Comment of the Day Runner-Up: If We Shuk Up the Downtown Tunnels

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: IF WE SHUK UP THE DOWNTOWN TUNNELS “We need to turn the tunnel system into a public souq, similar to those in many Arab cities. A cool, covered area connected to the city streets that acts as an open market for various vendors and restaurateurs. Replace the bland tunnel surfaces with quality materials, carve out small market stalls, and offer them cheaply for any kind of business use. Connect the tunnels to street level every couple blocks. Each entry area could also house market stalls to offer a transition into the tunnels. This would help provide the ‘street’ life that lacks in downtown Houston. Cheap rents could attract vendors from every type of ethnicity that has come to Houston. It would be a real attraction worth visiting.” [Carpetbagger, commenting on A Park-Size Tunnel Entrance Concept for Downtown] Illustration: Lulu

15 Comment

  • A souq? Seriously … in the tunnels?

    I can just see the frustration on the faces of “tunnel rats” (I myself was one for 10 years so I can use the term). Most of the downtown tunnels are narrow enough without having people blocking others while they try to shop at small kiosks. For this to work you would need much larger areas off the tunnels and that would cost big bucks …. ain’t going to happen, bucko.

  • Also being a tunnel rat for 30+ years, I agree with WR #1. These buildings are private property which is why doors lock around 7PM to 7AM at each entry into the respective building’s tunnel base. There is a lot of security and daily building maintenance required in the evenings to keep the offices above running and safe. Having worked once at a company who’s corporate offices was in one of the office towers above the Galleria 1, we had on many occassions mall rats who would tailgate someone into our offices and steal office equipment or purses during regular office hours. These tunnels are already crowded at peak travel times with workers getting to/from their offices, the last thing one needs is lollygagging teens walking aimlessly 3-4 abreast blocking the already narrow tunnels. A downtown mall has already been built. I think the only original shop from the early 80s that’s still there is a Hallmark. Obviously, that didn’t work.

  • This is a fabulous idea. Don’t listen to the haters (aka WR’s comment). Let’s do it! I think this is easily possible and would be a wonderful addition for the tunnels.

  • Perhaps if the Tunnels were City-owned property, but their not. But, a downtown market/ bazaar/ farmers market isn’t going to be a big destination or draw. Not for the cost of real estate in the heart of the city. Just reread comments 1 & 2 a few times if your not convinced.

  • I was thinking we could turn the tunnel system into our own brand of “subways,” by installing moving sidewalks like they have to connect airport terminals.
    It’s not so far-fetched, when you consider that Hong Kong uses as escalator as part of its transit system.

  • Agree with #1 and #2. The tunnels are for office-workers to quickly get something to eat either alone or with friends who work in other buildings. Or to run errands. That’s what I love about it – that there are no people jumping out from behind a kiosk trying to sell you a cell phone cover or to spray you with perfume.

    There’s too much traffic between 11 and 1:30. Any carts blocking will not work unless they
    -confine themselves to the edges
    -only set up after the lunch rush

  • The tunnels are privately owned and mostly closed on weekends, so this doesn’t sound too likely. Most people think they are public, but no, they are usually property of the building above them.

  • There is already a souq coming downtown, well East Downtown, called the Watershed Market.

  • @Adam #3

    I am hardly a “hater” of a souk-ish idea, but in Houston’s tunnel system, it just won’t work for many reasons. When I lived in the Middle East I enjoyed the experience, but in reality it is no different than Trader’s Village. IF (note: a big if) it was purposely built, say along the CoH proposed Dallas St commercial mall, and widewide enough (street wide) then it might work if insurance, safety and sanitation issues could be worked out …. but we are now talking big money.

    Better to have night markets under the freeways IMO, but then I lived in Asia for a while too. Their big advantage is they are taken down after hours, easily cleaned, inexpensive and offer just as much interest as an underground souq would.

  • This idea is …hmmmm how do I put this classy and civil..this idea is beyond stupid ass, how’s that? To start, this idea had zero! chance, period, it’s so laughable I don’t know quite what to say… wait, yes, I do…wait, that would be I’ll just say..bad idea..BAD idea

  • Didn’t catch the pun in the title there until now. Bravo.

  • Hmmmm…. sounds familiar, but above ground….don’t they call it a mall???

  • It’s bound to work. It’s a great idea. The government will pay for it. We’ll call it “El Mercado del Tunel”.

  • We have tunnels in downtown Houston so we don’t have to deal with “street life” when we are trying to work.

  • Oh my Lord, no. The Galleria already does this. You can’t walk to Nordstrom without being commercially molested by multiple salespeople. Holy cow, really?