Comment of the Day: Sell the Street, Slow the Traffic

COMMENT OF THE DAY: SELL THE STREET, SLOW THE TRAFFIC “Agreed that we need more “super blocks” about as much as an aneurysm. Why is the Galleria area traffic such a cluster? Because they took the streets out. Why does downtown usually flow pretty well? Because they left the streets in, in a nice neat grid pattern that is only confusing if you try to get too hung up on true north, south, east, and west.” [mollusk, commenting on Finger Minute Maid Apartments To Hang Low, Cut Off Leftfield Block]

15 Comment

  • Im not so sure the Galleria traffic woes are due to super blocks. I think it has more to do with the two freeways that converge right behind the mall.

  • Matt,
    The freeways around the galleria suck because of the intersection of four different freeways. The Surface street traffic sucks because the only surface roads with clear and simple access to all of the structures are Westheimer and Post Oak.

  • I just moved jobs from downtown to the galleria. The superblocks in the Galleria are definitely a problem. I was very surprised how well the traffic moved downtown. The galleria is booming right now but it will always be limited by being hemmed in by freeways, and the mall that eats up all the streets. My company is considering moving further out West to build a new campus style office, the employees seem to want to stay in the galleria because you can at least walk to businesses. Our problem is lack of parking and our buildings are not modern enough. If we stay there will be a new large parking garage built in 2013. I plan on riding the bus to work to avoid all the problems even though it takes 20 minutes more than driving. The one thing the galleria has going for it is that you can ride the bus to work just like you can downtown.

  • Forgot one thing about downtown. The traffic moves pretty good until the fanatical bike riders, OWS, or whatever closes down the streets. It seems like all too often Smith street or Allen Parkway are closed down for some festival, concert or god knows what. I never really could figure out what the streets were closed for. That’s one thing you don’t have to put up with in the galleria. The galleria is hipster kryptonite.

  • Solid point about hipsters and Galleria Jgriff.

  • Getting rid of Bolsover and Amherst between Kelvin and Morningside has certainly made traffic in Rice Village worse, so I suspect you are correct.

  • Matt- Yeah, because no freeways converge downtown…

  • @AWP

    As someone who lives directly across the street from the galleria and works within 5 blocks of the galleria, it’s the freeways that lead to problems on the surface streets.

  • Matt,

    As opposed to downtown which has absolutely no freeways or freeway interchanges anywhere near it?

  • What can I say, no two freeway interchanges are alike.

  • The problem with the Galleria isn’t that they took streets out. The problem is that they never put them in. The Galleria was built back when the area was the western edge of Houston. No one anticipated that the area would fill up with hotels, offices and highrises residential buildings. And that is just how it goes sometimes. Imagine going out to Pearland Town Center and telling developers and planners out there that they need to develop a street grid system like the downtown of a major metropolitan area. They would look at you like you were coocoo for cocoa puffs. But, in 40 years, the area around Pearland Town Center might look just like the Galleria.

  • it occurred to me one time that one of the big problems with the galleria traffic is that, even though it is right next to 2 major highways, you can only really get to it easily from 610. i think if there was a better way for people travelling on 59 to get off and hit the parking from a different side, that might ease the traffic a bit on westheimer. it would probably also help if alabama was a 2 way street as well.

  • Of course the Galleria is still kind of a destination, it’s indoors and has some moderately upscale stores. Pearland Town Center is a cheaply built gaggle of national chain stores and weak regional restaurants linked by outdoor sidewalks. About all it has going for it in my opinion is plenty of parking (and very poorly managed traffic)

  • most of my traffic issues going to the galleria, where I work, is on 610 itself; otherwise, there is a lot of traffic passing through on the surface streets, an issue downtown doesn’t have.

  • Adding to congestion around the Galleria are all of the cops hired to “help.” When I head down W. Alabama towards 610, I can tell which cops are working. They have different “styles” — one likes to block up traffic from Post Oak to Sage.

    You can’t easily get anywhere (other than a straight line) in Houston via bus except for downtown — where all the buses route through. That is the downfall of the Metro system. Tear down Galleria III (the sketchy end) and put a bus terminal there. Then, I’d consider riding the bus.

    As for the protesters, the Vietnamese protesters come out at least once a month, protest for an hour or so and head back to work. Very efficient, and they have catchy slogans, too.