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Posts Tagged ‘downtown’

New rail lines set to officially open

I’m so ready. The Metropolitan Transit Authority, after numerous delays, will christen the Green and Purple lines Saturday with free rides and community celebrations, just in time for Memorial Day. The openings signify the end of a long, sometimes painful journey that tested nerves and frustrated supporters and opponents alike. Officials are encouraged the process […]

Downtown post office set to close

The end of an era approaches. Thousands gathered at 401 Franklin Street in downtown Houston to celebrate the opening of a new facility trumpeted as an “ultra-modern” marvel, the hub for the mail that would flow in and out of one of America’s fastest growing cities. Inside the rugged Brutalist building, a lattice-like grid of […]

One hundred days till the new bus network

And counting down. Metro on Friday began the 100-day countdown to sweeping changes in local bus service, conceding that months of work ultimately will be judged by the level of confusion – small or large – that happens Aug. 16, and its effects on riders left with longer trips. “We cannot miss this mark, and […]

More I-45 stuff

From The Highwayman: Public meetings meant to debut the massive plan to remake Houston’s downtown freeway system might be coming to an end, but it’s hardly the last chance residents will have to poke and prod the plans. Years of work remain on the $6 billion-plus project that shifts Interstate 45 to the east side […]

Pierce Skypark

How’s this for a big idea? “Imagine something big,” says John Cryer, an architect at Page Southerland Page. “Really big.” He’s talking about the Pierce Elevated Freeway, the raised stretch of I-45 that hooks around the west side of downtown Houston. With an eye toward improving traffic flow, the Texas Department of Transportation is proposing […]

TxDOT reveals its I-45 plan

Wow. Just, wow. A massive reconstruction of Interstate 45 through most of Houston would topple one of downtown’s most frustrating barriers – the Pierce Elevated – and move the freeway east of the central business district. That’s just one of the major changes Texas Department of Transportation officials included in the $6 billion-plus plan to […]

System reimagining is hard work

Jarrett Walker, who consulted with Metro on bus system reimagining, wants you to know that it was harder than it looked. These no-new-resources restructurings always involve cutting some low-ridership services to add higher-ridership ones, and these can be incredibly painful decisions for boards, civic leaders, and transit managements. Civic officials can come out looking better […]

Metro’s new rail station

Houston Central Station is finally open, though in a much less impressive form than it might have been. Houston’s first new rail station in nearly 14 months [opened] Wednesday, but it won’t serve its main purpose – connecting riders on multiple lines – until Metro overcomes persistent delays in expanding its service. Central Station Main, […]

Another I-45 public meeting should be scheduled soon

From Jim Weston of the I-45 Coalition: TxDOT will soon be holding another public meeting! TxDOT has been working for years to come up with a plan to ‘relieve’ the congestion on I-45. After several years, TxDOT is getting closer to come up with a “plan”. The I-45 Coalition is a group of neighborhood volunteers […]

System reimagining time

Big day today, hopefully. A once-in-a-generation change to Houston bus service – shifting from a downtown-focused, hub-and-spoke design to a broader network reflecting new ways people move around – could receive final approval by Metro’s board Wednesday. Officials say the “reimagining” may represent a make-or-break moment in the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s efforts to boost lagging […]

Opposition to the high speed rail line gets organized

You had to figure something like this was coming. I was recently informed of NoTexasCentral.com, and I’ll let them introduce themselves: Texas Central Railway (TCR), a Japanese funded Texas-based private railroad company, is set to build and operate a high speed train system from Dallas to Houston. With stations slated only at the ends of […]

Small fix, big (we hope) effect

This would be nice. Take the entrance ramp from Allen Parkway to southbound Interstate 45. Everyone from drivers to transportation officials knows it is a problem. “At this location there are entrance ramps from both Memorial Drive and from Allen Parkway which merge onto the freeway on the right and left sides, respectively, at the […]

From industrial to residential

More changes coming to my neck of the woods. Some of the old warehouses lining a stretch of Sawyer Street across Interstate 10 from the Heights are being primed for new development, as this First Ward area continues to morph from industrial hub to an upscale artsy neighborhood. Houston-based Lovett Commercial is transforming a 1950s […]

How does a 25 MPH speed limit for downtown Houston grab you?

Christopher Andrews makes the case in Gray Matters: Does anyone know the speed limit in downtown Houston? Probably not. Casual observation shows speeds there normally range anywhere from gridlock to Gran Prix. I don’t believe there are any speed-limit signs. But there is a speed limit. And no, it’s not “however fast you can drive […]

How about high speed rail plus light rail?

