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I agree that the City is damned if they do, damned if the don't, and we are simply armchair quarterbacks who might not have all the details.

But my question is, who exactly is this underground parking for? The people who are (aren't?) going to drive downtown from outside downtown to go to Pavilions, GRB, Toyota, and the park itself? Perhaps in 20 years, it will be considered terrific foresight...

A quick read of the article reveals the garage replaces two surface lots that are indeed full when the GRB has events.

Additionally, if the park achieves its goal, and people actually use it and the restaurant and tavern and pavillion, wouldn't convenient parking actually be useful? If the hoped for development of residences around the park occurs, won't that take away even more of the current inventory of parking?

Wouldn't all of you critics be the same ones complaining about a lack of parking if they didn't do this?

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The problem I've had with this thing from day one is the amount of money being spent to build a park 3 blocks wide and 3 blocks long that is to become Downtown's "Jewel" park as if forgeting that Elenor Tinsley park even exists. Does anyone have the current price tag available? You're right, it's all private money, but that private money could have been spent on upgrades to Elenor Tinsley park that would make it world-class.

Once again, not dissing the park itself, just the monetary excess being thrown at it that is desperately needed elswhere.

If they do decide to go ahead with this thing, I think the biggest waste would be to develop the park so as to exist isolated in the middle of a vast oasis of surface parking and undeveloped real estate without offering any reason for people to go over and visit. Either they need to develop the park so that it's incorporated into already existing downtown development, or they need to develop it so that it attracts new development into the surrounding areas on its own. At least underground parking would draw pedestrian traffic through the area in the near-term and would serve as a catalyst for long term growth in the surrounding blocks. This is my problem with relying on surface parking alone: in the absence of any existing or future draw for people to that area except on game day, the park is likely to become just another haven for the homeless. In that case, it would be a tremendous waste of money. Either the city goes all-out and develops the park properly so as to be a cornerstone of future downtown development, or else they should just forget about it entirely. If the park proves successful in spurring development, the money spent on it won't be waste; it will be an investment that pays tremendous dividends over the long run.

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A forumer at another board made a pretty good pont. He is a member here, but I don't know where he's at.

The park plan sounds great, but I have felt that if they do not adopt some blueprint for future aspiring developers to follow on how the area around the park is going to be used, it will not be used to its full potential. I hope they do not expect for this thing to only cater to the Hilton/ GRB/ Toyota Center/ Minute Maid Park crowd. Get real Houston. There needs to be some sort of retail/residential component to surround the park. We need Ed Wulfe or some other local urban developer to come in that knows how this city functions when land gets into the wrong developer's hands.

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Guest danax

Let's move all large parking lots underground eventually. It's a smart use of land, even if we end up with less large trees in the park. Plus, we might be able to turn them into hurricane shelters when needed.

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Let's move all large parking lots underground eventually. It's a smart use of land, even if we end up with less large trees in the park. Plus, we might be able to turn them into hurricane shelters when needed.

Might have to address flooding issues, though. Remember Allison..

Edited by mike1

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Underground parking there would be great. Union Square in the heart of San Francisco's retail district has underground parking. It would be a great benefit.

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I know that most of you will hate me for saying this but I just can't get to excited about a park. I mean come on! there is already a really big park in front of downtown. Besides this is a very small space. It would have been even nicer to see a mixed use project there. But since you guys are happy, I'm happy.

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The problem I've had with this thing from day one is the amount of money being spent to build a park 3 blocks wide and 3 blocks long that is to become Downtown's "Jewel" park as if forgeting that Elenor Tinsley park even exists. Does anyone have the current price tag available? You're right, it's all private money, but that private money could have been spent on upgrades to Elenor Tinsley park that would make it world-class.

Once again, not dissing the park itself, just the monetary excess being thrown at it that is desperately needed elswhere.

If you've ever read any of the articles that were written before Millennium Park opened, the same criticism ran rampant. Now where are those articles?

Yes, the money could go to infant orphans in Afghanistan in need of prenatal care, but it won't. This park will be a HUGE asset to downtown's revitalization and should be welcomed.

