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Montrose needs a plan- a sidewalk plan

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This from KHOU petition started I'm EMCA

HOUSTON -- Residents in the Montrose community say it’s dangerous to walk around their community and they’re demanding action from the city.

A petition organized by Montrose Sidewalks Coalition already has 514 signatures, and it’s growing.

The petition cites the death of an elderly man and other residents being injured on broken sidewalks in recent years.

Organizers say the sidewalks in disrepair are endless in the neighborhood.

Leigh Spencer couldn’t agree more.

“It was like, bam! I hit my head, and I’m on the ground,” recalled Montrose resident Leigh Spencer. “My head instantly swelled up, and I’m thinking oh my god, I’m really injured.”

Spencer tripped on an exposed pipe near her home on Indiana Street about three weeks ago.

Her forehead and the upper left side of her face remain black and blue and swollen.

“Things need to be maintained and fixed, and they’ve been ignored in this neighborhood,” said Spencer, who has signed the growing petition.

Those signing the petition acknowledge that it is not necessarily the city’s responsibility to fix sidewalks on residential streets.

However, residents believe the city is not cracking down on the homeowners who have not tended to busted sidewalks.

Organizer Ashley Streetman says a Freedom of Information Act request proved that.

Streetman claims the city has not sent out notices, asking for homeowners to repair sidewalks, in the last decade.

“I’ve complained before. Do they have a record of it? No, because nobody bothered to write it down,” said Montrose resident James Wood.

James Wood believes this petition is long overdue.

The 72-year-old was knocked out cold during a recent fall on an uneven sidewalk.

“I didn’t know I was out cold until people were slapping me in the face to wake me up,” explained Wood. “They need to fix the sidewalks!”

A spokesman for the city of Houston says it’s typically the homeowner’s responsibility to fix and repair sidewalks .

He said the exception is if the city has to do work to repair a road, sewer or water line.

There is a proposal before city council that would give residents the chance to partner with the city to get their sidewalks fixed.

According to the city spokesman, the city would fix the sidewalk and then bill the homeowner through a payment plan.

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River Oaks has nice sidewalks and they have a different pattern than the other sidewalks in the city - I'm guessing they are covered by the HOA though?

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River Oaks has nice sidewalks and they have a different pattern than the other sidewalks in the city - I'm guessing they are covered by the HOA though?

 

IDK, but that sounds like a fair supposition.  After all, they have their own quasi police force.

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A spokesman for the city of Houston says it’s typically the homeowner’s responsibility to fix and repair sidewalks .

He said the exception is if the city has to do work to repair a road, sewer or water line.

There is a proposal before city council that would give residents the chance to partner with the city to get their sidewalks fixed.

According to the city spokesman, the city would fix the sidewalk and then bill the homeowner through a payment plan.

 

I believe this proposal was brought up before the city council last year. Why has there been no action taken on it?

 

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Oh boy, regardless of how the sidewalks get fixed, there will be a lot of moaning over the trees and shrubs that will be sacrificed.  In our old neighborhood, there are many trees that have seriously compromised the sidewalks.  Most (but not all) are on the homeowner's side.  I realize that those on the city easement side whether or not planted by the city, will probably be killed if the roots are severely cut.

 

When the roots are damaged, the tree will not die right away.  So, several years later there will be that back and forth about who will pay to have the tree taken down.  I can hear them now. 

 

I do have to say though, IMO having the city do the repairs and billing the homeowner seems to be the best way to get all the sidewalks done in a timely manner.  Otherwise, left to the individual owner, it could drag out for years.  And, lets face it, having one stretch of sidewalk "fixed" and the next stretch broken would still be a dangerous path to walk.

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My neighborhood (not Montrose) has a number of sidewalks that have been heaved by oak roots.  There have been a variety of different work arounds - metal grating, curving the concrete around the tree, a new yet more gentle hill o' concrete, gravel, and diamond plate.  Regardless, even though it's on city right of way, we as homeowners have the duty to maintain the sidewalks by ordinance; if we don't and someone gets hurt because of the foreseeable problem, it will be time for a chat with the insurance agent.  Likewise, the trees in the ROW are also ours to maintain, but can only be removed via a permitting process (though I believe the city will come out and cut down a dead one).

Edited by mollusk

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My neighborhood (not Montrose) has a number of sidewalks that have been heaved by oak roots.  There have been a variety of different work arounds - metal grating, curving the concrete around the tree, a new yet more gentle hill o' concrete, gravel, and diamond plate.  Regardless, even though it's on city right of way, we as homeowners have the duty to maintain the sidewalks by ordinance; if we don't and someone gets hurt because of the foreseeable problem, it will be time for a chat with the insurance agent.  Likewise, the trees in the ROW are also ours to maintain, but can only be removed via a permitting process (though I believe the city will come out and cut down a dead one).

