowing through the S.H.A.P.E. Community Center's administrative offices, and it looks like the current free exit from 288 to Chenevert Street will become accessible only via the managed lanes.

 

I wonder if there will as much lament here that the proposed trenched I-69/US 59 will interrupt parts of the street grid in 3rd Ward as there is that the Pierce Elevated is a barrier to Midtown and Downtown even though it allows for the street grid between Midtown and Downtown remain intact?

 

I'm basing my observations on these plans: http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs4/16_20150417_Seg3_PM4_Exhibit_02_Eastern_Half.pdf

Edited by JLWM8609
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Ummm, yes please. I'm not really concerned about being a copy cat, people here would eat this up like a fake town square in the suburbs. It would also attract more residents to the downtown/midtown area. Creating a boulevard, which would also be nice, would only improve the area so much. This makes it stand out.

 

As far as the concern with the underbelly of it, I'm sure they can be creative and do something with that, too. Either use it for parking for the people driving to their urbanism and then going home (like my sig says) or they could easily build restaurants or whatever you wanted to, I would assume.

Edited by lockmat
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I'm probably going to get killed for this, but I'm sad to hear that the Pierce is going to be destroyed. It's my favorite stretch of highway in Houston: I love driving through and having such a close-up view of the skyline above street level. Obviously traffic is a major issue and something has to be done, and expansion isn't really realistic, but demolition of the Pierce along with trenching of 59/69 will take away a lot of the great drive-by views of Houston. 

 

Also, I like having a distinct boundary between neighborhoods, such as downtown/midtown with the Pierce or downtown/EaDo with 59. I guess if they kept it as some sort of High Line type structure (though I don't want to completely rip off New York, I would prefer something original and Houstonian) it would still keep those two neighborhoods separate and unique. The homeless camps underneath are an issue of course, and the area of midtown near here is sketchy (though this may owe more to the Greyhound station than the highway), but this could perhaps be improved upon with some retail near or actually underneath and reducing the width of the structure (and of course moving the Greyhound station, which always seems to get brought up but who knows if it will ever happen). Anyway, I know my views on this topic are contrarian to almost every single person on this forum, but just thought I'd throw in my thoughts. Flame away.

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I'm probably going to get killed for this, but I'm sad to hear that the Pierce is going to be destroyed. It's my favorite stretch of highway in Houston: I love driving through and having such a close-up view of the skyline above street level. Obviously traffic is a major issue and something has to be done, and expansion isn't really realistic, but demolition of the Pierce along with trenching of 59/69 will take away a lot of the great drive-by views of Houston. 

 

Also, I like having a distinct boundary between neighborhoods, such as downtown/midtown with the Pierce or downtown/EaDo with 59. I guess if they kept it as some sort of High Line type structure (though I don't want to completely rip off New York, I would prefer something original and Houstonian) it would still keep those two neighborhoods separate and unique. The homeless camps underneath are an issue of course, and the area of midtown near here is sketchy (though this may owe more to the Greyhound station than the highway), but this could perhaps be improved upon with some retail near or actually underneath and reducing the width of the structure (and of course moving the Greyhound station, which always seems to get brought up but who knows if it will ever happen). Anyway, I know my views on this topic are contrarian to almost every single person on this forum, but just thought I'd throw in my thoughts. Flame away.

 

I see where you're coming from as far as the views, but the only safe way to do it is while sitting in traffic on the west side. The south side usually runs pretty smooth and yeah, it is fun to see it while driving. Guess we'll have rubber necking joggers instead of drivers :)

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I was thinking this as well.

Oh how I would love a completely refaced GRB.

I agree. It's only been a dated design since day one! Embarrassing. I go to DC a lot for conventions and their convention center is gorgeous.

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I'm a little confused about 59/45 next to the GRB. Would it be underground or simply submerged? If submerged, I guess the Astros parking lot and the Ballpark apartments would be toast, right? Or no?

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Also, I like having a distinct boundary between neighborhoods, ......

If the pierce was replaced with a linear park would that not create the boundary you seek?

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For those folks who actually know how to read plans like these (I.e. Not me) is there anything here that would indicate whether the 45-59 alignment behind the GRB will be a tunnel or will it be a cut? If it's a cut, it looks like a significant condemnation? If a tunnel, perhaps not?

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I was destroyed for months saying Houston didn't need the pierce. Eat crow

The preliminary plans do remove the Pierce but also involve a comprehensive re-do of the entire downtown-area freeway system, and Interstate 45 is being re-routed on its own separate lanes. (and what the timetable is, I don't know...by then the Pierce might be up for replacement anyway) What you were saying was that they should just remove the Pierce wholesale and then kind of shrugged on how traffic should adjust. Between that and insulting TxDOT at every turn, I don't think you're entitled to an "I told you so" moment.

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For those folks who actually know how to read plans like these (I.e. Not me) is there anything here that would indicate whether the 45-59 alignment behind the GRB will be a tunnel or will it be a cut? If it's a cut, it looks like a significant condemnation? If a tunnel, perhaps not?

 

If you look at the third image. At the top you will see the GRB. Further down on that map you will see a large white box with some stuff in it. The stuff in that box is a section through that part of the highway. They will not be tunneling it. They will instead depress or trench the highway. The parks or whatever could go on top as people have suggested are support by massive concrete beams which would cover the trench.

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