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  1. This has been in the works for awhile. Lauren Groves, former CoH Planning Department transportation team member now works for Public Works and mentioned it during the Bicycle Advisory Infrastructure Subcommittee meeting today. This has been in the works for a few months as they needed lots of entities to sign off on it. One thing that was kind of funny was that they weren't sure who was paying for it. I think they decided it might be TXDOT (*cough bloodmoney *cough*) This has always kind of bewildered me that it has never been done, but here we are!
  2. There is a request for a variance pending before the planning commission for Oct 2 for the Freedman's distributor site on Waverly and W 6th down below the bike path. 8.65 acres. Seeking a building line variance from 25 feet to 10 feet. No indication what, if anything, is planned for the property. Freedam's looks to have been bought out by Grocer's Supply. The latter also has been consolidating operations into a new space in the 1st ward. No idea whether they are going to sell, are selling or have sold or whether they will redevelop the property with modern warehouse space.
  3. I've been fascinated with the late MKT ever since I discovered an old ROW across from Memorial City Mall, but one thing that continues to confound me is MKT in the Heights: after it crosses Heights Blvd., it parallels 7th Street and cuts straight across 7th and Cortland, making two nasty railroad crossings at two ends of the intersection. While blurry aerial photos and the "property lines" on Google Maps confirm this (by the way, the house on the southwest side was built later) I just can't see this working out in 1990s Houston. (link) 1. Does anyone remember the strange/dangerous railroad crossings at Cortland and 7th? What were they like? 2. When exactly was the MKT abandoned/stripped? 3. Does anyone have any photos? I mean, the whole thing looks just so surreal to me. I mean, just looking at Arlington Road, it's an extremely suburban-type area, and a railroad barreling through there just less than 15 years ago is...odd.
  4. I miss the MKT "Katy" Railroad, one of the crown jewels of railroadiana. I can still see and hear an old red caboose trailing off in the distance, past Westchester Junior High School, disappearing into beautiful pastureland. Spent a lot of time around the tracks along Old Katy Road. The side track between Igloo and Parker Bros gravel was one of my favorite spots. Railroads are not a good place for kids to play and I remember finding things--scary things--that didn't belong there: A doll's head, a woman's high heel shoe, a broken switchblade; old gloves, whiskey bottles and empty chewing tobacco pouches were a mainstay. Train hopping became one of my favorite pastimes. One day, while train watching at a side track that served Levitz Furniture off of Brittmoore, the engineer signaled me to come on board. This was around 1973 or 1974. He introduced himself as Lonnie Yancey. He gave me a ride for a short distance along Old Katy and I got to blow the horn crossing Brittmoore. Who knows, maybe that train you waited for on that summer day had me blowing the horn. That is one of my fondest memories to this day. Around 2008 I decided to try and find Lonnie. I called every Yancey in the phone book. I figured he was long gone, and almost gave up, when I got a call from his brother in Smithville. Lonnie was alive and well and still living in Spring Branch off of Malibu Drive. I visited him a few times and always brought him a can of his favorite snuff--Copenhagen original. We traded stories about the MKT, including the time I saw an 18-wheeler smashed by a train at the Brittmoore/Old Katy crossing. I was 12 years old when that happened and my two school buddies and I had to go to court downtown to testify for the railroad. I confessed to Lonnie that I had hopped his train numerous times and he said that's why he gave me a ride, hoping to keep me from losing a leg. Lonnie was a star quarterback at Smithville High School. He was a decorated Marine, earning a Purple Heart for battling the Japanese in Okinawa. His wife was a librarian at Memorial High School. Here is a beautiful photo he gifted to me--taken around the exact year he gave me a ride in his GP-7 locomotive. He liked to pass the time waiting on sidetracks by crocheting, as seen in the photo. Lonnie passed away in 2015. I still think of him every time I hear the beautiful music of a train trailing off in the late-night distance. . .
  5. Does anyone know when the old Houston MKT Railroad station was torn down? It stood at Collins Place and North Main. On the north bank of WhiteOak Bayou at Main Street. The old MKT Trestles across the White Oak, I think are still there.
  6. Patrick Feller has added a photo to the pool: When I first photographed this bridge, March 30, 2009, www.flickr.com/photos/nakrnsm/3399782698/ , it had been severely damaged by fire and was covered with trumpet vine, but plans were already underway to make it part of the Houston Heights Bike Trail. The burned timbers have been replaced and I've joined the thousands who, like Elizabeth here, have biked, walked, or jogged across it. Here's hoping that, soon, another bridge, www.flickr.com/photos/nakrnsm/3361941796/ and www.flickr.com/photos/nakrnsm/3361120231/in/photostream/ ,damaged by fire after conversion to bike trail had begun, is restored and brought to use in the same way, along with a couple of other bridges over Houston's bayous. Click here to view this photo at the HAIF Photo Pool on Flickr
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