New River Oaks shopping complex aims to ease parking congestion

Tuesday, November 10, 2015
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The new River Oaks District opened a month ago but many are working about traffic and parking in the area

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Driving down Westheimer can be a challenge. But now a brand new shopping complex has drivers worried that traffic and parking will just get worse.

The new River Oaks District opened just over a month ago. The developer, Oliver McMillan, believes River Oaks District will draw lots of attention, with luxury and couture stores like Cartier, Tom Ford and Dior.

"It's definitely pretty hard. It gives me lots of anxiety because I've been a wreck before," shopper Lexi Crawford said of Westheimer traffic.

Drivers like Crawford worry the 14-acre shopping destination will make matters even worse. CEO Dene Oliver says the complex was designed with Houston's unique traffic - and parking - concerns in mind. There's a 1,200 spot parking garage with a central helix style ramp that keeps drivers from winding through each floor.

"It's the most advanced parking structure that's ever been built in Houston," Oliver said.

The parking garage will also have overhead lights that flash green at open parking spaces, and red for those that are taken. Plus, signs will show which floor has vacant spaces.

If you valet, you can claim your car anywhere in the complex.

Developers of the River Oaks District hope that the layout will encourage shoppers to walk, rather than drive, from store to store, which means plenty of added sidewalks and green space. River Oaks District has also created a new road, Bettis, that will give drivers direct access to the complex from 610 and San Felipe.

"Traffic is a concern in all great cities in America, and it always will be and as we fall less and less in love with the automobile and we become more walkable, and address it as a community, it will all get better," Oliver said.

If shoppers can "buy" that, drivers can all save a little bit of time.