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I know that most of you will hate me for saying this but I just can't get to excited about a park. I mean come on! there is already a really big park in front of downtown. Besides this is a very small space. It would have been even nicer to see a mixed use project there. But since you guys are happy, I'm happy.

To each his own, but parks raise land values and with increased land values also comes the type of development that you would like to see. I've heard the same sentiments that we already have a park from others, which I find really funny because a common complaint in other areas of this site is exactly that Houston doesn't have enough "green space" (read that to mean "parks")! I think a good mix of parks, transportation improvements, sports, and entertainment venues like we are seeing on the eastern edge of downtown will ultimately draw developers who are willing to invest in mixed use development. Conversely, acres of parking lot space and intimidating no man's land will lead precisely to what we've gotten for the last 20 years--nothing!

Let's think about this rationally--if you were a developer, would you rather place your multimillion dollar high rise, mixed-use, investment in the middle of an endless asphalt moonscape, or would you rather bet on an up-and-coming area with amenities such as parks and entertainment venues? If you were an apartment buyer or a store owner, in which type of area would you rather locate your business or residence? The park is important because it leads to investment and development.

Edited by mike1

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I think it's a great idea. The only above-ground parking that doesn't look like an eyesore to me is the Toyota Center.

I'd like to see more surface lots converted into underground parking with retail on top if possible Downtown. And I think the Park AND garage will be successful in 2007 :)

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The problem I've had with this thing from day one is the amount of money being spent to build a park 3 blocks wide and 3 blocks long that is to become Downtown's "Jewel" park as if forgeting that Elenor Tinsley park even exists.

Agree 100%

And for all you "urbanists" in love with pedestrian activity, why discourage it by building an undgerground parking garage connected to the GRB and Hotel. We alreday despise the tunnel system.

There is plenty of parking on the lots towards St. Joe's & the Engine Room, and street parking all over the place.

Is four or five blocks too far to walk?

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Is four or five blocks too far to walk?

for some, perhaps...but hell, it is cheap!

Edited by sevfiv

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If you've ever read any of the articles that were written before Millennium Park opened, the same criticism ran rampant. Now where are those articles?

Yes, the money could go to infant orphans in Afghanistan in need of prenatal care, but it won't. This park will be a HUGE asset to downtown's revitalization and should be welcomed.

OK, then tell me the last time you hung out in Millennium Park? After all the publicity dies down, the only people that use Millenium Park are people who work on blocks surrounding it. It's so broken up it's more a maze than a park. Same goes for Jones plaza. Jones Plaza doesn't look like a park or a plaza, it looks like an over-designed monument, which is exactly what I am forecasting for the new park. I saw that there are a bunch of rich socailites on the board of the new park. My money says they're going to want to impress all their friends with the amount of money they raise and all the crap they can stuff in the new park.

Here's a crazy design for the new park, plant as much grass as you can fit on the land with enough trees to provide shade in parts while leaving open areas for congregating. Add a couple large pieces of outdoor art and you have a simple, elegantly designed green space for people to enjoy, not some over-designed "legacy" to a socialite's fundraising ability.

Edited by HeightsGuy

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Agree 100%

And for all you "urbanists" in love with pedestrian activity, why discourage it by building an undgerground parking garage connected to the GRB and Hotel. We alreday despise the tunnel system.

There is plenty of parking on the lots towards St. Joe's & the Engine Room, and street parking all over the place.

Is four or five blocks too far to walk?

But don't you see? That's exactly the problem...everyone is so terribly concerned with preserving some urban vision that they have for downtown that they neglect the things that actual people might want to have down there. I've worked downtown for over 5 years and can personally attest that despite all of the grumblings on this site about how much the tunnel system sucks, it's certainly better than walking street-level in the middle of the 110 degree August heat or in the middle of one of Houston's monsoons. Additionally, the tunnels certainly seem more economically viable than almost anything that's on street level. Downtown would be unbearable about 70% of the year if it weren't for the ability to get from one place to another without having to go out into the heat and the elements. Instead of fighting what is an obvious preference for almost everyone who lives, works, or owns a shop or restaurant downtown, why shouldn't the city develop plans to incorporate its benefits? Why continue to kick against the goads?

Be honest, those of you who actually work and live downtown: for all of the complaining that goes on about the tunnel system, how many times do you find yourself actually using it? (I'll bet it's more than you would care to admit on this site!) It might feel good to complain about people being too lazy to walk outside, but where does it get you when you ignore what most people obviously want? It goes back to the point that no matter what you decide to build down there, it better meet people's wants and needs, or else it WILL fail...

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i don't work downtown, but i spend a lot of time there in the evenings and weekends. and i've been in the tunnels once, because they are never open when i'm there.

so no, i don't find myself using them, because i can't. but i do find myself walking the streets of downtown often, and wish there was more activity.

and i don't know how different the weather is in downtown, but that 70% doesn't make sense to me. i'm sure the number of days a year that its "bearable" to walk outside in houston is similar to chicago or new york. but i guess that depends on your definition of bearable.

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i don't work downtown, but i spend a lot of time there in the evenings and weekends. and i've been in the tunnels once, because they are never open when i'm there.

so no, i don't find myself using them, because i can't. but i do find myself walking the streets of downtown often, and wish there was more activity.

and i don't know how different the weather is in downtown, but that 70% doesn't make sense to me. i'm sure the number of days a year that its "bearable" to walk outside in houston is similar to chicago or new york. but i guess that depends on your definition of bearable.

Sure

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I agree, I have never understood the whole heat thing. It gets just as hot in NYC on a given summer day as it does here, only difference being that it's August when that occurs, not necessarily April or October.

On the flipside, in Boston, Chicago, and other northern cities, the temp can dip below 0 degrees on occasion, and can stay below freezing for weeks on end. I don't think they have built extended tunnel systems in Boston to get them out of the cold.

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I agree, I have never understood the whole heat thing. It gets just as hot in NYC on a given summer day as it does here, only difference being that it's August when that occurs, not necessarily April or October.

On the flipside, in Boston, Chicago, and other northern cities, the temp can dip below 0 degrees on occasion, and can stay below freezing for weeks on end. I don't think they have built extended tunnel systems in Boston to get them out of the cold.

They did build tunnel systems

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Been Downtown for 10 years. Not only can I count on one hand the number of times I have been in the tunnels, I question your 70% figure, as well as when it has ever been 110 degrees in Houston.

I park at Market Square Garage, office on Main Street, and go to both the County Courthouse on Franklin and the US Courthouse on Rusk. I walk to all of them, sometimes walking from Franklin to Rusk for court settings. I wear a suit and tie, carry a briefcase...the whole 9 yards. I do it in the middle of the summer, and last month when it got ALL the way to 33 degrees. There are a few days a year when it is so hot AND humid that I cannot cool down...less than 10. There are many days where it is hot enough that I walk on the side of the street where the shade is. But, it has NEVER been so cold or hot that I couldn't or wouldn't do it.

There are those who drive around parking lots until a space next to the store opens up. I don't think government should plan it's infrastructure to accomodate them.

As for subways within 2-3 blocks of every downtown office...you need to look at your maps closer.

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mike1, i'm not knocking the tunnel system, i think its great, and if i worked downtown in a building with access, i know i would use them. i didn't even know they existed until over a year after i moved back here...

i still think downtown should accommodate those on a leisurely Saturday stroll as well. if i'm going to a show or game, i'm not going to go into the tunnels to find a place to eat or grab a drink, that's just not appealing. they're good for what they were built for.

what does this have to do with an underground garage again?

Edited by skwatra

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Been Downtown for 10 years. Not only can I count on one hand the number of times I have been in the tunnels, I question your 70% figure, as well as when it has ever been 110 degrees in Houston.

I park at Market Square Garage, office on Main Street, and go to both the County Courthouse on Franklin and the US Courthouse on Rusk. I walk to all of them, sometimes walking from Franklin to Rusk for court settings. I wear a suit and tie, carry a briefcase...the whole 9 yards. I do it in the middle of the summer, and last month when it got ALL the way to 33 degrees. There are a few days a year when it is so hot AND humid that I cannot cool down...less than 10. There are many days where it is hot enough that I walk on the side of the street where the shade is. But, it has NEVER been so cold or hot that I couldn't or wouldn't do it.

