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Houston and the Miles and Miles of Ugly!


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This thread is awesome! It's like homeless bashing for self-employed businessmen. Clearly, there are not a lot of libertarians on this forum, when everyone wants government to be the taste police.

Note: I do not get embarrassed driving my friends around. They understand that not everyone has the resources of a River Oaks resident or a multi national retailer. But hey, that's just the kind of friends I keep.

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^^^ don't get me wrong. Houston is my home, born and raised. But it's still ugly. It's not alone though. Philadelphia seems to get the worse rap of all cities as being the ugliest, same with Detroit MI. Also other ugly cities are Miami, parts of Chicago, and i don't care how citykid tries to paint it as being a perfect picture, but Atlanta has just as much ugly as Houston. I think Citykid saw everything in Atlanta through rose-colored glasses. I mean he rode MARTA and hardly drove around the rest of the city except the main areas. He really got a real BROAD view of Atlanta <_< .

It's just cities like Vegas, Denver know how to hide their ugly stretches. Houston doesn't give a rats hairy ass how it looks. It makes me a little frustrated. Maybe once Houston develops more things to do, people won't concentrate on the ugly so much. Look at NYC, its a dirty ugly city but has things like Broadway, Entertainment, and etc to keep people's mind off the trash on the streets. Miami even looks like a 3rd world country through most of the city but the picturesque beach makes up for it. And don't get me started on LA.

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Houston doesn't give a rats hairy ass how it looks.

ZERO pretention. That is my number one love for Houston.

I get kind of embarrassed to drive my friends from Phoenix and Las Vegas through this ugly sprawling city.

I'm the exact opposite. I go out of my way to drive off the "safe" landscaped paths to show visitors how "rough & tough" and gritty Houston is.

I love our southern grit.

Edited by Jeebus
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ZERO pretention. That is my number one love for Houston.

Pretentiousness, and caring about how a place looks, do not equate.

For example, Vermont. People there care a LOT about how it looks. They are also about the most unpretentious people you could meet. I'm not saying we should be like Vermont, so don't start telling me what's wrong with Vermont (I won't hear you anyway; I love it). I'm just pointing out that it's illogical to equate caring about the appearance of a city with pretentiousness.

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This thread is awesome! It's like homeless bashing for self-employed businessmen. Clearly, there are not a lot of libertarians on this forum, when everyone wants government to be the taste police.

Note: I do not get embarrassed driving my friends around. They understand that not everyone has the resources of a River Oaks resident or a multi national retailer. But hey, that's just the kind of friends I keep.

I love driving my relatives from out of town around.

"Houston is just raw", is what I always tell them.

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I'm the exact opposite. I go out of my way to drive off the "safe" landscaped paths to show visitors how "rough & tough" and gritty Houston is.

I love our southern grit.

So you take out of town visitors on "Tour de Hood" trips too? :P

I do not believe there is a city that has ZERO blight in this world. No matter what, somebody will nit pick and find something wrong with it. Houston is not perfect, and sometimes I wish I could live somewhere else, but it's where I was born, raised and live, and I'm not embarrassed to take people to certain parts of it, to use some slang, "I likes to keep it real", lol.

I'm not embarrased to take people down Telephone Rd. or Broadway when picking them up from Hobby Airport. Nor would I be afraid to take I-45 or the Hardy Toll Road into town from Intercontinental. The Eastex, the preferred choice of many bringing out of towners from Intercontinental isn't that great looking of a freeway either. It may be wide and new looking, but there's "blight" on both sides of it, especially when you reach the unincorporated area of Harris Co. between Little York and BW8.

Since we're discussing freeway aesthetics, I want to touch the subject of feeder roads. Contrary to most, I LOVE those things. Truly a Texan innovation, and they serve a good purpose. I'm pretty sure many of you have used the old "jump off, jump on" trick during heavy traffic. You know, the mainlanes are running slow at 20mph, but you can jump off onto an offramp and travel on the feeder road at 45mph and jump right back onto an onramp around the crawling traffic. Try THAT on I-75/85 in Atlanta. :rolleyes:

The problem is not with the feeder roads themselves, but the businesses that set up shop along them. Even freeways without feeder roads have ugly billboards alongside them, or you have an ugly view of the rear of a building that backs up to the freeway if an arterial road runs parallel to the freeway. So you can't blame Houston's roadside on the unattractiveness of feeder roads alone.

