The Odds on a Pierce Elevated Comedown

THE ODDS ON A PIERCE ELEVATED COMEDOWN Map of Proposed I-45 Rerouting, Downtown HoustonWriting in the latest issue of Texas Architect magazine — which is now debuting a redone website with a new web address and a new all-articles-are-now free policy — Ben Koush surveys the prospects for the raised section of I-45 now dividing Midtown from Downtown: “While there have been some plans floated around to convert the decommissioned section of the Pierce Elevated into Houston’s version of the Highline, most people I spoke with didn’t think that was going to happen, simply because TxDOT needs the money it could get from selling that right of way to private developers. Some still hold out hope that at least some of the land or maybe even a small section of the elevated roadway could be made into a public green space.” [Texas Architect; previously on SwamplotPlan of “currently approved scheme” for I-45 rerouting around downtown, showing possible green space: SWA Group

12 Comment

  • If the elevated would no longer serve to move I-45 traffic, it’s better to come down. If some of the blocks would be reserved for open space it would be a great benefit. Having a part on top of a structure that creates a dark under space would be a waste. Unless that space is for parking.

    Also, an elevated park would not benefit the street lift which is the real benefit of parks in downtown.

  • As a 16 year resident of the Pierce elevated I demand reparations!

  • In the spirit of compromise I suggest taking down either the east bound or west bound side but allow one side to remain, providing a park, access for pedestrians and non motorized transport and enhancing the surrounding property for developers, just as the hi-line has done in Manhattan.

  • i have a great idea for the Pierce Elevated, how about we use it as I-45 through downtown?

    Why these a-holes at TxDOT are shoving this unwanted project in our faces is beyond me. Why is this being done? Because they mayor wants midtown to connect with downtown better? I really dont get it. All the public meetings opposing this project were a waste of time. Why hold the meetings and take comments if they’re not actually going to listen to the people.

  • The increasing talk about this is scaring me away from even thinking about buying in-town in the next 2 yrs. Not that it isn’t already almost solid traffic heading eastbound into town at night, but this would just be a nightmare and bring memorial to a standstill along with it. Almost makes you glad these guys are going to be hurting for cash in a couple years.

  • After living at 2016 Main St for over a year I became very familiar with the street traffic surrounding the Pierce Elevated. The south side of downtown needs some green space so hopefully part of this could become a park. And I’d love for the Greyhound Station to move too but we’ll see about that….

  • While I can agree with I love Heights Walmart’s opening line, I’d ask my esteemed colleague to calm down. I doubt that the Pierce Elevated will be decommissioned in the next 10 years.
    I’m banking on TxDOT to continue their exceptional record of being as slow as molasses. And, the City, state, and county to also not break their world records in dithering (hello, Astrodome!). An added benefit: these government entities will still have to find ways to pay for whatever they come up with so add another 10 years to any change.

  • There still are not enough through lanes to get you through downtown, on any freeway (as demonstrated a while back in another Swamplot post – the one where the guy actually counted how many lanes enter and exit downtown). Removing the Pierce Elevated would be a disaster for mobility in Houston, at least, until we have a public transportation network that actually works.

  • of course they need to sell the land, they have to buy 19 whole blocks in the east end, and further decimate the already poor connectivity from the east end into the downtown area. that all takes money.

  • Aside from the terrible effects on mobility this project will have, the fiscal cost are astounding. 7 billion dollars for the whole freeway reconstruction and more than half of those dollars (4 billion of them) are just going into this project downtown which will actually decrease mobility. That’s more money that than the 25 mile long Katy Freeway cost to build (2.7 billion) or the 35 mile long 290 expansion (2.4 billion). Imagine if we put this 4 billion dollars into things that actually improved mobility, like public transit, bike & ped improvements, street reconstruction, or just plain smarter highway expansions. But no, TxDOT has to cater to the wishes of a few developers who want the Pierce’s land and are willing to screw the public over and waste the taxpayer’s dollar in order to help out their friends. Talk about a boondoggle! Some sort of organized resistance needs to be created to stop corrupt TxDOT.

  • JoeV for Comment of the Day!

  • There are almost no other state entities in the nation that have the money, the power, and the lack of any accountability as TXDOT. They need to be taken down.