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Midtown Streetscape Improvements

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Does anyone know if the major underground work at Elgin & Travis was planned or came about due to new construction on Whole Foods? There is a gigantic excavator on site and it's a huge inconvenience at rush hour.

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On ‎4‎/‎5‎/‎2018 at 4:39 PM, j_cuevas713 said:

Any word on this?

FWIW, this week trees have been trimmed on Caroline, small yellow flags planted, and orange markings sprayed on the street and sidewalks.
I don't know what this portends...

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On 4/6/2018 at 6:33 PM, dbigtex56 said:

FWIW, this week trees have been trimmed on Caroline, small yellow flags planted, and orange markings sprayed on the street and sidewalks.
I don't know what this portends...

 

Surveying.

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On ‎4‎/‎9‎/‎2018 at 10:17 AM, Luminare said:

 

Surveying.

On closer inspection, marking of existing gas line.

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2 hours ago, dbigtex56 said:

On closer inspection, marking of existing gas line.

 

Thats actually a key part of surveying work. In this city there is so much stuff flying everywhere that isn't tracked properly. Its mandated that they track everything they can find.

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According to the 2/22/2018 minutes of the MRA board meeting, there is a possible 3 month delay on the project due to " the need to brace or replace utility poles which are not aligned with underground utilities." They stated that they wanted to look into redesign to avoid the delay.

 

Perhaps this is why they were re-surveying?

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12 hours ago, roadrunner said:

Might as well.  It hardly carries any car traffic as it is.

Seriously, I think this would actually improve traffic in the area.Travelling in a car across the tracks, we would only need to wait at a light if a pedestrian pushed a button or whenever a light rail vehicle needed to cross.

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Just be aware these are working boards done by Design Workshop and others for the MMD (in concert with funding from the MRA), the result of several series of public workshops and are not yet final.  The third pdf in your list relates to current discussions and soon-to-be public workshops on the parameters of a series of public parks capped over 69 at Fannin, Caroline, and Almeda. very much still in the works.   

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On 4/12/2018 at 0:33 PM, phillip_white said:

Caydon may have been onto something with their renderings. I came across this image in an MRA survey. They are pushing to make Main Street a greenway through Midtown, removing all automobile traffic.
 

Main Street Greenway

 

 

This. I really want this. I’ve always thought the entire stretch of Main, from Buffalo Bayou to Wheeler, should be a pedestrian thoroughfare. As ongoing development has shown, there’s a lot of potential along this corridor. Linking all of this together, from the bars of 300 block all the way to Mid Main and the upcoming Innovation District could further stimulate this area, especially with the multifamily developments occurring in South Downtown & Midtown. And furthermore, while there’s an East-West bike lane on Lamar, there’s an absence of a North-South bike lane through Downtown Houston. Option A could be the best way to fulfill that need. 

 

 

Edited by tigereye
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Is it just me or is everything that's happenned the past week a bit surreal? A new tech district, 50 miles of new bike lanes in the next year, and now the proposal to make Main Street a Greenway! Crazy! Lol

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They haven't even finished the improvements but people have already vandalized the street markers by knocking letters off.  :angry:

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16 hours ago, BeerNut said:

They haven't even finished the improvements but people have already vandalized the street markers by knocking letters off.  :angry:

Which street?

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There's no way to tell now that the letters have been knocked off

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1 minute ago, j_cuevas713 said:

Which street?

I was walking along  Main St from MidMain to McGowen Station.   

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1 minute ago, cspwal said:

There's no way to tell now that the letters have been knocked off

They were there before and now some are missing or hanging.  Probably should be secured better.

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On ‎5‎/‎29‎/‎2018 at 6:17 PM, BeerNut said:

They haven't even finished the improvements but people have already vandalized the street markers by knocking letters off.  :angry:

 

11 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

Which street?

That's Bremond St. 
The bar at the corner of Bremond and Main hosts large parties on Sunday afternoons, which may just be a coincidence ,but I noticed more letters were missing on consecutive Mondays.
edit: it's called the Capitol Bar. The Yelp! reviews are revealing.

Edited by dbigtex56
Added link

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On ‎4‎/‎6‎/‎2018 at 6:33 PM, dbigtex56 said:

FWIW, this week trees have been trimmed on Caroline, small yellow flags planted, and orange markings sprayed on the street and sidewalks.
I don't know what this portends...

Orange construction barrels have been set down at 30' intervals on the east side of Caroline St. 

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10 hours ago, dbigtex56 said:

Orange construction barrels have been set down at 30' intervals on the east side of Caroline St. 

 

On 6/4/2018 at 3:54 PM, j_cuevas713 said:

Is there a specific timeline for the street closure?

