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About Sparrow

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  1. The land on Cypresswood in the far Northeast side of the district would be far better suited as a high school rather than a stadium. The Dekaney land would be better centralized and equipped for a 10,000+ seat football stadium. The amount of traffic coming to Cypresswood--with no major cross streets near the stadium--on game days will be quite the inconvenience to the local neighborhoods. Putting the stadium at the Dekaney land with FM 1960 and I-45 right there would have made much more sense.
  2. Streets that will likely be closed to thru traffic quite often when Houston plays host to a Super Bowl or a parade or 5k or street festival etc. Barricades will be present quite often I would think. Several cross streets, while dividing the one large park into several, would make parking more accessible (and preclude any large parking lot from taking up any park land like it does by the zoo).
  3. I'd like to think that fear of gentrification by race/ethnicity is not the concern of those wanting to "preserve the character of the neighborhood", but rather the blue collar, working class nature with respect to income. I hope it's not about fear of building new houses that whites or Asians may occupy, but rather its about dissatisfaction with kicking out the poor old guy to be replaced with a rich yuppie. Too many people focus on race rather than income segregation and inequality. Black and white the issue is not--green is the color that shapes our society.
  4. This interactive map from the New York Times published with 2015 data shows the 3rd Ward east of US 59 clearly still has a long, long way to go to be classified as diverse. (That being said, Houston--and Texas--as a whole seems to be head and shoulders above many cities across our nation in diversity. Houston--and Texas--should be proud.)
  5. This appears to be on the land that just had the mid-rise demoed.
  6. What ever happened to Republicans not wanting to create burdensome regulations that stand in the way of creating jobs? Anti-business Republicans? Hmmm. The thing that these rural folks don't understand is that allowing the train to be built will preserve their rural way of life. Who cares if a train passes by the way--trains have been crossing the country since the 1860s--nothing new there. Stronger, more successful urban cities reduce the development drive for accelerating sprawl. More high speed rail connecting big cities reduces the need for ever wider highways across the countryside taking productive farm land. High speed rail means cookie-cutter housing and strip centers won't be visiting a cow pasture near you anytime soon. Standing in the way of high speed rail means you can look forward to selling all of that land that's been in the family for generations. Maybe that's just it, these politicians want Big Sprawl to come to the countryside. That way they can make big bucks selling land for master planned community deals. There's no desire to build a community of 15,000 houses next to a rail line without a station--but put a highway with exits and entrances and suddenly those 15,000 families are welcomed with arms wide open to move on in.
  7. Scott could be UH's version of Guadalupe in Austin, but one major planning variation between the two universities is the location of the sports infrastructure. UT has sports fields located nearest the highway. UH has the sports fields furthest away from the freeway. This is a distinction that can be overcome, but one that will be necessary to not ignore, and must take a dedicated effort by the University to overcome. Guadalupe is a vibrant, active scene from early in the morning until late at night because it has many differing uses of the surrounding land--housing, classrooms, retail, restaurants, bike route, transit corridor, and so on. These many uses result in many people using the street at all times of day. Scott has barrier forming transit, pad lot fast food, single family houses, empty lots, sports fields, and parking lots. The potential for the Third Ward to become a student enclave for TSU and UH is there, but creating that urban feel to the corridor on Scott and the West Campus feel for the neighborhood beyond will take smart steps. It's great to have many food options as Scott does have, but if maximum lot lines were in place (as opposed to minimum) the streetscape would begin to form creating an environment more conducive for pedestrian movements. UH must do something about all of those parking lots fronting Scott--if you want the urban feel they all need to become mixed-use garages with both residential and commercial use to add all day, every day foot traffic to the corridor. Connections need to be made with the street--a linear pedestrian path connecting Alabama and the heart of the University could have been great in connecting to the neighborhood--now the indoor practice facility is blocking that physical and visual connection. UH missed a huge opportunity to improve Scott when the decision was made to rebuild TDECU on the same spot at Robertson--building at Cullen/Elgin/45 would have opened up the SW corner of campus for educational development. I'm not sure how to create a pedestrian environment with the rail line along Scott's eastern side from Wheeler to Holman--that's pretty devastating. It's great to wish Scott was more urban and vibrant, it's a whole different thing trying to get the transition to happen with the barriers the University's planning has put in place. It could be done--but it will not be easy.
