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2/10/20 meeting for public input re: Bridge over Brazos street at Spur 527

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2 minutes ago, bulldog said:

I haven't complained because I'm happy the city is finally fixing a bridge that has been literally falling apart for years.

 

Well, that's what people think is happening, but the reality is that the City is considering not rebuilding it or even tearing it down.  See the renderings at the top of this thread. If that's an issue for you, you need to send them feedback at Buildforward@houstontx.gov

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3 hours ago, Ross said:

Until they have kids and want to live somewhere that isn't full of douchebag bars, has yards, garages, good schools, etc. We moved from Midtown to the Greater Heights after our son was born, and didn't want him playing outside with prostitutes, drug dealers, and drunks walking by. We could deal with those aspects when it was just my wife and I, but Midtown is a pretty child hostile area once they get past toddler stage.

 

There would be more families on the streets, and the streets would be much more hospitable to children, if half of them weren't mini-freeways with cars zooming down at 40-50 mph. 

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1 hour ago, H-Town Man said:

 

There would be more families on the streets, and the streets would be much more hospitable to children, if half of them weren't mini-freeways with cars zooming down at 40-50 mph. 

Traffic was never an issue for us, or our neighbors. The issue was the street people hassling us, staring at us, asking for money, peeing in our yard, sleeping off a drunk against our fence, and other similar fun things. We lived East of Main, and traffic just wasn't an issue.

 

If cars are going 50 mph, then there's an enforcement issue, and you need to be calling HPD and the Constables every 20 minutes from every phone you own, writing letters to the Captain in charge of that area, writing the Mayor and council members, and anyone else you can think of. Ask for more lights and stop signs. The streets of Midtown are the same size they were when the original subdivisions were platted 100+ years ago, they weren't made wider in recent times.

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3 hours ago, Ross said:

The issue was the street people hassling us, staring at us, asking for money, peeing in our yard, sleeping off a drunk against our fence, and other similar fun things.

 

They were just enjoying the walkability of the neighborhood.

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5 hours ago, Ross said:

Traffic was never an issue for us, or our neighbors. The issue was the street people hassling us, staring at us, asking for money, peeing in our yard, sleeping off a drunk against our fence, and other similar fun things. We lived East of Main, and traffic just wasn't an issue.

 

If cars are going 50 mph, then there's an enforcement issue, and you need to be calling HPD and the Constables every 20 minutes from every phone you own, writing letters to the Captain in charge of that area, writing the Mayor and council members, and anyone else you can think of. Ask for more lights and stop signs. The streets of Midtown are the same size they were when the original subdivisions were platted 100+ years ago, they weren't made wider in recent times.

 

Ross, if we get more lights and stop signs on those streets, isn't that essentially the same as replacing the Spur with an at-grade avenue with signaled intersections (what I've been advocating)? Won't more lights and stop signs cause the imminent death of downtown as all of Sugarland turns elsewhere for office space?

 

Edited by H-Town Man

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24 minutes ago, H-Town Man said:

 

Ross, if we get more lights and stop signs on those streets, isn't that essentially the same as replacing the Spur with an at-grade avenue with signaled intersections (what I've been advocating)? Won't more lights and stop signs cause the imminent death of downtown as all of Sugarland turns elsewhere for office space?

 

No, because the Spur will still be there. Closing the Spur would be a really bad thing. Controlling the traffic is reasonable. There's no reason to allow people to drive 50 on Midtown streets. We had a few issues with speeding on LaBranch, and they put up a stop sign. That lasted about a week before the head of Public Works at the time got pissed off about it delaying his drive home, and had it removed after performing a nominal traffic study. His response to complaints about speeding was "call HPD"

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4 hours ago, Ross said:

No, because the Spur will still be there. Closing the Spur would be a really bad thing. Controlling the traffic is reasonable. There's no reason to allow people to drive 50 on Midtown streets. We had a few issues with speeding on LaBranch, and they put up a stop sign. That lasted about a week before the head of Public Works at the time got pissed off about it delaying his drive home, and had it removed after performing a nominal traffic study. His response to complaints about speeding was "call HPD"

 

Lol, you completely dodged what I said. If you're okay with adding more traffic lights along Smith, Milam, etc., that has the exact same effect as replacing the Spur with a grade-level avenue. It will add the same additional commute time (5 minutes).