 

Looks like this project is finally kicking off. Official notice of street closure from TXDOT:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/131236591@N05/41700093230/in/dateposted-public/

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23 hours ago, dbigtex56 said:

Orange construction barrels have been set down at 30' intervals on the east side of Caroline St. 


This morning the barrels were moved from the curb to the outer edge of the easternmost lane. Signs and barricades were erected.
This afternoon the barrels were returned to their original positions; the signs and barricades were removed. 
Progress!

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This morning a crew removed a mature oak (?) tree on Caroline just north of McIlhenny.
I'm dismayed. My impression was that existing heathy, non-trash trees would remain. While Caroline doesn't have a full allee of trees, there are enough to soften the landscape and provide much needed shade.
I hope the plan doesn't call for a wholesale clear cutting and replanting. It takes decades for trees to mature and, selfishly, I don't feel like living quite that long.

Caroline St tree.PNG

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sad to hear that. a couple possibilities comes to mind... (please remember I am not very familiar with the project)

 

1) They  have a planting pattern in place that this tree did not align with.

2) They needed to access something near or underneath this tree

3) some sort of drainage plan (like Bagby) will force them to dig up some land to accomplish their goal.

 

Either way, the goal should be MORE trees and MORE shade. 

 

I love oaks, especially along streets and sidewalks... however, the max height of a live oak is perhaps 40 feet. There are Houston natives that can get up to 100 feet. different trees can create different vibes / settings / etc. Houston has historic forests... planting live oaks everywhere will not recreate a forest setting. Hopefully in this case, there is a plan that will promise something better.

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1 hour ago, dbigtex56 said:

This morning a crew removed a mature oak (?) tree on Caroline just north of McIlhenny.
I'm dismayed. My impression was that existing heathy, non-trash trees would remain. While Caroline doesn't have a full allee of trees, there are enough to soften the landscape and provide much needed shade.
I hope the plan doesn't call for a wholesale clear cutting and replanting. It takes decades for trees to mature and, selfishly, I don't feel like living quite that long.

Caroline St tree.PNG

When you say "removed", do you mean they cut it down, or did they move it?

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10 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

When you say "removed", do you mean they cut it down, or did they move it?

Both, actually. They cut it down and then they removed it.
(I should have been more clear about that.)

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Final tally on trees cut down on Caroline (between Hadley and McIlhenny):
3 healthy oaks 
1 healthy conifer
I large healthy trash tree (chinaberry?)
2 diseased pear trees (no partridges were harmed)
1 unidentified ugly as sin trash tree
Trees remaining: 0
Most (five) of them weren't really worth saving. However, I'm disappointed that the oaks were cut down. It takes at least 10-15 years for trees to grow that large
 

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Any update on the Caroline construction? I need to ride by and check it out.

 

Also, I've been thinking a lot more about the potential plan to turn Main into a greenway/bike/pedestrian space.

 

I talked to a few people involved with the creation of the Houston Bike Plan to ask how far Main got in the process of being considered, and they said that some consultants recommended that as an option, but basically nobody felt strongly enough to make that a priority. 

 

I think that they should make it bike/pedestrian only from Richmond all of the way to the north side of downtown at Commerce. It should certainly be connected to the museum district, but I don't see an easy way of doing that. 

 

I'm no expert, but I believe that 2 bollards per driving lane (per half of an intersection) would be adequate to protect while also letting bikers/pedestrians through. Side streets would need some form of concrete barrier. Across the entire 2.5 mile stretch, you would need 185 bollards and 23 concrete barriers to block half streets. 

 

Surprisingly, you lose only 25 parking spots across the entire street, with 15/25 being north of Prairie. 

 

Major issues:

 

1) There would be a landlocked parking lot between Congress and Franklin.

2) The JW Marriott would be plenty unhappy with no street access to their only entrance (and no real chance at the side street because of the light rail on Rusk). No idea how you would handle this.

3) South Main Baptist would lose one of their two exits. Maybe turn Isabella into a cross-street? Open only on Sundays or something like that. 

4) Central Houston Cadillac has aligned their parking lot so as to not have any entrances along McGowen or Travis St (and only on Main).

 

For as bad as those issues are, this is such a great opportunity at relatively low cost (bollards and paint and some signal swaps) to add 2.5 miles of dedicated on-street pedestrian and bikeway. 

 

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1 hour ago, wilcal said:

Any update on the Caroline construction? I need to ride by and check it out.

 

Also, I've been thinking a lot more about the potential plan to turn Main into a greenway/bike/pedestrian space.

 

I talked to a few people involved with the creation of the Houston Bike Plan to ask how far Main got in the process of being considered, and they said that some consultants recommended that as an option, but basically nobody felt strongly enough to make that a priority. 