 

Yes, if you call or 311 or contact COH at 311 online about a dead tree on the ROW next to the street, the city will remove it. However, they don't grind the stump -- that expense is left to the property owner.

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In Avondale we have massive trees--- and we love them! The first time COH came to inspect the horrible state of Avondale sidewalks their first suggestion was to clear cut the trees first to facilitate sidewalk repair. WE WERE HORRIFIED !

Fortunately there were a few alternative solutions that worked out fairly well- one was a "boardwalk" of sorts placed over the tree roots and the other was a "hill" approach made of paver stones.

What a relief,.

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My neighborhood (not Montrose) has a number of sidewalks that have been heaved by oak roots.  There have been a variety of different work arounds - metal grating, curving the concrete around the tree, a new yet more gentle hill o' concrete, gravel, and diamond plate.  Regardless, even though it's on city right of way, we as homeowners have the duty to maintain the sidewalks by ordinance; if we don't and someone gets hurt because of the foreseeable problem, it will be time for a chat with the insurance agent.  Likewise, the trees in the ROW are also ours to maintain, but can only be removed via a permitting process (though I believe the city will come out and cut down a dead one).

 

Yes, if you call or 311 or contact COH at 311 online about a dead tree on the ROW next to the street, the city will remove it. However, they don't grind the stump -- that expense is left to the property owner.

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Oh boy, regardless of how the sidewalks get fixed, there will be a lot of moaning over the trees and shrubs that will be sacrificed.  In our old neighborhood, there are many trees that have seriously compromised the sidewalks.  Most (but not all) are on the homeowner's side.  I realize that those on the city easement side whether or not planted by the city, will probably be killed if the roots are severely cut.

 

When the roots are damaged, the tree will not die right away.  So, several years later there will be that back and forth about who will pay to have the tree taken down.  I can hear them now. 

 

I do have to say though, IMO having the city do the repairs and billing the homeowner seems to be the best way to get all the sidewalks done in a timely manner.  Otherwise, left to the individual owner, it could drag out for years.  And, lets face it, having one stretch of sidewalk "fixed" and the next stretch broken would still be a dangerous path to walk.

 

Heck with shrubs, but plenty of cities accommodate mature trees. The more I travel the more I realize that Houston's "libertarian" and "free market" philosophy is just an excuse to go cheap.

 

You would think with how well Montrose has been doing this past decade they would have similar TIRZ management districtt to Midtown or Kirby, but they seem to be utterly corrupt. 

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pffft Montrose is probably the most liberal of all places in Houston. Just seems to me you are simply posting on this thread so you can take a "cheap" shot at other political views. Most of these fools should actually be looking to private investment instead of the city anyways! The city can't do anything about it unless the sidewalks are part of a heavily used school route or it was damaged from construction work (which that company would do themselves as well). The burden lies at the feet of the owner of each property to fix the sidewalks! I wish the city was responsible for it, but they simply aren't.

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Hmmmmmmmmm

COH is installing new water lines- from Allen Parkway southward more or less throughout Montrose.

Avondale just had new water lines installed since last August.--- still not finished. Many feet of sidewalk and curbing involved-demo-removal--install new. I saw a unused concrete left in piles or hauled away etc. But it occurred to me that while the crews, machinery and materials were there- all curbs at each intersection involved where water lines were laid, could be made wheel chair accessible and the worse sections of sidewalk could have been replaced along the water line routes. This could have been a beginning to address the broken sidewalk problem. Two problems addressed at once- water lines and sidewalks.

Edited by trymahjong

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 But it occurred to me that while the crews, machinery and materials were there- all curbs at each intersection involved where water lines were laid, could be made wheel chair accessible and the worse sections of sidewalk could have been replaced along the water line routes. This could have been a beginning to address the broken sidewalk problem. Two problems addressed at once- water lines and sidewalks.

 

But that would require planning and coordination; perish the thought. Pardon the sarcasm. ;)

 

The City of San Antonio did undertake such a coordinated effort in the late 1980s with the Tri-party project. It involved upgrading underground utilities (water, sewer, and electric which was underground since this was in the middle of downtown), streets, and sidewalks. A very close friend of mine worked for the City Water Board at the time and was able to relate to me some of what was involved.

 

It was a challenge, of course. Some of the active water lines were over 90 years old, only about 2 inches in diameter, and made of wood staves and metal hoops (like whiskey barrels). There were also abandoned trolley and larger train tracks and sewer lines (active and abandoned) of every conceivable material. Since this was in the relatively confined area near the Paseo del Rio, the major tourist attraction of the city, the effort and cost was deemed justified. Having just visited the area last month I would have to agree.