Maybe to please some of you guys, TxDOT should put some restrictions on future feeder road construction. Have TxDOT buy land 200-300 ft off to the side of each new feeder road as to not allow construction of businesses to encroach on the roads themselves. Only allow businesses to be built along the feeder road within 500 feet of busy intersections. Only allow side street connections to the feeder road to connect to neighborhoods and business parks located off of the easement, and no driveways unless they connect to a business within the 500 foot zone near busy intersections. Imagine how much that would cost the taxpayer.

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Do some people's friends REALLY equate the scenery with your worthiness as a friend? I'm trying to imagine how that conversation would go...

Friend: Wow, this freeway runs through a slum. You must be a loser.

Me: I'm not a loser. I don't own those properties.

Friend: You live here. Those properties are ugly. Therefore, you are a loser. I can't wait to tell our other friends.

Me: Please don't. I'll be embarrassed.

Friend: Too late. Already texted them on my Iphone, you loser. BTW, what do you think of my new Abercrombie shirt?

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I get kind of embarrassed to drive my friends from Phoenix and Las Vegas through this ugly sprawling city.

usually i'm glad to see my friends and we talk all the way to our destination and they aren't interested in what is going on outside. houston has lots of hidden gems all over town and when you are able to point these out, mine are impressed that i know so much about the town. things that are truly uniquely houston.

i feel embarassed for the people who take their visitors to pf chang's and cheesecake factory.

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Do some people's friends REALLY equate the scenery with your worthiness as a friend? I'm trying to imagine how that conversation would go...

Friend: Wow, this freeway runs through a slum. You must be a loser.

Me: I'm not a loser. I don't own those properties.

Friend: You live here. Those properties are ugly. Therefore, you are a loser. I can't wait to tell our other friends.

Me: Please don't. I'll be embarrassed.

Friend: Too late. Already texted them on my Iphone, you loser. BTW, what do you think of my new Abercrombie shirt?

Thanks for that, it was awesome. I needed a good laugh after having to go back to work.

All the people that come visit us here just get freaked out about how big it is and that everyone driving is a maniac. And then of course how much we know about the city, mostly due to HAIF.

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Sao Paulo presents an interesting case study of what happens when the signs and billboards are removed. A ban on outdoor advertising would never work here, but many communities in the U.S. do regulate signage to be compatible and appropriate with their surroundings and protective of property values. For example, Colleyville TX regulates the size, location, maximum height, and illumination of signs as well as setting safety requirements. I believe the Woodlands also has some regulations, as many storefront signs along I45 are close to the ground and of similar size.
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So you take out of town visitors on "Tour de Hood" trips too? :P

In all honesty, its what they all want. Most of my friends and family are from small towns, cities, and the straight-up farm country. A stroll down West Montgomery, Scott, or Bissonnet and they are always floored. I get bonus points when I take them down Bellaire to see our Suburban strip-mall Chinatown.

Country come to town!

i feel embarassed for the people who take their visitors to pf chang's and cheesecake factory.

WHY? My parents are 1. old, and 2. white. You think they'd ever try anything beyond a place like Cheesecake Factory!? Besides, when they're paying I don't complain! :lol:

Do some people's friends REALLY equate the scenery with your worthiness as a friend? I'm trying to imagine how that conversation would go...

Friend:...

Me...

I've seen this conversation take place between my wife and some of her vapid friends. Ugh..

All the people that come visit us here just get freaked out about how big it is and that everyone driving is a maniac. And then of course how much we know about the city, mostly due to HAIF.

Is that not the best compliment? I love getting that one. ^_^

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Do some people's friends REALLY equate the scenery with your worthiness as a friend? I'm trying to imagine how that conversation would go...

Friend: Wow, this freeway runs through a slum. You must be a loser.

Me: I'm not a loser. I don't own those properties.

Friend: You live here. Those properties are ugly. Therefore, you are a loser. I can't wait to tell our other friends.

Me: Please don't. I'll be embarrassed.