 

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21 hours ago, ToryGattis said:

 

Well, that's what people think is happening, but the reality is that the City is considering not rebuilding it or even tearing it down.  See the renderings at the top of this thread. If that's an issue for you, you need to send them feedback at Buildforward@houstontx.gov

Yes, I know it's silly to think that given the word from CoH and public news sources that all refer to repair and a schedule for it. The last public information was:

Quote

 

In a news release, Houston Public Works said the “bridge deck has deteriorated significantly and is being closed immediately to protect the community from falling debris.”

The 50-year-old bridge will take “several months” to repair, likely opening next summer, officials said.

Interesting that the repair process stalled out right after it started. This turn-it-into-a-park proposal seems like an opportunistic move by Westmoreland. As I said previously it's very clever on their part to use their special interest position to get benefits bestowed on themselves by the government at the expense of thousands of other citizens but I'm optimistic that won't be successful.

 

Don't worry, the city will be getting my input and that of a lot of other people.

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10 minutes ago, bulldog said:

Yes, I know it's silly to think that given the word from CoH and public news sources that all refer to repair and a schedule for it. The last public information was:

Interesting that the repair process stalled out right after it started. This turn-it-into-a-park proposal seems like an opportunistic move by Westmoreland. As I said previously it's very clever on their part to use their special interest position to get benefits bestowed on themselves by the government at the expense of thousands of other citizens but I'm optimistic that won't be successful.

 

Don't worry, the city will be getting my input and that of a lot of other people.

 

Yep, that's what I thought too and then I saw the work stall and wondered what was going on.  The park proposal is from Houston Public Works, so it's very official.  They're seeking input now.

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Also very suspicious that the first roll-out of this is at the Westmoreland Civic Association meeting? Also I'm pretty sure there are laws about announcing government meetings. 

 

"Brazos Bridge Vicinity Concept" project exists exactly nowhere I can find online. The people hyping it up are only referencing the Project # for the $4 million bridge repair contract, which was already awarded. Did they pull the contract after the demolition? This has shenanigans written all over it. I have lots of questions.

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2 hours ago, ToryGattis said:

 

Yep, that's what I thought too and then I saw the work stall and wondered what was going on.  The park proposal is from Houston Public Works, so it's very official.  They're seeking input now.

What can we do to make them hear us?

 

I'm most considered about Bagby. I don't mind them adding a light but removing that entrance all together will very negatively impact me on a daily basis. 

Edited by iah77
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4 minutes ago, iah77 said:

What can we do to make them hear us?

 

I'm most considered about Bagby. I don't mind them adding a light but removing that entrance all together will very negatively impact me on a daily basis. 

 

You can email

'Buildforward@houstontx.gov'

'Jeffrey.weatherford@houstontx.gov'

'districtc@houstontx.gov'

 

and reference Project N-320445-0006

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14 minutes ago, iah77 said:

I'm most considered about Bagby. I don't mind them adding a light but removing that entrance all together will very negatively impact me on a daily basis. 

 

Smith, two blocks east, will still be an entrance to the spur, now with no cross traffic from Bagby. 💁‍♂️

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On 2/17/2020 at 8:11 AM, trymahjong said:

TxDot has plans for Spur 527-

 

According to TxDoT spokesperson- 527 is targeted to be placed below ground from Alabama to I59.

That will allow commuters and residents the opportunity to experience NO ACCESS from 527........resulting in better informed opinions I’m sure. ;)

 

BTW

COH/PWE reported that when Bagby was entirely closed while Brazos bridge was dismantled NO. Repeat No complaints were received at all, from anyone concerning changes in access.

 

I'm not going to take credit for this, but I did leave a comment to that affect on the map when the city was asking for comments! I'm sure this has been in the works for awhile though. This would be an incredible change. Honestly, there is no reason to have the spur go all the way to Bagby and Brazos. They could simply end it at W Alabama with the outbound lane coming from Milam and the inbound lane connecting to Travis. As you have said, while this bridge has been out of commission there has been no complaints, and there really hasn't been any increase in traffic on Milam and Travis. Looking forward to seeing the diagrams for the rest of what is planned for this portion.

Edited by Luminare
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17 hours ago, iah77 said:

What can we do to make them hear us?

 

I'm most considered about Bagby. I don't mind them adding a light but removing that entrance all together will very negatively impact me on a daily basis. 

 

Why will shifting over two blocks to use that entrance will "very negatively" impact you?

 

Are you a downtown commuter or are you using it as a cut-through from 45 to 59?