  8. Okay, agreed, forget re-signing I-69 for the short term, but I-45 and I-10 could be done with the North Loop and East Loop with very little effort. Take the money intended for the Big EaDo project and instead of giving the West Loop one (~2) express lane each direction as planned, build 4+ express lanes each direction as an elevated viaduct. Added capacity is needed for the West Loop regardless--the current plan for that will help for about two weeks. More funding on the West side (with the end game intent of re-signing for I-69 thru traffic) will help both Downtown and Uptown without the need to acquire large amounts of land and with what could likely be a faster, less disruptive construction period. Little change would be needed for the current infrastructure--simply leave it as is. Build two segmented elevated viaducts just like US 183 in north Austin.
  9. Gonna go a bit off into left field here, but how effective would it be to just re-sign I-10, I-45, and I-69 to portions of I-610 around the city's central core and designate the portions of those freeways inside of 610 as spurs (i.e. I-345, I-569, and I-910)? The thinking is that thru traffic is more likely to simply stay on course than to jump from one highway to another and back again. Re-signing I-45 to the North and East Loops would add about 3 miles. Re-signing I-69 to the West and North Loops would add just 1 mile. Re-signing I-10 to the North Loop adds about 2 miles to the trip. Not really all that significant extensions to thru traffic trips. If simply re-signing the routes could take just 5 or 10% of the thru traffic from the central core, would this expensive project even be necessary? Perhaps spending those funds on West Loop thru lanes and North Loop expansion would be more cost effective and less economically disruptive than in Downtown. Surely TxDOT would have already modeled such though, right?
  10. I thought at one point in the Campus Master Plan, or some other long range guide, UH intended to petition to close Cullen to thru traffic and create a pedestrian mall. If that is on the agenda in the near term, it would be quite positive in creating a more friendly walking and biking environment. Parking garages have been built at the periphery of campus--check. Light-rail/Scott Street construction complete--check. What's standing in the way of transitioning Cullen?
  11. Perhaps crossing the street to walk on that sidewalk is exactly what they intend for pedestrians to do for their safety...
  12. Smartmart. Memphis, TN. Google it. Why there's only one is beyond me--this one has been open since 1996!! Why haven't Exxon or Wal-Mart or Amazon or McDonalds bought (or copied) this sort of technology yet? It's too bad our Houston attempts at "unmanned" gas stations haven't been a Smartmart.
  13. An interesting read for anyone who cares to know a bit more of the financial dealings of Sears.
  14. On the positive side, a cheap precast garage means this is just a stand-in to make more profit than a lot could make until a better use for the land is found. If they spent extra on trellises and gargoyles and other flair that would signal to me they intend to keep this as a garage for quite a while. Once market demand dictates better financial use for the land, they likely won't hesitate to tear down the boring garage and build a better and bigger building--to make more money. Also, the huge blank wall signals to me they anticipate the neighboring parking lot being developed near-term. Why have anything more than a blank wall when building to the lot line intrablock? A mural (or an advertising profit motive) would be a great possibility until the lot next door is developed.
  15. I would think the likes of GM, Chrysler, and Ford could increase their bottom line with such a revised way of doing business. Why let the dealers see all the profits?--just take them for themselves and their shareholders. Cut out the middle man. I've always thought that an interesting evolution of the car shopping experience would be for the highway-side car dealerships to go by the wayside and instead car brands would be in the mall (yes, the mall). Why is it when I go to buy a car I have to pick and choose from the current inventory on the lot? Why can't I order a vehicle made with exactly the features and colors that I want? It's kind of like going to Sears and buying clothes off of the rack as opposed to getting a custom tailored suit. What's wrong with signing a contract to buy a car and getting it a week or two later delivered to my doorstep? The car companies would benefit from reduced inventory on hand--what sense does it make to be holding millions of dollars of inventory (outside in the elements no less)? Wouldn't it be great to go to one location and have the option of seeing what Volvo, Ford, Chevy, Honda, Toyota, Kia, Lexus, Mercedes, Tesla, etc. all have to offer? Everyone wins--except the middle men car dealerships.