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East River: KBR Site Puchased by Midway

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25 minutes ago, Mr.Clean19 said:

Why get light rail when you can have a Gondola to Downtown? Hopefully plans are released soon. They have been suspiciously quiet lately. If you ever need an update on what is going on, you just need to go to The New Potato across the street from the site. The owner Paul can fill you in. 

Also can just go there because its a cool bar.  

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There is a Notice of Special Exception Request on the property. "To allow local streets to have reduced right of way width and To allow reduced block Lengths along Major Thoroughfares."

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On 5/22/2018 at 11:45 AM, Mr.Clean19 said:

Why get light rail when you can have a Gondola to Downtown? Hopefully plans are released soon. They have been suspiciously quiet lately. If you ever need an update on what is going on, you just need to go to The New Potato across the street from the site. The owner Paul can fill you in. 

I'm thinking more like the ferries in Bangkok.  

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21 hours ago, Mr.Clean19 said:

There is a Notice of Special Exception Request on the property. "To allow local streets to have reduced right of way width and To allow reduced block Lengths along Major Thoroughfares."

 

Yes, please. Most of our streets are too damn wide. I'd like to see them do something like 20-ft between facades, but I doubt they'll be that ambitious.

 

In EaDo, even with 5-ft setbacks 40% of land is not buildable. Hard to achieve decent density without high-rise construction unless you get the RoW widths down.

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9 hours ago, Angostura said:

 

Yes, please. Most of our streets are too damn wide. I'd like to see them do something like 20-ft between facades, but I doubt they'll be that ambitious.

 

In EaDo, even with 5-ft setbacks 40% of land is not buildable. Hard to achieve decent density without high-rise construction unless you get the RoW widths down.

Hogwash. Most of Europe has 100 plus foot wide streets and sidewalks where there's public transport. Otherwise, there's no room for buses or trams or trolleys. Or sidewalks.

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Oh come on, you know that's not true.

Most of Europe has major boulevards and avenues that are that wide (or wider), but the vast majority of streets in European cities are nowhere near 100ft. 

Now, I don't know that we particularly need (or would even want) Medieval-scaled streets, but 100' ROW is only a good idea IF a lot of that is dedicated to transit and/or bike lanes. 

I actually think Main Street Downtown/Midtown is a good local precedent - that ROW is probably, what? 60' roadbed+ sidewalks? Probably narrower in a few places. 

And that gives us, at the most, a tramway, two lanes of traffic, two parking/drop-off lanes, and (somewhat narrow) sidewalks. 

Now, I would probably argue that a street like Clinton should be wider than that because it needs to be a way through for cars, but the internal streets don't need that width because, while cars need to access them (or at least some of them), they will be using them for garage access, deliveries, etc, and speed and volume are not the concern. 

 

For Clinton, my ideal street would look something like this:

Tramway/BRT: 35' (ish)

Car travel lanes (either 2 or 4 - I'm feeling generous): 22-44' (I know that the City's standard lanes are 11', but that's just an arbitrary compromise. I would argue for 11' lanes if it's one lane each direction and 10' lanes if it's two)

2-way PBL: 12' 

Sidewalks: 30' (10' + 5' for street trees and such on each side)

 

Which would give you a ROW of b/w 99' and 121'. But again, that's one street, and I don't think the interior streets need to be anywhere near that wide.

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13 hours ago, Ross said:

Hogwash. Most of Europe has 100 plus foot wide streets and sidewalks where there's public transport. Otherwise, there's no room for buses or trams or trolleys. Or sidewalks.

 

Most of Europe has SOME wide streets, but not ONLY wide streets.

 

London: Oxford Rd and the Strand are 80-ft or so between facades. Surrounding streets are closer to 20-25 ft.

Paris: the grand boulevards are around 100-ft between facades. Surrounding streets are closer to 20-25 ft.

Rome: some main streets are 60-70-ft between facades, side streets as little as 10-15 ft.


In EaDo, the blocks are 250-ft on a side, with 70-ft RoWs.  That means 39% of land area is publicly owned. We put another 5% off limits by imposing a 5-ft building setback. So the other 56% has to generate enough tax base to maintain all that public infrastructure, AND pay for every other city service. 

 

Point is, not EVERY street needs to be this wide. My residential street in Heights (a numbered E-W street) sees about 20-30 cars per hour. Why design this street the same way, with the same width, as one that gets 500 cars per hour? By all means keep Clinton Dr's wide RoW, but the internal streets can and should be a lot narrower.

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Yeah, you tend to have some large boulevards in Europe and then lots of small streets that give it that "Old World" feel. Montmartre and most of the Left Bank in Paris, Campo Marzio in Rome, Jewish Districts in Prague and Budapest, Covent Garden in London, most Old Towns and Altstadts... primarily small streets.

