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Brava (Block 42) Residential High-Rise: 46-Stories


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It was nice to meet you!  Thanks for coming out.   Here's my photos of the mat pour this morning.        

Hines contacted me asking if they can use my photos and videos for their social media.    

2 or 3 floors and they are going to have to jump the tower crane.

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I would love to see some street space, particularly around the 300 block of Main, opened up to pedestrian and outdoor dining use. Basically the following:

  • Close southbound Main to cars from Commerce to Walker
  • Close northbound Main to cars from Prairie to Rusk
  • Convert angled parking on Franklin to outdoor dining space from Travis to Main. Convert one travel lane to parallel parking
  • Narrow Travis to two travel lanes from Franklin to Texas
  • Replace south street parking on Congress with outdoor seating from Travis to Fannin
  • Narrow Prairie to one travel lane. All of it. 
  • Narrow Texas to two travel lanes
  • Narrow Walker to two travel lanes
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30 minutes ago, nate4l1f3 said:

This is off topic but why has the lot at Main & Prairie been empty so long? Who owns it? I’m sure this has been discussed so maybe a link?

I've been wondering the same thing. That is prime real estate.

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On 7/9/2020 at 2:39 PM, Texasota said:

I would love to see some street space, particularly around the 300 block of Main, opened up to pedestrian and outdoor dining use. Basically the following:

  • Close southbound Main to cars from Commerce to Walker It's already been ruined, so why not. It may make getting in to certain parking garages much harder
  • Close northbound Main to cars from Prairie to Rusk It's already been ruined, so why not. It may make getting in to certain parking garages much harder 
  • Convert angled parking on Franklin to outdoor dining space from Travis to Main. Convert one travel lane to parallel parking That essentially makes Franklin a single lane, given the right lane is a diamond lane
  • Narrow Travis to two travel lanes from Franklin to Texas Not a good idea, since Travis is the main entrance to I-45 North
  • Replace south street parking on Congress with outdoor seating from Travis to Fannin
  • Narrow Prairie to one travel lane. All of it. Why? That means the street is blocked every time someone stops to drop or pick up a passenger.
  • Narrow Texas to two travel lanes 
  • Narrow Walker to two travel lanes

If your goal is to annoy office workers who commute, this is a great plan. They will not be happy with anything that makes the backups worse. Same thing for people going to Astros games.

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51 minutes ago, Texasota said:

My goal is to prioritize the development of Downtown as a livable neighborhood *over* the convenience of commuters driving single occupancy vehicles into and out of downtown. There are lots of other ways to get downtown, but treating commuters' convenience as more important than residents' safety and comfort needs to end.

 

And for what it's worth, I took a "start with what you really want and then compromise" approach to my suggestions. One thing I would really like to see is more creativity than just travel lanes versus parking lanes. Dedicated loading/unloading/taxi/rideshare areas need to be a more of a thing, and may be more valuable on some blocks than street parking.

 

 

Other ways to get in and out of Downtown? If Travis is reduced in capacity, are you saying the commuters should head South to St Joseph Parkway to get on I-45N? Or maybe take Main North to 45? I get the desire to make Downtown better, but blocking the only viable route to a major freeway can't be part of that "solution". And, if you are coldly realistic, there will continue to be a huge number of single occupant vehicles coming into and out of Downtown, given its nature as a major commercial district for Houston and the lack of interest in using public transportation.

 

 

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There are no garages, driveways, or alleys that use Main for access, and at most it takes out two blocks' worth of driving to get to the 801 Travis and Congress Plaza garages (I can't think of any others that have their single point of access in the 900 or 1000 blocks of the cross streets, but stand to be corrected).  Offhand, it seems like it would be ideal for dedicated high comfort bike lanes - cyclists use it a lot already.  It would cost no more than adding some bollards, and would make access to the rail platforms safer.

 

Besides, before we had the rail running down Main it was two traffic lanes and two bus lanes with no turns allowed through most of downtown... and we lived. 

 

FWIW, the Travis northbound ramp to 45 is two lanes.

Edited by mollusk
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First of all, you're fixating on one of eight bullet points. Secondly, Travis is a total of 4 lanes currently - two through lanes, one through/bus lane, and one through/parking lane. As you yourself noted, cars and trucks are going to pause for loading/unloading goods and passenger, and this absolutely happens at rush hour, so why not formalize it? Make the off-peak parking lane a full-time loading/unloading lane with some street parking (where loading is less needed) an the right hand lane bus only.

 

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57 minutes ago, mollusk said:

There are no garages, driveways, or alleys that use Main for access, and at most it takes out two blocks' worth of driving to get to the 801 Travis and Congress Plaza garages (I can't think of any others that have their single point of access in the 900 or 1000 blocks of the cross streets, but stand to be corrected).  Offhand, it seems like it would be ideal for dedicated high comfort bike lanes - cyclists use it a lot already.  It would cost no more than adding some bollards, and would make access to the rail platforms safer.

 

Besides, before we had the rail running down Main it was two traffic lanes and two bus lanes with no turns allowed through most of downtown... and we lived. 

