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Posts under ‘Elsewhere in Houston’

Take the mosquito threat seriously

If mosquitoes weren’t one of the Biblical plagues visited on Egypt, they should have been. You’ve probably heard of the potentially deadly West Nile virus, but this summer, people in the Houston area could begin to be at more risk of contracting two other mosquito-borne viruses. Chikungunya made headlines last year after Texas’ first cases […]

Time to stock up on mosquito repellent

I feel itchy already. It is on, mosquitoes. This sopping spring guarantees Houstonians will have to be more vigilant against the pests than ever. The mosquito kills about 1 million humans a year, chiefly from malaria, making it by far the deadliest life form on the planet, reports the World Health Organization. The city has […]

Montgomery and Fort Bend

The Houston Area Survey covered a bigger area than usual this year. One is mostly white and mostly Republican. It hasn’t backed a Democratic presidential candidate since native Texan Lyndon Johnson a half-century ago. The other is as racially and ethnically diverse as any place in the country, swelling with black, Asian and Hispanic residents […]

Downtown post office set to close

The end of an era approaches. Thousands gathered at 401 Franklin Street in downtown Houston to celebrate the opening of a new facility trumpeted as an “ultra-modern” marvel, the hub for the mail that would flow in and out of one of America’s fastest growing cities. Inside the rugged Brutalist building, a lattice-like grid of […]

The Euro-Dome

What can the Germans teach us about saving the Astrodome? For years, Ed Emmett has been trying to figure out what to do with the Astrodome, one of the world’s grandest and wackiest-looking civic arenas. This week, he is on an expedition to see another of the world’s wacky wonders, a massive blimp hangar at […]

Changing pothole procedures

Mayor Parker seeks to reduce the number of campaign issues for this fall by half. City officials are hoping to replace more concrete segments of streets in lieu of simply patching over Houston’s many potholes, part of an emergency response that Mayor Annise Parker called for earlier this year when she branded the onslaught of […]

Pierce Skypark

How’s this for a big idea? “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 […]

Fixing sidewalks

I like this. Houston’s leaders often decry the condition of city sidewalks, whether missing, overgrown or buckled by tree roots. Then there’s the safety risks when pedestrians are forced to walk on the crumbling concrete or adjacent streets. But the city is unwilling to assume responsibility for all sidewalks in Houston – or foot the […]

The Dome at 50

We still don’t know what to do with it. The late Judge Roy Hofheinz was a raconteur with a 57-inch waist and affinity for cigars and Diet Dr Pepper with Jack Daniels, a larger-than-life man who hatched the idea of climate-controlled sports with the Astrodome. He thought his beloved Dome trumped France’s best-known landmark. “The […]

What kind of Memorial Park do you want?

Council is set to vote on the Memorial Park Conservancy plan, whether you like it or not. Joe Turner does not want more drawings gathering dust on a shelf. Houston’s parks and recreation director inherited more than a few unrealized master plans when he was hired 10 years ago. Now he’s shepherding the most complex […]

Beautifying Broadway

Sounds like a good idea to me. Broadway between Hobby Airport and Interstate 45 may offer a first impression of Houston to first-time visitors, but not the one many civic boosters would like. The 2 miles along the main road between the airport and the highway include strip developments and aging apartment complexes. Grassy medians […]

ULI releases its Astrodome plan

Feast your eyes on what the Urban Land Institute has in mind for the Astrodome. A final assessment by a group focused on sparing the Astrodome from the wrecking ball sets the price tag of reusing the iconic stadium at up to $242 million, and lays out a multi-step process to gin up the political […]

De-industrialization update

The transformation of the Montrose/Heights border area will soon be complete. After 100 years on Washington Avenue, the Detering Co. has sold all of its prime near-downtown property and relocated to north Houston. The Houston-based building materials supply company had occupied 5.4 acres of land and some 70,000 square feet of headquarters space at 3028 […]

Reimagining Richmond Avenue

Remember the Richmond Strip? If you were here in the 90s you probably do. You also probably haven’t been out there since the 90s. Now there’s a plan to restore some of the luster to that part of town. It was along this stretch of Richmond Avenue that revelers rushed out to celebrate after the […]

Remaking Allen Parkway

It’ll be different, but it makes sense. Next summer, after workers have spent months shifting lanes, adding crosswalks and planting trees, Allen Parkway will be a parkway again, at the cost of a slight slowing of vehicle traffic and the reintroduction of traffic signals. Partnering with the Downtown Houston Management District, city officials expect to […]

From industrial to residential

More changes coming to my neck of the woods. Some of the old warehouses lining a stretch of Sawyer Street across Interstate 10 from the Heights are being primed for new development, as this First Ward area continues to morph from industrial hub to an upscale artsy neighborhood. Houston-based Lovett Commercial is transforming a 1950s […]

Robinson Warehouse, eight years after

From the Free Press Houston Worst of 2014: WORST WASTE OF SPACE: CORNER OF ALLEN PARKWAY AND MONTROSE In 2006, The Aga Khan Foundation purchased the massive swath of land at the Southeast corner of Allen Parkway and Montrose. This sprawling piece of property is centrally located, is adjacent to some of Houston’s most beautiful […]