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I spend alot of time on 59 by those entrances and exits and the amount of traffic actually exiting into downtown in the mornings and afternoons during rush hour are tiiiny compared to the people trying to stay on 59 (frustratingly so, because people will just sit in the spur exit lanes and then cut back into 59). Actually, when I moved to the area to be closer to work I didn't really understand why those exits and entrances existed (I never had taken them as a young adult) because they seemed so empty and kind of out of place when compared to 288/59. But they are convenient. Despite the convenience, I don't really know why there are multiple exits cause they all just drop you into Midtown. 

 

I split time between the galleria and downtown for work, Bagby is crazy busy on the other side of 45 during rush hour, midtown bagby is nothing compared to that. You could probably lop of a whole lane on Fanin and San Jacinto and Caroline and no one would notice. Fanin especially. All three are just people gunning through midtown to get to DT or the highways/MD/Med Center (raises hand). 

 

To me, the writing probably was on the wall for the bagby exit/entrance when Whole Foods got there. It meant real development money is going to come into that area, and the way its currently constructed is basically unacceptable. Something had to change. You have three traffic lights on top of each other, so if you're texting your special someone while driving you might see a green but really you have a red (they almost got me). Then you realize that there is an entire neighborhood of actually very, very expensive houses to your right when taking the Bagby entrance ramp that are completely walled off. Whole foods probably looking at that like, nahhh bro, what we gotta do to give these people easier access to our store. I will bet everyone alot of money if another big tenant moves onto bagby in that new development by old st. danes, the city will have another "ah ha!" moment when it comes to walkability in that area. 

Edited by X.R.
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2 hours ago, wilcal said:

 

Why will shifting over two blocks to use that entrance will "very negatively" impact you?

 

Are you a downtown commuter or are you using it as a cut-through from 45 to 59?

Going from Houston Ave to Museum district using this is a "cut-through"? It's not shifting btw, it's ELIMINATING. How do you know the other lights/entrance can handle people turning during rush hour? Wait till all the highrises start getting occupied. Keep in mind they all have large garages and I can promise you 90% of those people don't plan on riding a bilke or bus to work lmao. 

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18 minutes ago, iah77 said:

Going from Houston Ave to Museum district using this is a "cut-through"? It's not shifting btw, it's ELIMINATING. How do you know the other lights/entrance can handle people turning during rush hour? Wait till all the highrises start getting occupied. Keep in mind they all have large garages and I can promise you 90% of those people don't plan on riding a bilke or bus to work lmao. 

 

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Edited by mollusk
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On 2/17/2020 at 1:55 PM, H-Town Man said:

 

There would be more families on the streets, and the streets would be much more hospitable to children, if half of them weren't mini-freeways with cars zooming down at 40-50 mph.

I agree.
The stretch between Elgin and McGowen is especially notorious for north-south streets. It's .3 miles of signal-free  temptation, according to Google Maps.
Bear in mind that drag strips are only .25 miles.  A 2017 Prius can reach 80 mph in that distance. Heck, even the 82 Westheimer bus breaks the speed limit on Travis on a regular basis.
Some commuters seem to believe that the entrance ramp to 527 begins at the Pierce Elevated, and if they can catch green lights (or lights that were recently green) it's pedal to the metal, baby. 

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2 hours ago, dbigtex56 said:

 Heck, even the 82 Westheimer bus breaks the speed limit on Travis on a regular basis.

 

Wow those 82 drivers sound like speed demons.  I was on the 73 and we peaked at 20 on Bellfort - with no traffic, 35 mph speed limit

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3 hours ago, iah77 said:

Going from Houston Ave to Museum district using this is a "cut-through"?

 

The "cut-through" that I was reference is that people are traveling 45S (like Heights area or whatever) and driving towards Sugarland and instead of going through the 45/59 interchange, their navigation apps are recommending that they get off the highway to drive Bagby to then get on the spur. 

 

Also, I don't think anyone is taking the spur to go to the Museum District. Can you clarify?

 

Edit: Diagram of people "cutting-through"

 

Red: Someone bypassing a highway by driving through a neighborhood.

Green: Their normal route.

Blue: The route that will be available to downtown commuters which will remain open. 

 

jVzxgDX.png

 

Quote

It's not shifting btw, it's ELIMINATING.

 

I meant shifting drivers over two streets to the other side of the same ramp onto the spur. The same spur entrance will still exist on Smith St. 

 

Quote

How do you know the other lights/entrance can handle people turning during rush hour?

 

Because the traffic engineers said so?

 

Quote

Wait till all the highrises start getting occupied. Keep in mind they all have large garages and I can promise you 90% of those people don't plan on riding a bilke or bus to work lmao. 

 

If you live in a highrise in Midtown why would they be trying to leave Midtown to go 59S during rush hour? Unless you are talking about somebody that is living in Midtown but then working in the Galleria or Sugarland, but then they would be reverse-commuting and not competing with traditional commuters. 

