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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
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On 9/12/2018 at 11:55 AM, ADCS said:

Thing about the High Line is that it is functional as the best and fastest way to get from Hudson Yards to Greenwich Village, on foot. Given the lack of direct subway connections, it's arguably the best way altogether.

 

It's not beloved simply because it's pretty - it's both pretty and useful.

 

Converting the Pierce would just get you from one side of Midtown to another. It wouldn't serve any real purpose that isn't already largely served by other modes, better.

 

it would serve a purpose:

people get to go to a park near the mcdonalds/greyhound and not have to see the mcdonalds/greyhound.

 

Also, there's a lot of homeless people currently residing underneath 59, they will need to move somewhere. keep part of the pierce elevated so they can live under there.

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http://www.houstontx.gov/planning/nhhip/west/presentation-west.pdf

 

The presentation for the pierce elevated portion.

 

All the images are great. The vision is big.

 

Page 57 is the key image though. This image really hits home what this sky park could ultimately be for the area.

 

Still a long way to go before this actually happens, but they are take the right precedent images, and fitting them in the right way.

 

Really like the infill ideas underneath the bridge. Reminds me of how many of the older train bridges in Berlin are done. Also like the deconstructive elements where the pure structure is revealed while others stay covered.

 

All in all. The presentations for the vision of the overall idea have been fantastic. Its the first time since the introduction of Discovery Green that it feels the city is aiming high and has a grand vision to aspire too. Now all thats left is the execution! Not to mention who are the names they are going to bring onto the project to design each segment.

 

If I had to name one to handle a particular component of this project it would be BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) for the structural bike bridges / bike lanes/ urban parks. They have done some really cool things in their home in Denmark regarding those conditions and it would be cool if they could be pitched as a leader for this sort of project. This vision has the potential to bring all kinds of big names to the city the way Modernism did for the city back in the 50's and 60's.

 

EDIT: This actually begs a bigger question. What architects or people would y'all like to see involved in this kind of vision, design wise? and for which portions? Leaving money and time out of it for now. Focusing on the vision they have put forward. What people or offices would we want to execute these projects?

 

Edited by Luminare

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So still no signature design elements for the DT Connector bridge over Buffalo Bayou?

 

Kind of a shame, really. It would be cool to see an extradosed bridge here.

 

Edit: and now I'm at Page 17 :-)

Edited by ADCS

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Page 56 on top of the “Pierce Skypark” is exactly what I was envisioning in my head! The views would be spectacular after more highrise developers would be naturally attracted to build next to the skypark.  I really hope the city stays committed to all three visions around downtown. It’s a stunning vision and would make downtown a true one of a kind experience. 

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5 hours ago, Luminare said:

 

Really like the infill ideas underneath the bridge. Reminds me of how many of the older train bridges in Berlin are done. Also like the deconstructive elements where the pure structure is revealed while others stay covered.

 

 

The infills are an excellent idea. Having some shops underneath the Houston Skywalker would be great.

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1 minute ago, Triton said:

 

The infills are an excellent idea. Having some shops underneath the Houston Skywalker would be great.

 

Did you just coin a possible name for this?!

 

Take this to COH immediately!

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5 hours ago, Luminare said:

http://www.houstontx.gov/planning/nhhip/west/presentation-west.pdf

 

The presentation for the pierce elevated portion.

 

All the images are great. The vision is big.

What would the length of the new park loop around Downtown be, about 5 miles or so? I have to tell you, I'm not a jogger, but the prospects of being able to take a 5 mile jog encircling Downtown Houston makes me want to start. The views from so many vantage points would be absolutely amazing!

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1 hour ago, Luminare said:

 

Did you just coin a possible name for this?!

 

Take this to COH immediately!

 

Even better idea - see if Disney will help with the development. This is the sort of space they have a lot of experience with.

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On ‎9‎/‎21‎/‎2018 at 10:28 AM, ADCS said:

So still no signature design elements for the DT Connector bridge over Buffalo Bayou?

 

Kind of a shame, really. It would be cool to see an extradosed bridge here.

 

Edit: and now I'm at Page 17 :-)

 

It's a nice image, isn't it?

 

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We would have to be complete morons to not think this is a GREAT IDEA! Turning the Pierce in to a park with build outs underneath would be incredible and really urbanize and connect Midtown and Downtown. 

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I was all about tearing down the pierce elevated.... until I just now saw the renderings of it in that presentation with the shops underneath. Wow. If we can pull this off this would definitely be unique for our city!

