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Posts posted by woody_hawkeye

  1. PS- Another question. Why are there above ground power poles all throughout the West Woodlands, along the Parkway and into the southern neighborhoods. Isn't one of the big selling points to have buried power lines?

    Katy, a good question! The Woodlands has had one really big confrontation with Entergy on power lines in Indian Springs. The Woodlands took it to court and won. Centergy argued that it costs too much to bury the lines. We fought back with safety issues and proved that it really does not cost more in the long run. The lines in that part of The Woodlands had no constituents to fight the issue as well as I recall. It was all about timing. To residences, yes the staretgy is to put them underground but the main lines? I am afriad that utility companies have unbelievable power granted by the Texas Legislature to get their way. It takes a lot of money to challenge them.

  2. I much prefer the signals over the stop signs. It is nice to be able to flow through an intersection, off peak most of the time of course, without the total stops.

    I agree. It took off a lot of stops for me the last couple of times I went through there. The timing iof the signals is critical for convenience of drivers and traffic flow. Of course I was always one who stoppped at the signs and not roll through them. Just to get people to stop makes the signals better. The other way was a bit dangerous and drivers acquired very bad habits. We wil also see a change in driving habits as a result of more policing the Woodlands Parkway. There are many people traveling 10-15 MPH over the speed limit. That does not improve time much because they have to stop at the traffic lights when the are at the beginning of the sequence at any given intersection. But they still do it. I do not hink they understand the traffic management process either. Just rush to the next stop sign or light.

  3. i think that might be the "terramont" portion of sterling ridge which is right at 2978.

    It is the new section just purchased by TWD.

    On another note, the parkway will add a totally new dimension to the accessability into TW, especially Creekside. I see a four way lane Gosling all the way to the parkway. From 2920, I doubt there will be four lanes, but possibily further in the future. Regionally, I rather certain the developers are considering the parkway as an assumption rather than a maybe. I am plooking forward to the new park and YMCA in Creekside. The YMCA should provide aa third Y for residents of TW but I am unsure the Y will couple it to the other two as a third option, like they have done in Montgomery. I hope they do. In the meantime, someone needs to get on the stick in planning 2978. The county line will present several issues and possibly inconviniences to TW residents, imposed by county jurisdictional differences.

  4. But back on topic, I totally agree that its the parental involvement as a whole that makes a strong school and makes individual children a success. Many schools that are ranked Recognized might actually be a stronger schools than those rated execellent due to the strength of the PTO. Without involved parents, at any level, the teachers would be overwhelmed. And if you aren't involved with teaching the basics at home, the child will sink because so many of the basics are skipped or left for parents to teach due to the TAKS "preparedness" pressure.

    But sadly, its the TAKS test results that defines a school Exemplary/Excellent, not the parents.

    I agree with this. The TAKS test is purely a paper and pencil exercise. How can a "test" define the quality of education? It seems like parental and teacher feedback are just as important. To get parental feedback, the parent must be involved. I really do not know how to measure the quality of education and I bet there is major alignment on this with subject professionals.

  5. This is probably a completely politically-incorrect post, but once someone told me: "if you see people dressed very nicely, even very fashionably (expensive leather jackets, etc.), and if they have white skin, but they're speaking Spanish...then they're probably Mexican Nationals".

    Now you can all burn me at the stake for making ethnic stereotypes... :unsure:

    Very not true. Here is the story. There are many Italians, Germans and other people of European descent in South America, more so than Mexico. Some even have green or blue eyes. Most seem to live in mountainous areas.

    As far as the population goes, there are many immigrants from South America. Language? Highly educated Latinos speak very good Spanish. If you know the accent, you can determine origin, not how well they speak the Spanish language. I c an understand Argentina Spanish better than most as a European language but they have an accent and pronounce some words quite differently. Well educated Mexicans will pronounce the language as Europeans because their education is typically private.

  6. Who were the 'key' players involved with brokering this deal from The Woodlands' camp? I recall they had hired some consultants or something to help guide them in their quest for self-rule.

    Do you have their names (and contact info if possible)?

    If you get no reply, I will send the info to you assuming you have good reason for the info. I do not want to post it.