Edited by wilcal
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With Brazos Street bridge gone, officials consider a different approach

 

Quote

"The concept involves alternatives from replacing the bridge deck as was originally planned, to an alternative that would remove both the Brazos and Bagby street connectors to Spur 527," Deputy Director Jeffery Weatherford said. "Removing these connections has the added benefit of addressing one of the 12 intersections identified by Bike Houston and LINK Houston as the most challenging to traverse for bicyclists and pedestrians."

 

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Edited by BeerNut
added pics from pdf
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On 2/19/2020 at 2:13 PM, wilcal said:

 

The "cut-through" that I was reference is that people are traveling 45S (like Heights area or whatever) and driving towards Sugarland and instead of going through the 45/59 interchange, their navigation apps are recommending that they get off the highway to drive Bagby to then get on the spur. 

 

jVzxgDX.png

 

 

Look man, those drivers going from the Heights to Sugarland need to jet through local Midtown streets. Otherwise you are sacrificing regional mobility for the petty interests of a local neighborhood and destroying what made Houston great. 

 

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I drive through Midtown a lot, both on the weekends and during weekdays either during rush hour or after, and I gotta say that the City needs to figure out a way to make what I call "middle midtown" a bit more inviting. East midtown (closer to 288) is alot of townhomes and has smaller businesses like Gypsy Poet, the boxing gym, and is slowly having businesses open up over there. Theres some people outside sometimes (😂), maybe going to grover or baldwin park. So thats OK. West Midtown (bagby to main) obviously has the apartments and the food and bars and a whole foods/Randalls and a whole bunch of other stuff.

 

But it almost feels like two completely separate areas despite being like 3 streets away from each other, and i think in part its because of Fanin/San Jacinto being two mini-highways. Since nothing is being done about that, there needs to be something that ties the two together and maybe this could help. This helps start to break down some of the older stuff that designated Midtown as as an area for people to drive through instead of being a place where people actually live and prosper. And as long as they maintain an entrance and exit on 527, I think its the best of both worlds. I'd vote for any of the 3 proposals, tbh. I kinda like leaving the old Bridge in place because its very Houston - my life in Houston has always revolved around freeways and its only right that a communal green-space is in the shadow of a freeway exit ramp. 

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I've always wondered why Midtown seems so empty on Fannin and San Jacinto compared to what is a very walkable and dense feeling neighborhood in the rest of it

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5 hours ago, X.R. said:

 

But it almost feels like two completely separate areas despite being like 3 streets away from each other, and i think in part its because of Fanin/San Jacinto being two mini-highways.

I agree that the volume and speed of traffic on these streets may have been an important factor in the slower pace of development for the area east of Main.
Another consideration is the number of social services agencies that have traditionally congregated in that part of town.
Some investors may have been leery of the presence of the homeless, addicted, mentally ill, unemployed, etc.

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But development starts as soon as you get to the blocks facing Caroline - still well within walking distances of any homeless, etc, services that are on Fannin or San Jacinto.  

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22 minutes ago, cspwal said:

But development starts as soon as you get to the blocks facing Caroline - still well within walking distances of any homeless, etc, services that are on Fannin or San Jacinto.  

Hate to contradict you, but what development are you talking about? 
There's a whole lot of nothing that has been built on Caroline between the Pierce Elevated and Tuam in the past 50 or 60 years.
A couple of buildings hardly constitute 'development'.
Edit: I grant you that Austin St and points east have seen new construction - but not Caroline.

Edited by dbigtex56
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You are right - my memory was wrong - the townhouses start on Austin not Caroline.  

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Posted (edited)

Just as a brief (not) update, I believe a presentation is being made at the Midtown SNC meeting a week from today. 

 

Avondale is discussing it tonight as well. 

 

I would imagine that this is still going to be moving forward, but it's gotten a surprising (to me at least) amount of negative feedback from local citizens. 

Edited by wilcal

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35 minutes ago, ToryGattis said:

Do you have the details or a link on the Cherryhurst meeting?

Sorry, I misspoke. It's Avondale tonight. 7pm at the Womens Center. 

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3 minutes ago, wilcal said:

Sorry, I misspoke. It's Avondale tonight. 7pm at the Womens Center. 

Thank you. I found their agenda on Facebook, but it doesn't mention the bridge at all?

 

No photo description available.

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59 minutes ago, ToryGattis said:

Thank you. I found their agenda on Facebook, but it doesn't mention the bridge at all?

