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

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1 minute ago, wilcal said:

 

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

 

YOBw6xB.png

 

 

 

Programming not only costs money, it's based on having some sort of event space and/or stage. This will be a thin linear park with a bike trail. I just don't know how you would program that.

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Posted (edited)
18 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. 

 

 

 

Yeah this is where I put on my other cap and say to hold your horses. They certainly do rely on it, and while I may be in support of this change I also don't deny or applaud businesses losing customers which has definitely happened or we at least have to take their word for it even if these are chain stores. As for Whole Foods they clearly were banking on cut through traffic to make up some sort of difference in customer base that they neighborhood wouldn't be able to offset (which I don't believe, as there isn't a whole lot of options in that area. That HEB in Montrose isn't near a highway or spur and it does really well and draws both locals and others from nearby, but they also market the hell out of that store. This Whole Foods is in the center of it all. If you fail at this location then I don't know what to tell you.)

 

20 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.  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.

 

Didn't know you had a blog. I like it so far and read your recent entry. Will definitely keep a mental note of it. I also agree that the optics are not great, but that doesn't mean that it isn't a good idea, but instead is a very rushed idea. I think the NHHIP is going to have a domino effect for a lot of areas we don't know about or lead to scenarios that just weren't thought possible before because the system itself is very complicated. Its pretty obvious the City had already been in the process of doing this bridge, and then while working on this portion of 59 during the design process the stars aligned and they jumped at the chance to make a big move in this area. They should have held back on this and worked on it more and done very structured meeting and had the info they needed to present on hand.

 

One thing they should do immediately is to eliminate the private road going to Courtlandt Pl. Thats the part of this I've always detested. They should instead mandate that Courtlandt Pl be connected at Lovett Blvd and Taft. They should also connect Hawthorne and Holman. There are plenty of things that can be negotiated with this or places where compromises can be hashed out, but they definitely dropped the ball initially with this. I think again its just the case of the City getting a little overly excited, and not doing their homework. This is one instance where I'm fine with them slowing the process down a bit. Get more comments and feedback. Find compromises with local businesses owners, study ways to keep the new park programmed and active with uses, etc...

Edited by Luminare
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Posted (edited)
20 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.  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.

 

The city has a mitigation plan for homeless camps?!?!?!?!   If so, why don't they use it for the seemingly multiplying homeless camps and gatherings all over downtown, Midtown, the Museum District, etc.  Sorry Jeff Weatherford, but you should be ashamed of even saying such a thing at a public meeting.  Not at all surprising that the room was "not convinced."  The people in the room experience the city's "mitigation" on a daily basis.

 

Edited by Houston19514
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11 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. 

 

I guess if you don't live here? Pretty sure everyone that lives in Midtown or Montrose has driven down Westheimer/Elgin and seen the giant green Whole Foods lettering/branding on the side of their building. The letters that are also visible from the Bagby entrance to the spur.

 

Quote

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

 

This is one of those situations where I could never prove that it's a fake number, but there is absolutely no way in hell that could be factual. They aren't even open when it is rush hour on Brazos.

 

To me, their claim is basically saying that their business is off 20% because reverse commuters can't be bothered to go one street over, from Louisiana to Smith, and as a result are purchasing their alcohol from some other non-specs liquor store? 

 

I like Bourbon and I'm a frequent Spec's Smith St shopper, and have made friends with some of the staff and we were talking last month about how this location is number 1 in whiskey sales in the entire country, and likely the world. This one store sells as much whiskey as the state of Tennessee consumes. 


They do have the spec's key system for tracking purchases, and there may be an asterisk attached to the 20% number, as in their drive-by traffic sales from non-locals are down 20%, but there is not a chance that their business is off 20%. 

 

2 minutes ago, ToryGattis said:

Programming not only costs money, it's based on having some sort of event space and/or stage. This will be a thin linear park with a bike trail. I just don't know how you would program that.

 

Sorry for being unclear, programming is the term that they use for any type of active participation from the Management District, and I was referencing their use of privately hired security from SEAL and one of the Constable's office. If the park could be under MMD's control, then they could enforce the rules themselves and prevent encampments like they do in their other parks. I would be surprised if they wouldn't jump at the opportunity for adding new park space for effectively only the cost of maintaining it. 