Now here‘s an interesting idea. More than 200 people turned out Thursday to voice their concerns over the proposed track of the High-Speed Rail (HSR) train that would take travelers from Houston to Dallas in 90 minutes. “I think that the HSR is a great solution for inter city travel but I believe it doesn’t […]

A very brief I-45 update

Way at the bottom of this overview of transit projects and milestones for 2015 are these three paragraphs: The freeway project likely to attract the most attention in the Houston area – widening Interstate 45 from the Sam Houston Tollway to the central business district – is years away from construction but will also have […]

HSPVA groundbreaking

Looking forward to seeing how this turns out. A slab of cracked cement painted over with yellow parking lines sits at the corner of Rusk and Austin – with downtown skyscrapers looming overhead. Come Tuesday, the cement will be ripped up and construction will begin on a new five-story, 168,000-square-foot building for the Houston ISD’s […]

A chance to help the sobering center

It’s a good cause. When the Houston Recovery Center turns to the public in coming months for the first time and asks for help, the request will likely seem small and perhaps odd: The city-backed sobering unit wants to raise funds to pay two van drivers. But it’s a request that says a lot about […]

More concerns about the high speed rail route

Some people who live not far from me are not very happy about the high speed rail line possibly running through their neighborhood. The prospect of a high-speed train crossing through First Ward into downtown Houston has residents scrambling to weigh in on the proposal. “I’m completely opposed to this project. I believe we can […]

The Woodlands wants to be on the high speed rail route

Can’t blame ’em. The Woodlands Township is urging federal and state officials to take another look at the potential benefits of adding a high-speed rail corridor along Interstate 45. Last month, the Federal Railway Administration and the Texas Department of Transportation revealed two potential routes for a proposed bullet train that could one day connect […]

Bringing the high speed rail line downtown

Building that high speed rail line from Dallas to Houston is one thing. Bringing it to a centrally-located terminal is another. Plans for a high-speed rail line between Houston and Dallas are moving relatively quickly beyond a recent initial round of public meetings. Questions about the route are dominating discussions. Though still years away – […]

Downtown dedicated bike lane delayed a bit

Aiming for the end of the year now. Conversion of a traffic lane on Lamar into Houston’s main bike route through downtown has been delayed as officials finalize plans and wait for in-demand humps known as “armadillos” to arrive. Department of Public Works and Engineering officials initially said work would start on the lanes in […]

Food trucks arrive downtown

Welcome. Houston’s foodie community rejoiced Friday as Mayor Annise Parker welcomed propane-fueled food trucks downtown after a years-long ban, but more plans to loosen the city’s mobile unit rules are not likely to meet the same fanfare at City Council in the coming months. Parker bypassed council to remove the restriction on propane-fueled food trucks […]

Southeast and Harrisburg line openings delayed again

sigh Metro acknowledged Wednesday that it will be unable to open its two new light rail lines this year as promised, the latest in a series of delays and controversies associated with the rail system. Less than two months ago, Metropolitan Transit Authority officials said the agency’s Green and Purple lines would open in December […]

Rearranging the traffic

Not sure how much of an effect this will have. Among the 200,000 motorists who traverse Interstate 45 just south of downtown every day, a fair number find themselves weaving frantically from lane to lane as they approach the connection with U.S. 59. State transportation officials hope to reduce the stress felt by these drivers, […]

The trouble with the Southwest Freeway

I think the problem is easy enough to identify. The solution is another matter. Houston-area transportation planners are considering some novel strategies – at least for Texas – for managing traffic to ease congestion on U.S. 59 between downtown Houston and the Sam Houston Tollway. Among the steps that may be considered are clearing accidents […]

A bike lane to connect to bike trails

Makes sense. Houston may get its first protected on-street bike route as early as October, as city officials prepare to convert a lane of Lamar Street downtown into a two-way cycling path connecting the popular Buffalo Bayou trails west of downtown to Discovery Green and points east. The nearly three-quarter-mile connector, from the east end […]

The downside to downtown’s boom

More traffic, less parking, and lots of construction. Where have we heard those complaints before? Construction crews are clearing city blocks once dedicated to surface parking, readying the sites for multistory office buildings, hotels and residential towers. Adjacent sidewalks and traffic lanes are cordoned off, and two major downtown cross-streets are tied up with light […]

Bringing commuter rail into downtown

From The Highwayman: As has been reported, the Gulf Coast Rail District is studying the best possible routes for commuter rail in the Houston area, and one of the biggest challenges is bringing the trains into downtown. From the looks of the initial analysis of the U.S. 290 corridor, the trip to the central business […]

And we (finally) circle back to food trucks

We’ve done HERO, we’ve done vehicles for hire, what other high profile issues are there out there? Oh yeah, food trucks. I’d almost forgotten they were still an agenda item, but they’re back and they should be getting a vote soon. Proposed changes to three major ordinances could provide food trucks with new freedom. While […]

Transforming the GRB Convention Center

I don’t think I’d realized that there was a renovation of the George R. Brown Convention Center in the works, but after reading this story, I’m excited about it. By late next year, people strolling the George R. Brown Convention Center plaza can take in restaurants, sidewalk cafes, landscaped walk-ways and a water fountain. At […]

Commuter rail status

There’s still a push for commuter rail in Houston. With freight trains on Houston area tracks teeming with cargo, supporters of commuter rail to the suburbs are focusing on three spots where they can potentially build their own lines for passengers. The Gulf Coast Rail District – created in part to find a way to […]

B-Cycle keeps racking up good numbers

Great to see. From meager beginnings, Houston’s bikesharing program has blossomed into a big draw for visitors and locals looking for a quick ride. For the first six months of 2014, Houston B-Cycle logged 43,530 checkouts, according to agency data. The system had about 2,000 checkouts in all of 2012, the year it started with […]

Astrodome Park: The population isn’t the problem

Greg Wythe addresses one of the central questions about the proposed Astrodome Park in this comment that I thought was worth highlighting on the front page. As it turns out, there are a number of apartments situated to the east and north of the Dome. Checking Census data, the counts on the area “un-highlighted” in […]