 

 

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So a fact about Paris. Paris' grand boulevards were an invention of Napoleon III and his city planner, because the exclusively narrow streets were so easy to fill up with barricades. He wanted boulevards the width of a cavalry company. 

 

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14 hours ago, Ross said:

Hogwash. Most of Europe has 100 plus foot wide streets and sidewalks where there's public transport. Otherwise, there's no room for buses or trams or trolleys. Or sidewalks.

 

i mean it's awesome that most of europe has 100' wide thoroughfares but they also have an innumerable amount of much narrower, pedestrian-friendly streets that houston lacks entirely. 

 

you're like a staunch anti-urbanist.

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2 minutes ago, swtsig said:

 

i mean it's awesome that most of europe has 100' wide thoroughfares but they also have an innumerable amount of much narrower, pedestrian-friendly streets that houston lacks entirely. 

 

you're like a staunch anti-urbanist.

Those narrow pre-19th century streets that dominate much of major European cities. 

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3 hours ago, swtsig said:

 

i mean it's awesome that most of europe has 100' wide thoroughfares but they also have an innumerable amount of much narrower, pedestrian-friendly streets that houston lacks entirely. 

 

you're like a staunch anti-urbanist.

Those narrower streets are not pedestrian friendly. The sidewalks are generally narrower than on the thoroughfares, and often have cars parked on them.

 

 

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25 minutes ago, Ross said:

Those narrower streets are not pedestrian friendly. The sidewalks are generally narrower than on the thoroughfares, and often have cars parked on them.

 

 

 

They are generally considered the most pedestrian-friendly streets, due to the absence of traffic and the mellow atmosphere.

 

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40 minutes ago, Ross said:

Those narrower streets are not pedestrian friendly. The sidewalks are generally narrower than on the thoroughfares, and often have cars parked on them.

 

 

 

And speed limits in these areas is a lot slower than 30 mph (urban residential is 20 mph, and strictly residential is 10 mph).

And a pedestrian that walks in the street is not going to be ticketed on these narrow interior roads (so long as they yield to cars).

And there is typically at least one of the streets that has traffic blocked off entirely to traffic where it's safe to walk (and these streets usually contain all the shops, and most of the pedestrians choose to use these streets).

 

Finally, laws in those countries are more favored towards the vulnerable party (pedestrian, or cyclist). 

 

I'm not even sure why they're asking to make the block size smaller, or have less streetfront ROW, just make the 'smaller block size' pedestrian paths between buildings, or the driveway to the parking garage. is there a minimum distance that a parking garage driveway can be? Why does it have to be a city street?

 

edit: here's a decent article on the subject:

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/01/08/lessons-from-the-dutch-on-rising-pedestrian-traffic-deaths/

 

notable quotes:

"They think of cities as places for people in which cars (motor vehicles) are guests"

"They think of pedestrians and bicyclists as vulnerable road users and it is absolutely every driver’s obligation to protect those vulnerable users"

"Those attitudes are reinforced with harsh insurance penalties for drivers who strike a pedestrian or cyclist. They also have a philosophy that no pedestrian should ever have to cross more than two lanes of traffic at a time and one would be preferable."

 

Edited by samagon

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23 hours ago, EllenOlenska said:

So a fact about Paris. Paris' grand boulevards were an invention of Napoleon III and his city planner, because the exclusively narrow streets were so easy to fill up with barricades. He wanted boulevards the width of a cavalry company. 

 

 

Yes. Hausmann was a fascist.

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19 hours ago, Ross said:

Those narrower streets are not pedestrian friendly. The sidewalks are generally narrower than on the thoroughfares, and often have cars parked on them.

 

 

 

If the street is a pedestrian space (not a car space) then it is inherently pedestrian friendly.

 

Think of a city as divided into three kinds of space: people space (destinations; places where people on foot predominate; homes, shops, restaurants, parks), car space (roads, parking, etc.) and empty space (places where nobody ever goes; highway medians, the insides of cloverleafs, "green space"). Great, memorable, pleasant cities tend to maximize people space and minimize the other two.

 

The problem is, like the lady who swallowed the spider to catch the fly, we tend to fix the problems of not enough people space by adding more non-people places. We build our roads to wide, which means more and faster car traffic, which is dangerous and frightening for pedestrians. So we build segregated sidewalks (a people place) with landscape buffers (an empty place) to keep pedestrians away from the road (a car space). People don't like street parking in their neighborhoods, so cities require off-street parking (more car space). This makes everything further apart, so we have to move a lot of people longer distances. So we build roads for high speeds. No one wants to be right next to high-speed traffic, so we institute building setbacks (empty space) to separate homes and businesses (people places) from car places. Now things are EVEN FURTHER apart, so we need freeways (car space) with sweeping on-ramps and cloverleafs (car space), surrounded by empty space.