 

I think that they should make it bike/pedestrian only from Richmond all of the way to the north side of downtown at Commerce. It should certainly be connected to the museum district, but I don't see an easy way of doing that. 

 

I'm no expert, but I believe that 2 bollards per driving lane (per half of an intersection) would be adequate to protect while also letting bikers/pedestrians through. Side streets would need some form of concrete barrier. Across the entire 2.5 mile stretch, you would need 185 bollards and 23 concrete barriers to block half streets. 

 

Surprisingly, you lose only 25 parking spots across the entire street, with 15/25 being north of Prairie. 

 

Major issues:

 

1) There would be a landlocked parking lot between Congress and Franklin.

2) The JW Marriott would be plenty unhappy with no street access to their only entrance (and no real chance at the side street because of the light rail on Rusk). No idea how you would handle this.

3) South Main Baptist would lose one of their two exits. Maybe turn Isabella into a cross-street? Open only on Sundays or something like that. 

4) Central Houston Cadillac has aligned their parking lot so as to not have any entrances along McGowen or Travis St (and only on Main).

 

For as bad as those issues are, this is such a great opportunity at relatively low cost (bollards and paint and some signal swaps) to add 2.5 miles of dedicated on-street pedestrian and bikeway. 

 

So wait, the idea of turning Main in to a green space was rejected?

 

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3 hours ago, wilcal said:

Any update on the Caroline construction? I need to ride by and check it out.

North of McGowen, protective timbers have been placed around the (few) remaining trees this week, suggesting that some sort of excavation may be taking place soon.
Haven't checked out the southern portion in a while; it's my understanding that the construction will progress south to north.
 

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Caroline has been partially blocked of auto traffic from Elgin north to unspecified midtown cross-street

Edited by infinite_jim

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17 minutes ago, infinite_jim said:

Caroline has been partially blocked of auto traffic from Elgin north to unspecified midtown cross-street

The easternmost lane has temporary blocks (orange barrels) from McIllhenny to McGowen; continuing south, the lane is blocked by wooden barricades, and separated from the other lanes by concrete barriers.

Edited by dbigtex56
changed wording

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17 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

So wait, the idea of turning Main in to a green space was rejected?

 

 

No.

 

Midtown Authority told me it was unfunded with an indefinite timeline. The planning has been at 76% for a long time as the status on their website. 

 

The Houston Bike Plan was not developed specifically with Midtown being a part of the input, and a lack of harmony resulted. With that being said, I have no idea how dedicated the Midtown Authority is to doing this. One of their versions kept the southbound half of Main open to cars, but the northbound version converted to bike/pedestrian use only. I've been thinking more, and that may be the best way to handle it. All of the "major" issues I listed above would be fixed by this solution. 

 

HBP site has some info about Phase 1 (start by April '19) and Phase 2 (not feasible to start with the funding) in the midtown/third ward area here: http://houstonbikeplan.org/implementation/infrastructure/third-ward/ It says design/construction should have already been announced, but there's nothing, so I emailed them to find out. 

 

I didn't realize that they are planning on Austin to go as far south as Blodgett, which would be great, but there is nothing planned west of Main that I know of into Montrose/that half of Midtown which sucks. 

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1 minute ago, wilcal said:

 

No.

 

Midtown Authority told me it was unfunded with an indefinite timeline. The planning has been at 76% for a long time as the status on their website. 

 

The Houston Bike Plan was not developed specifically with Midtown being a part of the input, and a lack of harmony resulted. With that being said, I have no idea how dedicated the Midtown Authority is to doing this. One of their versions kept the southbound half of Main open to cars, but the northbound version converted to bike/pedestrian use only. I've been thinking more, and that may be the best way to handle it. All of the "major" issues I listed above would be fixed by this solution. 

 

HBP site has some info about Phase 1 (start by April '19) and Phase 2 (not feasible to start with the funding) in the midtown/third ward area here: http://houstonbikeplan.org/implementation/infrastructure/third-ward/ It says design/construction should have already been announced, but there's nothing, so I emailed them to find out. 

 

I didn't realize that they are planning on Austin to go as far south as Blodgett, which would be great, but there is nothing planned west of Main that I know of into Montrose/that half of Midtown which sucks. 

I think the idea is to get areas less serviced up to date with city infrastructure. Remember that the city wanted to tie in the 50 new miles of bike lanes with added intersection improvements. 

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2 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

I think the idea is to get areas less serviced up to date with city infrastructure. Remember that the city wanted to tie in the 50 new miles of bike lanes with added intersection improvements. 

 

I guess I didn't remember that!

 

That's one of those things that sounds like it makes sense, but I can't imagine the city planning so many intersection improvements. Would take forever! 

 

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