HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The holiday shopping season is here and if you haven't been in the Galleria area in a while, expect some big changes, thanks to the new Post Oak bus lanes and new tree lighting.
For Jacqueline Reitz, a mother of three, holiday shopping near the Galleria is an annual tradition.
"Usually when we go out now it's a family event. We get coffee and usually you can only do that one or two days," she said.
She says it requires a lot of patience, especially with all of the slowdowns around Post Oak roadwork. Businesses in the area have also felt the pinch.
"It's been a nightmare. It's really slowed down sales, unfortunately, because even for us getting in and out it's been a headache," Kathleen Leonard of resale shop Kid to Kid said.
The store has been fighting to keep customers, while the entire Uptown District has been fighting to keep the holiday spirit.
"For the last two years, we've been under construction," said John Breeding, president of Uptown Houston. "Christmas in this area has been kind of dark."
But this year, a change is coming. Brand new stainless steel twinkling trees will line the boulevard, complete with a choreographed light show, replacing the traditional fir Christmas trees.
But even better news for traffic -- all three lanes are back open between 610 and West Alabama.
The closures have been in place for the construction of dedicated lanes for bus rapid transit, set to roll right by the Galleria by April 2020.
Another big change for shoppers this year is that the crosswalk between Dillards and Neiman Marcus at the Galleria is no longer here. That means shoppers will need to go to West Alabama or Westheimer to cross safely and legally.
Construction is still ongoing near Post Oak and Richmond and at the eight bus rapid transit stations, so you should still expect to see road crews and on-and-off delays. The best tip to avoid traffic if you plan on shopping here this holiday season? Lace-up those walking shoes.
"When you park, how about park once, and then walk to multiple destinations," Breeding recommends.
The Uptown District will also have security officers out to help direct traffic.
By the next holiday season, you'll be able to use the bus rapid transit stations to cruise up and down the boulevard.
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