 

All of this is built at ruinous expense and is expensive to maintain. At the same time, the parts of a city that generate the tax revenue to support it (people places) occupy an ever-smaller proportion of land area. So when it comes time to rebuild all this infrastructure (when it comes to the end of its design life) there's no money to do it.

 

Narrowing the streets (making them for people) is a good way to start counteracting this tendency. 

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So a fact about Paris. Paris' grand boulevards were an invention of Napoleon III and his city planner, because the exclusively narrow streets were so easy to fill up with barricades. He wanted boulevards the width of a cavalry company. 

 

and lined with trees so the Germans can march in the shade  :)

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They could narrow the ROW by 12' (the width of one lane downtown) and still have room for 2 lanes of traffic, 2 parking lanes, and wide sidewalks

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  • This fact sheet document says it will take "over a decade" to build it. If that's the case and we just took into account the roughly 27 buildings, not including townhomes, they'd build about two buildings a year for 13.5 years.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/xtxh93nqfkop3cf/AADJbQa4tmk9LJAi_RNByxjea?dl=0&preview=East+River+Fact+Sheet.pdf

 

  • There is a large tract of land across the river (yes, I said it haha). I wonder what becomes of it? A mirror image?
  • Where do you guys think they'll start? Townhomes? Along the river? The NE corner?
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i met one of the dumbest people I have ever met tonight.
She owns a bar across the street from this property,. She bitched about everything having to do with the old KBR site. I was like, you don't realize the gold mine you're sitting on. I'll buy your bar when your ignorance takes over... lol

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6 hours ago, Tumbleweed_Tx said:

i met one of the dumbest people I have ever met tonight.
She owns a bar across the street from this property,. She bitched about everything having to do with the old KBR site. I was like, you don't realize the gold mine you're sitting on. I'll buy your bar when your ignorance takes over... lol

My guess is that the bar does not own the land and the landlord may be looking to raise the rent to cover the jump in property value. She will be in quite a rough spot trying to cover increased expenses while waiting for the customers to show up across the street.

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8 hours ago, Tumbleweed_Tx said:

i met one of the dumbest people I have ever met tonight.
She owns a bar across the street from this property,. She bitched about everything having to do with the old KBR site. I was like, you don't realize the gold mine you're sitting on. I'll buy your bar when your ignorance takes over... lol

The Bar across the street (The New Potato) loves this lot and maintains a very good relationship with Midway. The owner is a guy named Paul and they built the bar with the plan to establish an early footprint in this area. Best hidden bar in town!

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Info on the variance request, including street cross-sections and a site land-use layout, are in this week's planning commission agenda. (Item 99, pg 125)

 

The ask is pretty modest: 50-ft RoWs on some of the internal streets. Layouts would be 70-ft between facades, 36-38 ft between curbs. It's only a 10-ft reduction in Ch 42's RoW requirements, and 50-ft RoWs are already permitted for SF-only streets.

 

The site layout shows 6 streets taking access from Clinton (for the most part aligned with the existing street grid north of Clinton), and one each taking access from Jensen and Hirsch. There are six easements ranging from 15-ft to 40-ft in width, between the internal streets and the bayou for Hike & Bike trail access.

 

Most of the Clinton Dr frontage appears to be dedicated to townhouses. The site also includes 8 multifamily sites, 10 office sites, a dozen or so retail sites, a theater, a hotel and a museum.

 

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35 minutes ago, Angostura said:

The ask

 

:unsure:

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12 hours ago, Mr.Clean19 said:

The Bar across the street (The New Potato) loves this lot and maintains a very good relationship with Midway. The owner is a guy named Paul and they built the bar with the plan to establish an early footprint in this area. Best hidden bar in town!

 

When people are drunk you get the truth out of them.
She was drunk last night.

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10 hours ago, Tumbleweed_Tx said:

 

When people are drunk you get the truth out of them.
She was drunk last night.

Quit taking advantage of drunks Tumbleweed! lol

 

Its interesting too see the land that Midways owns and how that will be developed vs the land that Cathexsis owns and how that is developing. 

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17 hours ago, lockmat said:

 

Under the current Chapter 42 standards, we could hypothetically provide only one north/south public street throughout the entire development and no east/west streets (what?! Ridonculous!).

 

Ridiculous, but not entirely incorrect.