 

FWIW, the Travis northbound ramp to 45 is two lanes.

JW Marriott uses Main.

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16 minutes ago, Montrose1100 said:

JW Marriott uses Main.

 

Yep, and catty corner, AC uses Rusk.  JW Marriott also uses the 801 Travis garage and is directly connected to at least a one or two floors of building space there - they could cope.

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1 hour ago, HoustonIsHome said:

I 110% agree. Downtown is a neighborhood and should be treated as such.

 

The needs of residents is front and center in all neighborhood development. Assessments are done to calculate the effect of traffic in the area.

 

Furthermore, the goal of downtown should not be how fast we can get people through the core. It should be the other way around. Slow down, look around. In fact, don't even leave. It's the past through nature of downtown that makes it less lively. 

 

The French Quarter/ Downtown in New Orleans is already not that car friendly with far narrower streets than anything in Downtown Houston.

Bourbon and Royal streets are already closed to vehicular traffic certain hours of the day. In an attempt to make the quarter more pedestrian friendly quite a few more vehicular closures are planned. Some, such as closing Frenchman street (In front of the French Market) makes sense as pedestrian activity is already high and all the car traffic can be dangerous. Others like Orleans St don't make much sense as that street is purely residential and not a lot of foot traffic due to the lack of businesses. Others like Iberville and Chartres create logistic problems because of the issue of loading and unloading guests at the hotels in those streets.

 

But the point is, they're streets are already only as wide as alleys and they are talking about limiting the use further while ours are like motor speedways and we don't want to think of limiting a lane or two for safety.

 

Instead of worrying about suburban access to Astro games via the heart of our core, shouldn't the analysis be what other routes would be better to upgrade to make going to Astro games easier without having the core streets so pedestrian unfriendly? 

 

Main streets in the heart of town should be a nice slow affair.

 

Back to the New Orleans example. Uptown New Orleans may be a better comparison to Downtown Houston. It is much more commercial oriented than DTNO but still has those limited Lanes of traffic. Baronne for example has 5 lanes, but the outer lanes are both for street parking, their are two lanes for traffic and one lane was split into a tiny median and a bike lane. So instead of having to cross 5 lanes of cars you only have to cross 2. That may seem awful if you are going places but it shouldn't be a street you drive through. There are streets like Polydras that are 3 lanes that are 6 lanes that take you through the district. But if every street was through streets that you can just hurry along through then you never really get that community feel. Downtown Houston streets are just too consistently wide. Narrowing a few areas shouldn't just immediately be ridiculed because of the inconvenience, we should instead be looking for alternatives to alleviating the traffic nightmares that loss of access would create. 

 

Putting parking garages near the outskirts of downtown instead of the middle of Downtown for one would help. That way you can exit the garage and have little issues hopping on to the highway and either walk or take public transportation to your office building.

 

We do need the exercise. I know people say Houston is too hot to walk. But new Orleans is just as hot and probably even more humid than Houston. 

 

Totally blocking streets to traffic immediately would probably kill the street. But narrowing portions at certain times of the day might all we need to do.

 

All of that ignores the fact that 100,000+ people travel into Downtown for work, and back out again. 20,000+ go to Astros games, and need to get there and leave. Making their commutes worse is not going to do anything good for the City. Nor is the 25 year nightmare of rerouting 45 and expanding 59 going to help any of this. If anything, those changes will make getting into and out of Downtown even worse.

 

As an example, we live in the Greater Height. If we go to an Astros game, we usually take Memorial into Downtown, then take Texas towards Minute Maid. We can also take Washington and use Preston, or, on Weekends, Take I-10 to Smith, then use Preston. There are no other reasonable routes, no matter how hard you try. For suburban fans, the choices are just as limited, and dependent on where they live.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Ross said:

 

As an example, we live in the Greater Height. If we go to an Astros game, we usually take Memorial into Downtown, then take Texas towards Minute Maid. We can also take Washington and use Preston, or, on Weekends, Take I-10 to Smith, then use Preston. There are no other reasonable routes, no matter how hard you try.

Or,  you could drive to the Burnett Transit Center, where there is an abundance of parking, and take the Red Line to downtown and walk (or take the Green or Purple Line if you don't feel up to it).

 

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4 hours ago, HoustonIsHome said:

We do need the exercise. I know people say Houston is too hot to walk. But new Orleans is just as hot and probably even more humid than Houston.

 

From a proud Mole Person:  Let's not forget the climate controlled tunnel system.  :ph34r:

 

I live in a part of the Heights that doesn't need to have "greater" attached to it.  I would dearly love to be able to ditch the car, but taking the bus to downtown is 30 minutes plus IF everything goes right, and trying to ride a bike downtown during traffic times (or now, when the few people on the streets are really stepping on it) is a bit too exciting.

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I agree with you mollusk. But doing nothing isn't going change anything.

 

Improving the urban environment means less cars on the streets downtown so that bike ride it's less intimidating. It means better connections to the nearby neighborhoods so it doesn't take 30 mins to come in from 10 mins away. There's no reason why there isn't a good street car connection to the heights and Montrose. 

