OK, so yesterday on the Blitz there was an hour long saga involving a certain radio host who is not a diva having to go get his tire fixed and asking one of the interns to pick him up. Aforementioned radio host told said intern he would be at the NTB “on Richmond, one block inside the loop” and poor intern didn’t know what that meant and ended up going to the wrong one.
The story is funny and I think the whole ordeal including some choice language towards definitely not a diva host from intern’s mom was good radio. I won’t get into it but you can find it here – it’s all of hour 1. I think a lot could have been done to avoid this issue but I want to focus on the assertion that you might not know what “The Loop” means if you don’t live inside the actual city limits. That’s outlandish. You absolutely must know what the loop means if you live anywhere near this city. I’m from Katy for god sakes and I feel like I came out of the womb giving directions by saying “first you go to the loop then…”
So for those of you that don’t know what the loop means, here is the list of roads you just have to have a basic understanding of. And I promise you that there are others and people will bitch about me not including them, but please positive comments only because my ego is already fragile.
- “The Loop”. Now I get it – if you live in say, Katy, and work in the Energy Corridor I completely understand that you may not be intimately familiar with the inner workings of inside the loop. BUT unless you’ve been living under an actual rock, there’s just no excuse what-so-ever to not know what “the loop” is. First of all, every major attraction in this city is inside loop 610. Minute Maid Park, Toyota Center, NRG, the zoo, EVERY museum, every performing arts theater, the med center. I could go on and on. And secondly, 610 has been called “the loop” since it was even built. Literally no one calls Beltway 8 the loop. It’s called “the beltway”. If someone gives you directions and they start by informing you that they think the loop means Beltway 8 you’ve got the wrong person.
- Which brings us to number 2 – The Beltway. Just like Loop 610, you cannot live here and not know what the beltway is. Houston has been expanding pretty much since it was founded save for the oil bust of the 80’s. People have been gradually moving north, and south, and east, and west. The Beltway is vital to connecting these neighborhoods. Also all of the good Chinese food is near the Beltway.
- The Hardy Toll Road – you have to know what the Hardy Toll road is if you ever want to go to the airport or anywhere near the Woodlands during rush hour without driving your car off a bridge. Just have to. So get an EZ Tag and just spring for the extra couple bucks.
- Westheimer. In my opinion Westheimer is like the epitome of what Houston represents. Diversity. And also the fact that you can drive 2 miles and see every socioeconomic class in the city. Starting as 1093 out in the country, it turns into Westheimer at Highway 6, running east going from older, forgotten areas west of the city, through posh uptown, highland village, Upper Kirby, then to Montrose and Midtown until it turns into Elgin going into Third Ward, Texas Southern and the UH Stadium until it ends at I45. You’ve GOT to know where Westheimer is, even if it’s just as a catalyst to find a road you are actually familiar with.
- Richmond. Much like Westheimer, Richmond goes through everything. It starts at Highway 6 and goes all the way into town, through the same neighborhoods as Westheimer. It turns into Wheeler which also goes to 45. It’s a road you must learn.
- You also must know every freeway and the general location it’s heading when you get on. And since it sounds like some people don’t understand that loop means circle, I’ve got a cheat sheet for you here on the nicknames:
- 59 south of downtown is called The Southwest Freeway and north of downtown it’s called The Eastex Freeway
- 45 south of downtown is called The Gulf Freeway and north of downtown it’s called The North Freeway (super original)
- I-10 west of downtown is called The Katy Freeway and east of downtown is called The East Freeway (also insanely original)
- 290 is The Northwest Freeway
- 288 is The South Freeway
I get it. Houston can be a confusing city. It’s freaking huge, and the sprawl is painful. People don’t want to leave their neighborhoods because it takes too long. But do it. Get out and explore you won’t regret it!