 

Clinton Dr is a major thoroughfare. Chapter 42 allows for intersection spacing of up to 2600-ft along major thoroughfares, and the Clinton Dr frontage is around 5000 ft. However, there are already two public N-S streets on the property, so to provide only one would require the city abandoning the other one.

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Right, but it's ridiculous that Chapter 42 allows that. It should instead require more reasonable block lengths so that developers would have to apply for a variance for more than, oh, let's say 1400' b/w streets (that Planning Commission would of course immediately rubber stamp, but still!, it's the principle!)

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14 hours ago, Texasota said:

Right, but it's ridiculous that Chapter 42 allows that. It should instead require more reasonable block lengths so that developers would have to apply for a variance for more than, oh, let's say 1400' b/w streets (that Planning Commission would of course immediately rubber stamp, but still!, it's the principle!)

 

How about 300-ft?

 

The only parts of the city with compact grid layouts and reasonable-sized blocks are the areas platted pre Ch 42.

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I would probably argue for somewhere around 600' as a maximum - depending on how it's measured 300' might actually be a bit smaller than a standard downtown block.

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22 hours ago, Texasota said:

I would probably argue for somewhere around 600' as a maximum - depending on how it's measured 300' might actually be a bit smaller than a standard downtown block.

 

Downtown/EaDo are 330-ft from center of ROW to center of ROW; 250-ft plus 80-ft of ROW. (43% city-owned land area)

 

I think 4th ward is the tightest: 200 x 250, plus 30-ft RoWs. (22% city-owned land area)

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I'm totally lost on the ROW's and bw's and everything you are talking about in the last six or seven posts. Is there some where I can go to educate myself about these standard ROW's and the other jargon your speaking. Sorry I'm sure for real estate and planning people this is very simple but it could be greek for all I don't know.

Thanks

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On 6/9/2018 at 8:47 AM, Mr.Clean19 said:

Midway meeting with locals in 5th ward to discuss the East River property this past week at The New Potato.

 

 

 

Were there any updates on whether there is a timeline for breaking ground? Also was their a change to their plans.. because the most recent mock up displayed the west side of the property as labeled section I and as far as I knew they were building east to west. The spot marked for theatre in the far west is ripe for the first Alamo Draft House inside the loop and would be a total game changer if that were the case. My biggest hopes for the property are a movie theater, a grocery store and possibly a gym. 

Edited by I'm Not a Robot

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Naviguessor was at the meeting and in the photo above, enjoying his 2nd Lone Star.  The biggest takeaways that were shared are that the property will now be developed West to East, which is a change to the plan.  Construction is expected to start within 24 months.  Of course, Midway will not divulge any parties that they are in negotiations with, including retail, entertainment or "museum" concepts.  The "candyland" map that Midway submitted to the CoH is still strictly conceptual, for the planning board to use in their consideration for the Street proposal.  The actual plan will be driven by market forces but is still expected to be a very rich mix uses and densities.  Bayou access is and will continue to be a priority and are very engaged with BBP. 

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It's reassuring to know that Navi has his priorities in good order... :ph34r:

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1 hour ago, Naviguessor said:

Naviguessor was at the meeting and in the photo above, enjoying his 2nd Lone Star.  The biggest takeaways that were shared are that the property will now be developed West to East, which is a change to the plan.  Construction is expected to start within 24 months.  Of course, Midway will not divulge any parties that they are in negotiations with, including retail, entertainment or "museum" concepts.  The "candyland" map that Midway submitted to the CoH is still strictly conceptual, for the planning board to use in their consideration for the Street proposal.  The actual plan will be driven by market forces but is still expected to be a very rich mix uses and densities.  Bayou access is and will continue to be a priority and are very engaged with BBP. 

That's a little bizarre to start West to East. So a vacant building will sit on the East side for a while then?

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I think that the West to East Makes sense, since that end is how the majority of the traffic approaches the property.  Midway, did indicate that the Large building on the site (with HTX or AMAZN in lights) will be preserved in hopes of landing a major tenant.  If this were to happen, I am sure that they will develop the land differently.  The other buildings on the property will likely all be removed.  But, for now, the parcel between Jensen and Meadow, is expected to be the first to see any real action.  

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East End Management District has a proposed street car connecting this neighborhood with Eado and Navigation. Would be a huge game changer. 

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19 minutes ago, Mr.Clean19 said:

East End Management District has a proposed street car connecting this neighborhood with Eado and Navigation. Would be a huge game changer. 

 

It would tie that whole east side of downtown in the way the red line ties midtown and downtown together

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That idea has been around for a while. The new thing on this brochure is the visuals that they have provided on what the buildings will look like on the site. 

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