 

What does this have to do with improving sidewalks in the Montrose area? I believe fixing everything once, and doing it right, is the most economic way and will have the least long-term impact on commerce and convenience for those who live and work in the area.

 

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But that would require planning and coordination; perish the thought. Pardon the sarcasm. ;)

The City of San Antonio did undertake such a coordinated effort in the late 1980s with the Tri-party project. It involved upgrading underground utilities (water, sewer, and electric which was underground since this was in the middle of downtown), streets, and sidewalks. A very close friend of mine worked for the City Water Board at the time and was able to relate to me some of what was involved.

It was a challenge, of course. Some of the active water lines were over 90 years old, only about 2 inches in diameter, and made of wood staves and metal hoops (like whiskey barrels). There were also abandoned trolley and larger train tracks and sewer lines (active and abandoned) of every conceivable material. Since this was in the relatively confined area near the Paseo del Rio, the major tourist attraction of the city, the effort and cost was deemed justified. Having just visited the area last month I would have to agree.

What does this have to do with improving sidewalks in the Montrose area? I believe fixing everything once, and doing it right, is the most economic way and will have the least long-term impact on commerce and convenience for those who live and work in the area.

At last a voice of reason----- please run for city council.

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At last a voice of reason----- please run for city council.

 

Presently I do not live within the  city limits of Houston (true). Is that a problem? :(

 

Very unfortunately "doing it right" usually costs more money up front even though there are usually greater savings down the road. Remember the old motor oil commercial where the mechanic says "You can pay me now or pay me later?"

 

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A friend of mine had a section of sidewalk missing near his house. The land was owned by an out of towner, so nothing was going to happen to make it better. He waited until a new cluster of town homes were having their foundations poured, and having already framed the section of missing sidewalk with scrap wood and wire, asked the cement truck guy if he would mind dumping the rest for $20. Long-story short he had just about enough left to fill in the section. A few extra bags from Home Depot were used and all is well even today. Now I'm sure the city would be sad that he did not pull a permit, but who really cares...

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A friend of mine had a section of sidewalk missing near his house. The land was owned by an out of towner, so nothing was going to happen to make it better. He waited until a new cluster of town homes were having their foundations poured, and having already framed the section of missing sidewalk with scrap wood and wire, asked the cement truck guy if he would mind dumping the rest for $20. Long-story short he had just about enough left to fill in the section. A few extra bags from Home Depot were used and all is well even today. Now I'm sure the city would be sad that he did not pull a permit, but who really cares...

Nice story

The Hall law office inside Avondale ,has HUGE oak tree that tore up sidewalk and was replaced many years with paver stones that mounded nicely over the roots- it works great.

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A friend of mine had a section of sidewalk missing near his house. The land was owned by an out of towner, so nothing was going to happen to make it better. He waited until a new cluster of town homes were having their foundations poured, and having already framed the section of missing sidewalk with scrap wood and wire, asked the cement truck guy if he would mind dumping the rest for $20. Long-story short he had just about enough left to fill in the section. A few extra bags from Home Depot were used and all is well even today. Now I'm sure the city would be sad that he did not pull a permit, but who really cares...

Isn't that an application of the "guerilla sidewalk" movement which I know I've seen on HAIF? (The thread shouldn't be hard to pull out)

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I was searching the internet to see how other cities cope with horrible sidewalks. I came across an article on Los Angeles and their sidewalk problem. You can google " who should be responsible for Los Angeles sidewalk repair"

This is the part that caught my eye:

=>Forty years ago, the city (Los Angeles)made a promise to fix sidewalks damaged by tree roots, taking the responsibility for doing so away from homeowners, who had previously been expected to handle such repairs. That seemed reasonable at the time because the homeowners had, for the most part, not planted the trees that were causing the problems.

Maybe that is how COH with all their whining about budget woes could justify finally BEGINNING to make sidewalk repairs to the sidewalks damaged by trees planted by the city. Surely there is a paper trail and map of those tree planting a--- at least it would be a start.

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I'm curious as to what constitutes as "repairing sidewalks". For example, if a sidewalk was damaged to the point where it was very difficult to traverse if you had difficulty walking/biking, would you have to do a new pour or could you just dump a blob of asphalt in the worst spots?

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I'm curious as to what constitutes as "repairing sidewalks". For example, if a sidewalk was damaged to the point where it was very difficult to traverse if you had difficulty walking/biking, would you have to do a new pour or could you just dump a blob of asphalt in the worst spots?

 

I've seen it done both ways plus a few cases where somebody used pavers.

 

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