Settlement talks in Waller County landfill suit

Here’s an update on where things stand with the litigation in Waller County over the proposed landfill outside Hempstead. A jury in December ruled that Waller County Commissioners Court violated Texas’ open meetings laws in deciding to allow the project to move forward, but the question of whether or not that made the landfill itself […]

Saving money by throwing away less

Good strategy all around. As a committee mulls an ambitious and controversial “one bin” project that could overhaul recycling and waste collection in Houston, the city’s traditional mode of getting rid of trash just got cheaper. A renegotiated contract with the city’s primary waste hauler, approved by City Council late last month with little fanfare […]

Heights-Northside mobility study

Mostly of interest for folks in my area, here’s the city’s report on mobility for neighborhoods in the upper left quadrant of the Inner Loop. Final Report: Heights-Northside Sub-regional Mobility Study The Planning and Development Department, in partnership with the Department of Public Works and Engineering and Houston-Galveston Area Council, is pleased to announce that […]

More on the ULI Astrodome plan

From Tory Gattis: This was not a presentation of, “well, if the all the stars line up you might be able to make this work.” The theme was more, “this is an absolutely incredible opportunity and you would be fools to not seize it.” In fact, Tom Murphy, former mayor of Pittsburgh, was the anchor […]

Say goodbye to the Yale Street post office

The Heights real estate boom continues apace. The next hot property to hit the market in the Heights is nearly 1 acre in size, boasts a large shade tree and fronts two busy commercial streets. The current owner is motivated to sell. On Monday, the U.S. Postal Service confirmed that it intends to sell the […]

Bayou battle

Another one of our local disputes that has been picked up by national interests. A Harris County Flood Control District proposal, submitted to the Army Corps of Engineers in April, would reconfigure and stabilize about a third of the semi-natural bayou left inside Loop 610. And it would do so using an approach called Natural […]

Waller County pledges more transparency after landfill verdict

More transparency is good. Beyond that, we’ll see what happens. Incoming Waller County leaders are pledging more transparency in the wake of a jury’s verdict that sitting county commissioners illegally discussed a contentious landfill project in closed-door sessions and in private with the project’s developer. “Transparency and open government were significant issues during the recent […]

Urban Land Institute report on the Astrodome

Is this, at long last, The Plan for the Astrodome? The iconic, yet aging Astrodome is worth saving from the wrecking ball and could find new life as a massive indoor park and green space, a national land use group said Friday. A panel of experts with the Urban Land Institute released a preliminary proposal […]

A chance to help the sobering center

It’s a good cause. When the Houston Recovery Center turns to the public in coming months for the first time and asks for help, the request will likely seem small and perhaps odd: The city-backed sobering unit wants to raise funds to pay two van drivers. But it’s a request that says a lot about […]

Hempstead landfill fight goes to court

An update on a story I’ve been following for a few years. For the last two years, Waller County and the city of Hempstead have been pitted against each other in a high-profile legal battle over a proposed landfill in the city’s outskirts, a project many in the area see as both an economic and […]

RIP, Father TJ Martinez

Some sad local news. Father TJ Martinez seemed comfortable anywhere and with anyone. Raised in Brownsville and educated at some of America’s finest universities, he could charm princes of industry and encourage children born to paupers to study hard to make something of themselves and their community. To greet first lady Laura Bush, he donned […]

Houston needs a swimming hole

A fascinating proposal from Gray Matters. The good idea: Houston needs a great big swimming hole. Idea guys: Monte Large and Evan O’Neil, of Houston Needs a Swimming Hole. Where the idea came from: Enduring the Houston heat. Large, an urban real-estate developer, doesn’t have a car and bikes everywhere. One summer day, the friends […]

The rent is too damn high

The Houston area isn’t such a cheap place to live any more. A job boom bringing highly paid energy workers to Houston and a pronounced decline in the percentage of people buying houses have combined to drive up the cost of living all across the region. Rents here rose nearly 9 percent in the last […]

KHOU poll shows little support for Astrodome Park plan

Another result of interest from that KHOU/KUHF poll. The plan to turn the Astrodome into the world’s largest indoor park is politically unpopular with Harris County voters if the transformation requires any taxpayer dollars, according to a new poll released this week. Fifty-one percent of those surveyed by KHOU/Houston Public Media said they opposed spending […]

More lot protections

Good luck. A stretch of Riverside Terrace, a rebound neighborhood known for its “large lots, mature trees and a view of the downtown skyline,” will be the first residential pocket in Houston where homeowners can use a new city code provision to fend off unwanted townhome, condo or residential tower developments. The City Council [recently] […]

Update on Radack’s feral hog plan

So far, so good. More than 100 hogs have been caught since July in a new Harris County Precinct 3 mitigation program designed to protect waterways and feed the poor by donating the meat of trapped pigs to the Houston Food Bank. “We’re turning these pigs, a major nuisance and very destructive animal, into a […]

Like a bridge over Memorial Park

Some fascinating ideas for ensuring the long-term health of Memorial Park. Today Memorial Park is a land divided. The city’s premiere park stretches across 1,500 acres, almost twice as large as New York’s Central Park. But to Thomas Woltz of the internationally renowned landscape architecture firm Nelson Byrd Woltz, it feels much smaller. Over time […]