How the Hobby Center Garage Can Stop Traffic After the Curtain Falls

Traffic Signal on Rusk St. Outside Hobby Center for the Performing Arts Parking Garage, 800 Bagby St., Downtown Houston

hobby-garage-signalOccasional downtown parker Monica Savino notes the recent traffic signal now operating outside the north exit of the Hobby Center parking garage facing Rusk St. just west of Bagby (pictured above and at left), and wonders how other midblock parking garages with difficult exits might be able to get in on this kind of automated car-stopping action: “I’m sure it’ll be very helpful for that mass exodus after an event but was wondering about a couple things. How does a parking garage get its own traffic signal? Also, who funds this infrastructure? Is this a private initiative or a CoH move? I imagine that there are several other downtown parking garages that would like a signal of their own especially if the City’s providing them.”

Photos: M. Kusey

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12 Comment

  • Maybe if the garage flows as a continuation of an existing street directly across from it it gets its own light. It seems a good idea actually, as long as the light doesn’t tie up traffic too long on the cross street. An explantion would be interesting.

  • Wow, is it that quiet we are talking about existing traffic lights? LOL

    Anyway, there are plenty of traffic lights that exist throughout the metro area that serve only commercial outlets. One I am thinking of at this moment exists along Hwy 6 in the Copperfield area that connects parking lots from Home Depot on the east to a strip center, with a Target as it’s major anchor, on the west. No streets involved …. just a lot of traffic. My understanding is if the need is there and a property owner wants to pay for the installation of the signals it can be done.

  • Perhaps it has something to do with METRO trying to avoid cars running into its toy train that crosses Rusk just past this new light.

  • I think this has more to do with the metrorail than the garage. That’s where the tracks join up with the road after coming over the bayou.

  • It’s not exactly the same, but similar to the exit of the Galleria’s orange garage onto W. Alabama. There is a light there, but you can also continue straight through the intersection onto McCue.

  • I think that light went up fairly recently. Perhaps it has something to do with the new train line on Rusk. As long as we are spending $$$$$ for the train, nobody will notice the new light within the deal.

    I am not sure if the City owns the Hobby Center or not. It is managed and operated by a Foundation and it was built with private funds (So we were told). But, who hold title? The City does use the parking garage during the day for City Workers.

    Get Wayne Dolcefino on the case.

  • Isn’t that near city hall? Maybe that’s where the city council members park…

  • if this is the location i’m thinking it is, the signal is there because of the new rail line that crosses from the right side of the street over to the left side right before the track turnaround. it always bugged me that they didnt just put the rail line on the left side of the street the whole way so it didnt have to cross over at this location.

  • The new Metrorail line is on the street in front of that exit. Think the light has to do with that.
    I park in that garage daily – it’s annoying to have that light (there’s a ‘no turns on red’ sign).

  • It’s for the METRO train crossing. It has signal heads facing the garage so that exiting traffic does not turn into the train.

  • The signal started operating sometime over the weekend. It was blinking red on Saturday morning, but operational as of Monday. As others have said, it’s due to the track crossing from the northern side of Rusk to the southern side of Rusk at that point. I’m actually surprised they didn’t just put an arm up too. And no, city council members do not park there.

  • The signal is for the METRO cross-over, but I’m wondering why the final design didn’t make that cross-over at Bagby. Sure, the offset location provides the parking garage an amenity that would have me jealous if I owned a parking garage downtown, but a more multi-modal intersection crossing at Bagby could’ve been incredibly dynamic, urban and beautiful at the same time. We could have the “popping out of the subway at Times Square” experience instead of scampering around avoiding vehicle collisions like the post 1906 San Fran earthquake film depicts. Aren’t most of the light rail crossovers thus far occurring at existing intersections instead of at mid-block? I also hope the mid-block signal’s impact further upstream (Houston Ave / IH45) won’t make matters more intense in those upstream signals.