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1 hour ago, Nole23 said:

I was all about tearing down the pierce elevated.... until I just now saw the renderings of it in that presentation with the shops underneath. Wow. If we can pull this off this would definitely be unique for our city!

 

Unique and interesting in a way thats very Houston. Yeah the genesis was the highline and various other precedents, but the renderings and plans feel like they are approaching it to our context. I was worried that they might just ape the original, but are instead using as a springboard to something better.

Edited by Luminare

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Do we know who owns the land under the Pierce? If it is TxDOT (I believe it is), don't they plan on selling it off? If the city wants this to be a park, wouldn't they have to buy up all of that land at a huge expense?

 

 

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55 minutes ago, H-Town Man said:

Do we know who owns the land under the Pierce? If it is TxDOT (I believe it is), don't they plan on selling it off? If the city wants this to be a park, wouldn't they have to buy up all of that land at a huge expense?

 

 

 

 

Yes. I think that sums it up pretty well.

 

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1 hour ago, H-Town Man said:

Do we know who owns the land under the Pierce? If it is TxDOT (I believe it is), don't they plan on selling it off? If the city wants this to be a park, wouldn't they have to buy up all of that land at a huge expense?

 

 

 

Evidently, the City of Houston owns a lot of the land that they will need to do the highway expansion on the east side of downtown and the plan is to do a land swap with the state. 

 

Land is sold at market value if TxDOT were to sell part of it. No idea if CoH gets preferential bids or anything. 

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1 hour ago, H-Town Man said:

Do we know who owns the land under the Pierce? If it is TxDOT (I believe it is), don't they plan on selling it off? If the city wants this to be a park, wouldn't they have to buy up all of that land at a huge expense?

 

 

That's I think the big problem with all these presentations from the city. They are quite ambitious and exciting but with the North Canal being the ONLY part of these presentations that has any funding in place, it seems quite hard to believe that they'll be able to find funding for even half of this, unless the federal government somehow matches what the city puts in.

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9 minutes ago, wilcal said:

 

Evidently, the City of Houston owns a lot of the land that they will need to do the highway expansion on the east side of downtown and the plan is to do a land swap with the state. 

 

Land is sold at market value if TxDOT were to sell part of it. No idea if CoH gets preferential bids or anything. 

 

I imagine that COH owns the streets, which actually make up a decent share of the land needed, but I can't imagine it's much more than 25%. Nor would it be a straight-up acre-for-acre swap. I envision an army of appraisers.

 

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5 hours ago, wilcal said:

Land is sold at market value if TxDOT were to sell part of it. No idea if CoH gets preferential bids or anything. 

 

CoH has the right to purchase the property before it can be offered to anyone else or put on the market. I'm not sure about this, but Harris County could also have the same privilege, after CoH.

 

In terms of price, my understanding is that CoH would have to pay market price. Determining the market price is not an exact science and the price could potentially be agreed to be on the low end of a market range and still be in compliance with rules.

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6 hours ago, Triton said:

That's I think the big problem with all these presentations from the city. They are quite ambitious and exciting but with the North Canal being the ONLY part of these presentations that has any funding in place, it seems quite hard to believe that they'll be able to find funding for even half of this, unless the federal government somehow matches what the city puts in.

I'm sure funding sources from the feds are possible. 

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23 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

 

I imagine that COH owns the streets, which actually make up a decent share of the land needed, but I can't imagine it's much more than 25%. Nor would it be a straight-up acre-for-acre swap. I envision an army of appraisers.

 

 

They own at least the block where the CoH Parking Management office is. I saw that they added meters all around the sides. 

 

And now that I think about it, I wonder if the county owns the land for the Astros parking lots since they own the land under the stadiums and lease it. 

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22 hours ago, EllenOlenska said:

So where do these towers come from. Like to they build this "skywalk" expecting towers to be integrated in the system? 

 

I specifically asked about the skywalk connecting GRB on the southern end and they said it would only be developed if there was a hotel that was built. There are plans for one to be built on the old Kim Hung supermarket site but I think it would be a while before it actually gets built. 

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1 hour ago, wilcal said:

 

They own at least the block where the CoH Parking Management office is. I saw that they added meters all around the sides. 

 

And now that I think about it, I wonder if the county owns the land for the Astros parking lots since they own the land under the stadiums and lease it. 

 

The city doesn't own the parking management office - they lease it.