 

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12 minutes ago, Luminare said:

 

This Whole Foods is in the center of it all. If you fail at this location then I don't know what to tell you.)

Is it? It's kind of on the frontier. There isn't enough income east of here to support an HEB in the area, I don't think Whole Foods will be relying on 3rd ward and the East End for business. I'd bet Specs losing business is due to Total Wine opening up shop around Sawyer.

 

Anyone who can't google what's around them if they need to pick something up before heading home would likely be the same person who wouldn't bother with an urban-concept store because parking is confusing.

 

 

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15 minutes ago, Luminare said:

Yeah this is where I put on my other cap and say to hold your horses. They certainly do rely on it, and while I may be in support of this change I also don't deny or applaud businesses losing customers which has definitely happened or we at least have to take their word for it even if these are chain stores. As for Whole Foods they clearly were banking on cut through traffic to make up some sort of difference in customer base that they neighborhood wouldn't be able to offset (which I don't believe, as there isn't a whole lot of options in that area. That HEB in Montrose isn't near a highway or spur and it does really well and draws both locals and others from nearby, but they also market the hell out of that store. This Whole Foods is in the center of it all. If you fail at this location then I don't know what to tell you.)

 

I definitely understand how tight the margins are in grocery (grandfather was an exec for HEB for decades and made store managers keep a roll of pennies on their desk to remind them that every penny matters) and that cut-through traffic could make the difference between making it or not, but having unsafe streets in this area is a much larger hindrance to development than having access to groceries. 

 

Would Whole Foods not also receive a benefit from the Bagby entrance being closed to the spur and diverting all of the Bagby spur traffic onto Smith? 

 

You can go to their Google Maps listing and see how busy the store is on average by time and day of the week, and the 6-7pm slot is their busiest of the day on weekdays, but that's also the time that locals would be shopping. The weekends are still easily their busiest day. Their mid-day numbers, when there is zero cut-through traffic is 75% as good as their peak traffic between 6 and 7. Their 1-2pm traffic is about the same as their 5-6pm traffic. 

 

FzlcQZk.png

 

Might they get some people grabbing a juice or breakfast on the way in from Brazos? It's feasible but those people still have the option to do so and drive literally one extra minute to go there. 

 

 

 

 

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11 minutes ago, wilcal said:

I guess if you don't live here? Pretty sure everyone that lives in Midtown or Montrose has driven down Westheimer/Elgin and seen the giant green Whole Foods lettering/branding on the side of their building. The letters that are also visible from the Bagby entrance to the spur.

 

Actually I do live in Midtown, but like most Midtown folks, I avoid Elgin/Westheimer whenever possible.  And I'm pretty sure to see it going down Bagby you'd have to haul your head 90+ degrees to the left and look carefully. It doesn't help that it has an apartment stack on top of it, so people just glancing assume its just an apartment building (not what they're used to seeing for a grocery store). I'm just saying I regularly run into folks that aren't aware of it. I only knew about it and sought it out from reading CultureMap stories online.

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18 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

 

The city has a mitigation plan for homeless camps?!?!?!?!   If so, why don't they use it for the seemingly multiplying homeless camps and gatherings all over downtown, Midtown, the Museum District, etc.  Sorry Jeff Weatherford, but you should be ashamed of even saying such a thing at a public meeting.  Not at all surprising that the room was "not convinced."  The people in the room experience the city's "mitigation" on a daily basis.

 

 

City can't evict from TxDOT land which is where a ton of the encampments are (along highways). State won't evict because of fear from lawsuit. 

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2 minutes ago, wilcal said:

 

I definitely understand how tight the margins are in grocery (grandfather was an exec for HEB for decades and made store managers keep a roll of pennies on their desk to remind them that every penny matters) and that cut-through traffic could make the difference between making it or not, but having unsafe streets in this area is a much larger hindrance to development than having access to groceries. 

 

Would Whole Foods not also receive a benefit from the Bagby entrance being closed to the spur and diverting all of the Bagby spur traffic onto Smith? 

