Jump to content
Urbannizer

Improvements Coming to Allen Parkway

Recommended Posts

With the improvements to Buffalo Bayou Park and the increase in visitors, this makes sense. I'd love to see Allen Parkway become more of a street and less of a high-speed thoroughfare. We already have Memorial Drive for pass through traffic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With the improvements to Buffalo Bayou Park and the increase in visitors, this makes sense. I'd love to see Allen Parkway become more of a street and less of a high-speed thoroughfare. We already have Memorial Drive for pass through traffic.

But given the connectivity of downtown to buffalo bayou and onto memorial park, if one of the two thoroughfares was going to turn into a slower speed street, would not memorial drive make more sense?

Memorial drive is a straight shot to memorial park and already has lots of signals on it. Slowing it down east of Shepard would not be a big deal.

Allen parkway, east of Shepard has large office tower complexes that likely need less lights to move traffic.

If one or the other was to turn into a street, to me, it would be memorial.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But given the connectivity of downtown to buffalo bayou and onto memorial park, if one of the two thoroughfares was going to turn into a slower speed street, would not memorial drive make more sense?

Memorial drive is a straight shot to memorial park and already has lots of signals on it. Slowing it down east of Shepard would not be a big deal.

Allen parkway, east of Shepard has large office tower complexes that likely need less lights to move traffic.

If one or the other was to turn into a street, to me, it would be memorial.

How dare you. Memorial is a great alternative when the freeways are clogged. It only gets super congested by Bayou Bends, and then close to the loop.

That being said improvements could be done to both. Both are dated and need to get in on this bayou revitalization/beautification.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Montrose. I love how fast these thoroughfares are, and quite frankly I wish we had more of these to help our inner city infrastructure, but they are extremely dated and are from an era that doesn't represent the direction Houston is going. These roads can be more than just thoroughfares. They could be the new main street which both celebrates the bayou and can become a way to stitch back together the surrounding neighborhoods which have been sliced and diced by these two parkways for so long. I think a compromise can be made to keep elements of the old (make the inner most lanes speed lanes that go under intersections and have the outer ones engage more with the bayou and rest of the Houston framework).

Edited by Luminare

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At least they're eliminating that highway entrance. It's a good start for Pierce Elevated.

 

I don't think they are eliminating any highway entrances, just reconfiguring/relocating it.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Allen Pway to southbound 45 is one of the best heart-pounding, white-knuckle experiences to be had in our otherwise bland city. For best effect, make the trip when 45 traffic is light and really moving, and have a raging guy with doolies on your back bumper.

 

Im gonna miss it.

Edited by innerlooper
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Allen Pway to southbound 45 is one of the best heart-pounding, white-knuckle experiences to be had in our otherwise bland city. For best effect, make the trip when 45 traffic is light and really moving, and have a raging guy with doolies on your back bumper.

 

Im gonna miss it.

 

It was even more fun in an old school, air cooled VW with its forty or so raging horsepower, and a zero to 60 time best measured with a sundial.

 

Then again, nobody had cell phones then - just a legal longneck in the cupholder.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks like Allen Parkway will become our version of Austin's Riverside Drive.  Looks great.  A pedestrian bridge into the Fourth Ward is still sorely needed.  It would do wonders for that community and Midtown.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am torn on this one. I think this is an important thoroughfare for commuters from Upper Kirby, River Oaks, and Montrose to get to downtown, 45, 59N and 10E. The one light at Taft that is red for a short time causes a backup of 20+ cars all morning long. Downtown commuters could shift over to W Dallas which could handle some traffic. But it would make freeway access really painful.

 

On the other hand I have a 6 month old, and having better access to walk to the bayou would be nice. Last weekend with the dog park opening, people were parked along Stanford and other side streets, and it was great to see people parking and actually walking more then a block or two. But knowing Houstonians, I'm sure people were annoyed and it turned them off, cause God forbid not being able to park 20' from your destination in Houston.

 

Ideally I would want to beautify Allen Parkway to reflect the work on the trails, attempt to squeeze in some parking, and add a pedestrian bridge over Taft, create a safer ped crossing at Montrose, but keep the stop lights limited.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am torn on this one. I think this is an important thoroughfare for commuters from Upper Kirby, River Oaks, and Montrose to get to downtown, 45, 59N and 10E. The one light at Taft that is red for a short time causes a backup of 20+ cars all morning long. Downtown commuters could shift over to W Dallas which could handle some traffic. But it would make freeway access really painful.

