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Save Washington Ave.


musicman

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It's rare when Houston is highlighted in the Travel section of The New York Times. Sure we've appeared there before, but it's been associated with one of our varied and short-lived ad campaigns: Remember “Houston Proud”? How about “Houston, Expect the Unexpected”? Or the recent “My Houston” campaign? Houston has a history of spending millions of tax dollars grasping for the one logo or brand that will bring droves of visitors to our great city. Advertising campaigns cannot create the excitement that entertainment districts provide and limited advertising dollars should be spent supporting homegrown venues such as Washington Avenue.

Most major cities have districts where locals and visitors enjoy food and music. A few examples are Miami's South Beach, New Orleans' French Quarter, Austin's Sixth Street, Denver's The LoDo, San Antonio's River Walk and so on. Unfortunately, Houston has a history of being antagonistic towards most spontaneously grown districts. Here are a few examples: The Richmond Strip was such a place in the early 1990s, but many of the venues, which routinely held outdoor concerts, were cited under the city's Sound Ordinance and otherwise hassled to the point that most of them went out of business.

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Edited by musicman
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Four issues:

1) the 'Scene' relocates over the course of years but it never ceases to exist, regardless of where it develops, so how and why is Washington Avenue the best geographic location to nurture it?

2) As much work as needs to be done on Washington Avenue to make it a permanent tourist destination, how do you keep that work from interfering with business (just like the Red Line construction did on Main Street, per the commentary)?

3) What happens when the improvements trigger an escalation in the price of real estate such that the bars and clubs can no longer afford to do business in that location?

4) How do you silence the NIMBYs of Sixth Ward?

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The "scene" is fickle and never lasts.

And as long as people are acting recklessly in and around the residential portions of OSW, the residents should keep their voices heard. Maybe instead of NIMBY this particular situation could be called SPIMBY (Stop Pissing/puking/prostituting In My Back Yard) :P

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And as long as people are acting recklessly in and around the residential portions of OSW, the residents should keep their voices heard. Maybe instead of NIMBY this particular situation could be called SPIMBY (Stop Pissing/puking/prostituting In My Back Yard) :P

It'd probably be in the public interest to block off all but one street leading into Sixth Ward, let's say the intersection of Lubbock Street and Houston Avenue, and erect 10-foot-tall iron fences all along the neighborhood perimeter. Then install access gates, a guard booth, and a large monument sign with a back-lit fountain or waterfall forced into the design. And there could be deed restrictions, and a towing company, and an HOA with an architectural review committee. Maybe they could hire a consultant to come up with a new name for the neighborhood, probably borrowed from New Orleans, and with some element of the name that conjures up a verdant paradise or an exotic aesthetic.

Having provided them insulation from urbanity and neighborhood-level control over their restrictions, there'd be so much infighting that we'd never hear from them again and could get on with the business of running and building a city.

Edited by TheNiche
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This may sound stupid to some, but why not build an entertainment district from scratch? Developers could by out a large area of land, clear it out and build a true urban entertainment district without having to worry with people not wanting it in their neighborhoods. The developers could build and design their own streets and have 3-4 story buildings that house clubs, bars, etc. If I had the money I would like to build a district like that from scratch. It would look similar to the Woodlands town center.

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This may sound stupid to some, but why not build an entertainment district from scratch? Developers could by out a large area of land, clear it out and build a true urban entertainment district without having to worry with people not wanting it in their neighborhoods. The developers could build and design their own streets and have 3-4 story buildings that house clubs, bars, etc. If I had the money I would like to build a district like that from scratch. It would look similar to the Woodlands town center.

because you need large population density for these projects to be successful. Any area where you can get huge tracts of non-developed land where there is little to no residential population is going to be a tough sell for people to travel to. Usually there is a reason the area/land hasn't been developed and can be had for so cheap.

The Marquee Center out of I-10 and Silber is pretty close to what you are talking about and it hasn't been much of a success.

