Comment of the Day: Street Parking in the Heights

COMMENT OF THE DAY: STREET PARKING IN THE HEIGHTS “West of Studewood in the Heights has a lot of unpermitted off street parking facilities on public right of ways or parking pads on streets without curbs. These are ditches that are covered up with cars parked on them. Heights residents will tell you that you cannot park in front of their houses on their pads. That leaves the houses without parking pads open to all the parking. I forsee lots of problems with residents telling people they cannot park in front of their houses when these new places come in. And yes, I see my neighbors telling people to move their cars every day. The Parking Wars are coming.” [Studes2nd, commenting on More Heights Second Locations: Sonoma Wine Bar Aims for Studewood]

60 Comment

  • I live in Garden Oaks, I used to live in the Heights; both neighborhoods have open ditches. I converted our ditch in the Heights into a parking space for guests or visitors, but I never deluded myself into thinking that I owned it. People should feel free to ignore anyone that tells them to move their car from these types of spaces. They don’t own it and they cannot tow you.

  • First asked them how they got the permit to cover the ditch and install the parking pad on SUNDAY!

    THEN, they have the gall to put out signs telling folks to “slow down children are playing” next to already narrow streets (Nicholson St).

    If I wanted to live in a neighborhood where everyone parks in the street I would have moved to Montrose.

    Here’s an idea….clean out your garage, sell one of your 5 cars and park in your garage.

  • Or buy a house that fits.

  • From meetings I have been attending, the parking pads are becoming an issue that the city KNOWS it needs to address. The biggest concern is that they blocking drainage and causing flooding in areas. Additionally many people are parking head-in which is a no-no, only parallel is allowed. The homeowners have no claim to street parking. It will get ugly…….

  • Thanks, Jeb, thanks Midtown Coog–on our block in the Heights we have 4 people parking their trucks across the sidewalks all the time. Not related to commercial overflow, just dumb.

  • Neighbors thinking they own the street parking in front of their house is already a big problem in the Heights. I got a pizza delivery by Collinas not too long ago, and the neighbor across the street from me went into a rampage when the delivery person parked in a gravel spot in front of his house for 30 seconds to make the delivery.

    Many of the worst offenders thinking they own the street are those who have older bungalows with no, or an unusable garage.

    Not blocking a driveway is a given, but these extra spaces belong to whoever parks there first.

  • I do not usually weigh in on the plight of the common man but these parking screeds are disconcerting. If parking is of such concern I am sure there is a slice of suburban wasteland that will assuage your plight. (courtesy of KB Homes)

  • Marksmu, I live in a cottage and use my garage….it’s the BIG new construction that don’t use their garages….just drive down any street where one “cottage” was torn down and now there are 5 Tricon homes….the owner immediately turn their front yard and open ditch into a parking lot….

    Isn’t that what Bellaire and Montrose was developed for….and that’s not accounting for the temptation to break into expensive cars and trucks now park unsecured on the street.

  • Darbymom, You can call 311 and have the city issue citations for parking across the public sidewalks. This issue has been addressed at Firehouse meetings and the ONLY solution is to get the city involved. Good luck.

  • People in the Heights trying to exercise authority they don’t have over others??? Truly shocking.

  • Anyone complaining about people legally parking on their street is hereby banned from using the word “density” ever again.

  • The city could put in a surface lot next door to relieve some of their parking concerns.. that would give them something legitimate to focus on…other than “strangers” parking on city property.

  • I have a permitted pad with the correct size drainage pipe running through it that allows me to get to parking that is on my lot. I actually don’t use it regularly and certainly don’t police it.

    In my opinion the parking pad offenders are both small and large homes in equal measure, this isn’t something that can be pinned on a single group. Of course its much more entertaining to try and pin it on a single group …

  • Welcome to life in the big city folks. We rented one of the few old houses on Harvard St when we first moved here and the Duchess of the McMansion next door loathed my 1980 Chevy Truck. It was bright red and a bit rusty (and even showcased on Google Street View from 2007 – link from my post name shows the battleground) It was parked in front of MY HOUSE, not even their’s. They called the police over and over if it sat for a minute past the legal limit simply because they didn’t like the sight of it. Relief finally came after buying across the highway in Northside. I certainly do not miss folks like these in the Heights who have forgotten they live in the middle of 2 million people and even more vehicles. Move to the country or restricted burbs if you want a clear view and nobody parking on the public street.

  • @Jeb – I have a larger newer home – and I use my garage, and my 90′ long driveway…I see significantly more older homes, or cottages as you like to call them, utilizing the street

    You want to blindly blame the new builds, probably because you don’t like them, but the truth of the matter is both new and old homes equally offend on this parking problem.

    There is not sufficient parking to have more than a couple guests over at a time, and some people, certainly not limited to new/old house have too many cars.

    I see more old, you see more new…you probably are not looking critically at the older homes…its a bias that likely runs both ways.

  • Common sense tells you when you build 5 houses where there were 2 there will be more cars and less space for parking… is not an us or them situation.

    Sorry my 100 yr old home offends some folks.

  • My sister who lives in Oakland would laugh at the Heights parking woes. There she is lucky to find parking within 2 blocks of her house on the street and auto burglery is rampant. Sounds like Heights residents don’t know how to play nice in the city.

    FWIW, people in my neighborhood park on the street all the time, which annoys me, especially since I made a pointed effort to choose a house I could fit my multitude of vehicles in, but I understand what happens with kids and the like. In any case, my cars safely tucked up near the house have never been broken in to. Can’t say the same for the street parkers.

  • @Jeb – I have a larger newer home – and I use my garage, and my 90′ long driveway…I see significantly more older homes, or cottages as you like to call them, utilizing the street

    There is not sufficient parking to have more than a couple guests over at a time, and some people, certainly not limited to new/old house have too many cars.

    Yes, but when there’s plenty of space on someone’s driveway and they’re too lazy in the morning to shuffle cars around so they street park, you can understand how that chaps people’s buttocks. You have driveways for a reason. Use them. Or atleast don’t complain when someone else uses them.

  • I should clarify that I’m not advocating using other people’s driveways. I meant street side parking. Got a little mixed on my references.

  • The City does provide a solution for residents who have too much nonresidential parking on their blocks, and that is the Residential Permit Parking Program. I passed around a petition and very easily our block, the 700 block of East 10th, was approved for this program. Now we have permit parking only after 5pm. Just this morning I passed out the Permit Parking brochures to all the residents on 8th St. We have the Glass Wall and Stella Sola at the end of our block. Before the permit parking everyday at 3pm, 8 to 10 restaurant employees would park on the block, and by 7pm there was zero parking left on our block. If you wanted to have guests or service personnel over you had to put out orange cones in front of your house at 3 in the afternoon to hold the spots. This is a quality of life issue and obviously City Council agrees because they approved the Permit Program.

  • As I Heights resident (in an old bungalow with a garage and 75ft of driveway) I surprised at how many people think that they own/control the street parking in front of their house. Some place traffic cones, which I politely move so that I don’t damage them when I park. Some built parking pads and park nose in blocking the sidewalk. Some go as far as purchasing large pieces of rock to prevent anyone from parking near their precious 6000sqft of urban paradise. I guess these folks have no friends to visit them. How sad.

  • Permit parking is the last thing I want on my block…We dont need more rules/regulations dealing with everything that happens in this city….that is just what everyone needs, a ticket on the window of their inlaws cars when they come to stay the night.

