Comment of the Day: The Missing Links

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE MISSING LINKS Broken Road Link“A great comment and right on the money. Houston also needs to take the reins of community building instead of letting developers drive that bus. Subdivisions/neighborhoods are currently created by private developers without any thought to how they relate to adjacent communities, resulting in islands of development unconnected to each other in any meaningful way. How many times have we seen major roads come to a dead end because there’s a subdivision/office park/whatever right in the way? Houston’s lack of long-range regional planning (and no, I don’t mean zoning) is now coming home to roost, and I only hope it’s not too late to change direction. . . .” [roadchick, commenting on Comment of the Day: Houston’s Primary Unit of Measure] Illustration: Lulu

10 Comment

  • Sounds like government control collectivism, First connected neighborhoods, then Stalin 2.0! Everyone who knows anything knows that housing developers, coupled with the free market, know exactly where to build the roads to utmost optimization.

  • What you see as a bug others see as a feature.

    People most love long straight streets for through traffic when they are trying to get from point A to point B and the area in question is in between.

    When it is their low density neighborhood or office park, not so much.

  • It’s a nice sentiment, but I think you’ll find that development patterns are not that significantly different in Houston than in other places with more “planning.” It’s not just the developers that make these all of these decisions. Why isn’t there more mixed use development? Because there are a lot more institutional investors who buy apartments or buy retail. There are very few who understand how to do both. So they avoid them — meaning there’s a lot more money for wraps or for two story retail and you get a lot more of that. Maybe the MUD board of the adjacent neighborhood doesn’t want the streets to connect because they don’t want the traffic. So the price of utilities is not having the roads connect. That’s not the developer — and those would be the same people who are supposed to be supporting the broader regional planning that you’re asking for.

  • You’re obviously from like Scranton because if if you were from Houston you’d know that developer control is the Houston DNA. You’d have a better chance getting Louis Farrakaan selected honorary mayor of River Oaks.

  • Can someone please show me some examples of this??? ——“How many times have we seen major roads come to a dead end because there’s a subdivision/office park/whatever right in the way?”

  • I mean, there is a long term zoning plan for roads called The Major Thoroughfare Plan.

  • Rosslyn is an example of a road intended to connect in the City’s plan but successfully (and unfortunately) fought by residents of a more affluent neighborhood who didn’t want it to connect to a lower-income area to the north.
    The City had to take pretty heroic efforts to make Chimney Rock connect across the Bayou.
    In a major city, connectivity should always be the default policy, and the petty wishes of pro-isolationist neighborhoods should not be indulged.

  • @Bernard: Easy – Look at the intersection of Gessner & West Road,-95.543765,1641m/data=!3m1!1e3
    Gessner is blocked to the north by a subdivision, West road is blocked to the east by a landfill (or sand mind or whatever that site is; hard to tell from the aerial). Both roads could connect through, but development blocked em.
    Having been involved in a couple of these senarios, I’ll tell you how they typically happen: Developer meets with the city after submitting a plat. City says something like “connect the roads or we’re not going to approve your plat and you’ll never get to build it”. Developer says something like “that will result in reduced usability of my site and increased cost to develop it, so if the City wants the road to connect then the City needs to pay $X million.” City counters with “we’re not going to pay for anything, but if you don’t build the road we’re going use eminent domain to take the land and build the road anyway”. Developer finishes them off with “Well then you can either a) give me $X million and I’ll build the road, b) or I’ll donate enough $ to the council member and mayor races to get what I want”. The city settles for c) Do nothing, back down, and don’t get the road – because otherwise the staff member who stood up to the developer in the first place would get canned.
    I’m not saying that’s how they all happen, but that’s how the couple I’ve been involved in went.

  • “…and the Lord said ‘let there be eminent domain’ and looked down on his creation and saw that it was good…”

  • Yup. If only we’d let the city of Houston have more control over what gets built where.
    Why would anyone think they’re specially qualified to decide what someone does with their land? Have you ever dealt with the city on anything? You want to give them MORE power?