Friend: Too late. Already texted them on my Iphone, you loser. BTW, what do you think of my new Abercrombie shirt?

best reply yet....it is like these people have never been anywhere else on earth

watch the opening of any Sopranos episode......all I see is old run down trashed crap....does that mean the entire place is like that....uh no......ever seen a pic of Detroit

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUT07eZoXPw

and did someone REALLY use phoenix and Vegas as an example when complaining about Houstons sprawl.....don't you think LA would have been a better example :lol:

look at wonderful Philly......nothing but wonderful farmland all over the place with urban ranchers....so pleasant and peaceful

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjpPEwnAjOk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRO-kuoQxBw

I can't imagine traveling with some of you clueless

Edited by TexasVines
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I love how some of you HAIF jokers love to pick apart one small portion of a paragraph. I also said that Houston is not alone on the ugly list, it joins its cousins Philadelphia, Atlanta, Miami, parts of Chicago, Detroit, NYC, and etc. Houston is not Palm Springs or Colorado. It's a giant metropolis where people live rather than appreciate beauty. I just wish that there wasn't so much dilapidated junk off the freeway for visitors to see. That's what makes the hosts of events such as the Olympics come to this town and crown Houston as "too ugly" to host this event, an event that could bring millions of dollars to the city.

Furthermore, Phoenix may be sprawling but it doesn't have half the run down looking buildings that Houston has, same with Las Vegas/Henderson areas. Just look at downtown Houston. Can anybody really answer why the Central Square Building and the Old Days Inn building are still standing? There may have been proposals to rehab those buildings, but they are far from reality. They also sit in the core of the city, there's no excuse for that.

So, rag on my posts all you want! I don't care what any of you clowns think. As i said before Houston is an awesome city, but it needs to improve the look of its freeways and that's all there is to it. Trees for Houston? Good attempt but as many freeways and concrete Houston has, it needs more.

Edited by tierwestah
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I love how some of you HAIF jokers love to pick apart one small portion of a paragraph. I also said that Houston is not alone on the ugly list, it joins its cousins Philadelphia, Atlanta, Miami, parts of Chicago, Detroit, NYC, and etc. Houston is not Palm Springs or Colorado. It's a giant metropolis where people live rather than appreciate beauty. I just wish that there wasn't so much dilapidated junk off the freeway for visitors to see. That's what makes the hosts of events such as the Olympics come to this town and crown Houston as "too ugly" to host this event, an event that could bring millions of dollars to the city.

Furthermore, Phoenix may be sprawling but it doesn't have half the run down looking buildings that Houston has, same with Las Vegas/Henderson areas. Just look at downtown Houston. Can anybody really answer why the Central Square Building and the Old Days Inn building are still standing? There may have been proposals but they are far from reality. They also sit in the core of the city, there's no excuse for that.

So, rag on my posts all you want! I don't care what any of you clowns think. As i said before Houston is an awesome city, but it needs to improve the look of its freeways and that's all there is to it. Trees for Houston? Good attempt but as many freeways and concrete Houston has, it needs more.

It is telling that the 2 cities you put up to make your point that Houston is ugly...Phoenix and Las Vegas...hardly existed 60 years ago. In 1950, Phoenix had barely 100,000 people. Vegas is worse, having a population of 258,000 as recently as 1990. It appears that your argument is that Houston, like Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Philly and Detroit, is not NEW enough to suit your tastes. That is not surprising. There is an entire generation of people who mistakenly equate new with better. I will spare you the lecture about why this is not necessarily true.

I will point out something that you and others do constantly. You judge Houston from its freeway views. I am wholly uninterested in the opinions of those who cannot even exit the freeway before complaining about the city. Seriously, WHO CARES what the city looks like from the freeway? If your friends are judging cities from freeways, as opposed to actually driving through a neighborhood, why should anyone of us Houstonians care about such superficiality...and why do you?

Denver built a huge noise reduction wall on the main freeway (I-25) with little concrete designs when they expanded their LRT. That helped hide some of their blight. I think if Houston did that it would help.

I think a wall is the only answer to the problem since it doesn't appear that the shabby businesses off 45 aren't going anywhere. SOMETHING definitely needs to be done!!!

Yes, Beijing did this with their slums during the Olympics. I want to be like them! :unsure:

Potemkin Village

Edited by RedScare
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Furthermore, Phoenix may be sprawling but it doesn't have half the run down looking buildings that Houston has, same with Las Vegas/Henderson areas. Just look at downtown Houston. Can anybody really answer why the Central Square Building and the Old Days Inn building are still standing? There may have been proposals but they are far from reality. They also sit in the core of the city, there's no excuse for that.

So, rag on my posts all you want! I don't care what any of you clowns think. As i said before Houston is an awesome city, but it needs to improve the look of its freeways and that's all there is to it. Trees for Houston? Good attempt but as many freeways and concrete Houston has, it needs more.

so when you get to tierwester what do you tell your friends/visitors?