There are those who drive around parking lots until a space next to the store opens up. I don't think government should plan it's infrastructure to accomodate them.

As for subways within 2-3 blocks of every downtown office...you need to look at your maps closer.

Good for you, but I bet if the tunnel system did connect to the courthouse (which is something that desperately need to happen) most people who work there would use it. I guess that explains the lack of newer commercial development in that area too.

You all can debate my subjective level of comfort and relative laziness in getting around downtown, but you still can't challenge my point that most people prefer to use the tunnels when given an option to do so and that tunnels can be used to help spur downtown development.

mike1, i'm not knocking the tunnel system, i think its great, and if i worked downtown in a building with access, i know i would use them. i didn't even know they existed until over a year after i moved back here...

i still think downtown should accommodate those on a leisurely Saturday stroll as well. if i'm going to a show or game, i'm not going to go into the tunnels to find a place to eat or grab a drink, that's just not appealing. they're good for what they were built for.

what does this have to do with an underground garage again?

Absolutely, I agree with you on that one: downtown can be made to accommodate a variety of different needs and uses. One person's vision for downtown need not preclude someone else's ...and yes the topic has drifted severely! I think it started when someone made the connection between underground garages and the underground tunnel system, but I'm not really sure at this point.

I guess I stepped in a world of sh** by piping up on this topic!! :wacko:

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Good for you, but I bet if the tunnel system did connect to the courthouse (which is something that desperately need to happen) most people who work there would use it. I guess that explains the lack of newer commercial development in that area too.

You all can debate my subjective level of comfort and relative laziness in getting around downtown, but you still can't challenge my point that most people prefer to use the tunnels when given an option to do so and that tunnels can be used to help spur downtown development.

mike, there ARE tunnels connecting the entire County building complex, including the County Administration Building, less than 100 feet from my office. The only time I go into the County tunnels is when the metal detectors at the courthouse entrance are overcrowded. I know a shortcut through the tunnels to bypass it. However, these are REAL tunnels, similar to catacombs. :lol:

The reason I don't use the tunnels, nor my friends, is because we like getting outside. Even in the heat, it is better than staying indoors all day. That might not be a big deal for you, at least not to the point of suffering the streets. It just is for me. ;)

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mike, there ARE tunnels connecting the entire County building complex, including the County Administration Building, less than 100 feet from my office. The only time I go into the County tunnels is when the metal detectors at the courthouse entrance are overcrowded. I know a shortcut through the tunnels to bypass it. However, these are REAL tunnels, similar to catacombs. :lol:

The reason I don't use the tunnels, nor my friends, is because we like getting outside. Even in the heat, it is better than staying indoors all day. That might not be a big deal for you, at least not to the point of suffering the streets. It just is for me. ;)

I do, in fact, admit to doing both. I'll normally walk on street level at lunch and at quittin' time, but I'll use the tunnels for appointments and when I'm in a rush. Kind of like using the expressway versus taking the scenic route. I was in the courthouse tunnel system one time, as part of a jury pool: "Catacombs" is an apt description!

Unfortunately, I just recently moved from downtown out to the Westchase area. Trying to navigate Westheimer at lunchtime makes even the tunnels feel like a leisurely weekend stroll around the block!

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Exhibit #1:

Site activity plan for the new park

An 11 acre park with 10 distinct areas, one of which is a 2 acre pond. The only thing this park is missing is a ferris wheel. Tilman Fertitta would be proud. Don't people know by now that trying to be all things to all people usually ends up being a mess?

Does look like they're trying to do a little too much given the size of the area...and, yes, the putting green is a little over the top. Hopefully, they'll scale back a little before they actually start moving dirt. Other than that, it looks like it would be a nice place to take children, at least.