 

Many of the Astros lots on east side of 59 are controlled by the Louis Macey family. They run ops on these lots in house (LAM parking).

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4 hours ago, HNathoo said:

 

The city doesn't own the parking management office - they lease it.

 

Many of the Astros lots on east side of 59 are controlled by the Louis Macey family. They run ops on these lots in house (LAM parking).

 

All of the lots that will be affected by the freeway project are on county records as being owned by the Harris County Houston Sports Authority.  Further, all of the Astros lots east of 59/69 are included in the Stadium Lease by which the Authority leased them to the Astros (It should be safe to presume the Authority owns the property that they are leasing to the Astros).

 

Macey does own property in EADO and has for many years (and he may have formerly owned some of the Astros lots and/or the part of the site of BBVA Compass Stadium). In a Chronicle article back in 2015, Macey was quoted as saying he was going to lose two blocks to the highway project.  Those holdings appear to be behind the GRB.

Edited by Houston19514

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Block 182 is owned by the Macey's, as well as a few other lots that won't be impacted by the TXDOT project. I guess those lots aren't officially Astros lots, but are utilized by the public when games are played.

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14 hours ago, HNathoo said:

Block 182 is owned by the Macey's, as well as a few other lots that won't be impacted by the TXDOT project. I guess those lots aren't officially Astros lots, but are utilized by the public when games are played.

 

Which block is Block 182?  I cannot find a map that shows the block numbers east of I-69

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1 hour ago, HNathoo said:

The lot bounded by Rusk, St. Emmanuel, Capitol, and 59

 

Ah, yes.  Macey owns that block and they also have some other parcels that will be taken by the freeway project (including a good portion of the next block to the southwest (presumably block No. 181?)). As you said, none of them are among the Astros lots that were originally suggested as being county-owed and therefore possibly available for swaps for the Pierce Elevated land.

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Looks like they're doing soil sampling south bound on 59 right where it goes from elevated to depressed in the trench. Will the 288 and 59 interchange be rebuilt as well?

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Yes, pretty much everything from 527 up to the I-10 interchange will be rebuilt.

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4 hours ago, kennyc05 said:

Looks like they're doing soil sampling south bound on 59 right where it goes from elevated to depressed in the trench. Will the 288 and 59 interchange be rebuilt as well?

 

I noticed that soil sampling as well.  Right in the area that will be the first start construction on the IH45 North and More Project.

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Is it for the 59 trenching, or for something to do with the "Innovation Hub"?

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3 minutes ago, cspwal said:

Is it for the 59 trenching, or for something to do with the "Innovation Hub"?

 

From the plans that have been posted, it seems they will be reconfiguring Wheeler Station as a part of the freeway rebuild, so if it's not directly related to the IH-69 work, it's probably indirectly related for the station work.  The Innovation Hub plans seem to go around Wheeler.  But maybe the Wheeler rebuild will be done as part of the Innovation Hub work?  Though in the end, it doesn't really matter; regardless of who does each component (Rice, TxDOT, or METRO), this whole area likely is going to be redone over the next few years.

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20 minutes ago, rechlin said:

 

From the plans that have been posted, it seems they will be reconfiguring Wheeler Station as a part of the freeway rebuild, so if it's not directly related to the IH-69 work, it's probably indirectly related for the station work.  The Innovation Hub plans seem to go around Wheeler.  But maybe the Wheeler rebuild will be done as part of the Innovation Hub work?  Though in the end, it doesn't really matter; regardless of who does each component (Rice, TxDOT, or METRO), this whole area likely is going to be redone over the next few years.

 

25 minutes ago, cspwal said:

Is it for the 59 trenching, or for something to do with the "Innovation Hub"?

I think it's the 59 trenching because they were drilling on 59 where it inclines yesterday as well.

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I have to admit, I think TXDOT has really been working with the city to make this project "work". But I think Jeff Speck really pointed out some of the serious flaws here. I think TXDOT is really trying to market that this new project will connect the city but there are a lot of areas, especially areas like mine on the Heights and Northside, where the connections will be reduced even more... The only area where I have hope is from the Planning Commission themselves but they do not have as big of a stream of money as TXDOT does...

 

http://www.houstontx.gov/planning/nhhip/index.html

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Triton said:

I have to admit, I think TXDOT has really been working with the city to make this project "work". But I think Jeff Speck really pointed out some of the serious flaws here. I think TXDOT is really trying to market that this new project will connect the city but there are a lot of areas, especially areas like mine on the Heights and Northside, where the connections will be reduced even more... The only area where I have hope is from the Planning Commission themselves but they do not have as big of a stream of money as TXDOT does...