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Seriously, WHO CARES what the city looks like from the freeway?

The Olympics committe did. I guess I get tired of hearing the same thing from different people about my city. They say they like Houston and say it has alot going on but they say some of the areas off the freeway look like Baghdad. I would just like the city to start caring a little more.

so when you get to tierwester what do you tell your friends/visitors?

Well, its easy, i tell em I'm in da hood! But as of October, I'm not living back at home. I live off Main & 610 !!!

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The Olympics committe did. I guess I get tired of hearing the same thing from different people about my city. They say they like Houston and say it has alot going on but they say some of the areas off the freeway look like Baghdad. I would just like the city to start caring a little more.

And you buy that? And you think Beijing is just a massive flower garden? You really ought not believe every rumor you hear.

BTW, I am glad we did not get the bankruptcy known as the Olympics. We can much better spend that infrastructure money on things that make the RESIDENTS' lives better. The Super Bowl can kiss off, too. They are all just con jobs on the cities and their residents. None of them improve our living conditions.

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And you buy that? And you think Beijing is just a massive flower garden? You really ought not believe every rumor you hear.

BTW, I am glad we did not get the bankruptcy known as the Olympics. We can much better spend that infrastructure money on things that make the RESIDENTS' lives better. The Super Bowl can kiss off, too. They are all just con jobs on the cities and their residents. None of them improve our living conditions.

actually the superbowl is an economic win for the cities that host it.....saying it is not would be the same as saying tear down the GRB because all those people coming to town, spending the night at hotels, eating in restaurants, and spending money for entertainment don't do anything for the quality of life

as for the Olympics when it is done wrong I agree it can cost a city.....but the amazing thing about Houston in particular of all the cities that have not hosted an Olympics is that pretty soon Houston will probably be in a position to host an Olympics with the least cost of additional infrastructure of any "new" host city in the world and long as Houston sticks to currently available or planned facilities and if planned and executed properly the additional infrastructure (with a few exceptions) could be a boom for Houston and the long term future of Houston.....properly designed and constructed additional or replacement dorms at TSU, UH, Rice and maybe even UHD would be great for those schools and a well planned and non-over the top refurb of existing facilities would be great as well....especially when a large amount of federal, sponsor, and private money is used....I think Atlanta did well with theirs, but I am sure there were some things they spent too much on......but they were going to build a new baseball facility (tearing part down was a waste) and their universities made use of and received dorms and other new facilities and it was an upgrade for many of their public spaces.....public spaces that Houston currently has many of already....just because some places do something wrong does not mean Houston has to follow their lead or we need to run and window dress (for way too much money) perfectly fine existing facilities

Edited by TexasVines
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skin color is not a factor. trae likes to take his dates there!

My wallet disapproved.

And the girls out here don't care much for some good Timmy Chan's or Frenchy's. By the way, most of my dates are white.

Edited by Trae
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After reading through this, I can see many people see the issues in a similar light as I do. Generally, the city has some beauty and some ugly. Let's call it the Ugly Duckling for now. As the city further matures, there will always be opportunities to think "beautification". That idea has already been leveraged on some of its freeways. Put away the idea of sound walls for beautify. That is just more concrete. Instead, get green with the thinking. The freeways and viaducts of traffic where transient people passing through get their impression of the city and those coming into the city get their initial impression. Look at I45 where many trees have been planted. Those pines are growing and will in time (10 years) make the trip on the freeway much much more pleasant. Trash on the road needs to have a clean strategy similar to what we have for paths. "Adopt a Freeway plan". The problem with the current situation is that the cleanup is too infrequent. It costs money. Comparing new rebuilt freeways with old ones causes the comparison to be tainted. Newness almost always makes a structure look cleaner. Taking something old and making it look better is often a job for landscaping but we can't forget that some buildings can be washed and painted. A number of structures on the freeways need to be cleaned up but how do you go about it? With freeway frontage taxes? On another front, there are areas of concrete jungles where one "feels" a totally run down city. I "feel" that in Southwest Houston around Hillcroft. There seems to be no dirt at all, and there may be no solution for areas like that, except a bulldozer. Heavy traffic, small lots, tightly packed commercial areas on streets that have been widened since inception to improve area transportation issues, dominate the landscape there.