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I kind of don't understand the general negativity from people on the park. I read through that document and I think that it sounds like a pretty good idea of what all a park that is a centerpiece would encompass. I agree there will be arguments about who gets contracts for such and such portion and the bid for certain things, the tenants will probably suck for a few of the ideas, some will get left out in the end, but overall its got to be something that will bring people into the park than just people that live within a few miles. Grass and some benches is probably the main idea of a park, but what does that do to draw people in? yes, the ideas do sound Kemah-ish, but what is so wrong with that? Its meant to be something pretty touristy/ accessible to everyone.

When is the last time everyone here went to Tinsley park just to hang out and enjoy the green space on a saturday afternoon? i love that park too, but very different priorities are in place for each one. I for one look at the template and think its a good set of ideas. I know making it complicated will definitely delay things, but I wouldn't mind having a park like that to enjoy, especially this time of year when it is so nice outside. Only thing that I saw a little lacking on was athletic type things. Tennis courts would be a great addition, even its just a few. I saw they addressed basketball and volleyball, but there aren't that many tennis courts around dt that I know of.

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When is the last time everyone here went to Tinsley park just to hang out and enjoy the green space on a saturday afternoon?

For me, last weekend with about 1000 others.....

I don't have a general negativity toward this park, I have specific issues with it. First of all is the liberal use of the work "park" here. IMO, the plans for this space have more in common with a Chuckie Cheese than a park. My specific beef with this park is that when it's all said and done, there will be less "green" space on that parcel of land than there is now even when you include the 2 blocks of parking lots.

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I don't have a general negativity toward this park, I have specific issues with it. First of all is the liberal use of the work "park" here. IMO, the plans for this space have more in common with a Chuckie Cheese than a park. My specific beef with this park is that when it's all said and done, there will be less "green" space on that parcel of land than there is now even when you include the 2 blocks of parking lots.

Would you be satisfied if we stopped calling it a park, and started calling it something like, "public recreation space?"

As I understand it, this isn't meant to just be a passive green space, but a place for activity and for public recreation. Hence the multiple uses throughout the park, errrr, public recreation space.

No matter what you call it, I think it will become a great gathering spot in Houston, and it will be a much-welcomed amenity in downtown.

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Sure, call it a whatever. It just seems like any time Houston gets a chance to make something great everyone jumps over eachother to try to come up with the brightest, flashiest thing possible when, just as good (or even better) would be a modest take on a proven idea.

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So as to get off my soapbox and show you what we are potentially missing out on, here is an example of what another city decided to do when they had the chance to build a new downtown park. Seattle in the process of building a brand-new 8.5 acre downtown park along the waterfront. Notice the lack of restaurants and vendor booths in the plan, I know, shocking.....:

Seattle's Olympic Sculpture Park

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I? yes, the ideas do sound Kemah-ish, but what is so wrong with that?

Poor Tillman....

....in his defense I will say that I know people who will drive over an hour and a half to get to Kemah but won't spend less than half the time and distance going downtown. He must be doing something right over there in Kemah...that place is packed almost 24-7! Can we say the same about downtown?

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The Dog Run/Picnic combo is perhaps the worse idea I have EVER heard of. This is new to the plan since the last time I read it.

I love my toy poodle, but do we REALLY need to cram a dog run in the park, too.

And the POND? Good grief. That's almost as bad as having to use the consultants from NYC to build a simple park.

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So as to get off my soapbox and show you what we are potentially missing out on, here is an example of what another city decided to do when they had the chance to build a new downtown park. Seattle in the process of building a brand-new 8.5 acre downtown park along the waterfront. Notice the lack of restaurants and vendor booths in the plan, I know, shocking.....:

Seattle's Olympic Sculpture Park

So what. Different parks serve different purposes.

In any event, you might want to look a little more closely; From the website you linked us to:

The top of the park, at the city

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The Dog Run/Picnic combo is perhaps the worse idea I have EVER heard of. This is new to the plan since the last time I read it.

I love my toy poodle, but do we REALLY need to cram a dog run in the park, too.

And the POND? Good grief. That's almost as bad as having to use the consultants from NYC to build a simple park.

