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I-45 Rebuild (North Houston Highway Improvement Project)


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I'd rather they tear down the Pierce Elevated, sell the land to developers, then use that cash to help cap the freeways on the other side of Downtown, but that's just me.

Meanwhile, the North Canal Project would reroute White Oak Bayou along downtown creating greater conveyance upstream in the Heights and reduce flooding downtown. A design firm will likely be chosen by

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On 9/26/2020 at 11:52 AM, Texasota said:

Multiple caps y'all. The cap I was referring to would have been essentially an expanded version of what is proposed here - a pedestrian/cycling connection from Andrews to about half a block north. Scale and detailing will be important here, but it's still a restoring a connection that the freeway had previously destroyed.

 

Pretty sure there has never been a cap seriously proposed in this area. It appears someone may have gotten carried away with the green coloring in a couple of the Management District's Program Diagrams, but the accompanying renderings and text do not indicate any plans for a cap on the west side.  That level of benefit and enhancement is reserved for the preferred east side.  😉

 

http://www.downtowndistrict.org/static/media/uploads/attachments/180131_nhhip_vision_&_opportunities_final_design_report_swa_72_dpi.pdf

 

 

 

Edited by Houston19514
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The rendering is on page 30 of this very thread.

See page 44 of the City's West Side presentation: http://www.houstontx.gov/planning/nhhip/west/presentation-west.pdf

 

It was pretty small and clearly a push compared to the east side cap, but I think this shows the benefit of pushing. A pedestrian/cycling connection where there is none now is a big improvement, even without the little plaza.

Edited by Texasota
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https://abc13.com/7856225/

 

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Marcus Martinez, of architecture firm Page Southerland Page, envisions turning the old freeway into the Pierce Skypark, a multi-level, mixed-use development. His plans include space for food trucks, bike lanes, greenery, even a hot air balloon - calling it an urban trellis that would seamlessly tie into other yet-to-be-developed buildings and help unify surrounding neighborhoods. It would be a destination with opportunities for social gatherings and public art, similar to offerings at Discovery Green, which was also designed by Page.

 

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On 11/15/2020 at 12:33 AM, Big E said:

 

I'd rather they tear down the Pierce Elevated, sell the land to developers, then use that cash to help cap the freeways on the other side of Downtown, but that's just me.


same - I don’t want a reminder of an old freeway with a dead space underneath it

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On 11/16/2020 at 9:24 PM, HouTXRanger said:

Yeah. Tear the thing down and be done with it. Use lots of the space for parks and service buildings (affordable housing?) but sell the rest if they want. Let the city fill back in.

 

right, the whole point of getting rid of the pierce elevated is that it is a kind of block between midtown and downtown.

 

whether there are cars or trees on it, it is going to have the same effect.

 

if we're going to displace as much of the east and north around downtown to re-route 45, get rid of every remnant of the pierce elevated structure. just get rid of it.

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3 hours ago, samagon said:

 

right, the whole point of getting rid of the pierce elevated is that it is a kind of block between midtown and downtown.

 

whether there are cars or trees on it, it is going to have the same effect.

 

if we're going to displace as much of the east and north around downtown to re-route 45, get rid of every remnant of the pierce elevated structure. just get rid of it.

Agreed. Selling the land is the only way TxDOT is going to offset some of the cost of the structure, too. This isn't a High Line situation where the linear park combines with a significant improvement in pedestrian infrastructure.

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On 11/16/2020 at 7:13 PM, Avossos said:


same - I don’t want a reminder of an old freeway with a dead space underneath it

It wouldn’t be dead at all. If anything it would create an even cooler area for food trucks, park space and green space in general, along with the opportunity to build great walkable areas for shade etc. I mean it gets hot af here

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On 11/19/2020 at 2:44 PM, j_cuevas713 said:

It wouldn’t be dead at all. If anything it would create an even cooler area for food trucks, park space and green space in general, along with the opportunity to build great walkable areas for shade etc. I mean it gets hot af here

I mean, they can park food trucks and such under the freeway as it is now, and not do anything to the freeway. They could do all kinds of things with the space under the freeway, but it still wouldn't be the best usage of that footprint. 