 

http://www.houstontx.gov/planning/nhhip/index.html

 

Exactly. I think the segment that is for the downtown portion all around has been stellar, but the solution to 1-45 going north has been the usual answer to every problem. I'm glad someone like this is pointing this out, but I also say this, "its easy to criticize, but its hard to compliment" and "its easier to destroy, than it is to build". All I read in all of this is the guys criticisms. Well ok bud, have you invested millons of dollars or hours of time to develop an alternative plan? No...He hasn't. He has a few good whimsical ideas that sound great and have worked great in test cases, but I have yet to see anyone place forth a working alternative. I detest this idea that if it isn't some perfect utopian dream of an urban environment then we shouldn't even try something at all. I don't think TXDoT's plan is perfect, but its the best plan we have yet. Until I see working drawings or visuals by this guy or anyone else then its just a cool idea in his head. Yeah I want alternative transit as well...prove it and show it! Talk is cheap. If this is his line of work then he can get down from the clouds a little bit and put pen to paper.

 

EDIT: From the article post earlier I think this quote is very telling:

 

"We’ve been working for the past four years and we need your help," Skelly said. "We have a ton of work to do and the only way this is going to change is if we have people involved. So far, we want to make it better. If there is a group that wants to kill it, that’s fine, too," he added. "That’s just where we’re at right now."

 

Thats an amazing contradiction in that statement. If you are a person that actually wants to make things better then you are not fine with someone killing it as well. What he really means when he says that is that he is completely fine with killing it, or making it go as slow as humanly possible until it becomes dead. He says they been working on this for the past four years? Why have we not heard about this Coalition or this guy until now? Four years would have been enough time to come up with a working alternative. Certainly the Author in this lecture doesn't care about this project. This is merely an aside to his new book. Does he think he is some kind of Jane Jacobs? At least she heavily involved in the process, from the city, was on the ground while it was happening, and her book was heavily influenced by actions happening in NYC.

Edited by Luminare
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I understand the concerns that have been raised by Mr. Speck, but like Luminare said, what is the solution?

 

Houston's population is still on an upward trend, automobiles will dominate the city for the foreseeable future, congestion will likely get worse as time goes on with the current system in place, and not to mention in another 10-15 years the existing infrastructure will likely need to be updated due to aging and deterioration. 

 

It is what it is unfortunately.

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25 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

How is the project going to wreck our bayou parks, as Speck claims?

 

I think even during the Planning Commission meetings I attended for the I-45 expansion, their biggest concern was the White Oak Bayou Greenway area. They realized that a certain portion will have a half dozen different bridges crossing over it, just north of UH-D. Their concern was it would destroy the view and the greenery this area currently has... but it sounded like they were going to try to make the best of it...

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Posted (edited)

Yeah I'm sure all the green in this image is just radiation from a proposed nuclear dumping ground. Its definitely not large scale land reclamation.

 

bIG2SuD.jpg

 

Definitely not a proposal to bury an existing eyesore and visual barrier in an effort to restitch different communities. Nothing to see here.

 

TFqkRGx.jpg

 

New Urbanist principles?! What is that? We are definitely not doing that in this project for sure.

 

lyQSWXO.jpg

 

And we are absolutely not looking at creating a massive greenbelt to help facilitate biking in and around downtown while also re-purposing an old highway overpass into a super large (dare I say Texas-sized) high-line. What a crazy idea.

 

Yd2Qtua.jpg

 

 

I'm so happy that we have those super ultra smart intellectuals from the east coast to come down here and tell us how stupid we Texans are. What on earth would we do without them? We can't possibly learn from there already established examples and reinterpret it for our own uses to solve our own problems. They definitely have it all figured out up there in NYC where they love public transit so much that they let it fall apart after decades of corruption and miss management. But don't let that distract you from the fact that even if their own house isn't in order, it still means they know whats best for us.

 

*end sarcasm*

Edited by Luminare
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1 hour ago, Triton said:

 

I think even during the Planning Commission meetings I attended for the I-45 expansion, their biggest concern was the White Oak Bayou Greenway area. They realized that a certain portion will have a half dozen different bridges crossing over it, just north of UH-D. Their concern was it would destroy the view and the greenery this area currently has... but it sounded like they were going to try to make the best of it...

 

So... just ridiculous hyperbole.

 

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