  7. Touche Niche.

    I think it's really cool how they keep adding. How much of it was actually planned before all this stuff was built? Or do they just have short term plans every so often?

    Anyone know?

    There is a master plan which designates where the properties are, the classification of each, how the overall community interconnects and the vision of the community from the perspective of visitors. Details are dependent on who purchases the properties and what specific purpose. For example, the walkways may be customized for the business. Any development on any given property is limited by development covenants. Soi the answer is short term for specific projects but long term for the way the property will be used and how it fits into the community. Hope this helps a little.

  8. The Woodlands has a strategy to discreetly embed commercial centers within the community. This works well if the entire center is not stripped of trees, like has been done with the area being discussed here. The developer will put trees in after the construction has been compeleted, but he began with a natural plot of land that had many trees on it.

    Additionally there are plots designated for multiple use, such as gas stations, day care centers, fast food places, etc. The strip centers are more welcome to the community than the multi-use plots. The centers are well planned where the multi-use plots tend to bring the residents unwanted surprises.

    But to stay on the topic, the natural foods place is very welcome. We looked at the effect of night movement of stock and other potentially annoying operational practices that might affect nearby neighbors since the housing areas existed prior to the development of this store and its sister stores.

  9. Nice summary of things to come. I am personally looking forward to the Asian Gardens. There are also bars coming in Town Square. They will "adulterize" the amenities as a whole, but actually put more night life into the area, which is a good thing, if the drivers here will clean up their act. I think they are on tap for late 2007. Sort of a local Main Street concept. I do not recall when we can expect the new fine arts facilities to be built.

  10. Aldine as a whole is not 90% hispanic. It is much closer to 56%, like a previous poster mentioned. However, in certain parts it is far more hispanic than others. For instance, around MacArthur HS there is a large hispanic enrollment in those schools (because many hispanics live in this area - does that mean there's a brown-flight epidemic here (sorry, that's a whole other issue)). Then, if you go towards Eisenhower HS you will see the schools being almost 90% black. Because, you have now entered as one of the largest black communities in the US, Acres Homes.

    But, when you look at Nimitz HS it is split almost evenly between black and hispanic enrollment. Much of this is due to the fact that Nimitz is largely a commuter school. Students are bussed to this school from all over the district (including Acres Homes, so that that community will not all go to one school).

    Hey, maybe you could ask The Woodlands to bus some minorities in to make everyone happier? Then, I guess no one would have to argue about whether they are "allowed" into the blizzard.

    All this seems a bunch of Hullabaloo to me. I have lived in the midst of it for 8 years and there is nothing even resembling discrimination around here. The p;opulation exhibits a high tolerance for ethnic and cultural diversity. I seem to have every kind of neighbor there is, and no one talks about each other in any such way. Of course I do not encourage it either.

  11. Mr Mitchell's perspective is no longer relevant. I sincerely appreciate him and honor him on the past but he is not engaged in current affairs. TW is very set on establishing self government. It has been clear for the past year that Houston does not want to get caught up ifinancially and expend the effort to focus on a far suburb. They city has been quite successful in urban renewal and needs to keep its focus there. The city will continue to grow internally with physical modernization and financially improve as it evolves in this renewal. It is imperative that the city consider water and transportation as strategic issues, including an effort to contain the cost of transportation in the city and continously improve upon pollution within its jurisdiction. There have been excellent progress towards forestation along the freeways. A lot more work needs to be put into that general effort. Regional transportation will continue to be an issue and all regional municipalitets take an equal responsibility to make people mobile, yet provide means for cost effecitve local transportation as the cost of vehicle operation continues to rise and ownership becomes more prohibitive in the future. The Woodlands grew over the years and has struggled with ETJ and school fragmentation. With that, the community has accomplished quite a bit in consoldatring school jurisdiction but cannot consolidate it all. CSD will continue to be the primary school system. TW would like to have total consolidation of the ETJ but unfortunately, George did not deal with the entire territorial issue.

  12. Point of view from a Woodlands Resident:

    1. The Woodlands is not a culture of rish people as some have stated and believe. There is subsidized housing, apartments, small homes, as well as a few million dollar homes. The Woodlands is in fact a planned community., not a white flight suburb.

