Imagine, indeed!

"Imagine something big," says John Cryer, an architect at Page Southerland Page. "Really big."

He's talking about the Pierce Elevated Freeway, the raised stretch of I-45 that hooks around the west side of downtown Houston. With an eye toward improving traffic flow, the Texas Department of Transportation is proposing to re-route I-45 — and to do so in such a way that would leave the roughly two miles of the Pierce Elevated out of a job.

Houston Chronicle columnist, Lisa Gray, focuses her latest "Gray Matters" blog on the big idea that is Pierce Skypark, conceived by three architects and urban visionaries: John Cryer, Tami Merrick and Marcus Martinez. They know each other from working at Page and although none are native Houstonians, they love the city as fiercely as any other resident.

Pierce Skypark offers a popular alternative to the likely expensive and destructive demolition of downtown Houston's Pierce Elevated, transforming it into a "park in the sky." A Swamplot 2014 Big Idea, its possibilities are enormous: almost 38 acres of greenspace adjacent to downtown which could be devoted to activities such as expanded hike and bike trails, an outdoor theatre, soccer fields, botanical gardens, and educational opportunities, as well as being a potential catalyst for economic development. This would create an area almost three times the size of the very popular and successful High Line in New York City. 

In their spare time, John, Tami and Marcus have set up a dedicated website, distributed collateral at numerous festivals and public events, presented the concept to various neighborhood groups and business entities and achieved more than 1,000 followers on their Facebook page, no small feat for an idea that was just born over a year ago. We are so proud of our Page colleagues who have committed their talents, passion and time to create and share their vision for the Skypark.

Additional coverage is available in an updated Chronicle article and editorial published on April 29.