On the other hand I have a 6 month old, and having better access to walk to the bayou would be nice. Last weekend with the dog park opening, people were parked along Stanford and other side streets, and it was great to see people parking and actually walking more then a block or two. But knowing Houstonians, I'm sure people were annoyed and it turned them off, cause God forbid not being able to park 20' from your destination in Houston.

Ideally I would want to beautify Allen Parkway to reflect the work on the trails, attempt to squeeze in some parking, and add a pedestrian bridge over Taft, create a safer ped crossing at Montrose, but keep the stop lights limited.

Agreed with most of your points. And the desire to keep at least one of the roads more of a parkway.. I just think Allen Pkwy makes more sense to do this removation to than Memorial. Allen has a large residential population just to the south who would probably like to cross Allen safely to get to Buffalo Bayou, so additional lights (a pedestrian bridge or two across Allen would still be cool, a la the Tolerance Bridge connectivity to the north side of Memorial) might not be too terrible. But all of this made me think of a design for an upper Kirby to Memorial rail connection I made a while back in my mass transit/improvement fantasies for Houston.

Trench 2 lanes of Kirby/Allen, under the Shepherd/Kirby intersection.. One in each direction.

(This part I'm not sure of. The 2 bypass lanes might have to come up through the middle of Allen instead of on the north side)

While still underground/trenched on the east side of Shepherd veer the 2 lanes northeast and out from under Allen (or up the middle of Allen?), spanning a 2 lane bridge across the bayou (obviously somewhat controversial.. But there really isn't much to Buffalo Bayou Park past Lost Lake except the trails, which can go under/over) before joining up with Memorial Drive and heading straight into downtown. We get much better connectivity to the Bayou from Allen "Drive", and we still maintain a parkway for the people of River Oaks/Upper Kirby have an even straighter shot into downtown by means of Memorial "Parkway".

9FB144C6-0D9D-48C4-AD4A-57213A1A81E1_zps

Ignore the red BBP-MP boardwalk trail, along with the Memorial Line west of the split/junction with this new Allen-Memorial connector bridge. Those were part of my pedestrian & mass transit improvement plans that don't relate.

Edited by cloud713

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

we still maintain a parkway for the people of River Oaks/Upper Kirby have an even straighter shot into downtown by means of Memorial "Parkway".

 

Interesting ideas, in a lot of ways it does seem make sense to have Memorial be the main parkway if we were to only have one. The big thing that would be missing is a direct entrance ramp to 45. I take Allen pkwy every morning, and I would say about half the people head to 45 and half downtown. My other concern is that fact that there isn't much access (none whatsoever from the south) to Memorial east of Waugh, so all of the residential near Allen/Montrose/Taft/Gray would have to backtrack to get to Memorial, or take surface streets that are already congested to get downtown and for 45 access.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While they are at it, how about a pedestrian/bike bridge (or three) so we can cross safely from south of Allen Parkway to the newly renovated Bayou parks.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While they are at it, how about a pedestrian/bike bridge (or three) so we can cross safely from south of Allen Parkway to the newly renovated Bayou parks.

 

That sounds like one of those goofy neighborhood nicknames: South of Allen Parkway (SOAP).

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd like to see Allen Parkway closed, or at least reduced to two lanes, and extend the park into Montrose.  Closed/repurposed roads make incredible public spaces.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While they are at it, how about a pedestrian/bike bridge (or three) so we can cross safely from south of Allen Parkway to the newly renovated Bayou parks.

May I ask a question? I honestly don't know the answer......

Why would not only minor pedestrian improvements to the existing overpasses be sufficient?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

May I ask a question? I honestly don't know the answer......

Why would not only minor pedestrian improvements to the existing overpasses be sufficient?

 

 

Well, for one thing, the only existing overpasses are at Montrose and Waugh, which leaves two large sections of the bayou without access across Allen. For another, both Waugh and Montrose are somewhat problematic (safety-wise) for casual cyclists. I am hoping that the bicycle plan adds bike lanes to Waugh, but in the meantime, Taft, Stanford and Dunlavy are all much more natural access points to the bayou for people who actually live in the neighborhoods, and all three dead end into the parkway. 

 

For another thing, Allen's twin Memorial has a number of pedestrian overpasses. Us south of the bayou folk get jealous.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An early thoroughfare plan showed Allen Parkway continuing west of Sheperd (inside River Oaks) then crossing Buffalo Bayou connecting with Memorial Drive in the curve below the Delpelchin Girl's Home. I'm sure the Tiel Way residents in River Oaks stopped that plan dead in it's tracks before it got too much traction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Amusing that the dent in the railing from when a car hit it about a year or two ago is still visible on the left side of the rendering...

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Amusing that the dent in the railing from when a car hit it about a year or two ago is still visible on the left side of the rendering...

 

Hey dude that dent is historic! I appreciate these guys preserving our local history...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The dent is in keeping with the scruffy, faded, mid-00s GM-ish looking coprolite in the foreground and what appears to be a cop car behind the tree.  All of this pays homage to this being a park FOR the people...  :ph34r:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While we are poking fun at the render. Look at the way the people are running lol. They are jogging in the most impossible way.

 

How normal people run:        How render people run:

 

   Feet direction      Feet direction

            | |                        \ \

 

             |                          |

             |                          |

            V                         V

      Direction              Direction

        Moving                 Moving

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The dent is in keeping with the scruffy, faded, mid-00s GM-ish looking coprolite in the foreground and what appears to be a cop car behind the tree.  All of this pays homage to this being a park FOR the people...  :ph34r:

 

It never occurred to me previously, but I find it a little surprising that "coprolite" hasn't been a more frequently-used term on an architecture forum that tends toward the critical. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Allen Pway to southbound 45 is one of the best heart-pounding, white-knuckle experiences to be had in our otherwise bland city. For best effect, make the trip when 45 traffic is light and really moving, and have a raging guy with doolies on your back bumper.

 

Im gonna miss it.

 

:D

Funny you mention this because when I bought a nice sporty car that's where I was taken on the test drive and the second time. It definitely sold me on the drive and car!

 

Edited by JJVilla

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

from Cohen's enewslette

The Downtown Redevelopment Authority (TIRZ #3) will host a public meeting to discuss their proposal for improvements to Allen Parkway and Buffalo Bayou Park. Through the TIRZ's capital improvement project list, they hope to enhance the traffic flow, functionality, aesthetics, and pedestrian and auto safety of Allen Parkway. They also seek to create better access to Buffalo Bayou Park through the implementation of protected crosswalks and the creation of additional parking. The meeting will take place on Thursday, February 5th at 6:00PM at the Neighborhood Resource Center Auditorium.r

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Woah. What parts of Buffalo Bayou Park are we talking g here, just the areas in downtown? I'd love to give input if I'm in the area

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

woah. i just had a pretty good idea for this after looking at a map. again, does anyone know if there is a public input segment?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Woah. What parts of Buffalo Bayou Park are we talking g here, just the areas in downtown? I'd love to give input if I'm in the area

 

I don't think Buffalo Bayou Park extends into downtown.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ohhh. youre right. i always assume the whole thing from Shepherd to the Turning Basin is Buffalo Bayou Park because of the Buffalo Bayou Master Plan. that could put a damper on my idea. i was hoping since this is in the downtown subforum that it meant the stretches of park along the bayou in downtown. but yeah, if they are talking about Allen Parkway improvements, the Sabine-Shepherd Promenade seems the likely topic for the "park improvements" (though they just dropped 58 million on a multi year long renovation. what else would they do significantly to the park? i wish i could propose my Memorial Park-Buffalo Bayou Park Boardwalk trail idea, but i dont know that this meeting would be the place for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ohhh. youre right. i always assume the whole thing from Shepherd to the Turning Basin is Buffalo Bayou Park because of the Buffalo Bayou Master Plan. that could put a damper on my idea. i was hoping since this is in the downtown subforum that it meant the stretches of park along the bayou in downtown. but yeah, if they are talking about Allen Parkway improvements, the Sabine-Shepherd Promenade seems the likely topic for the "park improvements" (though they just dropped 58 million on a multi year long renovation. what else would they do significantly to the park?

Seems pretty clear they are just talking about improving access with protected crosswalks and additional parking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Meeting today on improvement plans for Allen Parkway

 

Thursday, February 5, 2015 6-7 p.m.

Neighborhood Resource Center Auditorium

815 Crosby Street

 

 

http://downtowntirz.org/images/Allen_Parkway_Public_Meeting_Flyer.pdf

 

Here's some other articles / info that talk about elements of this:

 

http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=65028

 

http://blog.chron.com/thehighwayman/2015/01/downtown-freeway-fix-a-step-in-the-right-direction/

 

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/First-round-of-Prop-1-a-boost-to-suburban-6020333.php#/0

 

First round of Prop. 1 a boost to suburban freeways Wider freeways, ramp alterations among projects on the fast track

By Dug Begley

January 16, 2015 Updated: January 16, 2015 9:39pm
  •  
  •  

The term "shovel ready," coined a few years ago during a federal spending spree on roads, is making a comeback in Houston, with regional and state transportation officials planning to spend nearly $279 million on area highways.