It's easier to look for good demographics and build there then try to get the people to come to you.

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Either

Provide on-street parking along the entire street, thus ameliorating the parking problem and making it more pedestrian friendly and neighborhood-like

or

Pave the whole street in cobblestones to discourage through traffic. Anyone who wants to get downtown can use I-10, Allen Pkwy, Memorial, etc.

Here's a snapshot of what I think it could ideally look like: Naperville IL at Night

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This article is dumb. The methods it mentions as ways of "saving Washington Avenue" will never occur in time to "save it". First, parking at one place along Washington Avenue serves no purpose in getting elsewhere along the strip (Washington Avenue is crazy long, and as they mentioned, there are already lots of garages on the east side). Second, Metro cannot run down side streets (or the current rail line) without major infrastructure improvements to those or clearing major legal hurdles with the rail company (which leads to the last problem)... A Management District will not be able to form and create any street improvements in time before the new "it" part of town opens.

Face it, there is no way to "save" Washington Avenue. Our Main Street is a perfect example of why the methods mentioned will not work. For example, our Main street already has the infrastructure in place (mass transit, tons of parking options, etc), a Management District, and is easily accessible from anywhere... however, it lost its image as the "it" spot.

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Provide on-street parking along the entire street, thus ameliorating the parking problem and making it more pedestrian friendly and neighborhood-like

On street parking is already allowed on many parts of Washington and it has done little to improve the parking problem.

The city could consider many options if it really wanted to get serious about it.

Parking structures along with modes of transit along Washington could be very effective. If they closed a portion of the blocks heading east/west on weekends, they could also have bicycle taxis similar to downtown.

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Adding more parking on-street will help any parking problem in the same way that taking away on-street parking will make it harder to find a place to park.

But the point is that I think it would be great to have it done in a way similar to the picture I posted. It can be part of a multi-faceted solution.

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Downtown was the *perfect* place for such a district - walkable, shaded, plenty of people come down from their buildings right after work (not to mention to/from the sports stadiums and convention center), tons of parking, next to the theater district nightlife, few residents to upset (and they probably live there because they *want* street life) - yet it faded for reasons I don't understand. That's where it needs to be, and that's where it could be nurtured back.

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Downtown was the *perfect* place for such a district - walkable, shaded, plenty of people come down from their buildings right after work (not to mention to/from the sports stadiums and convention center), tons of parking, next to the theater district nightlife, few residents to upset (and they probably live there because they *want* street life) - yet it faded for reasons I don't understand. That's where it needs to be, and that's where it could be nurtured back.

Rent. Nightclub owners look for cheap rent. Others follow. Landlords get greedy. Niteclub owners move on. Space stays empty until landlords get over themselves. Because landlords raise prices as they see the area get popular, but do not lower prices as the area moderates, it is doomed to repeat as each new area develops. It WILL happen on Washington Avenue.

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Pave the whole street in cobblestones to discourage through traffic. Anyone who wants to get downtown can use I-10, Allen Pkwy, Memorial, etc.

Here's a snapshot of what I think it could ideally look like: Naperville IL at Night

There are industrial businesses on the Washington strip that still require access by large vehicles. Not sure the snapshot is a realistic possibility.

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There are industrial businesses on the Washington strip that still require access by large vehicles. Not sure the snapshot is a realistic possibility.

Agreed, but maybe Center Street needs to be the focus, then.

And for the record, I'm not at all against these kinds of improvements being made to Washington Avenue. There are going to be lots of boutiques and other high end retail even after the Scene has moved on, and parking will persist as a problem for some time to come. I just don't think that the stated reason to justify the improvements is a credible one.

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Either

Provide on-street parking along the entire street, thus ameliorating the parking problem and making it more pedestrian friendly and neighborhood-like

or

Pave the whole street in cobblestones to discourage through traffic. Anyone who wants to get downtown can use I-10, Allen Pkwy, Memorial, etc.