 

I don't think any type of formal presentation was happening. A person DM'd me on Nextdoor and said that they were "part of Avondale Civic" (so non-leadership?) and they were planning on discussing it as part of their regular meeting. This was a few days ago, so no reason to think it may be outdated.

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Just came from the meeting at the Midtown Authority inside Houston Exponential.  About 50 hopping mad business owners who have made major investments between Bagby and Brazos and are seeing their business drop dramatically, including Specs.  Managers from the new Whole Foods were there as well and were not happy. Their customer traffic is way below expectations (no Brazos feed right now), and they think it will completely collapse if they get a homeless camp across the street.  Jeff Weatherford from the City admitted the homeless risk but said a mitigation plan would be put in place - the room was not convinced.  Some of the business/property owners have already collected 800+ petition letter signatures calling for the bridge to be reopened, and they expect to collect more.

 

Jeff committed to keeping comments open until March 26, with a decision by the Mayor expected by the end of March.

 

They will summarize all comments submitted to BuildForward@houstontx.gov or www.buildhoustonforward.org , Reference Brazos Bridge WBS No. N-320445-0006-4

 

I'll re-link to my own thoughts on my blog here.

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I attended the meeting of business owners at the Midtown Management District office where Jeffrey Weatherford of Public Works was actually in attendance. In summary, he failed to provide a coherent narrative about the reason for suspension of the bridge reconstruction nor the timeline of events, despite direct questioning. His explanation varied throughout the meeting and included "we got an email from the Kinder Institute" to "a few people in the area contacted us." He was indignant about the idea that anything was secret or rushed. He offered in the meeting that he'd give at least 3 weeks more for public comments at the insistence of the attendees but the implication is that he alone controls the timing of the public comment period and he'll end it whenever he wants. Furthermore, to say the local businesses are upset is a major understatement as many of them individually reported economic impact already from the Brazos bridge closure alone in the 6 figures and stores are not hiring for previously planned positions as a result.

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Posted (edited)

Not surprised. I understand their complaints and empathize, however its not the cities responsibility to subsidize businesses for whatever financial risks they undertake. Its the cities ROW, and they can change it however they please and whenever they wish, and as a business you should be prepared for such things. I'm actually really disappointed with Whole Foods now. I thought they were going to position themselves as genuine local option for that neighborhood, but instead they were actually seeing themselves a grocer for those leaving town after work going home. I thought they might at least be a little bit on board with this because it will actually make walking to that grocer a lot easier for the surrounding neighborhood without the cars dashing from all directions. For the others, again the city isn't responsible for your financial risks. You knew this bridge was closed, and yet you never adjusted your marketing or outreach to draw new customers in? As someone who is normally firmly pro-business and wants to open my own firm one day, I again understand their complaints, but at the same time free enterprise means that the costs good or bad fall squarely on you. What is the ole saying, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket." They put all their hopes this spur would last forever to fuel their business and that is a substantial risk to take. That is not a wise way to run a business. Cities change and they are always adjusting and shifting, and as a business you should be agile enough, and flexible enough to maneuver ones self to the changing tides. Besides, ok the worst that happens is that they fail. I would hate to see that. I'm sure they are great businesses (supposedly), but I'm sure new businesses will gladly take their place to feed off this new change. Maybe ones that will embrace a new dynamic that is centered on the neighborhood and walkability, and not just a place you stop by before you go out to the burbs.

Edited by Luminare
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1 hour ago, Luminare said:

Not surprised. I understand their complaints and empathize, however its not the cities responsibility to subsidize businesses for whatever financial risks they undertake. Its the cities ROW, and they can change it however they please and whenever they wish, and as a business you should be prepared for such things. I'm actually really disappointed with Whole Foods now. I thought they were going to position themselves as genuine local option for that neighborhood, but instead they were actually seeing themselves a grocer for those leaving town after work going home. I thought they might at least be a little bit on board with this because it will actually make walking to that grocer a lot easier for the surrounding neighborhood without the cars dashing from all directions. For the others, again the city isn't responsible for your financial risks. You knew this bridge was closed, and yet you never adjusted your marketing or outreach to draw new customers in? As someone who is normally firmly pro-business and wants to open my own firm one day, I again understand their complaints, but at the same time free enterprise means that the costs good or bad fall squarely on you. What is the ole saying, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket." They put all their hopes this spur would last forever to fuel their business and that is a substantial risk to take. That is not a wise way to run a business. Cities change and they are always adjusting and shifting, and as a business you should be agile enough, and flexible enough to maneuver ones self to the changing tides. Besides, ok the worst that happens is that they fail. I would hate to see that. I'm sure they are great businesses (supposedly), but I'm sure new businesses will gladly take their place to feed off this new change. Maybe ones that will embrace a new dynamic that is centered on the neighborhood and walkability, and not just a place you stop by before you go out to the burbs.