 

You can go to their Google Maps listing and see how busy the store is on average by time and day of the week, and the 6-7pm slot is their busiest of the day on weekdays, but that's also the time that locals would be shopping. The weekends are still easily their busiest day. Their mid-day numbers, when there is zero cut-through traffic is 75% as good as their peak traffic between 6 and 7. Their 1-2pm traffic is about the same as their 5-6pm traffic. 

 

FzlcQZk.png

 

Might they get some people grabbing a juice or breakfast on the way in from Brazos? It's feasible but those people still have the option to do so and drive literally one extra minute to go there. 

 

 

 

 

 

I just know that both the regional and store managers were at the meeting and they said it was performing very significantly below expectations.  

 

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, wilcal said:

 

City can't evict from TxDOT land which is where a ton of the encampments are (along highways). State won't evict because of fear from lawsuit. 

 

TxDOT land is not the only place where homeless are encamped or consistently gathered.  Further the State is supposedly doing once-a-week clearing in the Midtown/Museum District area, but the results have been undetectable.

Edited by Houston19514

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On 2/21/2020 at 9:17 AM, BeerNut said:

 

It looks like they're eliminating the entry point on to Hawthorne/Burlington from Bagby which doesn't make sense to me. The road that extends south of Courtlandt in the proposals will essentially be a private entry/driveway to someones garage. If they keep Bagby south of Elgin, they should extend the road, as it is now, to Hawthorne/Burlington so it serves more of a purpose.

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One thing I've noticed with the Midtown Whole Foods is it doesn't show up in Google Maps without searching.  It will show "JuiceLand" and "Kasa Houston Midtown Apartments" but Whole Foods doesn't ever pop up.  Now of course if you search for "Whole Foods", it does drop a pin there, but it doesn't if you search for "Grocery Store"

I don't know why that is, and it will show up if you force it to re-search the area, but that can't be good for it's traffic

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1 hour ago, ToryGattis said:

 

Actually I do live in Midtown, but like most Midtown folks, I avoid Elgin/Westheimer whenever possible.  And I'm pretty sure to see it going down Bagby you'd have to haul your head 90+ degrees to the left and look carefully. It doesn't help that it has an apartment stack on top of it, so people just glancing assume its just an apartment building (not what they're used to seeing for a grocery store). I'm just saying I regularly run into folks that aren't aware of it. I only knew about it and sought it out from reading CultureMap stories online.

 

Yeah that just sounds like a lazy business. The ole assumption that, "Oh I'm Whole Foods, people will just come automatically!" That just doesn't work. Even the biggest of brands still have to do outreach and put themselves out there. Each time I pass the new HEB on Washington Ave its super packed, yet it also has apartments above it. Nobody ever mistakes it not being an HEB. HEB just knows how to get customers through the door. The HEB on W. Alabama doesn't even have its front facing the main road, yet its still one of there best performing stores. Each HEB you go near it jumps right out to get you. The one in the Heights has that nifty gimmicky HEIGHTS sign out front. The fact that the store has apartments on it has no bearing on its performance when there are many other examples that are successes with this type of store format. I just don't buy. If people in the hood don't know that its there then that is there fault and theirs alone. By now everyone in Midtown and Montrose should know of this stores existence.

 

Your point about Elgin is definitely on point. Its a pretty barren street. Virtually no retail, or restaurants. Those existing apartments really should go back and add retail to the bottom to get some life into that area. A reason why I support this proposal is because it make that environment more inviting to pedestrians which could in turn attract new businesses. I've walked this stretch many times, and its hectic, and dangerous with people rushing up and off the on ramps.

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LOL that lower Westheimer was sketch and risky 8 years ago. Montrose has thrived for 60 years and it has always been sketchy. I'd argue that's why it thrives. 

 

The issue facing retailers is AMAZON/Delivery and high rent. Why stop at Whole Foods and deal with a garage when you can just order stuff to your door? Retail is changing. There will be a lot of consequences. People that want ground floor retail and no surface parking tend to also be the types to order stuff off of Amazon daily. Can't have it both ways.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, KinkaidAlum said:

LOL that lower Westheimer was sketch and risky 8 years ago. Montrose has thrived for 60 years and it has always been sketchy. I'd argue that's why it thrives. 