Here's a snapshot of what I think it could ideally look like: Naperville IL at Night

That was exactly what I was imagining. But with the way Houston sets up standards like each business has to have a certain amount of parking and the buildings have to be so far from the streets, how could anything like this ever get built? But what you showed in the picture is what I was thinking about. That is the type of district I would be attracted to for entertainment. Its somewhere where you can park once and club hop without having to go get the car again and drive to another venue. To me downtown is the place to be. There are a lot of clubs down there, but unless you like the urban culture, its probably not for you.

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If and when it looks like Washington is going to become a collection of retail and eateries and some bars, sure.

Errrr, but I agree with other posters - right now it is mostly the latest hot spot for bars and clubs.

Besides, don't people who visit here want the museums, theater, MLB, NFL, NBA, symphony, Galleria, etc?? Not sure what Washington could offer that would draw tourism...?!

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That was exactly what I was imagining. But with the way Houston sets up standards like each business has to have a certain amount of parking and the buildings have to be so far from the streets, how could anything like this ever get built?

Don't forget that you don't always have to knock down and rebuild in order for a neighborhood to develop. Pre-existing structures are grandfathered, exempting them from modern ordinances. The consequences with respect to parking play out all over Washington Avenue as well as greater Montrose and parts of the Heights.

To me downtown is the place to be. There are a lot of clubs down there, but unless you like the urban culture, its probably not for you.

What's that?

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If and when it looks like Washington is going to become a collection of retail and eateries and some bars, sure.

Errrr, but I agree with other posters - right now it is mostly the latest hot spot for bars and clubs.

Besides, don't people who visit here want the museums, theater, MLB, NFL, NBA, symphony, Galleria, etc?? Not sure what Washington could offer that would draw tourism...?!

Most tourists are being pointed towards Midtown, The Village, Highlands, or Galleria. Washington isn't very much on their radar unless they spend about 2 weeks here.

As far as a parking situation, I still think if someone builds a big garage (with the first two levels of office/retail), they will make a killing! I'm sure a nice sliding scale rates for residents, daytime, and clubber clients should be implemented and still make money.

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That was exactly what I was imagining. But with the way Houston sets up standards like each business has to have a certain amount of parking and the buildings have to be so far from the streets, how could anything like this ever get built? But what you showed in the picture is what I was thinking about. That is the type of district I would be attracted to for entertainment. Its somewhere where you can park once and club hop without having to go get the car again and drive to another venue. To me downtown is the place to be. There are a lot of clubs down there, but unless you like the urban culture, its probably not for you.

Well, it definitely wasn't made from scratch...a neighborhood like the one in that picture can take decades to cultivate. When you spoke of your single-developer entertainment district vision, I immediately thought of Victory Place.

But no matter who builds it or how it is built, I think what you describe can still happen in downtown/midtown. My biggest qualms with downtown are the extremely wide one-way streets and the fact that there are entire blocks with nothing but blank walls facing the street. On Washington Ave if you walked around, the lot sizes are so narrow that even if someone inconsiderately put up a brick wall facing the street, it is only maybe 10-20 feet wide at the most until the next storefront.

I found what I think might be my perfect urban environment the other day, even though it is only maybe half a block long. A couple of days ago when it rained I walked from Preston St Square north across the railroad tracks and then east along a freeway. I was looking for a hamburger place in a historic building that had announced its presence on this site last week. The restaurant was closed (oddly for a Saturday night at 7pm) but the block it was on was very quaint and out of the way. The buildings were right next to the street but with sidewalks wide enough to walk along and there were a couple of small restaurants and a club. If I had a camera I would have taken pictures. Whatever setbacks or rules exist there, I consider them successful.

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When I said "Urban Culture," I meant Hip Hop & R&B type clubs.

Oh, so you were talking about black people. I didn't realize.