Without the spur to increase traffic, Whole Foods closes due to a lack of customers, as do some of the other businesses, then the spaces stay empty, proving once again that Houston isn't ready for GFR, because it's not economic if only local customers can use it. 

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1 hour ago, Luminare said:

Not surprised. I understand their complaints and empathize, however its not the cities responsibility to subsidize businesses for whatever financial risks they undertake. Its the cities ROW, and they can change it however they please and whenever they wish, and as a business you should be prepared for such things. I'm actually really disappointed with Whole Foods now. I thought they were going to position themselves as genuine local option for that neighborhood, but instead they were actually seeing themselves a grocer for those leaving town after work going home. I thought they might at least be a little bit on board with this because it will actually make walking to that grocer a lot easier for the surrounding neighborhood without the cars dashing from all directions. For the others, again the city isn't responsible for your financial risks. You knew this bridge was closed, and yet you never adjusted your marketing or outreach to draw new customers in? As someone who is normally firmly pro-business and wants to open my own firm one day, I again understand their complaints, but at the same time free enterprise means that the costs good or bad fall squarely on you. What is the ole saying, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket." They put all their hopes this spur would last forever to fuel their business and that is a substantial risk to take. That is not a wise way to run a business. Cities change and they are always adjusting and shifting, and as a business you should be agile enough, and flexible enough to maneuver ones self to the changing tides. Besides, ok the worst that happens is that they fail. I would hate to see that. I'm sure they are great businesses (supposedly), but I'm sure new businesses will gladly take their place to feed off this new change. Maybe ones that will embrace a new dynamic that is centered on the neighborhood and walkability, and not just a place you stop by before you go out to the burbs.

You sound ridiculous and assume people just have millions laying around to spread their eggs around. There are many small business on the road dude. It's not a subsidy either, the city needs to maintain our infrastructure that we pay taxes for. 

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1 hour ago, iah77 said:

You sound ridiculous and assume people just have millions laying around to spread their eggs around. There are many small business on the road dude. It's not a subsidy either, the city needs to maintain our infrastructure that we pay taxes for. 

 

This is nice and all, but do you have an actual argument to go with this? The only thing you proved is that you don't like what I said. You are fine to not like it, but that doesn't mean that you have an argument to go against it. I also didn't say anything you just said. I'm not talking about golden parachutes or whatever. What I said is real life. I stand by what I said. You also don't need millions to spread the proverbial eggs around. Starting a business is already risky enough, its harder when you push all your chips into one pot and just assume its going to work. You are just setting yourself up for failure

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5 hours ago, Luminare said:

 

This is nice and all, but do you have an actual argument to go with this? The only thing you proved is that you don't like what I said. You are fine to not like it, but that doesn't mean that you have an argument to go against it. I also didn't say anything you just said. I'm not talking about golden parachutes or whatever. What I said is real life. I stand by what I said. You also don't need millions to spread the proverbial eggs around. Starting a business is already risky enough, its harder when you push all your chips into one pot and just assume its going to work. You are just setting yourself up for failure

 

As an owner of mutliple businesses of which some are in the montrose/midtown spur this closure has effected me.  I entered into this market 8 Years ago taking risk when lower Westheimer was what you would call "seedy" however what I never envisioned would be the spur being closed down.  For me it was and has been a major traffic generator.

 

And yes you pretty much almost need a cool million to spread your eggs around.  Opening a business in this day and age is very expensive. I have 3 businesses in midtown/lower Montrose as well as another 3 in the heights and oak forest market.  It took me over a million to get my "eggs in other "baskets".  Each time I open a business I have invest at least $400-500k...you have to account for lease deposits, security deposits, utility deposits, build out costs, hiring costs, inventory, then cash flow for the first 6-8 months.

 

If you can show me a business that requires only $50-60k that produces a worth my time return then im all in.

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1 hour ago, Ponchorello said:

 

As an owner of mutliple businesses of which some are in the montrose/midtown spur this closure has effected me.  I entered into this market 8 Years ago taking risk when lower Westheimer was what you would call "seedy" however what I never envisioned would be the spur being closed down.  For me it was and has been a major traffic generator.