The quick construction boom, however, won't have the mega-project panache of a Grand Parkway or light rail line. This time, extra money is likely to mean stretches of suburban freeway some would like to see widened will open up far sooner than anyone expected, and battered highways might get a little maintenance.

The money comes from the November passage of Prop. 1, which diverted half of the oil and gas severance tax revenues from the economic stabilization fund to state highway spending. About $1.7 billion was diverted from the state's so-called rainy day fund to highway projects.

Racing to spend the first round, Houston-area officials are concentrating on projects slated to start construction this year, which in some cases could have waited decades for the necessary money to become available.


A quick trip from planning to construction is expected for U.S. 59 in Fort Bend County, from Spur 10 to Darst Road. A $93 million project will widen the freeway to six lanes, and add two-lane frontage roads."It is tremendous to see a project move forward 20 years," said Alan Clark, manager of transportation and air quality programs at the Houston-Galveston Area Council.

The project was initially planned for around 2030 or 2035, because after two current widening projects of the freeway to Spur 10, officials didn't have the money to proceed with the next segment. With huge growth expected in Fort Bend County, Clark said the next step was ready, warranted and would offer a big relief to nearby drivers.

Various benefits

Fast-tracking construction played a major role in the 14 projects recommended Wednesday by H-GAC's technical advisory committee. All of the projects are expected to start construction in the calendar year, said David Wurdlow, an analyst with H-GAC who oversees the transportation improvement program.

Though none of the projects are massive by local transportation standards, Clark said they all have regional significance because they solve a problem faced by thousands of commuters. The largest in cost, at $98 million, is the final portion of widening planned along U.S. 290 - part of a $1.8 billion rehab of the freeway from Loop 610 to FM 2920.

Among the least expensive, at $2.2 million, is a project to reconfigure the entrance ramp from Allen Parkway to southbound Interstate 45. The on-ramp connects with the freeway from the left side of the southbound lanes, unlike most entrance ramps that enter from the right.

Along with the entrance ramp from Houston Avenue - which enters from the right - the Allen Parkway entrance leads to hazardous traffic weaving along southbound I-45.

"It is a confusing entrance and doesn't work very well," said Jeff Weatherford, Houston's deputy public works director.

Other projects also correct minor problems that lead to big pains for drivers. Along Beltway 8 - the one non-tolled freeway segment between I-45 and U.S. 59 and a major route for airport traffic - a $26 million project won't widen the freeway, but expand merge lanes to and from entrance and exit ramps.

"Too few lanes is not the problem out there, it's the weave," Clark said.

Fixing the entrance and exit lanes, Clark said, was always something officials wanted to do, but money was always prioritized elsewhere.

"This project was the red-headed stepchild of projects, so to speak," he said.

With Prop. 1, and the need to spend the first round of funds quickly, the Beltway project moved to the top tier because it was ready to go.

The effect these projects will have will be almost immediate where they occur. From the moment the Beltway 8 auxiliary lanes open, transportation planners predict smoother traffic. Officials also predict a sharp decrease in accidents at I-45 and Allen Parkway with a new entrance ramp, though at this point it's difficult to predict by how much.

Piece by piece, they improve the entire transportation system, Clark said.

Funding unclear

Many uncertainties remain about statewide transportation funding, and even future Prop. 1's buying power in the future. The voter-approved allotment takes half of the oil and severance tax revenues that were going to the Texas' economic stabilization fund and directs them to highway projects only, and specifically forbids using the money to aid the construction or development of toll roads.

For 2015, it means $1.7 billion in additional highway spending. Because it is tied to oil and gas activity, however, State Comptroller Glenn Hegar's recent budget estimate dropped that to about $1.2 billion in each of the next two years.

The fluctuation was not shocking to some of the officials who lobbied for Prop. 1, said Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.

"Historically, the oil and gas revenue operates like the edge of a saw blade, as it continually goes up and down," Nichols said, "However, if you look at the numbers, you will see that about every 10 years the total is more than the previous 10 years."

Even with the exact amount unclear, Clark said local planners are considering how to respond to having the additional money in future construction plans. Officials can often take months or years to navigate a project through environmental approvals and juggle the money to pay for it, which can come from a host of federal, state and local sources.