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It is telling that the 2 cities you put up to make your point that Houston is ugly...Phoenix and Las Vegas...hardly existed 60 years ago. In 1950, Phoenix had barely 100,000 people. Vegas is worse, having a population of 258,000 as recently as 1990. It appears that your argument is that Houston, like Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Philly and Detroit, is not NEW enough to suit your tastes. That is not surprising. There is an entire generation of people who mistakenly equate new with better. I will spare you the lecture about why this is not necessarily true.

I will point out something that you and others do constantly. You judge Houston from its freeway views. I am wholly uninterested in the opinions of those who cannot even exit the freeway before complaining about the city. Seriously, WHO CARES what the city looks like from the freeway? If your friends are judging cities from freeways, as opposed to actually driving through a neighborhood, why should anyone of us Houstonians care about such superficiality...and why do you?

I think his point is that most people's first impressions come from the freeways when visiting Houston. It's not as if we have any real mass transit, so the view outsiders get is always going to be our tacky and dilapidated freeway scenery. Many visitors (especially those on business or convention trips) will fly into IAH or Hobby and drive directly to their hotel and then their meeting locations. Many of them either aren't aware or won't have the time to investigate the nicer parts of Houston, which are almost always a good distance from the freeways and the cornucopia of trashy consumerism that uglify them.

I personally don't find Las Vegas to be the least bit attractive. The only advantage Phoenix has is the newness and lack of mold and mildew sullying everything due to their dry climate. In Houston, we tend to build on the cheap, and these cheap buildings tend to look pretty bad after just a few years of dealing with the often humid climate.

I think the trees will definitely help soften the view from the freeways, but you could also argue that business owners could take more pride in the appearance of their facilities. People tend to want to frequent the bigger, cleaner and nicer gas station or furniture store than the dilapidated one, so perhaps the natural progression of demand and development will do away with the uglier ones over time. The one thing I'd really like to see is an ordinance to control the commercial signs. As others have pointed out, this visual blight smothers the view from the freeways more than any of the buildings.

i45_s_of_bw8_20-may-2001_hres.jpg

(north freeway pic from texasfreeways.com)

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I think his point is that most people's first impressions come from the freeways when visiting Houston. It's not as if we have any real mass transit, so the view outsiders get is always going to be our tacky and dilapidated freeway scenery. Many visitors (especially those on business or convention trips) will fly into IAH or Hobby and drive directly to their hotel and then their meeting locations. Many of them either aren't aware or won't have the time to investigate the nicer parts of Houston, which are almost always a good distance from the freeways and the cornucopia of trashy consumerism that uglify them.

I personally don't find Las Vegas to be the least bit attractive. The only advantage Phoenix has is the newness and lack of mold and mildew sullying everything due to their dry climate. In Houston, we tend to build on the cheap, and these cheap buildings tend to look pretty bad after just a few years of dealing with the often humid climate.

I think the trees will definitely help soften the view from the freeways, but you could also argue that business owners could take more pride in the appearance of their facilities. People tend to want to frequent the bigger, cleaner and nicer gas station or furniture store than the dilapidated one, so perhaps the natural progression of demand and development will do away with the uglier ones over time. The one thing I'd really like to see is an ordinance to control the commercial signs. As others have pointed out, this visual blight smothers the view from the freeways more than any of the buildings.

i45_s_of_bw8_20-may-2001_hres.jpg

(north freeway pic from texasfreeways.com)

You, Tierwester and a few others get my points and the reasoning behind me creating this thread.

If I'm writing about you, you aren't exactly in your fifteen minutes of fame quite yet. :lol:

Are you Katharine Shilcutt Gleave?

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I think his point is that most people's first impressions come from the freeways when visiting Houston. It's not as if we have any real mass transit, so the view outsiders get is always going to be our tacky and dilapidated freeway scenery. Many visitors (especially those on business or convention trips) will fly into IAH or Hobby and drive directly to their hotel and then their meeting locations. Many of them either aren't aware or won't have the time to investigate the nicer parts of Houston, which are almost always a good distance from the freeways and the cornucopia of trashy consumerism that uglify them.

I personally don't find Las Vegas to be the least bit attractive. The only advantage Phoenix has is the newness and lack of mold and mildew sullying everything due to their dry climate. In Houston, we tend to build on the cheap, and these cheap buildings tend to look pretty bad after just a few years of dealing with the often humid climate.

