Joke

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About Joke

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  1. Joke

    Alley Theater Renovation

    Thanks for that. I've been looking for any hard numbers, and that's the first I've heard.
  2. Joke

    Flooding in Downtown from Hurricane Harvey

    I'm no engineer, but I think these retention ponds would've done nothing to mitigate the effects of Harvey. Yes, it would be helpful for a small rain event in an are that's susceptible to local flooding. But you're likely looking at just keeping a few inches of water off the streets. And I think projects like the big culvert they're building at the edge of Midtown/Montrose (I think Taft and Fairview area) are more likely to be the solution to that sort of local flooding problem.
  3. Joke

    Alley Theater Renovation

    This is exactly my thinking on the situation as well. In the wake of Harvey, there has a been a lot of talk about Houston's development and the loss of permeable ground. I think it's an important discussion, but it really has very little to do with the damage form Harvey. That loss of permeable ground is what makes us more susceptible to flooding from "normal" rain events; it's the difference between no flooding and some flooding for events that are right on the edge. Harvey was so extreme -- so much water came down so fast -- that the water that could've been impounded by permeable ground was basically negligible. That's my guess. I'd like to hear an expert opine.
  4. Woah, it's like they programmed my bike commute. (Drew at Boston to One Allen Center, via Brazos. I would take the Tuam east-west connector to Brazos up to Andrews-Shaw-Clay-Dallas. Currently I do the same except I stay west of Brazos until the last minute as I work my way north through midtown/4th ward rather than ride on Brazos because Brazos is unfriendly; I cross over to Brazos at Pierce and follow the rest of the track I described). Its not obvious, but Brazos gives reasonably good connectivity to the Lamar bike lane. First off, note that the programmed Brazos bike lane extends to Howe (which is what Brazos is renamed to as it jogs due north before dead-ending at Andrews. Then to get to Lamar from Howe/Andrews: - Rt on Andrews. Andrews is probably the least-used street in downtown (except for that stretch of surface road that runs north along 45 from Andrews to Dallas). Doesn't actually need a bike lane. - Left on Shaw. Shaw rivals Andrews for lack of use. - Left on Clay. Clay isn't too heavily used in this stretch either, as it's off-grid. Slight issue that the light at Shaw/Clay doesn't pick up cyclists (or maybe is just way too long). If I'm posed with a minute of no one behind me on Shaw and zero cars on Clay/Polk from Dallas to Smith, then I just run it. - Rt on W Dallas, which turns into Bagby. Probably will be riding with traffic a bit on this stretch, but really not so bad. You're going right-right from Clay to Dallas then Dal/Bagby to Lamar, so no crossing over lanes of traffic. The truly great change that this will bring is the ability to reverse this commute. Currently it can't be done, because Brazos is one-way northbound, so you can't get from Jefferson (where Brazos changes to Howe) south to Pierce to get out of downtown. (Instead, I just take Smith all the way out, which means I lose all my beautiful calm Shaw/Andrews/Howe stretches. Smith works, but mainly because I tend to leave late, after rush hour. ) So if anything, the main issue would be that people may not realize this is a pretty good way to bike from Montrose/west Midtown to Lamar (and back), even though it is.
  5. Joke

    Multi-use paths

    For bayou trails it's great, sure. But upthread, someone said it's been suggested for West Alabama, which has constant road crossings and property entrances. And the OP said he's seen it for a major six lane boulevard wherever he is, which sounds like it would be similar to W Alabama.
  6. I live in Midtown, bike/walk to downtown, and would _love_ to see the Pierce elevated go (well, really what I want is the portion of 45 that runs north-south from Allen Pkwy to Pierce to be demolished and replaced by more entrances to downtown -- ideally green spaces with ped/bike-friendly entrances to downtown). But I'd love to see the whole thing go; i like the high line park idea. But at the same time, I just find it hard to believe that the Pierce elevated itself (the elevated stretch running along Pierce from Brazos to 45) is necessarily an impediment to pedestrian connectivity between midtown and downtown. Yes, it's kind of unpleasant to look at and walk under, and yes it can be a bit intimidating at night because the columns provide hiding places for potential evildoers. But I absolutely refuse to believe that creative types couldn't overcome these concerns with a fairly modest budget, e.g.: - Tons of bright lighting on the sides and underside of the overpass, to remove some fear of threat - Ivy and other plants grown all along the the sides and underside of the overpass, and over all the columns, to turn a sad concrete jungle into a nice green spot - Food kiosks or food trucks or something directly under the overpass right at the sidewalk's edge. Maybe use the space behind the frontage for outdoor seating. Mandate that these be in operation from early morning to late night. - In addition to or in place of some of the plantings, do something cool with the look of the overpass, art or something. I think the real problem with connectivity is where 45 acts as a _physical_ barrier between downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods (as mentioned before, the stretch of 45 from Allen Parkway to Pierce). I really think that the mental barriers could be overcome with just a little effort.
  7. Joke