I sort of figured that you were talking about lame white yuppies that decorate their loft apartment according to the dictates of feng shui, that drive their Priuses to visit farmers' markets to purchase organic produce, that express admiration for vegans (without even the slightest willingness to become one), or that own yoga mats even though they don't practice yoga. Well...I figured that it was either that sort of person, or douchebags (as defined in the other thread). Black people never even occurred to me. You should be more precise.

Edited by TheNiche
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I'm not sure why this thread is called "Save Washington Avenue", as if it's in danger of something happening to it. The only thing happening to it that I can see is that it's moving in a positive direction, so I don't see why it needs to be saved.

Anyways, based on what has been said, I think the parking options are fine as they are, if we want the area to be more of a community that is walkable and geared towards the people who live in the residences surrounding it. I think Washington Avenue is organically moving in this direction anyways at a rapid pace, so I see no sense in adding more parking options so that people from the suburbs can feel more comfortable driving into town and making it their nightspot. This would be in contrast to the pedestrian-friendly community that it is becoming. I also feel that a lot of the bar owners opening up on Washington don't have a clue, and are treating the street like it's the Richmond Strip, which was more of a car-oriented district that focuses on valet parking and parking lots, while Washington is poised to be based more on foot traffic and to become a residential community that includes the night life, which Richmond was not. Less parking options will encourage more people to move to the neighborhood, which should be a good thing for Houston, if we want more movement into the city and less sprawl. Besides, seeing all those parking lots with the $10 signs on a Saturday night is annoying, and they are an eyesore, really detracting from how the area is organically growing. They give Washington Avenue the feel of going to a sporting event or a concert or festival, whereas I feel it should be a happening area, but without that kind of commotion going on. It should definitely be more relaxed, but that won't happen when you have these club owners treating it like it's the Richmond Strip. Hopefully they'll finally get a clue, and move their clubs elsewhere, and let the bar/club owners who recognize and want to be a part of the new Washington Avenue community stay there for the long term.

Edited by PureAuteur
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I'm not sure why this thread is called "Save Washington Avenue", as if it's in danger of something happening to it. The only thing happening to it that I can see is that it's moving in a positive direction, so I don't see why it needs to be saved.

"Past Performance Is Not an Indication of Future Results"

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I'm not sure why this thread is called "Save Washington Avenue", as if it's in danger of something happening to it. The only thing happening to it that I can see is that it's moving in a positive direction, so I don't see why it needs to be saved.

Anyways, based on what has been said, I think the parking options are fine as they are, if we want the area to be more of a community that is walkable and geared towards the people who live in the residences surrounding it. I think Washington Avenue is organically moving in this direction anyways at a rapid pace, so I see no sense in adding more parking options so that people from the suburbs can feel more comfortable driving into town and making it their nightspot. This would be in contrast to the pedestrian-friendly community that it is becoming. I also feel that a lot of the bar owners opening up on Washington don't have a clue, and are treating the street like it's the Richmond Strip, which was more of a car-oriented district that focuses on valet parking and parking lots, while Washington is poised to be based more on foot traffic and to become a residential community that includes the night life, which Richmond was not. Less parking options will encourage more people to move to the neighborhood, which should be a good thing for Houston, if we want more movement into the city and less sprawl. Besides, seeing all those parking lots with the $10 signs on a Saturday night is annoying, and they are an eyesore, really detracting from how the area is organically growing. They give Washington Avenue the feel of going to a sporting event or a concert or festival, whereas I feel it should be a happening area, but without that kind of commotion going on. It should definitely be more relaxed, but that won't happen when you have these club owners treating it like it's the Richmond Strip. Hopefully they'll finally get a clue, and move their clubs elsewhere, and let the bar/club owners who recognize and want to be a part of the new Washington Avenue community stay there for the long term.

There's something very sinister about building a townhome behind Walter's and then complaining to the police about the noise every night.

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That was exactly what I was imagining. But with the way Houston sets up standards like each business has to have a certain amount of parking and the buildings have to be so far from the streets, how could anything like this ever get built? But what you showed in the picture is what I was thinking about. That is the type of district I would be attracted to for entertainment. Its somewhere where you can park once and club hop without having to go get the car again and drive to another venue. To me downtown is the place to be. There are a lot of clubs down there, but unless you like the urban culture, its probably not for you.