This year, with the money unexpected, projects far along in that process were able to capture the money to start sooner. In future years, Clark said, the money could be used in more predictable ways, similar to how current state highway funding - doled out by formula - is scheduled to keep projects in some phase of planning or construction.

In any case, officials said more money will always mean more work can get started.

"I think we will be in even better shape going forward, even with the uncertainties," Clark said.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's not seen are the pictures of the 157 diagonal parking spaces they intend to add on a single west bound acces lane.

They also have plans to add a pedestrian controlled crosswalk at park vista street. Once the button is pushed it should take 35s for the light to change to red.

They are working with the city to approve a reduction in speed limit from 40mph to 35 mph.

Another thing mentioned was a roundabout added once you cross over the Sabine bridge so you can u turn safety or acces the west bound access lane for parking.

Just random notes I can think of off the top of my head.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's not seen are the pictures of the 157 diagonal parking spaces they intend to add on a single west bound acces lane.

They also have plans to add a pedestrian controlled crosswalk at park vista street. Once the button is pushed it should take 35s for the light to change to red.

They are working with the city to approve a reduction in speed limit from 40mph to 35 mph.

Another thing mentioned was a roundabout added once you cross over the Sabine bridge so you can u turn safety or acces the west bound access lane for parking.

Just random notes I can think of off the top of my head.

 

Did they have any specifics on the i45 ramp / connectivity improvements? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did they have any specifics on the i45 ramp / connectivity improvements?

Yes, but honestly it was a tad confusing and I didn't get the whole sculpt of what was proposed. He mentioned txdot was working on something. Sorry !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1 minute increased commute time sounds incredibly optimistic.  Between the reduction in speed limit, two lights (likely poorly timed), crossing time, and the time lost by every car in succession gearing back up while idiots are texting and not paying attention, I figure it will be closer to 3 minutes each way.

 

Moreover, persons working downtown are likely some of the most highly paid in the city.  On top of that, those taking Allen are likely even higher paid than average (fewer bus commuters, or guys coming in from suburbs).  Then you add in the thousands that are taking Allen every day. 

 

That is all to say that the social costs of six minutes lost each day across thousands of people are enormous.  I don't know why they wouldn't just build pedestrian bridges for people to get to the park, eschew the new lights and speed reduction.  Hell, you could even make that section a toll road and charge people until the pedestrian bridges are paid for.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Moreover, persons working downtown are likely some of the most highly paid in the city.  On top of that, those taking Allen are likely even higher paid than average (fewer bus commuters, or guys coming in from suburbs).  Then you add in the thousands that are taking Allen every day. 

 

That is all to say that the social costs of six minutes lost each day across thousands of people are enormous.  I don't know why they wouldn't just build pedestrian bridges for people to get to the park, eschew the new lights and speed reduction.  Hell, you could even make that section a toll road and charge people until the pedestrian bridges are paid for.

 

I sincerely hope this is satire.

 

If not, geez Louise...  I hate to break it to you, but not everyone that routinely uses Allen Parkway lives in River Oaks. 

 

Welcome to the forum, anyway.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

I hate to break it to you, but not everyone that routinely uses Allen Parkway lives in River Oaks. 

 

 

 

Everyone knows that River Oaks residents have access to downtown via a secret subterranean expressway underneath Buffalo Bayou. It has its own exit to the hidden driver's license office with no wait line that only a privileged few in Houston know about :P .

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I sincerely hope this is satire.

 

If not, geez Louise...  I hate to break it to you, but not everyone that routinely uses Allen Parkway lives in River Oaks. 

 

Welcome to the forum, anyway.

outside of the wealth factor of Allen Parkway users, that poster has some fairly valid points. this is sure to add more than just 1 minute to peoples commute times. and given the population growth and ever growing strain on our infrastructure network, you would think the city would be exploring ways to alleviate traffic, not cause more of it.

i see both sides of the argument and agree that something needs to be done about the access to Buffalo Bayou.

toll road, eh? i actually pondered tolled main lanes down Memorial Drive once. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Everyone knows that River Oaks residents have access to downtown via a secret subterranean expressway underneath Buffalo Bayou. It has its own exit to the hidden driver's license office with no wait line that only a privileged few in Houston know about :P .

 

Daaaaaaang - I forgot about that.  I wonder if they're being chauffeured in right now, given that Their Parking Has Been Disturbed at the Houston Club.   :ph34r:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

outside of the wealth factor of Allen Parkway users, that poster has some fairly valid points. this is sure to add more than just 1 minute to peoples commute times. 

 

Then take Memorial.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...