Good point about the dog run/picnic area. Nothing like getting a good Fido leg-humping while trying to eat your burger! Not to mention all of those little doggie mines that will be all over the place! Kinda reminds me of Cousin Eddie's dog under the table in Christmas Vacation!

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The Dog Run/Picnic combo is perhaps the worse idea I have EVER heard of. This is new to the plan since the last time I read it.

I love my toy poodle, but do we REALLY need to cram a dog run in the park, too.

And the POND? Good grief. That's almost as bad as having to use the consultants from NYC to build a simple park.

The dog run has been in the plan since the first Site Activity Plan was first released many months ago. I personally think it's one of the very best features of the park. If we want people living downtown, we have to expect some of them might have dogs.

The total relentless negativity on this board is getting quite tiresome. If projects are done with local architects/designers we attack because we're not drawing in fresh world-class talent. If projects are done in a low-key way, we attack because Houston is not doing anything flashy/attention-getting/cutting-edge. If projects are done by world-class designers from outside Houston (such as this park) and they try to make something world-class, we attack because we're trying to be too flashy. If projects are designed without public input, we attack because the powers that be are imposing their designs on us. If projects (such as this one) are designed with huge amounts of public input, we attack because they are trying to please everyone. If downtown parks are vacant green space used by nobody but homeless (which is exactly the current situation of the green portions of what will become this park), we attack. If the city proposes to develop a park that has great potential to actually be used by thousands of people in many different way, we attack. If restaurants/developments are built without adequate parking, we attack. If plans are made to include parking, we attack. For crying out loud, we even attack for the audacity of giving names to projects. I don't think they've named this park yet; I hope it won't be considered to pretentious for it to have a name.

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And FYI - I avoid the tunnels like the plague. I may grab a sandwich down there, but that's about it.

There are some nice sections (like under Reliant Energy Plaza), but for the most part, they creep me out.

And I get to work at 8:00, and you can still walk to work without getting too hot. And after work, who cares if you break a sweat while walking to the parking garage?

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Good point about the dog run/picnic area. Nothing like getting a good Fido leg-humping while trying to eat your burger! Not to mention all of those little doggie mines that will be all over the place! Kinda reminds me of Cousin Eddie's dog under the table in Christmas Vacation!

The Site Activity Plan is a rather generalized conceptual plan. I think they are indicating a general area that include both a dog park and a picnic area, not necessarily combined into one. From the plan: "There will be fenced in 'dog runs' for downtown residents and their pets and nearby picnic tables and benches."

Edited by Houston19514

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The total relentless negativity on this board is getting quite tiresome.

Then please, find another thread to read. If we had a bunch of "Yes Men" then I'd really be worried about this project.

I think we are all for this project. But it sure appears we are trying to cram far too much into this little space. Less is more as far as this project is concerned.

And FWIW, if you use paragraphs it makes your tirades much easier to read.

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The Site Activity Plan is a rather generalized conceptual plan. I think they are indicating a general area that include both a dog park and a picnic area, not necessarily combined into one. From the plan: "There will be fenced in 'dog runs' for downtown residents and their pets and nearby picnic tables and benches."

Hope so! My comment was more in jest, as the previous post conjured up a funny image in my mind... Sorry, no more bad humor!

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The dog run has been in the plan since the first Site Activity Plan was first released many months ago. I personally think it's one of the very best features of the park. If we want people living downtown, we have to expect some of them might have dogs.

The total relentless negativity on this board is getting quite tiresome. If projects are done with local architects/designers we attack because we're not drawing in fresh world-class talent. If projects are done in a low-key way, we attack because Houston is not doing anything flashy/attention-getting/cutting-edge. If projects are done by world-class designers from outside Houston (such as this park) and they try to make something world-class, we attack because we're trying to be too flashy. If projects are designed without public input, we attack because the powers that be are imposing their designs on us. If projects (such as this one) are designed with huge amounts of public input, we attack because they are trying to please everyone. If downtown parks are vacant green space used by nobody but homeless (which is exactly the current situation of the green portions of what will become this park), we attack. If the city proposes to develop a park that has great potential to actually be used by thousands of people in many different way, we attack. If restaurants/developments are built without adequate parking, we attack. If plans are made to include parking, we attack. For crying out loud, we even attack for the audacity of giving names to projects. I don't think they've named this park yet; I hope it won't be considered to pretentious for it to have a name.

