Is Houston ready for yet another loop road? Here’s the proposed Green Loop, a 5-mile network of parks, trails, and other public spaces that the neighborhood supergroups behind Plan Downtown imagine ringing in Houston’s bicentennial — if it’s completed by 2036. One of 10 separate proposals in the plan, the city’s littlest loop is meant to take advantage of TxDOT’s proposed rerouting of I-45 to the east side of Downtown — by wrapping the district tightly with a transportation and recreation circuit that could attract adjacent development and help link the city center to adjacent neighborhoods.
Plan Houston’s new report flags ideas and renderings for 3 spots along Downtown’s proposed Emerald Choker: At Buffalo Bayou, on top of I-69 and I-45 once they’re sunk behind the George R. Brown, and on Pierce St. at the Midtown border.
New buildings at the northwest corner of Downtown would face Buffalo Bayou as well as the surrounding streets, lining the waterfront with flood-worthy attractions:
Here’s a closeup of the plan for this section:
This portion of the new loop running circles around Downtown is meant to serve as a trailhead for the entire Bayou Greenways system, which then heads west along Buffalo Bayou Park. Here’s a sorta-before-and-after view for this zone:
What about the east side of Downtown?
Here, soccer fields and other recreational areas (pictured on the left side of the rendering below) would be fitted directly on top of the sunken highways. The rendering shows segregated roadways for pedestrians, bikes, and cars paralleling Hamilton St., opening the convention center and nearby Discovery Green to an eastern approach:
The Green Loop’s conquest of Downtown’s southern border might end up a little less green:
The rendering of this east-west portion shows lots of leafy trees, but finesses the whole should-we-tear-down-the-Pierce-Elevated argument by surrounding the concrete behemoth with greenery — and relegating it to the far left side of the image:
Can you even see it? (Note what looks like a stairway on the far left, leading up to some sort of public market mounted on top of a possibly abbreviated Pierce Skypark.) Here too, separate bike and walking paths are shown sandwiched between the Pierce St. roadway and street-level shops with outdoor seating.
- Plan Downtown Final Report (PDF) [Plan Downtown]
- ‘Green Loop’ is the center of a downtown plan [Houston Chronicle]
- Downtown Unveils Bold Bicentennial Vision [Bisnow]
Images: Plan Downtown