Clubs maybe, but there's plenty of bars for those who don't like "hiphop" or whatever clever lingo we're using. Dean's, Notsuoh, the Flying Saucer, Hotel Magnolia's bar, La Carafe, Warren's, Shay McElroy's or Heaven forbid, Molly's. And Dean's and Notsuoh can have a pretty clubbish atmosphere on certain nights.

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That's the thing, though. The area where Walter's is used to be an antique shop (I think?) and way before that someone's residence. You can be there first, but you never know what's going to go up behind you. That's Houston for ya (well, the parts with lax deed restrictions, or if you live on the edge of your little enclave).

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that picture from napperville is just as hilarious now as it was when it was posted months ago. up in huntsville and most other small texas towns that are way outside of a big city, they have town squares--and guess what you can park on the street like that. that is the commarison you are making.

washington will never become very urban because it is not on a grid. (personally, i think Midtown or East down ultimately will become much more urban than washington--again, the grid.) that said, washington could have stretches of it that loosely resemble highland village or river oaks shopping area (or more likely, an upscale 1960).

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No, by posting a picture of Naperville, IL, I was making a comparison to Naperville, IL.

Also, many big city neighborhoods resemble small-town downtowns.

Washington Ave will never, ever resemble FM 1960. It will resemble Naperville, IL before it resembles FM 1960.

Edited by N Judah
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because you need large population density for these projects to be successful. Any area where you can get huge tracts of non-developed land where there is little to no residential population is going to be a tough sell for people to travel to. Usually there is a reason the area/land hasn't been developed and can be had for so cheap.

The Marquee Center out of I-10 and Silber is pretty close to what you are talking about and it hasn't been much of a success.

It's easier to look for good demographics and build there then try to get the people to come to you.

Wasn't this tried once with El Mercado del Sol back in the early 80's. And then again with the old Albert Thomas Civic Center in the early 90's. And then yes again The Marquee Center on Katy Freeway. I see a pattern of failures. (or marginal successes at best)

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washington will never become very urban because it is not on a grid. (personally, i think Midtown or East down ultimately will become much more urban than washington--again, the grid.) that said, washington could have stretches of it that loosely resemble highland village or river oaks shopping area (or more likely, an upscale 1960).

Much of Washington is intersected by gridded streets. It isn't as intact as the downtown grid, but even the downtown grid has been all screwed up.

Parcels along Washington Avenue are also pretty consistently sized less than a few acres at a time. If you consider that for every one square foot of traditional single-story retail space, there are usually five square feet of parking lots, and that a typical power center on 1960 is about 350,000 square feet, that'd compare to about 36,000 square feet that could be built in a single-story format at a time on the very largest parcels (approx. 5 acres) along Washington (assuming street closures could be obtained). Think about it. It is physically impossible for Washington Avenue to ever look like 1960. There's not even enough room in one place to replicate anything approaching the scale of Highland Village or the River Oaks Shopping Center--it couldn't even accommodate a traditional grocery store.

Edited by TheNiche
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It is interesting that all of the examples given (with the possible exception of Denver) have something nothing in Houston has. Location, Geographic location.

Austin has 6th street, but 6th street became popular as a result of being close to UT, UT isn't going to move, and everything around that campus is full of stuff, so unless they want to move their party time farther away from campus, that is it.

San Antonio, river walk, can't really move the river, and it loses the mystique if it isn't on the river.

Miami, South Beach. Same as with the river, the beach is the point.

New Orleans, french quarter. Historic part of town, can't move history.

Denver is the closest example of what Houston needs to do, as the geographic reasons for where that stuff is, is sports teams and entertainment. and if you think about it, it makes sense, Chicago has Wrigleyville.