I'm laughing like hell because this is the post I would've made if I had the desire to go through the process of typing it. It's almost to the point where I don't even read info on projects anymore to gain information but to watching the frenzy of people picking every nit possible to the point of contradicting a point they made about another project.

The project will be imperfect. I can't think of one that ever comes out perfect. Anywhere. Then again, going back to some other famous nitpicks to be found at HAIF, it may all be a smokescreen, a fraud. It may never even be built.

Which will take some of us back to another old reliable complaint. You know, the one about nothing ever getting built in Houston.

I'd love for this board to be part of a focus group concerning a proposed project. The developer might kill him/herself after a few readings.

Edited by The Great Hizzy!

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But even still, why put the picnic area near the dog run?

Put the dogs out of the way. Call me crazy, but I'd prefer a nice little quiet picnic in my urban oasis without having to hear a bunch dogs bark.

And I don't have a lot of sympathy for folks with dogs living downtown to begin with. Acutally, I do feel sorry for the dogs. I see those poor pooches taking care of business at Market Square, and they look miserable on their walk back to Rice.

The project will be imperfect.

Actually, I think the project is pretty good. Just scrap the undergroud parking, and lose a few of the activity areas.

Less IS more as far as this tiny park is concerned.

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And FYI - I avoid the tunnels like the plague. I may grab a sandwich down there, but that's about it.

There are some nice sections (like under Reliant Energy Plaza), but for the most part, they creep me out.

And I get to work at 8:00, and you can still walk to work without getting too hot. And after work, who cares if you break a sweat while walking to the parking garage?

I think we agreed to leave the "tunnel good...tunnel bad" debate for another time and place. We're never going to convince each other and its not really on point with the topic at hand. I admit to going outside when the weather is nice, and I assume you'll admit that the tunnels are convenient at least for some people some of the time...

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I see the tunnels as a very considerate feature. The simple truth is that there is a large number of us who are very sensitive to the elements (today, in fact, I had a lady say that it was a bit too nippy for her to walk over to Jason's Deli--this at a very enjoyable, IMO, 64 degrees). So given that, the tunnels serve a distinct and faithful clientelle.

OTOH, in providing for the sensitivities of one group, developers/planners may have gone overboard and to the detriment to traditional street retail. I think the best balance is to find a way to provide better linkage between street level and tunnel access. A pretty good example is the McKinney Garage Entrance on Main Street. You can grab a donut a Krispy Kreme or stop by CVS for whatever and then head down to Rajin' Cajun. Imagine if you then added a higher profile retailer like Old Navy or TJ Max to one of the Main Street Square parcels?

In this, I hope the new park and parking garage will provide a prototype--linking underground Houston with street level Houston in a not-before-seen harmony.

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I'm laughing like hell because this is the post I would've made if I had the desire to go through the process of typing it. It's almost to the point where I don't even read info on projects anymore to gain information but to watching the frenzy of people picking every nit possible to the point of contradicting a point they made about another project.

The project will be imperfect. I can't think of one that ever comes out perfect. Anywhere. Then again, going back to some other famous nitpicks to be found at HAIF, it may all be a smokescreen, a fraud. It may never even be built.

Which will take some of us back to another old reliable complaint. You know, the one about nothing ever getting built in Houston.

I'd love for this board to be part of a focus group concerning a proposed project. The developer might kill him/herself after a few readings.

Sorry guys, you can't shame me into being on board with this park design. Many of you are architects, you know that it's possible to stuff an oversized L-shaped couch, wet bar, and a 50 in plasma TV into a 10x10 room, but why would you do that? An 8.5 acre downtown park is the public space equivalent to the 10x10 room.

The only, and I mean only, point I am making is that there is too much going on. Less is more, that's all I'm saying.