    Multi-use paths

    I commute via bike, and would take enhanced safety for reduced speed every time (in fact, in the summer I try to keep my speed low anyway so I'm not a sweaty mess when I get to work). But I'm having a hard time picturing this. I just know that bicycling on regular sidewalks is a good way to get hit by cars who are driving parallel and then make a right turn into properties or on to cross streets. The issue being that cars aren't expecting sidewalk users to be moving at bike speeds, and are only checking for pedestrians before turning (if they check at all). Does the design of these shared paths mitigate this somehow? Or in order to ensure I don't get 'right-hooked' by a car, would I need to walk my bike across every intersection?
  8. So, I feel like I've heard about a number of new bars and restos coming to Midtown, but clearly Mrs. Joke and I are in a rut because I think the last new place we've tried in the last couple years is Oporto. What are your recommendations for Midtown spots that have opened up in the last, say 2 or so years? PS - We liked Oporto. Need to try it again some time.
  9. Thanks to both of you! Jasmine in particular looks promising. Think I'll drive over and check it out this weekend.
  10. A good friend, who's Vietnamese and moved out of Houston about 15 years ago, is looking for a place to have a wedding dinner party for her family and friends in Houston. She's also planning an American-style wedding so she's feeling pretty overwhelmed and asked if I could help her find a nice Vietnamese restaurant here in town. She's looking for something nicer than Kim Son. I don't really have any ideas because "upscale" isn't what I look for when I go out for Vietnamese. Yelp wasn't much help, because there aren't any Vietnamese places above $ or $$. I figure there must be something in all the new construction out in Bellaire, as the Vietnamese community has shifted from fourth ward to out there. Anyone have any thoughts? (Mai's could be fun - I haven't eaten there since they rebuilt, but it sure looks a lot nicer. But my friend was a fellow Rice student in the 90's, so may not be able to get over the idea that it's the grungy place that'll feed you even after Dominos is closed.)
  11. Joke

    Pearl on Smith + New Whole Foods

    Culture map says Whole Foods on the bottom, luxury apts on top. http://houston.culturemap.com/news/real-estate/05-08-15-midtown-grows-up-with-new-whole-foods-market-and-luxury-apartments-planned-for-prime-site/
  12. Yeah, I used the rail a lot when my office was Main. But last year we moved west to Smith, which (since I live three blocks west of Bagby) puts the rail 4 blocks out of my way -- meaning an extra 8 blocks (vs walking) on any trip. According to google, if I just walk it's 1.3 miles (27 minutes); if I take the train it's 1.0 miles of walking plus 3 train stops (total 25 min assuming the train is waiting for me when I get to the station). The new bus routes will still be slightly better distance-wise for me than the train (I assume, depending on where the stops are) because the 82 will run north on Travis and south on Milam, but less frequent most of the time and less reliable. Anyways, hope I'm not coming off as too whiny. I was expecting this to be the case -- I always knew I had it too good with all the different lines routed through downtown/midtown that fit my commute (53,81,82,163). When Christof described how overserved downtown is (with the old system forcing so many folks to connect through downtown, despite Houston being "multicentric"), I knew that the odds were that the reimagining would negatively impact my commute. Just a little bummed now that I see it on paper - and thinking that after this goes in I'll probably only be using Metro on days when it's pouring or I'm going to literally sweat through my shirt. (Or maybe I'll just Uber it those days- I had sworn off Houston taxis for being completely unreliable, but Uber is the bomb diggity.)
  13. So the post on the Lamar bike lanes got me reading about the Columbia Tap bike trail, which inevitably turned up the comments and news stories about numerous muggings on the trail in mid-2013. It also turned up news items (and a thread in the HAIF Crime and Punishment subforum) about some juveniles getting arrested for the muggings in September 2013. So question to local cyclists -- did the arrests fix the problem? Anyone heard of any new issues since September 2013? Any experiences would be helpful.