February 26, 2008
CTC to city: Move that stadium

The CTC has sent the following letter to Mayor White and all of City Council regarding the proposed location for Dynamo Stadium:

Honorable Mayor White and Members of City Council:

We understand that the City of Houston is considering purchasing six blocks for a proposed soccer stadium. We urge City Council to consider alternate sites or design requirements that will preserve street grid access on Capitol and Rusk. Please see the attached 3-page document (969 kb PDF) for maps and analysis.

The current proposed site is bounded by Texas Ave on the north and Walker St. on the south. If a soccer stadium occupies the entire proposed six blocks, closing Capitol and Rusk where they run through that area, that would take out 2 of the 4 remaining streets that connect Downtown to the East End between Bell and Congress, reducing traffic capacity by 50%.

Closing streets may have been acceptable when the area just east of Downtown was largely warehouses. But now it's sprouting new townhouses, condos, and apartments. Planners expect population density to increase dramatically. New residents will surely generate more traffic. And so will soccer games.

There are alternate parcels of undeveloped land nearby where the City could site the proposed soccer stadium without cannibalizing the remaining street grid. For example, there are six contiguous blocks of parking lots located between Texas and Preston that have the same footprint as the currently proposed stadium site.

A complete street grid is not only the most effective way to carry vehicle traffic, but also the easiest way for pedestrians and bicyclists to get around. As population and employment density increase in East Downtown, the street grid will matter more and more.

In places where we don't have a good grid, like Uptown and the Medical Center, we are regretting it. Why should we break the grid where it's still intact?

We cannot undo the damage the convention center did, or the damage the ballpark did, or the damage the basketball arena did. But we can avoid doing even more damage. Now is not the time to further cut off the East End from Downtown or to add a traffic bottleneck that doesn't need to exist.

Thanks and best regards,

Robin Holzer, Chair
Citizens' Transportation Coalition (CTC)

Christof has more on this, and there's some good discussion in the CTC forum. While I do believe that this stadium belongs downtown, near existing or soon-to-be-existing rail transit, that doesn't mean it has to be at the location that's currently proposed. The CTC suggested alternative would also be bounded by Texas Avenue, this time to the south, so it would be equally accessible to the Southeast and Harrisburg lines. As noted before, a hearing for this at 9 AM is on the City Council agenda for tomorrow. If you have an opinion on this, that would be your best chance to weigh in on it.

On a side note, would someone please gently explain to Loren Steffy why the Astrodome is an unacceptable option for the team. Thanks.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 26, 2008 to Other sports
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