Houston's empty streets belie vast tunnel system

STORY: Locator: Houston, Texas

Downtown Houston is full of people but the streets look like a ghost town

That's because residents get around via this tunnel system

located 20 feet below the sidewalk and stretching more than six miles

[Stephen Fox, Architectural historian]

“When people come to Houston, and see downtown Houston, they’re amazed by the buildings but they wonder where all the people are. And you have to come and explain that there are alternatives to the sidewalks in Houston and again, that people who dress for professional business reasons, more formally, prefer to walk in the tunnels rather than walk on the sidewalk."

Tunnel work began in the 1930s and went on for decades

They feature everything from banks to restaurants and flower shops

They're also a perfect way to beat bad weather

[Lucia Herron, Shop owner]

“Too much rain or too much heat is what makes these types of places functional for everyone. So it’s fabulous to have the tunnel, it allows them to communicate between buildings, for the food, for the gifts, for anything they need, because if you go through the tunnels, you have anything you need.”

Each respective tunnel is owned by the building above them

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