The South Main Alliance recently partnered with the Museum Park Super Neighborhood Council to host a TxDOT Public Meeting for folks who live, work and play in the South Main and Museum Park neighborhoods and surrounding areas.
Representatives from the Texas Department of Transportation were on hand to present details on TxDOT's plans to reconfigure and depress I-45 and US 59 in a way that transforms the downtown while upgrading I-45 north of Downtown and depressing US 59 east of Downtown, through midtown and connecting to the depressed segment at Montrose. The new configuration will remove the elevated I-45 segment that separates Downtown from Buffalo Bayou Park, permit dismantling the I-45 Pierce Elevated that separates Downtown from Midtown and eliminate the elevated US 59 that separates Downtown from EaDo. The plan is to deck over the combined depressed I-45 / US 59, creating a continuous entertainment district connecting the George R. Brown Convention Center Complex to the BBVA Compass Stadium, home of the Houston Dynamos.
TxDOT has received comments about the general concept and is proceeding to the next steps. However, funding must be secured and detailed designs must address many important challenges. Some of the most important design details affect areas south of the Downtown -- Midtown, Third Ward, Museum Park, Hermann Park, Texas Medical Center, Montrose and University Place. Transportation and neighborhood consequences are dramatic for virtually all east west and north south movements through this area. Three examples are:
Caroline: The Caroline corridor has been identified by the Museum Park Super Neighborhood, the Greater Southeast Management District, Hermann Park Conservancy, the Houston Museum District Association and others as a prime pedestrian enhancement corridor. The road has an esplanade, is bordered by a series of cultural institutions and directly connects the Houston Community College Central Campus to Hermann Park. The I45/US 59 redesign concept plan would sever Caroline at the US 59 crossing.
METRORail: A major crossing for the Main and University transit corridors is planned, and the change in elevations for the freeway system in this area will profoundly affect the design options for any expansion of this METRO system in this area. In fact, the impact on design options may be very positive, however, they are also extremely complex.
SH 288 Managed Lanes: TxDOT has entered into a design-build agreement to create managed lanes on SH 288 and reconfigure access to/from the Texas Medical Center area. The proposed I-45/US 59 project will have a major impact on the configuration of SH 288 where it connects in the north to US 59 and I-45. The managed lanes project is on a fast track, so connection challenges must be addressed early in the design process.
For more information on the TxDOT project and to see Segment 3 on the project map, click here.
METRO Reimagining was approved by the METRO Board of Directors on February 11, 2015. Implementation of the plan is targeted for August 2015.
The Texas Medical Center is conducting a landmark strategic planning process focused on leveraging its exceptional concentration of intellectual capital.