I know that is generalized, but if Houston wants to have a successful place like this, it needs a geographic reason to give people reason to go to a location and stay there for other things. Club scene isn't enough, because like stated, once prices go up, they move on to a new location, the people move with them.

It isn't permanent, there is no geographic reason to force things to stay put (like a beach, or a river, or proximity to college campus)

In contrast...

We have 2 big stadiums downtown, a 3rd on the way and a convention center, these venues cannot move. There are restaurants and hotels that are built up around these places, this should be emphasized as the draw, not clubs.

I may be rambling here, but thinking just about baseball, there are over 30,000 people that are in downtown for each baseball game, and there are what 80 games at home per season, at 30k per, that is a lot of people. Something like this is what a stable visitor area should be built on, and eventually attract people on days where there isn't anything else to do, but to go for the area.

As with most every other part of Houston, pedestrian travel is forgotten, most sidewalks could be used by budding ecologists who want to study tectonic movements, and even the ones that are in good repair are so skinny they would make a tightrope walker sweat with fear. while that is a slight exaggeration, who wants to go out with friends only to be forced to walk in a single file line for 2 blocks to get to the destination, oh yeah, and watch your step so you don't twist an ankle. This is a problem with Downtown, Washington Ave, Richmond strip, and so many other places.

The places that have managed to create and have pedestrian friendly areas, bagby/gray area of midtown as an example are amazingly popular and have been for a while now (farrago has been there since 2000, so has front porch pub), anyway, I hope Washington Ave can find a way to stand the test of time and become a familiar location for locals, as well as tourists, but with Houston history to use as a guide, the chances are slim.

Edited by samagon
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The places that have managed to create and have pedestrian friendly areas, bagby/gray area of midtown as an example are amazingly popular and have been for a while now (farrago has been there since 2000, so has front porch pub

must be an upgrade for the front porch. last time when i was dragged there they had the same sidewalks and parking lot out front.

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must be an upgrade for the front porch. last time when i was dragged there they had the same sidewalks and parking lot out front.

Hm, I don't know if I'd call like 3 parking spots a lot... At any rate, most people are parking in the garage behind the retail these days, or the street when available.

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It is interesting that all of the examples given (with the possible exception of Denver) have something nothing in Houston has. Location, Geographic location.

Austin has 6th street, but 6th street became popular as a result of being close to UT, UT isn't going to move, and everything around that campus is full of stuff, so unless they want to move their party time farther away from campus, that is it.

San Antonio, river walk, can't really move the river, and it loses the mystique if it isn't on the river.

Miami, South Beach. Same as with the river, the beach is the point.

New Orleans, french quarter. Historic part of town, can't move history.

Denver is the closest example of what Houston needs to do, as the geographic reasons for where that stuff is, is sports teams and entertainment. and if you think about it, it makes sense, Chicago has Wrigleyville.

6th Street isn't close to UT. Not even remotely walking distance.

The San Antonio Riverwalk actually did require them moving the San Antonio River. The whole concept would have been impossible without a bypass channel to divert floodwaters away from the bend in the River. Similar concepts would actually be feasible in two or three locations along the Buffalo Bayou if there were adequate political will.

Miami, point taken.

As for New Orleans or any city that relies on perceptions of being historic, there isn't any city that is incapable of being so respected. All that has to be done is for that city to make history. And really all that means is that at era in time, a city has to be either growing very fast or be the largest city in a culturally-unique region. Houston is actually set up pretty well, if you ask me. Our skyline is a testament to a particular era, and we were growing during the 70's and early 80's, at a time when most of the rest of the country was stagnant. That legacy isn't fully appreciated today because the buildings are still too new. Give it time. But as for a cultural component like New Orleans has, yeah, we're pretty much screwed. Houston's PR folks try to leverage the rodeo, but Fort Worth will always be Cow Town USA. And they aren't willing to leverage our oil-soaked past because they're too busy touting our economic diversification to business interests.

