Bringing 7-Eleven Back to the Bayou City; The Reverse Commute Maneuver


Photo of the San Jacinto Monument: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool


13 Comment

  • Kemah has a downtown? OMG, who would have ever guessed!

  • I’m not seeing the parallel between removing the Pierce Elevated and reverse commuting. The Pierce serves through traffic, and has almost no impact on inbound/outbound traffic. Anyone going to/from central Houston avoids it, anyway.

  • Re: Defense of Urban Freeway (aka Reverse Commute)
    While an interesting intellectual exercise, there are still many more people doing the usual commute (suburbia living, urban job) to ever reach a tipping point. Those of us lucky or smart enough to have a job inside the city AND live inside the city enjoy the extra hours not being trapped in a car commuting.

  • I haven’t had to “commute” in 10 years and never been happier. I could never go back to being stuck in traffic twice a day. Hell, every now and then when I make the mistake of being around 610/59 anywhere near ‘rush hour’, I’m reminded of how bad it was.
    A bit cheap house is always tempting though…

  • @ TMR: You need to develop your transportation model a bit more. In between downtown and suburban employment centers, there exist people. These people, it can fairly be said, live in “Central Houston”. If they live in Montrose and commute north, east, or southeast, or in the East End or near UH and commute west or north — and so on — they presently rely a great deal on the Pierce Elevated. When I lived in the Museum District and worked northwest, I certainly preferred the Pierce Elevated to the West Loop; and sometimes I’d try to take surface streets, but they’d never get me home any faster and I was certainly inducing more congestion by doing so. Having a loop around downtown also provides for detours when there’s an accident or construction work somewhere along it and is bound to be useful in the process of reconstructing the very thing that TXDoT is so intent upon abandoning.
    If TXDoT is dead-set on going this way, then I hope that HCTRA and METRO jump in and see the opportunity to provide cross-town interconnects for P&R/HOV/HOT lanes or additional ramps directly onto the downtown grid. Somebody needs to see that this ROW is a precious thing.

  • The other benefit to reverse commuting: you’re more flexible when changing employers. If you live in Katy and work in the Energy Corridor, your commute may be tolerable, but if you switch to an employer downtown, or the Woodlands, or Galleria, or TMC, it won’t be. It also allows both halves of a two-income family to work in different job centers.

    And if you doubt that reverse commuting is already a thing in Houston, you haven’t spent much time on inbound I-10 in the afternoons.

  • Big fan of the reverse commute… I work in Clear Lake and my wife works in Spring, and we live in the Near Northside less than 2 mi from downtown. Commute is 30-45 minutes each way, depending on traffic. Some of my co-workers, who NEVER come inside the loop because it’s “too far”, spend equal or greater time in the car traveling between suburbs.

  • @TheNiche – you do realize, don’t you, that the Pierce Elevated has no entries/exits? It is just a thruway. I too live in the museum district (actually in spit-wad range) and I would NEVER try to use the Pierce Elevated unless I was totally demented to go anywhere … there just isn’t any need. I call BS

  • @WR: It depends on your geographic limits for the definition of the “Pierce Elevated”. It is only devoid of external access and egress between Brazos and 59. The portion north of that has several on and off ramps.

  • @TheNiche I live off Allen Parkway and commute north and west. I’m exactly the kind of commuter you’re talking about. I stay as far away from the Pierce as I can – the only time I use it is if I’m coming up 288, and even then, there are plenty of alternatives that add maybe three minutes to my travel time.
    The difference is that I’m not using the freeway system to get to a certain place (my house), but to a certain area (Central Houston), and relying on the surface streets once I’m there. Typical street hierarchy utilization, when in Houston, we’ve had an unfortunate tendency to conflate our highways and arterials.
    And on WR and Local Planner’s point, I’m only referring to the section between Brazos and 59 as “Pierce Elevated”. The rest of the highway system absolutely needs to stay, as is planned.

  • Cody, how can one reach you regarding REI?

  • Fernando: I don’t want to give out my work email as it has my company name (obviously) and thus might be viewed as advertising’. But my person email is codymail at gmail

  • @ TMR: If I had lived off of Allen Parkway, then I’d only ever have used the Pierce Elevated to go southeast. Where I was made it so that all of my freeway options were about the same distance. The West Loop was best during off-peak hours. The on-ramp from Jefferson was best in the morning. The off-ramp at 288 & Binz was best during the afternoons. And of course, if there was bad weather, an accident, or construction, then I’d change things up. Sometimes I would even go around downtown to the east. Having several detour options was really nice. That’s one of the lessons in this: detours are awesome, bottlenecks are not. (As it happens, that’s also the lesson of Atlanta’s bottleneck-y system, and it’s made especially relevant by the fire on I-85.)