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Posts Tagged ‘Houston’

HPD crime lab update

The man who wrote the report detailing all of the HPD crime lab’s problems was back to give a progress report on how things look now. Houston police managers at the once-shuttered crime lab have failed to re-examine tests on DNA, blood and most other forensic evidence on a random basis to ensure the results […]

Dodson to be closed, Jones to be revamped

In the end, only one school was closed by HISD, but a lot of people are still upset about the whole thing. During a rowdy meeting where police had to quiet shouting protestors, the Houston school board narrowly agreed Thursday to close Dodson Elementary but accepted a compromise plan that would turn the long-struggling Jones […]

Lyft has some stumbles

Oops. Lyft, known for its pink mustaches, has again been caught red-handed in Houston breaking a basic driving law. A driver for the company, which pairs riders with drivers via smartphone app, picked up a Houston investigator Monday and was cited for operating an illegal taxi service because the passenger was charged for the ride. […]

Rename this!

Whatever. Reliant Park will soon be called NRG Park and Reliant Stadium NRG Stadium, after NRG Energy, the parent company of one of the largest electric retailers in the Houston area. County sources say NRG, which acquired Reliant’s retail operations in 2009, is planning a rebranding effort that will involve swapping out every sign bearing […]

Last stand against school closures

Last chance, too. Community activists called Tuesday for HISD to spare two schools from closure in a last-ditch effort that included filing a federal civil-rights complaint alleging racial discrimination. Charles X. White, president of the city’s South Park Super Neighborhood group, said he had asked federal authorities to investigate HISD’s proposal to close schools in […]

Street closings ahead

This ought to be interesting. Three busy Houston streets will shut down to vehicular traffic on selected Sunday afternoons in an effort to see if car-bound residents will walk, bike and explore each block rather than simply drive through. The program, called Open Streets, originated in Bogota, Colombia, more than 30 years ago and has […]

What should we do about hurricane preparedness?

Or, to put the question another way: Ike Dike, Ike Floodgate, something else, or nothing? In 2009, months after Hurricane Ike devastated the upper Texas coast, Texas A&M-Galveston professor William Merrell unveiled a multibillion-dollar plan – to much skepticism – dubbed the “Ike Dike.” The proposal calls for extending Galveston’s seawall 15 miles to the […]

Transit ridership up nationally

Some encouraging news here. More Americans used buses, trains and subways in 2013 than in any year since 1956 as service improved, local economies grew and travelers increasingly sought alternatives to the automobile for trips within metropolitan areas, the American Public Transportation Association said in a report released on Monday. The trade group said in […]

Metro reports an increase in boardings with bikes

From the inbox: The number of people using bikes to extend their bus trips (or vice versa) increased more than 47 percent jumping from 12,111 bike bus boardings in January 2013 to 17,859 in January this year, That’s according to METRO figures which do not account for bikes taken onto light-rail trains. At the METRO […]

Firefighters union ratifies no-brownout agreement

Good. Members of the Houston firefighters’ union have signed off on a deal with Mayor Annise Parker that would prevent pulling firetrucks from service to help balance the Fire Department’s budget. “We’re very pleased that the union membership ratified the agreement,” Houston City Attorney David M. Feldman said in a statement released Friday. Now that […]

We’ll get our new trains in January

We have a deadline. The company building Metro’s new trains will deliver the final car to Houston five months late, according to a revised schedule submitted to the transit agency. The Metropolitan Transit Authority is reviewing the schedule, spokesman Jerome Gray said, and hasn’t agreed to the new timeline. The revision was one of the  […]

County enforcement of game room regulations halted for now

Oops. A quest by the county and city to crack down on illegal game rooms has hit a legal roadblock after a civil court judge granted a temporary restraining order barring Harris County from enforcing strict, new regulations. The city had been poised to piggyback on the county’s rules under a new state law. Instead, […]

Good news and bad news on the Washington Avenue parking benefit district

As you may recall, a bit more than a year ago Council approved a plan to create a “parking benefit district” for the Washington Avenue corridor, which is a fancy way of saying they approved the installation of parking meters whose revenue would then be used to help pay for infrastructure improvements in the area, […]

HFD union reaches a deal with the city to avoid “rolling brownouts”

From the Inbox: Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association (HPFFA) President Bryan Sky-Eagle joined Mayor Annise Parker this morning to announce a tentative agreement on an interim contract that will avoid the brown-outs of fire apparatus proposed earlier to solve an $8.5 million overtime shortfall at the Houston Fire Department. “I want to thank the union […]

No stopping the San Felipe Skyscraper

Not at this time, anyway. A Harris County district court judge has denied an opposition group’s request to immediately halt construction on a 17-story office tower in a River Oaks area neighborhood. The group, which filed suit in February against the project at 2229 San Felipe being developed by Houston-based Hines, has said it will […]

City to Uber: Enough with the emails already

So this happened. The battle over Houston’s taxi rules moved Thursday from the streets to cyberspace, reflecting ongoing tension between an aggressive newcomer and a city government determined to proceed cautiously. Thousands of email messages urging elected leaders to allow the ridesharing service Uber into Houston slowed city servers and led City Attorney David Feldman […]

State of the county 2014: Let’s keep working together

Time for Judge Emmett to tell us how things are going in Harris County. (Spoiler alert: They’re going fine, thanks for asking.) On the eve of what could be his final term as Harris County’s top elected official, County Judge Ed Emmett on Thursday called for the consolidation of various government entities and services, citing […]