Denver probably isn't actually a very good comparison to Houston, either, because Denver receives a lot of tourist traffic that stays there for a day or two en route to or from the mountains for skiing.

I know that is generalized, but if Houston wants to have a successful place like this, it needs a geographic reason to give people reason to go to a location and stay there for other things. Club scene isn't enough, because like stated, once prices go up, they move on to a new location, the people move with them.

Is that what we want, to be a respected tourist destination? Personally, I think that we need to focus on maximally leverage our strengths--and they are many.

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Cars have made people so lazy, its only 9 blocks, 6 tenths of a mile. I walk 9 blocks almost daily.

Nope, it's 0.9 miles to the sports complex, and then up to another 0.75 miles depending on where a person wants to go within the UT campus. If you don't believe me, check it out on Google Earth.

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Nope, it's 0.9 miles to the sports complex, and then up to another 0.75 miles depending on where a person wants to go within the UT campus. If you don't believe me, check it out on Google Earth.

What if they wanted to go to the tennis courts? The campus starts at 15th @ Trinity. 6th Street to 15th Street along Trinity St, that's 9 blocks, .6 miles. Even going into the heart of the campus is just fine as a reasonable walking distance, we walked from my friend's dorm to 6th Street, had a great time and walked back home. Hey, you don't have to take my word for it, go out on a Friday night or something and see all the students doing exactly that.

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We have 2 big stadiums downtown, a 3rd on the way and a convention center, these venues cannot move. There are restaurants and hotels that are built up around these places, this should be emphasized as the draw, not clubs.

Right on, I couldn't agree with you more. It's sort of obvious that the huge stadiums located on a grid street pattern with mass transit nearby should become the thing to develop and "save"... not a strip of bars along some industrial train tracks. I give it ten years when that side of downtown, east end, and Midtown are going to be hopping.

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I'm no expert on UT, but I would suspect that any discussion of walking distances to 6th Street would center around the distance from the dorms to 6th Street. That is where the majority of people would be walking from. And, while I am sure that legions of alums have stories of drunken staggers home from 6th Street, most would not walk the mile or two home voluntarily. Still, it is likely that 6th Street got its start the same way Washington Avenue did, an abundance of cheap rents in old buildings that normal businessmen did not want or need. As it became popular, the students made it infamous. The rest, as they say, is history. Could that happen on Washington? Perhaps, but not likely. Rowdy bar districts are not tolerated like they once were. Even 6th Street itself is but a shell of what it once was. And frankly, the clubs opening on Washington do not lend themselves to long term stability. They are trendy. Trends change. The clubs will shut down and move. But, they are likely to be replaced by restaurants and more sedate bars, which would suit the locals just fine.

Washington certainly could use a facelift. The best thing that could happen would be to move up the light rail plans for the corridor, and to make it public that they are moving forward with rail. Part of the rail construction would include a street reconstruction and sidewalk improvements. Some signature lighting would be nice. This would encourage restaurants, bars and boutique retail to stick around, knowing that the area is intended to be and remain a "destination". A parking garage or two as part of a rail stop would work better in this kind of setup.

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Washington certainly could use a facelift. The best thing that could happen would be to move up the light rail plans for the corridor, and to make it public that they are moving forward with rail. Part of the rail construction would include a street reconstruction and sidewalk improvements. Some signature lighting would be nice. This would encourage restaurants, bars and boutique retail to stick around, knowing that the area is intended to be and remain a "destination". A parking garage or two as part of a rail stop would work better in this kind of setup.

Totally agreed and now is the time to do this. And it will complete the loop if the Richmond line ever gets the "100%" go.

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Totally agreed and now is the time to do this. And it will complete the loop if the Richmond line ever gets the "100%" go.

Such a line would also provide a more direct route from the NW Transit center to DT. Also, Memorial Park could have a stop or two.

Anyway, Washington has changed so much already. It'll be interesting to see how it evolves over the next few years.

Edited by rsb320
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Such a line would also provide a more direct route from the NW Transit center to DT. Also, Memorial Park could have a stop or two.