 

The issue facing retailers is AMAZON/Delivery and high rent. Why stop at Whole Foods and deal with a garage when you can just order stuff to your door? Retail is changing. There will be a lot of consequences. People that want ground floor retail and no surface parking tend to also be the types to order stuff off of Amazon daily. Can't have it both ways.

 

 

 

Amazon doesn't even market Whole Foods the way HEB markets itself. HEB is like "come to the store, pick-up points are available for online orders" blah blah. They market it themselves like they are a grocery story with convenience options. Amazon is like "two hour delivery to your door is available." Amazon markets Whole Foods like a warehouse to store food to deliver to your door, which also contains an Amazon Locker for you to pick up your packages. Two completely different approaches. I can't believe Whole Foods would complain about lack of traffic, its not even their business model lulz. The rest of the businesses I'll stay out of, from my clients I know even small changes can have impacts.

 

The neighborhood patrons tho, sounds like the neighborhood patrons in my adjacent community the last time the city came to talk about bike lines. You'll always have some older contingent upset about change. Its like someone told me in the austin bike lane thread, residents buy it for what it is, developers buy in for what it may become. They are just whining about change just to whine @wilcal

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Posted (edited)
43 minutes ago, X.R. said:

 

Amazon doesn't even market Whole Foods the way HEB markets itself. HEB is like "come to the store, pick-up points are available for online orders" blah blah. They market it themselves like they are a grocery story with convenience options. Amazon is like "two hour delivery to your door is available." Amazon markets Whole Foods like a warehouse to store food to deliver to your door, which also contains an Amazon Locker for you to pick up your packages. Two completely different approaches. I can't believe Whole Foods would complain about lack of traffic, its not even their business model lulz. The rest of the businesses I'll stay out of, from my clients I know even small changes can have impacts.

 

The neighborhood patrons tho, sounds like the neighborhood patrons in my adjacent community the last time the city came to talk about bike lines. You'll always have some older contingent upset about change. Its like someone told me in the austin bike lane thread, residents buy it for what it is, developers buy in for what it may become. They are just whining about change just to whine @wilcal

 

The whole Amazon thing is also a recency bias in its own. People have had the availability to get groceries delivered to them for as long as there have been grocers and people with the money to do so. The internet just makes it faster. Before that you could always call a grocer to pull stuff off the shelf and have it ready or delivered. Before that you could hire people that would do the shopping for you and deliver it to your door. This isn't a new thing just the tech is different. Its the same with Amazon as a whole. I love Amazon. They are amazing. I now gauge just how we are doing in the world if I can still get two day or next day shipping without any hiccups. With all the mayhem people talk about todays world all I have to say is...yeah but I can still get something from across the globe in two days with Amazon, I think the world is doing ok. With that being said even they aren't a new thing. Amazon is basically and internet version of the Sears Catalog. Once again the tech is different, but the industry is the same. This idea that once a new tech appears that everything before it will just poof disappear is really annoying.

Edited by Luminare
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4 hours ago, Montrose1100 said:

 I'd bet Specs losing business is due to Total Wine opening up shop around Sawyer.

 

I'm glad someone else mentioned this.  I have several friends that have become Total Wine converts and one of those friends switched their business purchases to Total Wine.

 

Whole Foods projections were probably ambitious. Whole Foods still haven't shook the "whole paycheck" moniker and the newness of the store has worn off.  In my house the newness has worn off and we're back to shopping at HEB even though it's a half a mile further away. 

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5 hours ago, Luminare said:

 

One thing they should do immediately is to eliminate the private road going to Courtlandt Pl. Thats the part of this I've always detested. They should instead mandate that Courtlandt Pl be connected at Lovett Blvd and Taft. They should also connect Hawthorne and Holman. There are plenty of things that can be negotiated with this or places where compromises can be hashed out, but they definitely dropped the ball initially with this. I think again its just the case of the City getting a little overly excited, and not doing their homework. This is one instance where I'm fine with them slowing the process down a bit. Get more comments and feedback. Find compromises with local businesses owners, study ways to keep the new park programmed and active with uses, etc...

