Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A terrific idea: close Main Street to cars

Hair Balls:

Local blogger Kyle Nielsen put together an essay for the folks at Houston Tomorrow, partly to discuss the tragic death of a young cyclist who was run over by a Metro train this week, but also to cover the issues with general mobility of vehicles and pedestrians in downtown. ...

The general thesis of the story was that Main Street -- at least the part in downtown that has rail running smack dab down the center of it -- should be closed to vehicle traffic much the way it is for a block near what used to be the downtown Macy's. The theory is that it would give more room to pedestrians and cyclists as well as preventing issues for motorists.

This is an idea whose time we all wish had come before the death of Vivian Guan. From Nielsen's post:

It seems to me that it would enhance cyclist and pedestrian safety, encourage the type of walkable retail and bars/restaurants that Downtown needs, decrease motorist frustration at being stuck behind a bicycle, and enhance motorist and transit safety by eliminating the motorist [illegal] left turns that still hit the Metro rail cars sporadically.

It would also have the effect of slowing down the cars on the cross streets, making those potential T-bone car/train collisions less likely. It goes hand-in-glove with the city's bikeshare program. It's win-win-win and about five more wins.

Like the suggestion for re-purposing the Astrodome -- which, as coincidence would have it, came from a Rice University architecture student --  good ideas don't spring exclusively from the minds of seasoned city planners.

I'd like to see Houston City Council members make this happen yesterday.

No comments: