COMMENT OF THE DAY: ADMIRAL LINEN AND THE WAY OF KATYVILLE “. . . Yes, it’s initially going to be utilized as an employee parking lot, but [it’s] hard to believe that long term Admiral Linen will stay. The trend . . . for any company with strong dependence on warehouse/distribution needs in the area has recently been to sell to developers and move out of the area. The increasing traffic on Center/Studemont/Washington makes the area increasingly difficult for trucks to move in an out of the area. Also the steady increase in land values will at least lead to any business owner with a brain and with a large parcel of land in the area to look at the possibilities of moving . . . as was the case with San Jacinto Stone (new LA Fitness, Guitar Center, Sprouts), Trinity Industries (Walmart) , Grocers Supply (400+apts, retail, movie theater), Studemont Kroger, Detering Lumber (on sale now). Living in the area, I’ve noticed my commute time to downtown increase by a factor of 2 (from 5 minutes to 10 minutes). Hard to believe that the traffic situation will get any better with Archstone Memorial Heights converting their complex to a high density property, 400+ new apts in the Grocers Supply site, and a new 24 floor office building being built behind the Bank of America on Washington. All of this development with absolutely zero changes in the surrounding infrastructure as of now will lead to some nightmarish traffic on S. Heights Blvd, Studemont, and Washington . . . the 3 main access roads for Admiral Linen . . .” [Debnil, commenting on Center St. Recycling Center Is Now Closed; Site Ready for Recycling] Illustration: Lulu
My salesperson at Detering Millwork confirmed this morning that they’ve sold to a developer and are moving to Irvington/N. Loop area. The property should be empty this Summer.
Oh my, “nightmarish” traffic in the middle of the city – that just doesn’t happen anywhere else!
Seriously, Houston isn’t bad at all when you compare it to other big thriving cities. But yes, expect traffic to get worse as development and densification happens. Then get over it. There’s honestly not much that can be done to avoid it or stop it from happening – traffic congestion is inherent to the system.
Truthfully, only those who utilize carpools and public transportation should be complaining about traffic… the rest of us (myself included) are part of the problem.
The other day I thought about how the green and purple lines end around the theater district and how they’re just begging to expand further west. Imagine if the green line continued up to these “Katyville” developments and then to the Heights while the purple line continued west down Washington.
Don’t agree at all with your comment. The problem in the Heights is that the increase in residential and retail density seems to be happening without any thought to improvements in the main transportation insfrastructure (read roads). Heights and Yale can’t be widened unless you get rid of the sidewalks. The southbound traffic on Yale just before I-10 is getting really bad because there is no dedicated right turn lane for the freeway. With two new luxury apt. developments added to the rush hour mix and more retail on the way where exactly are the road plans to handle this traffic? It’s ironic that you call yourself “Local Planner”.
Have to disagree… That’s been the houston mantra for far too long…there is nothing to be done…oh well
I love what’s happened to this part of town…but we sit and watch traffic worsen infrastructure staying the same while the load increases.
This area should be a local planners dream, rather than just an inevitable source of problems
For instance… In this day when nobody could question the value of recycling… And in an area where the population density is probably higher than anywhere else in houston, the majority of which are ending up in apts (without recycling) why is the recycling center off Washington/central not being replaced by something similar??
Same goes for traffic…I’m all for paying for a better public transport system… Why did we tear up the railroad grade on The Katy freeway??
It’s unfortunate because the thing that made this area so expensive (despite being basically a train yard) is its convenience. The traffic was really pretty easy compared to most parts of the city.
TXdesign, I am not so sure you’re right. Just because you are not familiar, or comfortable with the current levels of traffic doesn’t mean no one that is responsible isn’t paying attention. Traffic in your neighborhood is barely half of what it is in some parts of the suburbs. People are paying attention, but the numbers of cars that have to occupy a road before anything is done in reality is much higher than you have grown comfortable with.
Whoa there, pilgrim (Long time inner looper), quite the contrary, less people place value on recycling today than ever before because they realized it’s a feelgood endeavor without real merit, and the scale of Consumer recycling is equivalent to pi$$ing in the ocean. Unless and until recyclables can be extracted from the general garbage at a profit (or at least reasonable cost) it will be a Labor of Sisyphus.
My point is not that “things” can’t be done about traffic. Many things can be done – but they mostly involve providing alternative ways of getting around (pedestrian, transit, bike) or generally filling in more of the street grid. Some operational improvements, like coordinating signals, can be helpful to a limited extent. But what are people expecting, that we’ll turn all our local streets into 6 or 8-lane mega-thoroughfares? As if that would make those neighborhoods better places to live? And is doing those kinds of projects, involving very expensive right of way acquisition and other costs, how we want to spend our local tax dollars? By the way, those kinds of facilities get congested too, over time, and also serve to just push congestion to new choke points in the system.
The idea that our urban core neighborhoods, now that they are expanding with affluent residents, jobs, and activities, somehow won’t or shouldn’t have similar traffic congestion as in suburban areas is laughable; trying to somehow make it go away is a fool’s errand. Only the better street grid, ridiculously low density, and the previous decades of economic decline saved them from that to this point.
From Yale St. and I-10 all the way through the First Ward to I-45, there are so many large commercial tracts that are on the market or coming on the market that you could build a whole new city. The Mahatma Rice plant is huge. The tract from Detering to Grocer’s supply is huge. There are tons of other lots ready for redevelopment all along the Washington Corridor east of Yale St. We all know that traffic will get much worse as thousands more residents come into the area to live, shop, work and play. But the idea that traffic is just going to happen no matter what is silly. Smart development and infrastructure improvements can make a huge difference. When retail, residential and office are placed in the same development, you always reduce car trips. I used to work just outside the loop in a typical spec office building with no retail nearby. Worst traffic in the garage was at noon as everyone was scurrying out of the building to go get lunch. I know work downtown in a building that is in Houston Center. Hardly any traffic going out of the building, despite being many time bigger, during lunch as there are ample places to eat in the food court. The problem with redevelopment along Washington Ave is that everyone is just doing their own thing without any regard for trying to make the area conducive to work/shop/live/play without being reliant on cars. And the City still suffers from low self esteem and is happy to give out tax gifts without requiring any sort of return benefit. The result is that there is no connection between the retail development (largely single story title wall strip malls), residential (mostly disconnected pencil boxes) and office (an odd tower at Waugh and not much other new development). Had a single developer had control over all the available property, we could see a transformative development like a giant City Centre meets West Ave meets Post Oak Midtown. Instead, we get an odd mish mash of retail, office and residential with little infrastructure improvements to mitigate the impacts (not even a right turn lane on Yale St. SB at I-10, which would make a huge difference). So much could be done, but so little will get done to maximize the benefits of incoming density and minimize the burdens.
The reason Heights blvd gets backed up is due to the city turning a 4 lane blvd with ample space for street parking in to a one lane each way street. Only in Houston would that happen.Forget the traffic Houston hasnt the expertise to make meaningful improvements I’d just be happy if we could have real roads and not the patchwork quilt roads we have now. Once again only major city that cant coordinate street improvements without a utility company coming in and undoing all the progress made; sometimes within months of a major street repaving. Without meaningful mass transit and strict urban planning Houston will NEVER be a world class city.