Courtlandt was originally a private street. the street was opened to the public to provide a means to get out of the area more easily. In the 70's or 80's, the residents petitioned the City to buy it back and make it private again, as it wasn't needed for access, and there were a bunch of people just hanging out in people's yards. If you look at the records, the owners of houses on Courtlandt pay tax on their proportionate share of the street. I doubt any of them are interested in the City taking it back.

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25 minutes ago, BeerNut said:

Whole Foods projections were probably ambitious. Whole Foods still haven't shook the "whole paycheck" moniker and the newness of the store has worn off.  In my house the newness has worn off and we're back to shopping at HEB even though it's a half a mile further away. 

 

Well, they have opened hundreds of stores and have a pretty sophisticated dataset to predict sales based on neighborhood, access, and competition. I don't think their projections are the issue here. They weren't counting on the freeway exit directly into their parking garage being closed.

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46 minutes ago, ToryGattis said:

 

Well, they have opened hundreds of stores and have a pretty sophisticated dataset to predict sales based on neighborhood, access, and competition. I don't think their projections are the issue here. They weren't counting on the freeway exit directly into their parking garage being closed.

 

You can't just jettison all those potential variables like they are nothing. There might be something to that. How do you know they are sophisticated? What info do you have? Please share. Like most things zeroing in on just one thing like the freeway closure is probably not the most logical conclusion in regards to why they aren't hitting their numbers. Maybe its multiple factors we don't know. I'm willing to concede that the freeway closure plays a big part, but again this was closed for awhile now. You even admit that they really haven't penetrated the neighborhood they are in yet, and probably haven't tried. They could have done more, and they didn't.

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40 minutes ago, Luminare said:

 

You can't just jettison all those potential variables like they are nothing. There might be something to that. How do you know they are sophisticated? What info do you have? Please share. Like most things zeroing in on just one thing like the freeway closure is probably not the most logical conclusion in regards to why they aren't hitting their numbers. Maybe its multiple factors we don't know. I'm willing to concede that the freeway closure plays a big part, but again this was closed for awhile now. You even admit that they really haven't penetrated the neighborhood they are in yet, and probably haven't tried. They could have done more, and they didn't.

 

As a former McKinsey management consultant, I know enough to know that these types of companies have very sophisticated models to determine where they build new locations and what the forecast sales will be.  It's way too big of an investment not to.  And I do think they have tried to get the word out. I live a fair distance away, but they mailed me very substantial coupons when they opened.  I suspect the local residential draw zone is small (Midtown + museum district + part of Neartown, third ward has small customer base, and go much further west and residents will go to the Waugh or Kirby locations), so they were counting on pass-through traffic stopping in, the same as Specs.  In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Specs was their inspiration for choosing that location.

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Not sure why everyone ignores THE #1 data point for any retailer/restaurant....TRAFFIC COUNT.  You reduce traffic count i.e. visibility then you basically can reduce sales.  It has and always will be the most important factor.  

 

I read a few of you say well its only a couple of blocks away...that couple of blocks is so huge in retail.  Have you ever wondered why so much is developed at busy intersections??  Yeah, its called traffic count.  Its the same for freeway development...why are so many businesses along the freeways??  Same data point.  Nothing has changed from 40 years ago people.  If you don't see it you dont think about it.  Its as simple as that.  

 

Its also why any space for lease/sale along busy streets are much higher than those set inside or tucked away.   I have 2 retail front stores selling the same product service.  One off of Alabama and another tucked in Heights.  Which do you think does better?  West Alabama because its on the street with traffic even though Heights according to other data points such as income say I should be making more money in the Heights.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Ponchorello said:

Not sure why everyone ignores THE #1 data point for any retailer/restaurant....TRAFFIC COUNT.  You reduce traffic count i.e. visibility then you basically can reduce sales.  It has and always will be the most important factor.  

 

I read a few of you say well its only a couple of blocks away...that couple of blocks is so huge in retail.  Have you ever wondered why so much is developed at busy intersections??  Yeah, its called traffic count.  Its the same for freeway development...why are so many businesses along the freeways??  Same data point.  Nothing has changed from 40 years ago people.  If you don't see it you dont think about it.  Its as simple as that.  