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Under the freeway will be a lot more pleasant place without cars driving above at speed. I have mixed feelings about converting the Pierce Elevated, but I would find the argument for removing it completely a lot more convincing if there werent plenty of vacant lots nearby. I'll take the shade over another surface lot any day.

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12 minutes ago, Texasota said:

Under the freeway will be a lot more pleasant place without cars driving above at speed. I have mixed feelings about converting the Pierce Elevated, but I would find the argument for removing it completely a lot more convincing if there werent plenty of vacant lots nearby. I'll take the shade over another surface lot any day.

 

When the freeway is removed, it will raise land values and encourage more development in the surrounding area. Might get some more residential. Plus, one could build a park on some of the vacant land without having to worry about maintaining the existing freeway structure (or maintain it as an eyesore).

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57 minutes ago, Big E said:

 

When the freeway is removed, it will raise land values and encourage more development in the surrounding area. Might get some more residential. Plus, one could build a park on some of the vacant land without having to worry about maintaining the existing freeway structure (or maintain it as an eyesore).

More development? Does that include the long awaited expansion of the bus station? Bwahahaha.

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On 11/18/2020 at 12:37 PM, ADCS said:

Agreed. Selling the land is the only way TxDOT is going to offset some of the cost of the structure, too. This isn't a High Line situation where the linear park combines with a significant improvement in pedestrian infrastructure.


I like the High Line conversion idea for Pierce Elevated. Could be an area for jogging trails, outdoor movies or amphitheater. Under the overpass could be used to stage a covered Farmers Market for the growing residential population of Southern Downtown and Midtown. And the overpass doesn’t take up the full block between Pierce and Gray. That leaves the Gray portion as developable with direct connections to the overpass as an amenity. 
 

But I understand TXDOT’s funding mechanism for the overall project by demolishing the overpass and selling the land. 
 

Maybe we find a compromise. Leave the Pierce Elevated standing and redevelop this portion from the Jefferson/Pierce/Bagby split to Main St. Let Main St be a gateway terminus for Pierce Elevated Park. Demolish the Pierce Elevated south of Main St and sell the land. 

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My take is that removal of the Pierce Elevated would do far more good, by creating a more seamless transition between Midtown and Downtown, than a High Line-like conversion would. Granted, I was living in Midtown back in the very early 2000s, when the space under I-45 was still a homeless tent city, but even though I lived right at Bagby and Gray, and could (and did) walk into Downtown at times, the overpass created a very strong visual and psychological barrier between Midtown and Downtown. Even though the land underneath is now gated parking, I'd still feel spooky walking under the Pierce at night in anything more than a large group of people. Getting rid of the overpass would do a lot to make the Midtown/Downtown area more walkable.

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Switching topics, why can’t we have a signature bridge over Buffalo Bayou built as part of this project? It would look beautiful backed by the Downtown Houston skyline and could be a marketable asset for decades to come. Many have clearly thought about it in the past (see renders I’ve collected over time) so why aren’t we doing it?

 

Boston has the Zakim

Dallas has their spans over the Trinity

Miami is building a Techno Tarantula 

Why can’t we have anything nice in this town? 

 

 

Edited by tigereye
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3 hours ago, tigereye said:


I like the High Line conversion idea for Pierce Elevated. Could be an area for jogging trails, outdoor movies or amphitheater. Under the overpass could be used to stage a covered Farmers Market for the growing residential population of Southern Downtown and Midtown. And the overpass doesn’t take up the full block between Pierce and Gray. That leaves the Gray portion as developable with direct connections to the overpass as an amenity. 
 

But I understand TXDOT’s funding mechanism for the overall project by demolishing the overpass and selling the land. 
 

Maybe we find a compromise. Leave the Pierce Elevated standing and redevelop this portion from the Jefferson/Pierce/Bagby split to Main St. Let Main St be a gateway terminus for Pierce Elevated Park. Demolish the Pierce Elevated south of Main St and sell the land. 

 

There's no compromise to be found in leaving the structure standing. It's either there, or it's gone.

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