 

And yes you pretty much almost need a cool million to spread your eggs around.  Opening a business in this day and age is very expensive. I have 3 businesses in midtown/lower Montrose as well as another 3 in the heights and oak forest market.  It took me over a million to get my "eggs in other "baskets".  Each time I open a business I have invest at least $400-500k...you have to account for lease deposits, security deposits, utility deposits, build out costs, hiring costs, inventory, then cash flow for the first 6-8 months.

 

If you can show me a business that requires only $50-60k that produces a worth my time return then im all in.


what businesses do you own and can I get a Montrose resident HAIF discount? :)

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Is there a list of businesses complaining about this? Who would grocery shop at Whole Foods and truck it all the way to the burbs? My ice cream melts shopping at the HEB on W Alabama and driving 15 mins to the east end.

 

Seems strange since Louisiana and Travis still provide ample access. I just can't comprehend how bars and restaurants (and a grocery store), could be losing business over 2 blocks of additional travel to and from the spur. Are people so fickle that driving 4 blocks over to Milam to get on the Spur makes them stop purchasing from places? Sincerely someone help me out here.

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57 minutes ago, Montrose1100 said:

Is there a list of businesses complaining about this? Who would grocery shop at Whole Foods and truck it all the way to the burbs? My ice cream melts shopping at the HEB on W Alabama and driving 15 mins to the east end.

 

Seems strange since Louisiana and Travis still provide amble access. I just can't comprehend how bars and restaurants (and a grocery store), could be losing business over 2 blocks of additional travel to and from the spur. Are people so fickle that driving 4 blocks over to Milam to get on the Spur makes them stop purchasing from places? Sincerely someone help me out here.

I was a little surprised at first too, but it makes sense if you think about it.  Google Maps and Waze route many thousands of people daily up and down Brazos and Bagby between the spur and 45. Those people see Whole Foods/CVS/Specs/etc. and think "yeah, I need to stop to pick something up". If they don't see it, they don't stop, and they don't see it if they are on Louisiana or Milam.  Location and visibility are everything for most retail.

 

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19 hours ago, ToryGattis said:

Just came from the meeting at the Midtown Authority inside Houston Exponential.  About 50 hopping mad business owners who have made major investments between Bagby and Brazos and are seeing their business drop dramatically, including Specs. 

 

Are there even 50 businesses on Bagby and Brazos combined? I count 7 non-bar/restaurant retailers on Bagby and 6 on Brazos, but I may be missing some. 

 

Quote

Managers from the new Whole Foods were there as well and were not happy. Their customer traffic is way below expectations (no Brazos feed right now), and they think it will completely collapse if they get a homeless camp across the street. 

 

Homeless encampment is an understandable concern. Really not sure what the solution is with that. Definitely concerns about that at Randall's in Midtown.

 

People not stopping at Whole Foods because of Brazos being closed is borderline laughable imho. Only reverse commuters would be shopping while driving from the spur and the current "detour" might be 1 minute? It's not like there are a lot of grocery stores in Midtown. I've actually been walking over once or twice a week for light shopping, but still do my main grocery shopping at HEB in Montrose because of the price difference. 

 

14 hours ago, Luminare said:

Not surprised. I understand their complaints and empathize, however its not the cities responsibility to subsidize businesses for whatever financial risks they undertake. Its the cities ROW, and they can change it however they please and whenever they wish, and as a business you should be prepared for such things.

 

Yeah, pretty much. Making local roads move so quickly and dangerously that it pulls in cut-through traffic from the interstate is not a viable long-term strategy. Don't think I've seen any of the business owners in Midtown come out against NHHIP which would supposedly allow the downtown commuters to not drive through Midtown anymore and would certainly be shifting any cut-through from 45 -> 59 traffic away. 

 

12 hours ago, Ross said:

Without the spur to increase traffic, Whole Foods closes due to a lack of customers, as do some of the other businesses, then the spaces stay empty, proving once again that Houston isn't ready for GFR, because it's not economic if only local customers can use it. 

 

If this was an HEB they wouldn't be having any issues right now. They may have underestimated how many people will pay extra for a premium grocery experience. Not sure why there is an extra distinction being generated for this being GFR versus all of the other businesses in the area that don't have customers living above them. 

 

Also, that corner is quickly becoming the densest in Midtown and will certainly be so if the high-rise across the street gets built. 

 

3 hours ago, Ponchorello said:

 

As an owner of mutliple businesses of which some are in the montrose/midtown spur this closure has effected me.  I entered into this market 8 Years ago taking risk when lower Westheimer was what you would call "seedy" however what I never envisioned would be the spur being closed down.  For me it was and has been a major traffic generator.