 

Its also why any space for lease/sale along busy streets are much higher than those set inside or tucked away.   I have 2 retail front stores selling the same product service.  One off of Alabama and another tucked in Heights.  Which do you think does better?  West Alabama because its on the street with traffic even though Heights according to other data points such as income say I should be making more money in the Heights.

 

I've seen that first-hand in my Midtown neighborhood. When Oakmont opened at Baldwin and Pierce, a block back from the main drags of Bagby and West Gray, I thought it would boom. Very cool multi-story bar and patio that had a lot of money sunk into it - like a smaller Axelrad. But it's been dead, and the only reason I can see is because it's not along any of the main drags through Midtown.  It's way cooler than Front Porch or Belle Station along West Gray, but those places are packed and it's dead, even though it's only a block away!

Edited by ToryGattis
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On 3/6/2020 at 11:11 AM, ToryGattis said:

But I still don't see any realistic way the park doesn't become a homeless camp.

I'm struggling to think of any parks that have become homeless camps, and have come up with zero.
If you're looking for homeless camps, try overpasses, freeway ROWs, and privately owned vacant lots. 

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Posted (edited)

If Whole Foods was relying on fly-by traffic to stop in while people were zooming through Midtown to get to US 59, then they didn't hire a good local consultant. Houstonians do NOT think parking garage grocery shopping is convenient. Nobody who lives in in SW Houston/Fort Bend is going to pull over, navigate a garage, deal with getting back on the freeway with Midtown one-way streets just to pick up some bananas. Lets get real here. Houstonians are a lazy-assed people. If there's no convenient parking people aren't doing it. 

 

That Whole Foods was built for local folks and foot traffic from all the rooftops nearby. That'll take time to build. I am sure Whole Foods knew they'd have to grow into the market slowly. Trying to blame poor results on a freeway entrance closure is a stretch.

Edited by KinkaidAlum
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, KinkaidAlum said:

If Whole Foods was relying on fly-by traffic to stop in while people were zooming through Midtown to get to US 59, then they didn't hire a good local consultant. Houstonians do NOT think parking garage grocery shopping is convenient. Nobody who lives in in SW Houston/Fort Bend is going to pull over, navigate a garage, deal with getting back on the freeway with Midtown one-way streets just to pick up some bananas. Lets get real here. Houstonians are a lazy-assed people. If there's no convenient parking people aren't doing it. 

 

That Whole Foods was built for local folks and foot traffic from all the rooftops nearby. That'll take time to build. I am sure Whole Foods knew they'd have to grow into the market slowly. Trying to blame poor results on a freeway entrance closure is a stretch.

That argument doesn't quite apply.  If so, then every freeway restaurant/retailer/business would be dead.  All those cars are doing 50mph+.  Its visibility..its being in the mind, just like a billboard along every freeway.  Again...why are billboards so darn expensive....hmmm bingo....TRAFFIC COUNT!

Edited by Ponchorello
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It's the termination of the Spur not a corner of 610 and 59. Nobody is randomly driving by on the Spur. 

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23 hours ago, KinkaidAlum said:

It's the termination of the Spur not a corner of 610 and 59. Nobody is randomly driving by on the Spur. 

 

 

Its easy for you to say when you don't own a business.  When and if you do start your own...we will have that talk again about it.

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I currently an owner/investor in multiple hard retail businesses in several markets (Boston, Houston, Denver, and Los Angeles) but please continue...

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11 hours ago, KinkaidAlum said:

I currently an owner/investor in multiple hard retail businesses in several markets (Boston, Houston, Denver, and Los Angeles) but please continue...

 

 

Then im kinda taken back you believe declined traffic count doesn't affect the bottom line of a business....

 

Your business model must be insulated from these types of changes because the 10 businesses I have in Houston , the 6 in Colorado, 3 in Dallas and 1 in San Antonio are sensitive to decreased traffic.  

 

I am very impressed to say the least.

 

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I just attended a neighborhood meeting with representatives from the city, local residents along Westheimer, and a lot of local business owners. There are a few currents in this discussion that I think might be based on assumptions about the issue on which I'd like to add my perspective.