I think the trees will definitely help soften the view from the freeways, but you could also argue that business owners could take more pride in the appearance of their facilities. People tend to want to frequent the bigger, cleaner and nicer gas station or furniture store than the dilapidated one, so perhaps the natural progression of demand and development will do away with the uglier ones over time. The one thing I'd really like to see is an ordinance to control the commercial signs. As others have pointed out, this visual blight smothers the view from the freeways more than any of the buildings.

i45_s_of_bw8_20-may-2001_hres.jpg

(north freeway pic from texasfreeways.com)

Your point about the lack of mass transit jumped out at me and made me think... Yes, it's the view from the freeways that gives Houston the ugly label, but I've got a theory. As others have pointed out, many other cities have this same type of blight. It may be more excessive in Houston, but why is it that other people don't mention these blighted areas so much when they visit these other cities? I think it's that Houston doesn't have a single common destination that visitors gravitate to. Think about it. In Austin, tourists go to Sixth Street. In San Antonio, it's the Riverwalk and Alamo. In New Orleans, it's the French Quarter. Maybe Dallas's West End or Deep Ellum areas. I don't know if they are still in use? Regardless, I think the experiences people have in these entertainment districts helps to mitigate the blight or ugliness the city may have by taking the focus away from it. People remember their time in the touristy areas, how they looked, how they were treated, what a fun time they had. They don't remember the ugly drive on the way in or out. Houston doesn't have an entertainment district. All we have is us! When folks come to visit us, we can direct them to a few places, or drive them around ourselves to places we know, but it's not the same thing. And in all that driving on the freeways they're just seeing more blight. Sure, there's Kemah and the Museum District, but look at how far-flung these places are from each other. So maybe the answer is that Houston needs to become more tourist-friendly by highlighting (and improving) an existing area, or areas, and promoting it/them as the "entertainment district," or create one from scratch. Having a common tourist destination would help people forget about "the miles and miles of ugly."

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It's a lot of things away from the freeways that can be do too. For instants, on Westhimer going east from 610, you must pass over railroad tracks before you get to Highland Village. That kind of distracts from the niceness of the area. I don't see why the fourth largest city in America would have railroad tracks over one of it's main street. The city of Bryan had a similar problem with tracks over one of its main streets (Villa Maria Rd), but has since created a very nice over and under pass for that are. I will post pictures if I can find some and may even start a whole new topic on enhancing Westhimer.

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I will post pictures if I can find some and may even start a whole new topic on enhancing Westhimer.

Please do. I'm dying to see what your dream city would look like, with none of those ghastly railroad crossings, billboards or undistinguished "junky" buildings actually being used for business.

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It's a lot of things away from the freeways that can be do too. For instants, on Westhimer going east from 610, you must pass over railroad tracks before you get to Highland Village. That kind of distracts from the niceness of the area. I don't see why the fourth largest city in America would have railroad tracks over one of it's main street. The city of Bryan had a similar problem with tracks over one of its main streets (Villa Maria Rd), but has since created a very nice over and under pass for that are. I will post pictures if I can find some and may even start a whole new topic on enhancing Westhimer.

Those railroad tracks have been in that location since the 1800s, long before Highland Village was developed. Westheimer had little traffic, as it was an unpaved rural road at the time, so a crossing at that location really didn't matter. The city has grown up and evolved in spite of this intersection, and has created a fairly interesting juxtaposition of the gritty industrial railroad adjacent to an upscale shopping district that is focused on image.

Personally, I like the juxtaposition, since many goods sold in the Highland Village stores come in from the west coast ports on those tracks, so you get a reminder that the pretty store is really just one point in the whole manufacturing/retail process, parts of which are not pretty.

That said, Highland Village traffic is out of control. An overpass/underpass configuration at that location would probably alleviate some traffic flow issues, but it would involve condemning some very valuable real estate.

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How about the drive into Austin from the East side past the Airport, THAT is ugly.

And San Antonio is worse than Houston as well from the freeways.

We all have are ugly sides.

This is like complaining to your teacher in class for being busted for talking, or chewing gum, because so-and-so was also chewing gum or talking. It's not about other classmates... it's about you.

Same thing with trying to make Houston look better, or worse, by trying to compare it to other cities. The fact is, this city, irrespective of others, has visual pollution that must be destroyed; its owners taken to a wood shed.

EDIT: And to people who say that restricting signage or billboards is fascist or trying to be the "tacky police" - to them I say, check the deed restrictions in your own neighborhood. If I, as a homeowner, cannot erect a 100 foot flag pole in my yard, and am forced to keep the grass cut to no more than 4" tall... and those restrictions, on me, and my property, are legal... then why the hell is so bad to ask business owners to do the same thing? Why is it "OK" to restrict a private residence... but not a business? And for those whose deed restrictions have expired... look at the war zone your neighborhood has turned into.