Next steps in the Texas same sex marriage lawsuit

In case you were wondering, Attorney General and candidate for Governor Greg Abbott will appeal Wednesday’s historic ruling striking down Texas’ constitutional amendment barring same sex marriage. The state of Texas has officially given notice that it is appealing a San Antonio judge’s ruling that completely struck down its ban on same sex marriage. “Defendants […]

The state of HISD

HISD Superintendent Terry Grier assesses the district in his State of the Schools address. While not mentioning the closure controversy Wednesday, Grier touted the district’s progress – being named the nation’s top urban school district in 2013, for example – while conceding he has more work to do in the two years left on his […]

Cab companies push back on Uber/Lyft

The first Council action on updating the taxi and limo codes to accommodate Uber and Lyft went about as you’d expect. Houston City Council members struggled Tuesday to strike a balance between ensuring paid rides in Houston are available to everyone and encouraging competition from new firms that say they can provide faster service. Speakers […]

Firefighters union sues city to block cutbacks

Not sure about this. Houston firefighters went to court Tuesday in an effort to block the city from removing personnel, trucks and ambulances from service. But a judge rejected their argument that the “rolling brownouts” plan violates the union’s collective bargaining agreement with the city. State District Judge Elaine Palmer turned down the request for […]

Ashby II: Highrise Boogaloo

The Ashby Highrise lawsuit may be over, but its legacy lives on. A lawsuit seeking to stop a 17-story office tower under development in a River Oaks-area neighborhood blasts the project as “abnormal and out of place” in a grass-roots effort that observers suggest was emboldened by the recent success of the high-profile fight against […]

On schools and neighborhoods

Efforts to revitalize neighborhoods in the Fifth Ward are running into HISD’s proposal to close five schools. Nearly half the students who attend Nathaniel Q. Henderson Elementary School live steps away from campus in an aging, rundown apartment complex. The neighborhood, in Houston’s historic Fifth Ward, is at a crossroads. The city is seeking a […]

More on the Lyft and Uber entrances

It’s a new day in Houston for people who need a ride. Brian Walts was out until about 3 a.m. Friday hitting the clubs, but he didn’t have a single drink or set foot on a dance floor. Rather, he was driving two gents home from the Washington Avenue area for free, hoping that by […]

Help HISD review its design plans

HISD would like your input in determining the designs for the schools to be built or rebuilt with the 2012 bond money. The Houston Independent School District is hosting another series of community meetings for the first 17 schools slated for construction in the 2012 bond program to give participants a chance to review designs […]

HFD’s budget problems

I’m sure you’ve heard of this by now. The safety of Houston’s citizens and its firefighters will be compromised over the next four months as the fire department limits the number of personnel on duty and removes trucks from service in an attempt to cut spending, Fire Chief Terry Garrison said Thursday. “People that are […]

And here comes UberX

I mentioned this in passing yesterday, but UberX, which is Uber’s ride share service, similar in nature to that of Lyft, is now in Houston as well. Free rides suddenly became available in Houston on Thursday night as two online companies clamored for attention before they officially break into the city’s cab market. Uber, which […]

Leaning towards the over

Metro is working on a solution to the Harrisburg Line over/underpass problem. “We want the community involved and for this to be as open and honest as possible,” [Metro Board Chair Gilbert] Garcia said. Before Metro makes a decision, Garcia said, he wanted residents to have a better sense of the problem. Leaking gasoline tanks […]

The D-word is back

It’s never really gone away since 2009. Locked in a seemingly endless cycle of droughts and brief reprieves, the Houston region has quietly slipped back into yet another drought. Since December Houston has received less than half its normal rainfall. That’s a pattern present since 2009, a period when the city racked up a deficit […]

Lyft gets set to lift off in Houston

Another option for getting a ride. Prepare to see see pink-mustachioed cars roaming around the city as San Francisco-based car sharing company Lyft launches in Houston on Friday. Lyft is an app-based service that allows anyone to register as a driver and use their own car to make money by giving other people a ride. […]

More details on the rape kit backlog results

HPD reports to Council about the progress of testing done on the backlogged rape kits. No false arrests by Houston police have been uncovered during an ongoing $4.4 million testing of thousands of old rape kits, but new suspects have been developed with DNA, leading to an undisclosed number of arrests, police commanders told City […]

Metro reports good first month North Line numbers

Off to a fine start. In its first month of operation, the Red/North Line extension exceeded ridership projections by 62 percent. METRO launched its 5.3-mile extension of the Red/North Line last Dec. 21 – extending the line from HCC-Downtown Station eight more stops to Northline Transit Center/HCC. In January, the first full month of operation, […]

HISD gets more diverse

Which in this case means it’s getting a little whiter. After decades of free fall, Houston ISD’s white enrollment is inching upward, suggesting that more families with the resources to choose are selecting Houston public schools. Enrollment of non-Hispanic white students in the Houston Independent School District bottomed out in 2010 at 15,340 students, or […]

Lots of pushback on HISD’s school closure proposal

People don’t like it when schools get closed. With the temperature near freezing, Maria Salazar bundled her three young children in jackets on Tuesday and walked them eight blocks to Port Houston Elementary School. She dropped off Joaquin, 7, and Arianna, 5, and then hiked home with her 2-year-old son on her hip. She doesn’t […]