 

First, some posters seem to frame this as a conflict of interest between Midtown/Montrose and the broader interests of Houston's commuters. My neighbors and I are all against the removal of these traffic flows. The roads, entrances, and exits that they are talking about removing are all important options for those of us who live here. With more construction looming on Elgin, it will only become more important to keep as many paths open as possible. As the area grows more dense, as it is doing and ought to, removal of transportation works sounds like the wrong direction to us. We are on the same side as Houston's commuters. We still can't figure out where this idea came from, but it seems to be driven now by our neighbors on Courtland and other nearby residents who rightly think a park sounds nice but don't use these roads all the time.

 

Second, the proposal is not a park. It's proponents don't even have the chutzpah to call it a park. It's two slivers of green space which might or might not be more appealing to walk past than the tuft of trees currently between Brazos and Bagby. The area can be beautified without shutting off access. 

 

Third, there is nothing about the proposal that makes the area more "walkable". Green spaces are nice, but what gives a neighborhood its walkability is the range of amenities within walking distance. The restaurants and nightlife give character to the area and the availability of stores, pharmacies, laundries, etc. make it easy to live there. Anything that puts additional pressure on local businesses stifles the growth of more amenities to accommodate more residents, and could even threaten existing ones. The speed control measures in those proposals are not necessary on those streets that have plenty of traffic signals. 

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9 minutes ago, HBC06 said:

I just attended a neighborhood meeting with representatives from the city, local residents along Westheimer, and a lot of local business owners. There are a few currents in this discussion that I think might be based on assumptions about the issue on which I'd like to add my perspective.

 

First, some posters seem to frame this as a conflict of interest between Midtown/Montrose and the broader interests of Houston's commuters. My neighbors and I are all against the removal of these traffic flows. The roads, entrances, and exits that they are talking about removing are all important options for those of us who live here. With more construction looming on Elgin, it will only become more important to keep as many paths open as possible. As the area grows more dense, as it is doing and ought to, removal of transportation works sounds like the wrong direction to us. We are on the same side as Houston's commuters. We still can't figure out where this idea came from, but it seems to be driven now by our neighbors on Courtland and other nearby residents who rightly think a park sounds nice but don't use these roads all the time.

 

Second, the proposal is not a park. It's proponents don't even have the chutzpah to call it a park. It's two slivers of green space which might or might not be more appealing to walk past than the tuft of trees currently between Brazos and Bagby. The area can be beautified without shutting off access. 

 

Third, there is nothing about the proposal that makes the area more "walkable". Green spaces are nice, but what gives a neighborhood its walkability is the range of amenities within walking distance. The restaurants and nightlife give character to the area and the availability of stores, pharmacies, laundries, etc. make it easy to live there. Anything that puts additional pressure on local businesses stifles the growth of more amenities to accommodate more residents, and could even threaten existing ones. The speed control measures in those proposals are not necessary on those streets that have plenty of traffic signals. 

 

So how would you characterize the overall opinion of the crowd pro and con? Or the proportions of the split?

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Posted (edited)

This meeting was all con - what I said about who I assumed was in favor was, admittedly, hearsay. It was nice of the community relations person from the city to endure the fury the whole time. But would have been nicer to have public forums instead of just meeting with one neighborhood group at a time.

 

Just to clarify , when I say 'con' I mean against the "green space" proposals, and in favor of the original plan to finish the bridge. 

Edited by HBC06
missing pronoun
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9 hours ago, HBC06 said:

This meeting was all con - what I said about who I assumed was in favor was, admittedly, hearsay. It was nice of the community relations person from the city to endure the fury the whole time. But would have been nicer to have public forums instead of just meeting with one neighborhood group at a time.

 

Just to clarify , when I say 'con' I mean against the "green space" proposals, and in favor of the original plan to finish the bridge. 

 

At the business owners meeting, Jeff from the City said they were specifically trying to avoid one or two giant public meetings because it's hard to make those productive. Most people never get a chance to speak. They wanted to do a series of smaller neighborhood meetings instead where more people could give their perspective.  I suspect that also makes it easier to summarize and bring to the Mayor: he can just say which groups were pro or con.  I'm curious what the tenor will be at the Midtown Super Neighborhood meeting tomorrow.