Edited by BryanS
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EDIT: And to people who say that restricting signage or billboards is fascist or trying to be the "tacky police" - to them I say, check the deed restrictions in your own neighborhood. If I, as a homeowner, cannot erect a 100 foot flag pole in my yard, and am forced to keep the grass cut to no more than 4" tall... and those restrictions, on me, and my property, are legal... then why the hell is so bad to ask business owners to do the same thing? Why is it "OK" to restrict a private residence... but not a business? And for those whose deed restrictions have expired... look at the war zone your neighborhood has turned into.

And to you I say read your US Constitution. It is not as simple as just waving your hand and making them go away. Hence, the 25 years of lawsuits.

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I agree with the above post. My impression is that the city just flat out doesn't care about certain parts of town like southeast, parts of north, and southeast areas. The city is moving toward its growth patterns. It's all about the $$$. The money is out toward West Houston. The areas i mentioned above are mostly filled with low income Hispanics and Blacks. Why invest in building upgrades or beautification projects? It's easier to just let the "maggots" die.

Edit: 500th post! Wow, only took me 4 years to do it! :)

Edited by C2H
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actually the superbowl is an economic win for the cities that host it.....saying it is not would be the same as saying tear down the GRB because all those people coming to town, spending the night at hotels, eating in restaurants, and spending money for entertainment don't do anything for the quality of life

as for the Olympics when it is done wrong I agree it can cost a city.....but the amazing thing about Houston in particular of all the cities that have not hosted an Olympics is that pretty soon Houston will probably be in a position to host an Olympics with the least cost of additional infrastructure of any "new" host city in the world and long as Houston sticks to currently available or planned facilities and if planned and executed properly the additional infrastructure (with a few exceptions) could be a boom for Houston and the long term future of Houston.....properly designed and constructed additional or replacement dorms at TSU, UH, Rice and maybe even UHD would be great for those schools and a well planned and non-over the top refurb of existing facilities would be great as well....especially when a large amount of federal, sponsor, and private money is used....I think Atlanta did well with theirs, but I am sure there were some things they spent too much on......but they were going to build a new baseball facility (tearing part down was a waste) and their universities made use of and received dorms and other new facilities and it was an upgrade for many of their public spaces.....public spaces that Houston currently has many of already....just because some places do something wrong does not mean Houston has to follow their lead or we need to run and window dress (for way too much money) perfectly fine existing facilities

Reality doesn't seem quite as rosy as your predictions.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/...ympic-city.html

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I don't see why the fourth largest city in America would have railroad tracks over one of it's main street.

Those rail road tracks are part of the reason why we're now the fourth largest city in America. Houston was once a major rail road hub, and that really spiked the economy. Had it not been for those tracks, you wouldn't have anything to complain about, as that area probably would've remained undeveloped to this day, and just be a field located outside of a small East Texas town called Houston, which instead of being a city on the go, it would instead be serving as a bedroom community for the bustling port metropolis of Galveston. :rolleyes:

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I agree with the above post. My impression is that the city just flat out doesn't care about certain parts of town like southeast, parts of north, and southeast areas. The city is moving toward its growth patterns. It's all about the $$$. The money is out toward West Houston. The areas i mentioned above are mostly filled with low income Hispanics and Blacks. Why invest in building upgrades or beautification projects? It's easier to just let the "maggots" die.

Edit: 500th post! Wow, only took me 4 years to do it! :)

That's some easy low hanging fruit to suggest that the city isn't doing anything for minorities, but the fact of the matter is that you are painting with a broad brush and spilling paint everywhere. So is citykid. Let's look at this in a bit more detail.

For one, the city does not own the freeway that you and citykid complain of. It is built, owned and maintained by TxDOT, with a combination of state and federal funds. The City has nothing to do with it. As for landscapimg, unitl a few years ago TxDOT rules prohibited highway funds going toward landscaping. So, it is not the City's fault. Place the blame where it belongs.

The City has been fighting the billboards for over two decades. There are serious 1st Amendment and property rights issues in play. Maybe in your dream world, you just snap your fingers and things happen, but here in reality, we have to abide by the courts and their rulings. Just blaming the City for everything displays a lack of knowledge about the subject you are complaining of.