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I see the tunnels as a very considerate feature. The simple truth is that there is a large number of us who are very sensitive to the elements (today, in fact, I had a lady say that it was a bit too nippy for her to walk over to Jason's Deli--this at a very enjoyable, IMO, 64 degrees). So given that, the tunnels serve a distinct and faithful clientelle.

OTOH, in providing for the sensitivities of one group, developers/planners may have gone overboard and to the detriment to traditional street retail. I think the best balance is to find a way to provide better linkage between street level and tunnel access. A pretty good example is the McKinney Garage Entrance on Main Street. You can grab a donut a Krispy Kreme or stop by CVS for whatever and then head down to Rajin' Cajun. Imagine if you then added a higher profile retailer like Old Navy or TJ Max to one of the Main Street Square parcels?

In this, I hope the new park and parking garage will provide a prototype--linking underground Houston with street level Houston in a not-before-seen harmony.

I can agree with this point. Not every challenge is the same, and different developments require different plans depending on the desired outcome. A tunnel is a great solution for certain types of development but may be inappropriate in other instances. Its hard to speak about this in general terms.

In the meanwhile, I agree to let everyone else on this site have their own daily routines as long as they agree to let me have mine. :D

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Guest danax
The only, and I mean only, point I am making is that there is too much going on. Less is more, that's all I'm saying.

I personally agree with a wanting a more serene oasis type place but, reading the document, this was a park-by-committee with a lot of input from different groups and individuals. Of course, it's going to become overloaded with ideas doing it that way, as opposed to letting one architect plan it. We all talk about how dead DT is. With all of the out-of-towners over there, they probably figured a serene and green plot of land would end up being empty and unused save for the usual bums and wandering mystics.

The idea seems to be to attract as many people as possible to it, therefore naturally, they figured they'd need a lot of parking.

I agree too with Hizzy's thought of somehow continuing to link the tunnels to the New Downtown piece by piece creating a very unique streetscape/tunnelscape.

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Sorry guys, you can't shame me into being on board with this park design. Many of you are architects, you know that it's possible to stuff an oversized L-shaped couch, wet bar, and a 50 in plasma TV into a 10x10 room, but why would you do that? An 8.5 acre downtown park is the public space equivalent to the 10x10 room.

The only, and I mean only, point I am making is that there is too much going on. Less is more, that's all I'm saying.

What if we expanded the site by almost 50%, to 12 acres? Would you be happy then?

In any event, keep in mind that what we have seen is not the final design of the park. I'm pretty sure I read somewhere recently that the final design may not include all of the elements that are in the Site Activity Plan.

Earlier you said your biggest beef was that there will be less greenspace than there is now. Unless you've seen some plans that are not on the Park's website, I don't know where you came up with that. According to the Site Activity Plan on the website, pretty much all of what is currently greenspace will remain greenspace, plus a good chunk of what is now parking in front of the Hilton Americas will become greenspace, plus a good chunk (actually a majority) of what is now parking to the north of the current greenspace. (I recognize that the pond may not be technically "green," but I'm counting it and the area around it as greenspace anyway. )

And here's some more food for thought. The widely-acclaimed Bryant Park in NYC is 4 acres and its amenities/activies include:

Bryant Park Grille

Bryant Park Cafe

a Coffee kiosk

a "Creamery" kiosk

a Soups & Salads kiosk

a Sandwiches kiosk

chess & Backgammon areas

Boule ball area

a pond with skat rental facilities and warming pavilion

Ice Cafe

Pond Snack Bar

Music at the Pond

Carousel

Flower kiosk

The Bryant Park Reading Room

Wireless network

Apparently, New Yorkers didn't get the "less is more" memo and yet the park is wildly successful.

Edited by Houston19514

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Here's another: Detroit's Campus Martius Park. Only 2 acres! Its amenities include:

major fountains and waterwalls

ice rink

cafe

major monuments

Lawn light and vine towers

two lawn areas

sitting gardens

two stages

all on only 2 acres. and it's surrounded by apparently pretty high-traffic streets. (It actually is making me think more of the possibilities for Holcombe Square.)

And they gave it a name! The horror of it all. Those Detroiters are sooo pretentious. ;-)

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