    2. I live in The Woodlands because it is a nice place to live. The planning is not hodge podge as is Houston.

    3. Proximity to Houston? Nice but not a requirement. We spend money in Houston at concerts and other cultural events, in the malls and many other places. Again, not a necessity and not part of the reaosn we live here. I do not work in Houston. I work here.

    4. Culture amenties are coming here. Maybe we will be independent in that aspect as well. Of course, Houston residents will be welcome also, but the idea is not to draw away from those of the big city, but to make some alternatives available to far northern residents. Gasoline costs are great these days. We like to be able to have our own close by. Montgomery residents north of The Woodlands are likely to be coming to events, similarly as The Woodlands Pavillion.

    5. Water is a major concern in the outlying areas of Houston. Houston seems to manage water very well. Again, we perceive the need to develop self-reliance on a water system. That is needed for the norther areas, especially in Montgomery county. Part of our planning is to develop a source of water for the future. This signed agreement may not be sufficient for us, but it is a starting point.

    6. The agrement for the ETJ was an insurance policy for continued development without annexation threats AND to preserve a general area strategy needed to manage flight to the suburbs. Since that has reversed and urban renewal has caused a large shift in the decay of the intter city, the need to thwart flight by annexation has gone away. Now the emphasis is to self govern and thereby self determination.

    7. The tax base is at risk for any annexation plan. The Woodlands Town Center is already a tax district and offers less than other areas for tax benefits through city annexation. We are going to tax ourselves anyway to provide for police and other services uniquely required for our area. The number of policing units, the coverage and many other aspects of community services have evolved over the years into an exceptional model for other communities.

    8. We see ourselves as inhabitants of the forest. We have a strong interest and are key stakeholders in some of the projects we will help fund, such as the creek park project. There is much work to do to improve upon what we have.

    There are many reasons including the above, driving us toward self governance. It will cost but we believe in the end, our commnity will remain one of the most outstanding places to live in an urban area. The Woodlands will only get better if we are able to manage it sourselves. We do not want to risk putting it in the hands of those have other agendas. The mayor has told us that the city looks forward to seeing us govern ourselves. That way, the city can concentrate on their own very different issues. Politically, it would not be good for either side to see a battle and the chaos imposed on our community like that of the other communities that have failed in the past. That is especially true in todays business and political environment.

    Finally, The Woodlands has chosen to manage the effort rather than be political about it. We hired a project management contultant company tostudyand lead through modern project management practices to determine the best alternatives for our future. We did not go into this with a bullish view against the city of Houston. The ideas and respnses of the citizens here were catalogued and considered as well as looking at best practices and modern views of government. We have a long way to go yet but the first steps have been taken.

  13. I am glad this got posted here. I do not know why they chose to go out to I59. Why not I45?

    Dinosaur City seeks '08 opening in Montgomery County


    Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle


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    More on the theme park

    Location of Dinosaur City East Montgomery County could become home to a dinosaur theme park complete with dinosaur skeletons, animals and mock fossil digs, park developers announced Thursday.


    The park, which also would include an IMAX theater, water park, conference center and hotel, is expected to provide up to 1,000 jobs and could draw more than a million visitors a year, said Frank McCrady, president and CEO of the improvement district.

    A destination tourist attraction would also draw restaurants, retail and hotels to the area, providing tax revenue and making the district's investment worthwhile, he said.

    "It's going to be a tremendous amenity for our area and for the city of Houston," McCrady said. "It's a win for our entire area."

    The park's creator is "Dino" Don Lessem, author of 47 books and an adviser to the movie Jurassic Park and Walt Disney Co.'s Animal Kingdom.

    Dinosaur City would be like a mini-Epcot Center, "not an amusement park but an experience park," said Don Holbrook, the park's site selection director for the developers.

    Kids would be able to excavate dinosaur bones from mock dig sites. Various birds, emus, alligators and other animals would be on display. And wooded walking trails will feature dinosaur replicas, Lessem said.




    I hope this plan goes through.

  14. when i think to do it, i use shadowbend between gosling and w. panther creek to avoid the gosling intersection.