    Even people who park in in their garages can not contain enough cars for a party, or the holidays when relatives come to stay for a few days. I frequently have 4 or 5 guests over for dinner after 5pm…where am I supposed to park them if I happen not to have a driveway? (I have but many on my street do not)

  • I live just West of Studewood on a currently unimpacted street. If I had curbs, I might find it less offensive when visitors to the neighborhood park in front of my house. They usually don’t park on the street, but on the grass that is just off the edge of the street in front of my house. Now, often they can’t park in front of the house the are visiting because those homes have giant parking pads that are somehow not intended for their visitors or yes, rocks so “street” parkers won’t kill their grass… I sod once a year, but it doesn’t take long before the grass is eroded and dead, leaving behind a large divot. I know it’s a public street and that grass patch is technically not mine, but since it is in front of my house, I’d like to try to keep it looking nice.

  • Public street Parking Permits should be illegal. The City should not be allowed to give a select few individuals exclusive rights to use public property. I’m surprised no one has sued the COH over this ridiculous practice. What if a neighborhood group signed a petition to only allow themselves to use the local public park, public pool, or public jogging trail because they were too crowded with “outsiders”? Public means public. If you want private use of the street then buy it or build you own. Our taxes pay for all the public streets and all of us should be able to drive or park legally on them whenever we please.

  • Jon, You’re missing the point. Everyday when my street was lined with cars that were there because of two businesses down on the corner, there was no longer any “public” parking available. Now with permit parking our block’s friends and guests can park anywhere they please on the street, no need for rocks or stones or cones.

  • @StarCat, looks like your issue would be with the businesses down the street.

    What kind of business does NOT have parking for employees?

  • @ StarCat

    Jon understands the point completely…you do not own a public street.

  • You don’t own the street. But permit parking – which is common in lots of cities all over the US – is a reasonable approach, provided it allows for reasonable number of visitor spots. Having lived in a city where residential permits typically outnumbered the actual spots available, I find the idea that there’s a big parking problem in the Heights kind of funny, but I guess it’s all relative.

    If parking becomes impossible for residents, a neighborhood suffers. Use preferences are part of lots of parking restrictions – it’s why a lot commercial areas have 2-hour limits (to ensure turnover of spots for the benefit of the businesses there). If parking regulations can embody a preference for commercial users, why is a preference for residents in areas where that is appropriate so horrifying?

  • First, let’s get our terms right: Public Streets don’t have residences on them. Studewood is a Public Street, my block is a Residential Street, and it is this distinction that allows the homeowners on that block (yes, technically a “minority”)to improve the quality of life on that block for their families.If this means Stop Signs, Road Bumps, Yield Signs, No Thru Trucks, or Permit Parking, then so be it. As to employee parking: the managers of both Glass Wall and Bedford/Stella sola TOLD their emps to never park in their lots so as to make more room for customers. These managers pretty much dared the homeowners to do something about it…..we did.

  • What kind of business does NOT have parking for employees?

    Inner city kinds. Not all businesses meet the COH parking requirements, either because the property was in place before the measure or they obtained some sort of waiver. In many cities they have parking permits on streets. I was in San Francisco a few weeks ago and alot of the city has nieghborhood parking permits. The permits cost money, but given the crowdedness of the area, there’s not many options for residents. Streets are public right of ways, but I see nothing wrong with the COH saying who can “park” along the streets. Parking meters discriminate against people that don’t have money, but no one argues that those are illegal. I think the law is settled on whether or not cities can put restrictions on street side parking.

  • Morrison Street has banned non-resident parking near White Oak which merely forces parking onto other nearby streets.

  • StarCat-
    I’m with Charles. It is you that doesn’t get the point. You do not own a public street. You live a city. Get used to it. Take a look at any vibrant neighborhood in SF, NYC or Chicago. That’s how it works. You should be happy you have interesting places to walk to down the street, instead of the equivalent of the kids in the backseat “Mom….he’s looking at me!”

  • PYEWACKET2, businesses that were grandfathered 30 years ago with no or few parking spaces offer no parking to its employees. There is a bar in my neighborhood that has 4 parking spots. As a result, the three residential blocks surrounding the bar are used almost exlusively as the bar’s parking lot.