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I attended a meeting last night regarding this project and these are questions that need to be answered:

  • How will the traffic on Smith Street be affected by the two planned high-rises (20 story) being built along that street?  Cars departing both plan on using Smith Street as it’s garage exit and the traffic study for both counted on the Bagby Bridge being in place.

  • The cost of replacing the Bagby Bridge was in hand and planned, but at some point someone or entity came in and proposed removing the bridge.....who was that entity?

  • The homeless problem was brought up and the city reps said it shouldn’t be a problem, they gave the example of low homeless #’s of other green areas like Buffalo Bayou Park.  It was pointed out that unlike Buffalo Bayou Park, we have multiple soup kitchens and shelters within 5 blocks of the proposed project.  They seemed perplexed by the facts.  (and for those that think the homeless may limit themselves to the green area once camped, will be sadly mistaken).

  • We asked where the project docket is located so that we could view all comments sent in; they had no information on how to let the public view comments.

  • We asked why they haven’t had public meetings on the subject.  They couldn’t answer the question.

  • We asked who will make the final decision the city council or the mayor’s office.  We were told that a recommendation would be made to the mayor.  As a follow-up they couldn’t explain how input would impact the recommendation.

The cost of replacing the bridge and putting in the green zone will be the same. 

The contract for replacing the bridge was already in place and then cancelled.

Until the above questions can be answered, I will not be climbing on the removal bandwagon.

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6 minutes ago, Aksarben said:

I attended a meeting last night regarding this project and these are questions that need to be answered:

  • The cost of replacing the Bagby Bridge was in hand and planned, but at some point someone or entity came in and proposed removing the bridge.....who was that entity?

 

Jeff from the City said that Bill Fulton of the Kinder Institute at Rice reached out to get them to look at other options rather than just replace the bridge.

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11 minutes ago, ToryGattis said:

 

Jeff from the City said that Bill Fulton of the Kinder Institute at Rice reached out to get them to look at other options rather than just replace the bridge.

....and did he provide what economic/traffic impacts that change would inflict...or was it a "hey I have an idea".......

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7 minutes ago, Aksarben said:

....and did he provide what economic/traffic impacts that change would inflict...or was it a "hey I have an idea".......

 

Definitely "hey I have an idea".  The impact assessment and community feedback is what they're doing now.  They've done the traffic study, but I don't think they have a real handle on the economic impact.

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18 hours ago, BeerNut said:

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Something very suspect about the traffic volume table above.....says there was no south traffic during 4 out of 7 days but gives a 7 day average and total for 7 days?  You really want us to believe there was no traffic at all for 4 days?

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18 hours ago, BeerNut said:

pyRB1JJ.jpg

13EYVsk.jpg

YIBfqyL.jpg

cqkbiNq.jpg

 

 

@BeerNut after the Mayor's health emergency declaration today, can you confirm whether or not this event is still happening? The website doesn't look like it's regularly updated.

 

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1 hour ago, ToryGattis said:

Update: Opposition seems to be mobilizing. New website has appeared as well as opposing signage.

 

https://stopbagbyclosure.com/

 

Image

Bagby Brazos bridge.jpg

Saw this as they were putting this yesterday but it wasn't unfurled so I couldn't read it.

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Thanks for posting the link. 
The website gives email addresses where public officials can be contacted, which I've found useful to express my support for the permanent closure of this segment of the Spur.

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I got an email from an Avondaler  ( who “just” found out that COH was trying to sneak in the closure of Bagby) asking me to sign the StopBagbyCloseure petition—  I responded that the open meeting (hosted by Westmoreland Civic 6 weeks ago at MontroseCenter)on the 3 proposals was posted on Nextdoor and didn’t seem sneaky at all.

Next day BikeHouston emailed a StoptheBrazosHighwayRamp-Buildapark petition.

 

guess these proposals will prove a gentle way to deflect attention away from Coronavirus?

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The signs against the park are popping up all around Montrose and Midtown.

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