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5 hours ago, dbigtex56 said:

Or,  you could drive to the Burnett Transit Center, where there is an abundance of parking, and take the Red Line to downtown and walk (or take the Green or Purple Line if you don't feel up to it).

 

don't they stop running trains into downtown immediately after games? I sat at a train station by the stadium waiting for an old girlfriend who was a chef at the stadium. Trains never came in the half hour I was there. They stopped and went the other way on the east side of 59.

Also, streets in the French Quarter were made by the Spanish in the late 1700s. They had no reason to make extra wide avenues in the horse and buggy era. Streets like Esplanade, Canal, Elysium Fields, etc have a wide "neutral ground" because they used to have trolleys running down the middle

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The French quarter streets were built by the French. That's why it was called the French Quarter. The buildings however are mainly Spanish. The quarter was under Spanish control when a fire broke out so the buildings that were rebuilt were rebuilt in the Spanish style. Anyway, esplanade and Elysian are out of downtown so it doesn't matter.

Canal, Polydras, Rampart etc are better examples as they are downtown/Uptown and have great transit options. 

 

Anyway, like I keep saying all the strawman arguments are not selling. Someone suggested taking rail and the excuse is that the rail doesn't run late enough? Really? So we can't improve downtown because it's absolutely impossible to have have the rail run later? Other cities are going to leave us in the dust off we don't learn to walk and chew at the same time. 

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5 hours ago, HoustonIsHome said:

I agree with you mollusk. But doing nothing isn't going change anything.

 

Improving the urban environment means less cars on the streets downtown so that bike ride it's less intimidating. It means better connections to the nearby neighborhoods so it doesn't take 30 mins to come in from 10 mins away. There's no reason why there isn't a good street car connection to the heights and Montrose. 

 

Again, I would dearly love to ditch having to drive to work.  That short a run is not good for the car, it's not good for the environment, it's expensive, etc., etc.  There is a bus that takes about 20 minutes, but it only comes once per hour.  It's a bit ironic that Houston's original "streetcar suburb" isn't really that transit accessible these days.

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4 hours ago, Tumbleweed_Tx said:


Also, streets in the French Quarter were made by the Spanish in the late 1700s. They had no reason to make extra wide avenues in the horse and buggy era.

Perhaps they were designed with the climate in mind as well. Dense development along narrow streets would allow less sunlight to filter in, and cause breezes to accelerate.
Coupled with shaded, high-walled courtyards with fountains, and the use of brick structures and paving to modulate the heat, the actual and 'feels like' temperatures could be lowered a few degrees.

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13 hours ago, Tumbleweed_Tx said:

don't they stop running trains into downtown immediately after games? I sat at a train station by the stadium waiting for an old girlfriend who was a chef at the stadium. Trains never came in the half hour I was there. They stopped and went the other way on the east side of 59.
 

 

No, they do not stop running trains immediately after games.  Not even close.  It sounds like on the particular day you were at that station, there may have been a service interruption on the downtown portion of the Green/Purple line downtown, in which case there was probably a substitute bus service running on the route.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I wonder why they opted for a huge Randal Davis style podium to face Market Square like that. They couldn't have pizzazz'd it with some typical vertical long LED strips to make this +10 story stone wall visually appealing? Aris literally faces the park. Market Square Tower kind of tried. Just expected something more I guess.

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I've been waiting to hear what people thought of the stone as it was going up.  I know the finished product is still to come and may look better but thus far, the stone is worse than I expected.

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I agree, it's been surprisingly nice. The stone will be curved and has a nice look to it already. For a parking podium, it's better than any other I can think of in the near vicinity 

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11 minutes ago, keaton said:

I agree, it's been surprisingly nice. The stone will be curved and has a nice look to it already. For a parking podium, it's better than any other I can think of in the near vicinity 

 

Better than Aris?

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Aris is a fake "window" exterior that gives up its secret at night when the lights shine through. It's better than a wall (certainly better than the Rice) but I feel like this has some nice elements that flow well into the overall aesthetic of the building. 

 

But I'm not an expert - I analyze data for a living soooo :) 

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On 8/5/2020 at 9:36 AM, Montrose1100 said:

I wonder why they opted for a huge Randal Davis style podium to face Market Square like that. They couldn't have pizzazz'd it with some typical vertical long LED strips to make this +10 story stone wall visually appealing? Aris literally faces the park. Market Square Tower kind of tried. Just expected something more I guess.

 

How do you know they don't have some plans for lighting or other ways to "pizzazz" it?

Edited by Houston19514
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33 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

 

How do you know they don't have some plans for lighting of other ways to "pizzazz" it?

I think it looks elegant and clean, I don't think their target demographic is looking for "piazzazz" outside their apartment. 

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4 hours ago, iah77 said:

I think it looks elegant and clean, I don't think their target demographic is looking for "piazzazz" outside their apartment. 

You’re probably right. Why would anyone want to live in a non traditional high rise apartment with a central location, next to a park, blocks from the theaters, skyline views with any pizzazz. 

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