  • a couple weeks ago my neighbor knocked on my door and asked my permission to park on the street in front of my house because she had workers coming over to do work in her driveway. She looked shocked when I told her it’s a public street and she can park there anytime!
    And for the record, SF, Chicago, and NYC, along with DC, Boston, Denver and many others issue resident street parking permits.What ticks me off is bar or restaurant owners who allow valet companies to “cone off” portons of the public street in front of their business.

  • I should add that while I think residential permits can be useful and are not the outrage some think, I also think that people parking on your street is part of city life so – yes indeed – people should get over it. Or move to Kingwood.

  • So Mel, is the business grandfathered forever? What if it changes owners?

    Or if it changes from a bar to something else?

  • I wish more people were concerned about how fast they drive around neighborhood streets than parking on them. Parking is an inconvenience but speeding the way people do and running stop signs can kill someone. Michaux street between Bayland and White Oak is used as if it were a freeway. Someone is going to get killed one of these days. Petty parking concerns vs deadly speeding and all you folks want to talk about is parking.

  • Pyewacket, the grandfathering is in effect forever, regardless of whether the building changes ownership or use. My understanding is that only when the building or use area (such as a patio or deck) is enlarged to more than 15% of the original building size does any sort of orindance kick in– and then the business is required to provide 4 parking spots for every 15% increase.

  • Judy, the people who live on Beauchamp and Bayland say the same thing.

  • Judy’s right about speed being an issue. I used to be against speed humps on principle, but sadly people are not smart enough to figure out that driving 50-60mph down narrow residential streets is dangerous. So now I want ’em.

  • Since we are now on “speeding issues”…have you driven 11 Street since it reopened…IT IS TRUTH OR DARE!!!!

    And the traffic lights at Yale and Heights are ingnant… HEADS UP EVERYONE

  • All city streets are public. There are thoroughfares and residential, but they’re all public.

  • Now if we could just get the self important women with stroller and dog to use the sidewalk. State law makes it illegal to walk in the street if a sidewalk is present.

  • Steve, you try pushing a stroller on the sidewalks in the Heights. Good luck! Even assuming the sidewalk spans the entire street, most are impassable- either broken by tree roots and age, buckled or suddenly dead-end: any of which pushes you and even you Bob into the street. Oh, and let’s not forget all the sidewalks blocked by cars hanging over their driveways. I know not all of the Heights is like this, but I assure you most is as I described.

  • I walk on Heights sidewalks all the time. Some of them are terrible and yes, you have to walk in the street. Many are not.

    When you are in the street, and a car comes, you can of course walk on the side of the street facing opposite traffic. Or, as so many people do, you can wander straight down the middle and ignore the cars, which is dumb.

    And this doesn’t explain all the random non-stroller pushing pedestrians and dog walkers who just bob around in traffic.

    a little commons sense, people.

  • i would say a good bit of the sidewalks are perfectly fine for walking, I skateboard on them and if I can do that (do you know how easy a cracked sidewalk can stop a skateboard?), then stroller pushers can stay on them. There are several places though where it is impassable, blocked by cars, or overgrown by plants/vines. I think because there are a lot of sections like that, people have completely given up on trying to use the sidewalks. I do see a fair amount of older pedestrians using the sidewalks.

  • One possible solution to people parking in front of your house? Run your rotary sprinklers out there. That should put a stop to the late-night conversations.

    My devious mind would also find a way to make them remote controlled and hidden. Folks bugging you? bap-bap-bap-bap-bap-bap-splosh-tockety tockety…

  • Hee, hee, Flake – motion-activated ones are a hoot as well. I hae a friend in Montrose who is not insensitive to the parking problems on the weekends, but wants to sleep as well. They’re timed to go off at midnight.