Anyway, Washington has changed so much already. It'll be interesting to see how it evolves over the next few years.

But let's fund the Grand Parkway instead!!!

Anyways, I am looking for the first NEW Washington Ave "failure"? My first guess be "Blue Label"? Agree or no?

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I'm hoping it's "ei8ht."

While I think Blue label is going to last a bit longer, I think "Reign" (or however they spelt it) is one of the new ones that goes.

that is, unless Nox figures out how to resolve their valet/parking issues.

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This article is dumb. The methods it mentions as ways of "saving Washington Avenue" will never occur in time to "save it". First, parking at one place along Washington Avenue serves no purpose in getting elsewhere along the strip (Washington Avenue is crazy long, and as they mentioned, there are already lots of garages on the east side). Second, Metro cannot run down side streets (or the current rail line) without major infrastructure improvements to those or clearing major legal hurdles with the rail company (which leads to the last problem)... A Management District will not be able to form and create any street improvements in time before the new "it" part of town opens.

Face it, there is no way to "save" Washington Avenue. Our Main Street is a perfect example of why the methods mentioned will not work. For example, our Main street already has the infrastructure in place (mass transit, tons of parking options, etc), a Management District, and is easily accessible from anywhere... however, it lost its image as the "it" spot.

Isn't it really peculiar though that Houston has these constantly rotating "entertainment" (really just bar) districts? Richmond Strip, on to Shepherd Plaza, over to downtown, now to Washington Ave. And the story repeats every time in each area: complaints over parking, noise and drunkards staggering about. Wouldn't it make more sense to settle on one area and focus on keeping the bars there? For the reasons you mentioned I thought downtown made perfect sense for it, plus it has the benefit of few residents to gripe. One would think it would be relatively easy for the city to prevent a concentrated buildup of clubs in new areas, simply by limiting approval of liquor licenses. Club owners would probably like it too, if they knew that it was unlikely that "the scene" would be moving every couple of years.

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Isn't it really peculiar though that Houston has these constantly rotating "entertainment" (really just bar) districts? Richmond Strip, on to Shepherd Plaza, over to downtown, now to Washington Ave. And the story repeats every time in each area: complaints over parking, noise and drunkards staggering about. Wouldn't it make more sense to settle on one area and focus on keeping the bars there? For the reasons you mentioned I thought downtown made perfect sense for it, plus it has the benefit of few residents to gripe. One would think it would be relatively easy for the city to prevent a concentrated buildup of clubs in new areas, simply by limiting approval of liquor licenses. Club owners would probably like it too, if they knew that it was unlikely that "the scene" would be moving every couple of years.

It might be peculiar if you could show me that this does not happen in other cities. Most posters here live in Houston, and therefore cannot say that it doesn't happen elsewhere, since they do not live there to see it up close. I can say that during my 9 years in the DFW area, I saw several "bar districts" rise and fall to varying degrees, including West End, Upper Greenville, Deep Ellum and Northwest Highway. I'd be willing to bet that a close inspection of other cities reveals the same pattern.

As for the relative ease of the City preventing concentrated buildups of bars by limiting liquor permits, could you point me to the statute that gives the City the power to deny permits?

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For the reasons you mentioned I thought downtown made perfect sense for it, plus it has the benefit of few residents to gripe. One would think it would be relatively easy for the city to prevent a concentrated buildup of clubs in new areas, simply by limiting approval of liquor licenses. Club owners would probably like it too, if they knew that it was unlikely that "the scene" would be moving every couple of years.

I think the completion of the two new LRT lines will ensure downtown's permanence/longevity. In addition to the existing Main St. scene, I can see small neighborhood-style establishments popping up along the several blocks between Discovery Green and the new LRT. Some such establishments already exist, but not enough for the area to perpetuate itself. Also, I think more two-way streets would be great for that part of downtown.

Edited by N Judah
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  • The title was changed to Save Washington Ave.

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