 

The spur is not closing down. One of 3 exits and half of one entrance is closing. Traffic is being 600 feet away.

 

34 minutes ago, Montrose1100 said:

Is there a list of businesses complaining about this? Who would grocery shop at Whole Foods and truck it all the way to the burbs? My ice cream melts shopping at the HEB on W Alabama and driving 15 mins to the east end.

 

Seems strange since Louisiana and Travis still provide amble access. I just can't comprehend how bars and restaurants (and a grocery store), could be losing business over 2 blocks of additional travel to and from the spur. Are people so fickle that driving 4 blocks over to Milam to get on the Spur makes them stop purchasing from places? Sincerely someone help me out here.

 

Yeah, I don't get it either. I did the count above. Less than 25 total retailers on Bagby/Brazos even including the bars and restaurants and all of those cars are still driving through Midtown.

 

Then again, I don't understand why most of the local neighborhoods are against traffic calming measures when all of the roads in Midtown are designed to have non-locals speed through as quickly as possible. Locals are somehow worried about rush hour traffic, when they are all reverse commuters and they don't feel those affects. It's like, you live in the freaking neighborhood, you know it's not comfortable to walk or bike around because of the design of the streets, and yet you don't think that we should adjust these mini-highways? 

 

With the light cycles aligned for north/south traffic for commuters at rush hour, the locals (the people that actually live here) are actually INCREASING their commutes. 

 

I bet if the city put out a notice that they would make the north/south green lights twice as long so that commuters could get to the highway faster, locals would flip their shit yet that same logic doesn't apply to move the needle the other way in situations like this. 

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3 minutes ago, ToryGattis said:

I was a little surprised at first too, but it makes sense if you think about it.  Google Maps and Waze route many thousands of people daily up and down Brazos and Bagby between the spur and 45. Those people see Whole Foods/CVS/Specs/etc. and think "yeah, I need to stop to pick something up". If they don't see it, they don't stop, and they don't see it if they are on Louisiana or Milam.  Location and visibility are everything for most retail.

 

 

I refuse to believe that the businesses on Bagby are relying on cut-through 45-59 traffic for approx 4-6pm Mon-Fri. Whole Foods business model in Midtown is not based upon those people.

 

What business is currently benefiting from cut-through traffic? 

 

1) CVS. Fine. 

2) The Midtown Food Store?

3) Capital One Bank?

4) Subway?

 

Spec's is not visible from Bagby. 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, wilcal said:

People not stopping at Whole Foods because of Brazos being closed is borderline laughable imho. Only reverse commuters would be shopping while driving from the spur and the current "detour" might be 1 minute? It's not like there are a lot of grocery stores in Midtown. I've actually been walking over once or twice a week for light shopping, but still do my main grocery shopping at HEB in Montrose because of the price difference. 

 

I think its the lack of visibility more than the convenience. People just aren't aware it's there since the Brazos exit has been closed for so long. If you use Bagby southbound and Louisiana northbound you'd never see it.  It would probably have done better if it had been open a long while before Brazos closed so the customer base had built up. Then people would make the adjustment.  But I still don't see any realistic way the park doesn't become a homeless camp.  The city is stretched thin with limited tools as it is, and the police would prefer to ignore it.

2 minutes ago, wilcal said:

 

I refuse to believe that the businesses on Bagby are relying on cut-through 45-59 traffic for approx 4-6pm Mon-Fri. Whole Foods business model in Midtown is not based upon those people.

 

What business is currently benefiting from cut-through traffic? 

 

1) CVS. Fine. 

2) The Midtown Food Store?

3) Capital One Bank?

4) Subway?

 

Spec's is not visible from Bagby. 

 

 

 

Also Brazos northbound.  Specs owner said business is off 20+% since Brazos closed.

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, ToryGattis said:

 

I think its the lack of visibility more than the convenience. People just aren't aware it's there since the Brazos exit has been closed for so long. If you use Bagby southbound and Louisiana northbound you'd never see it.  It would probably have done better if it had been open a long while before Brazos closed so the customer base had built up. Then people would make the adjustment.  But I still don't see any realistic way the park doesn't become a homeless camp.  The city is stretched thin with limited tools as it is, and the police would prefer to ignore it.

 

Only solution I could think of is to have it "programmed" by Midtown MD like Midtown Park and Bagby Park. 

 

It's unclear if the land would be in MMD's territory.

 

I also don't know how the mechanics would work or if this is even feasible. 

 

YOBw6xB.png

 

 

Edited by wilcal

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