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Posts Tagged ‘downtown’

Still seeking a downtown connection for the high speed rail line

I’m hoping one gets found. Texas Central Partners, the private firm proposing the Houston-to-Dallas line, briefed a city council committee Monday, telling officials they remain on track to break ground in late 2017. “That might slide into early 2018,” said Shaun McCabe, vice-president of Texas Central Railway. Any connection to downtown, which would likely require […]

The dry run for the Super Bowl

It went pretty well. In less than a year, the Super Bowl is expected to draw almost twice as many as the 70,000 out-of-towners who flocked here for the Final Four. More than 1 million are expected to come downtown and to NRG Park from the Houston region, presenting even greater logistical and security challenges […]

Business as usual with the Texas Enterprise Fund

Raise your hand if this surprises you. In July of 2013, Gov. Rick Perry announced that he had closed another deal. Chevron would build a 50-story tower in downtown Houston next to one of its existing office buildings. The $662 million capital investment was slated to create 1,752 high-paying jobs. “The state is providing $12 […]

Take transit to the game

If you can, you should. The transformation of downtown from a work place that empties after dark to a true community is finally underway in earnest, with residents, retail shops, and restaurants that remain open long after the lunch rush. The building boom is everywhere, and that includes the area around Minute Maid, which had […]

The Purple City plan for I-45

Check it out. Should a major freeway plan consider the needs of cyclists? Of transit riders? And if we’re going to tear down and reconstruct the entire downtown freeway network of the fourth-largest city in America, shouldn’t the final result have better geometry than the mid-century structures it replaces? The PDFs below contain an analysis […]

UberEats expands

Good news for those of you who like having food delivered. A larger section of metro Houston now can use Uber’s meal delivery service seven days a week and with more dining options through a new app. A new UberEats app, separate from the Uber ride-sharing app meal ordering customers have used, launches Tuesday. “Houstonians […]

The draft bike plan is out

Here it is, in all its glory. I encourage you to look at the draft plan and play with the interactive map. Then, when you start to feel overwhelmed and wish someone would explain it all to you, go read Raj Mankad’s story in Offcite, which does exactly that. The last time Houston made a […]

New parking meters coming

No more paper receipts to clutter up your dashboard. Some things about street parking in downtown Houston are unlikely to change: It will always require a keen eye for available spots and the courage and skill to wedge your car between large trucks. A paper receipt, however, is becoming unnecessary as the city replaces its […]

More rail options being studied

This caught my eye last week. The Gulf Coast Rail District says to make the system viable the train needs to come into downtown, or there has to be some sort of commuter rail option that would link downtown with the high-speed line. The Rail District now wants to study the possibility of a rail […]

More on the high speed rail station in Houston

The Chron frets about it not being downtown. After hearing so much about how the proposed Central Texas Railway will help people commute between the central business districts of Houston and Dallas, it turns out that the Houston station will be built near the Northwest Mall at U.S. 290 and Loop 610. Unless your business […]

What people use B-Cycle for

From Rice University: A new report from Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research finds that Sun Belt city residents are most likely to use bike-share programs for recreation, compared with users in the Midwest or Northeast, who regularly use the same programs for their daily commute. The report, “Shifting Gears: Framing Bike-sharing Trends in […]

The FRA releases its alignment analysis for the high speed rail line

There will be no downtown Houston station, that much is for sure. The area around U.S. 290 and Loop 610, anchored by Northwest Mall, is likely to be the end of the line for a proposed Houston-to-Dallas high speed passenger train. The Federal Railroad Administration has eliminated from consideration both of the paths that would […]

UberEats

Some new food delivery options, at least for some people. Uber will expand its presence in Houston this week with the local launch of its meal-delivery service, UberEats. Beginning Thursday, Houston becomes the second city in Texas and the 10th in North America where Uber drivers will deliver meals. Customers in downtown and Midtown can […]

B-Cycle expansion coming

Good. Houston area officials are investing hundreds of millions of dollars into widening Interstate 45, and they could be paying much more for even larger upcoming projects along the corridor. But a comparatively-paltry sum is about to boost bike sharing in Houston in a big way. The same transportation improvement plan aiming $140 million at […]

Three I-45 updates

From The Highwayman: Texas Transportation Commission members on Thursday approved a $3.6 million contract with Main Lane Industries, based in Houston, to replace the entrance ramp from Allen Parkway to southbound I-45. The ramp, which whips drivers through a steep curve before they merge into the fast lane of the southbound freeway, is a well-known […]

So can we call the Metro bus system reimagining a success yet?

If no news is good news, then Metro is swimming in good news, because I haven’t seen much coverage of its new bus system rollout since the opening days. Perhaps all that concern (expressed by one person) about disaster and mass firings was a tad bit overblown. I don’t want to jinx anything, but if […]

Downtown post office has a buyer

Redevelopment, here we come. Lovett Commercial, a Houston-based developer of neighborhood shopping centers and urban redevelopments, is under contract to buy the downtown post office property and potentially turn it into an urban complex of shops, offices, housing and perhaps a hotel. “It’s extremely rare to find a 16& acre parcel in any major U.S. […]

TOP calls for changes in construction incentives

From Prime Property: Members of the Texas Organizing Project stood with signs across from a 40-story building under construction at Preston and Milam just off the park on downtown’s north side. The group was hoping to draw attention to the Downtown Living Initiative, a program that offers $15,000 per unit in tax rebates to developers […]

I got those reverse commuting blues

The Woodlands is growing as en employment center, which means it is also seeing a lot more traffic in what used to be the reverse commute direction. There is no longer a simple drive to this onetime bedroom community, which has turned into an economic powerhouse and upended the flow of traffic in the process. […]

More on the proposed I-45 changes

Offcite reads the documents and provides some bullet points. 1. I-45 Would Rival I-10 in Width The plan would dramatically widen I-45 to more than 30 lanes in certain sections. North of 610, I-45 would rival the Katy Freeway in its expanse. Though the west side of I-45 at Crosstimbers is largely vacant, TxDOT plans […]

Let’s wait for a normal week before we judge ridership numbers

From The Highwayman: Two new light rail lines have gotten off to slow start, according to early ridership figures from the Metropolitan Transit Authority, but officials and riders still hope the Green and Purple Line will meet expectations. The two lines, connecting downtown with the East End along Harrisburg and with the Third Ward and […]

Mayoral candidate forum season gets underway

Gentlemen, start your oratorical engines for these upcoming Mayoral candidate forums. The events, which will focus on arts and culture, economic development, and labor and community concerns, kick off a months-long cycle in which the candidates will appear before various interest groups, speaking to their specific concerns. Wednesday’s arts forum at the Asia Society comes […]

I-45 Coalition gives its feedback to TxDOT

Jim Weston of the I-45 Coalition sent the following feedback to TxDOT regarding their plans for remaking I-45 in and around downtown. Through-out all Segments: 1.1 – All existing sound barrier walls must be replaced. Past agreements to install sound barrier walls, must be installed as part of this project. 1.2 – Sound Mitigation – […]

Still debating where to put the Houston high speed rail terminal

While people in the rural counties are trying to kill the proposed high speed rail line between Houston and Dallas, some other people here in Houston are thinking about where a station should be. [Lynn] Hardwin was among a few dozen people attending an open house held by Texas Central Partners on April 23 at […]

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 […]