  • @Steve:

    Mel said it exactly right. Assure me, I WANT to walk on the sidewalks with my child and dog! People drive down any through street like it is the Indy 500 and don’t seem to understand what stop signs mean. Unfortunately, due to years of neglect, the city failing to enforce requirements, developers flouting city requirements with their self righteous “it ain’t illegal if you don’t get caught” attitude and boneheads who park across sidewalks (sometimes from a parking pad), it is frequently impossible to traverse one full block without entering the street. Looks like I need to start calling 3-1-1 to ensure that I can access an in place sidewalk safely. So watch out if your car blocks a sidewalk, it’s about to get ugly.

  • I am so glad that I live in a SMALL, deed restricted non historic neighborhood within the 610 loop.

    We have plenty of street parking. True, it’s not normally utilized but it’s there anyway. True, we don’t have parking pads, whatever those are. And, we have no parking in the yard, by ordinance. True, we’re not historic but in fact we ARE historic. We have rolling terrain and curbs and gutters and sidewalks but we are, above all, a community of good neighbors. Some of our sidewalks are corrupted by huge tree roots but most are not. We have regular street repairs and ongoing drive throughs by both constables and HPD due to our location. I had no idea that so many other “high priced” neighborhoods had parking/other problems.

  • @ Pyewacket, that sounds like Temple Terrace.

  • Not even close! ;o)

  • One of the things I love about the Heights is that there is no home owners association. I welcome the small business and restaurants in the neighborhood. That is not to say however, that their presence doesn’t create problematic issues. Parking is one of them, and the valet for the restaurants compounds the situation. I live on 10th st, which is in between Stella Sola and Glass Wall, with Berry Hill on Beverly and 11th resulting in a premium for parking. Despite the cars, I began altering my drive home to another street as a solution to avoid the dangerous valet clog on 10th in addition to the cluster of cars lining the street to avoid valet. I’ll admit, I hit my tolerance level one night when I passed my driveway because a truck was completely blocking it. We neighbors decided to take matters in hand and had a meeting to decide options. We went to the city with a proposal of no parking during certain hours. The city came out and surveyed the parking situation during peak hours. A couple of months later we had our no parking signs for tue-sat from 7p-11p (permit only)installed. So something reasonable can be worked out for both parties.

  • The cool thing about a vehicle blocking your driveway is that you can have it towed without calling the police first. I know some wrecker drivers, so that’s easy for me.

  • LOL, true, in the meantime …there was no where to park.

  • What bugs me are the cones. People do not have the right to resrve places on the street in front of their house. Just the comment “I had to get my orange cones out by 3” is suitable challenge for me to move your cones and park in front of your house on a street that my tax money helps to pay for.

    As for the sidewalk issue, maybe if the city maintained them instesad of forcing homeowners to do so then the city would have decent sidewalks…nah.

    The worst part of it is that when you want to fix or replace your sidewalk the city wants it wider than it was to approve the permit. That causes the sidewalks to end up being an ugly hodge podge of widths and is sometimes impossible given the street trees everyone raves about and wants preserved.

  • Totally agree on the city maintaining the sidewalks. I was shocked to find they don’t. of course, when I lived in DC, it just meant that we all had to keep calling DPW and our city councilor’s office regularly for about 18 months to get them fixed…

  • The city does not even maintain the curbs. A neighbor’s curb was damaged recently by the city heavy trash “claw” that was picking up large tree limbs etc.

    When she called about it, she was sent a letter that the repair would be her responsibility.

  • so what are the laws as far as someone parking next to your driveway how far away do they have to park so that i can get in and out of my driveway? sure i can back up then pull in my yard ( damaging my yard), then driving over the city sidewalk ( damaging my car). but should i have to just to get in and out of my driveway?

  • These people are, I can assure you, the “New Heights” people.

    Anyone with a tiny bit of common sense knows that space belongs to the city and is open parking.

    I would suggest contacting 311 anonymously. The New Heightsians may go all Boston or Philly on your a@@.