    The new ltraffic light at Gosling and Flintridge will add another variable to the equation. There will be spurts of traffic in rush hours to the intersection with Woodlands Parkway. Since the priority is given to the traffic on TW Pkwy, I can see some major issues evolving on Gosling at TW Pkwy. The idea on TW Pkwy is of course to move the traffic at the speed limit through the lights without stopping. That works a lot of the itme but in rush hour, the traffic on Gosling cannot move on. I am guessing that eventually, only "through" traffic on Gosling will prevail and neighborhood traffic will go elsewhere. I fear the Expressway concept because of the proximity of the parkway to homes. It was not part of the design and retrofitting would not only be be extremely expensive, it would ruin The Woodlands as a community. Sound barriers would be essential if it eventually does become an expressway. If more overpasses were contructed, we would have more tire noise from higher speed traffic at higher levels, so the noise would increase and affect a larger area. Since the parkway is considered a regional traffic artery, it has come to bear a higher load than designed. The new regional freeway is intended to provide a better means of moving traffic in the northern part of Harris county, providing an east-west artery for a large volume of traffic. Although some progress is noted in some sections, that remains a project out there somewhere, so there is pressure to add lanes and provide more throughput on TW Pkwy in peak hours.

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  15. at least txdot is getting on board with tree replacement. now, if we could convince the developers to save some.

    TXdot has done some pretty commendable things in the last 2-3 years. The problem with city ordinances is that they are for cities, not for an ETJ. So the developers clear the forests and then the cities come in behind to annex the remaining concrete,plastic and wood. Not a great planning model.

  16. The Wal-Mart on Sawdust has a For Sale sign that says it is going to be replaced by a new, larger Wal-Mart. The property is for sale by CB Richard Ellis.

    This is true. A new super Walmart is planned in the same general area, but closer to the Park and Ride. I am not sure exactly where., but they will not be bulding in the boonies.

  17. i do not know. let us know if you find out.

    there is some relief coming for town center traffic. traffic lights will soon go up on grogan's mill at timberloch, lake robbins and lake woodlands. eventually, all of the traffic lights in town center will be timed like downtown houston. the cameras and sensors that have been and will be installed will allow for traffic sensitive alterations in the light change patterns for individual intersections.

    i think that pureauteur's idea for public transportation from the villages is a good idea. it would be great to have circulator vans going between town center and all the villages. every village has a retail center, each one could have a stop. each village's retail center is usually close to the apartment complexes and retirement facilities for that village. these stops would be in walking distance for many residents.

    it would most likely be a pricey perk though.

    I have a feeling it would be less expensive than buying a car and maintaining it. My kids could go there without depending on me for their transportation. My daughter could go to work via a village van. I can think of a gillion uses.

  18. Mark, you are so right about tweeking. We have to be careful not to over design our future. Get it somewhat right but get it as right as can be in the time alloted. Then tweek.

    In regard to taxing, I heard the people generally say that cost was not a problem. The issue I saw was the lack of lower income families. They had to work on Saturday. Bad timing for many people who we need represented there. Statistics shown at the forum tried to convey a good mix, but I saw nothing about income levels of those attending. Who has time to go on a Saturday morning anyway? I am very uncomfortable with the representation at those meetings.

  19. my biggest concern is relinquishing protection of greenspaces and other quality of life issues. i'm not sure what houston's responsibilities would be, if any, regarding maintenance. i'm not sure greenspace would be relinquished. how could houston benefit the woodlands? would we have to pay traffic tickets downtown?

    everything i need to do, as far as community services/paying bills is/are less than a mile away. if houston annexes would there then be things i have to accomplish downtown? i don't know.

    Certainly it would be a matter of agreement. We do have a county annex office here. Why not a city annex office? In my estimation, being annexed would not be such a bad thing. However, I will support the commuity if it wishes to take such an action as incorporation. So far, I believe the community wants not to be annexed.

  20. Sorry to be so Woodlands, but the mall is used regularly by regular Woodlands inhabitants for regular Woodands shopping. Some people come here to avoid a 1 percent sales tax. Yes, we go to the Houston malls, but very infrequently, only to get out to a different place. Market street? A nice place to also get out to some place different, but definately not the main course. It is more borng than the mall.

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