The buildings that look "rundown" house businesses that serve the neighborhoods that surround that area. These neighborhoods are not wealthy. Whereas household incomes on the westside may exceed $100,000, on the Northside they may fall below poverty level. If the business invests money to "upgrade" their building, those costs must be passed on to the customers, money the customers do not have. The customers accept the fact that their meager incomes will not support fancy new buildings, and I rather suspect that they do not care what tourists and others driving by their neighborhood think of their old buildings either.

So, before you throw out allegations of racism by "the city", make sure you know that "the city" is to blame. That way, people like me who just love to set people straight don't get to come on here and point out all the mistaken assumptions in your post.

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That's some easy low hanging fruit to suggest that the city isn't doing anything for minorities, but the fact of the matter is that you are painting with a broad brush and spilling paint everywhere. So is citykid. Let's look at this in a bit more detail.

For one, the city does not own the freeway that you and citykid complain of. It is built, owned and maintained by TxDOT, with a combination of state and federal funds. The City has nothing to do with it. As for landscapimg, unitl a few years ago TxDOT rules prohibited highway funds going toward landscaping. So, it is not the City's fault. Place the blame where it belongs.

The City has been fighting the billboards for over two decades. There are serious 1st Amendment and property rights issues in play. Maybe in your dream world, you just snap your fingers and things happen, but here in reality, we have to abide by the courts and their rulings. Just blaming the City for everything displays a lack of knowledge about the subject you are complaining of.

The buildings that look "rundown" house businesses that serve the neighborhoods that surround that area. These neighborhoods are not wealthy. Whereas household incomes on the westside may exceed $100,000, on the Northside they may fall below poverty level. If the business invests money to "upgrade" their building, those costs must be passed on to the customers, money the customers do not have. The customers accept the fact that their meager incomes will not support fancy new buildings, and I rather suspect that they do not care what tourists and others driving by their neighborhood think of their old buildings either.

So, before you throw out allegations of racism by "the city", make sure you know that "the city" is to blame. That way, people like me who just love to set people straight don't get to come on here and point out all the mistaken assumptions in your post.

I never said the city doesn't do anything for minorities. I also wasn't trying to imply that it was about racism either, but I can understand how you may have interpreted that. I was just saying that as the city is moving out toward where all the money is, with exception of the eastside which is the industrial area of town.

My issue is not about the freeways themselves, it's about the billboards and some of the businesses. Those are not TXDOT issues at all. Those could easily be implemented by City ordinances, the same ones that fine a person who refuses to mow their own lawn if it gets higher than 3 feet. I remember reading when Mayor White took office in early 2004, that he had removed a great portion of billboards. Driving down 45 today really shows no indication of any major stride ever having taken place.

Again, I was not trying to play the race card but it does seem that the city is letting portions of the city die off while they reinvent somewhere else. The fact that they happen to be in low income areas where blacks and hispanics primarily live is a true statement.

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My issue is not about the freeways themselves, it's about the billboards and some of the businesses. Those are not TXDOT issues at all. Those could easily be implemented by City ordinances, the same ones that fine a person who refuses to mow their own lawn if it gets higher than 3 feet.

No, it cannot be easily implemented. The City's attempts to remove billboards have been tied up in the courts for 25 years. Here is just one of numerous articles on the subject since the first ordinance was passed in 1983.

http://www.khou.com/topstories/stories/kho...al.6538b21.html

Note that the Texas and US governments have caused much of the problem.

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One man's blight is another man's business or neighborhood. Sorry the whole city can't look like River Oaks or West U.

I'm also tired of people complaining about century old railroad tracks in neighborhoods that were built up around them.

"Ew! Stink train! Build overpass NOW!"

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  • 3 weeks later...
As for old buildings, I bet we have a lot fewer run-down areas than, say, Detroit. And I would say most decent sized southern cities are as bad or worse than Houston. The only cities that maybe don't have those areas have geographical limitations, so their space is at a premium and not worth wasting.

Comparing Houston's run down areas to Detriot's isn't exactly a "balanced asessment" , as Detriot is a 330 year old city, founded by French Fur entrepreneurs, or " fur trappers", if you will......(while Texas is a 150+ year old "state")-- it took a long time for it to become the crumbling mess that it is today( but many of the surburban areas are still "quite nice")

Certain areas of Houston fell into disrepair at much faster rates than Detriot--and I've spent plenty of time in both cities over the course of my 50+ years on the planet................ B)

Both have some of the same industrial issues in common, though--Enough said! :lol:

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