Here Come the Rent Concessions; A Fix for Sidewalk Fixes; Highlands’ Cancer Cluster


Photo of Marriott Marquis construction downtown: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool


14 Comment

  • The TX government is so wonderfully hypocritical! They are pro business until they aren’t. Oil and gas get to use eminent domain but the rail can’t. By ‘conservative’ they really mean not letting me have choices if my choices conflict with theirs. I love having the choice of an electric or a gas stove and would similarly love the choice of rail vs my car.

  • Man I hope my concrete guy is not reading that article on Chron. If he thinks i am paying him $75-90/LF of sidewalk he will be sorely mistaken.

  • what’s more concerning, is the gut reaction to amend our laws just because of some dumb conversation about a toy train with no hope of fruition in it’s current state or revenue funding. eminent domain should be available to any and all parties at any point in time depending on the public need and benefits as decided by the public at that time. erecting artificial/legal barriers allowing some industries access to play the game while barring others is obviously bastardizing the entire point of the game.

  • joel,

    The only toy train ever discussed here is the one in Hermann Park (most recently when it crashed into a car). I don’t know what that has to do with HSR or eminent domain.

  • I was going to redo the sidewalks in front of our office in Montrose, and add a driveway. It would have been a lot of new sidewalk given our office is on a corner (and facing W Alabama, which has crappy sidewalks). I then found out to do it we’d need several permits, then have to get a parking rep out there to sign off, then get some other cert. Of course that also means inspections and God forbid they find something else to have you do while you’re at it.
    I told my guys to forget it.
    So if the city is making it easier for people just to get things done, maybe that’ll actually work. But reading the link suggests you still need to fill out a form, have an inspector come out, etc. If it were just giving my concrete guy a few $k to go and put in a new fresh sidewalk I’d do it, but I’m too terrified of what the city might demand.

  • Dustin, exactly! I don’t think folks realize that mass-trans is inevitable and necessary given our projected growth. Lead, follow or get out of the high speed RR right-of-way!

  • I’m psyched about the new hike and bike trails in Sugar Land. Those are going to be a lot of fun! Glad to see they’re moving in the right direction.
    On the sidewalks: yes, the COH probably does over-regulate. But there are standards that the sidewalks have to meet: curb ramps and proper grading to meet the Texas Accessibility Standards, 5′ minimum width, setbacks they vary from street to street…. And those need to be enforced. It’s never as simple as just giving your guys $1k to add a sidewalk.
    That said, in addition to the financial incentives, maybe they should give property owners a sidewalk how-to booklet with all the relevant laws and design guidelines; and written in plain English. Then streamline the permitting and inspection process. That would probably address a lot of concerns that Cody (and many others) have.

  • I’m glad the current group of “private property rights” people weren’t around in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. If they were, we’d still be trying to drive on a 2 lane US 75 to Dallas.

  • I’m with Cody. What’s more he’s on a corner and that means blowing a wad on properly graded ramps through the curbs or installing culverts (24″) if their are ditches. You could end up needing a third party inspection from a firm that does nothing but inspect for Americans with Disabilities issues. I’ve considered repairing sections of the sidewalks in front of my Heights home (I live on a corner as well) but just don’t want any inspectors showing up to find something else.

  • So on the low end of that sidewalk estimate they are saying $15/sq. ft? I paid $8 including break-out and haul off in West University and I didn’t even use the cheapest guy. This crap is going to be subcontracted down at least 4 levels with each taking a cut. And 7% for administrative? Is that for Porker’s pants suits? I’m calling BS!

  • Duston, move near the rail and you can. Do you expect one to built to your front door?

  • @ ZAW: The perfect is the enemy of the good.

  • I remember when (CoH, I presume) installed curb ramps all over Museum Park. Whomever installed them did a lousy job in many instances because they didn’t factor in the street height/angle. Now, many street corners just collect pools of water if there is a heavy rain.

  • I agree that a “proper” sidewalk should meet all the ADA requirements, have minimum width and “sight triangles” at corners, slope properly, perfectly drain during heavy rain, et al.

    However, in the real world (and in my poor-ish neighborhood), we don’t need Cadillac sidewalks – we just need repairs to the most egregious issues (like 12″ upward juts from tree roots), and the ability to maintain ours without draconian and expensive oversight – especially when it’s a one-for-one replacement of an existing walk.

    It all comes down to one fundamental issue: the city owns the land and infrastructure, but expects adjacent landowners to pay for upkeep and maintenance of that infrastructure. This is a recipe for disaster. It creates a system where the person paying for the work has little to no interest in funding and initiating system-wide improvements on their little piece, and is forced to work under intense scrutiny from the governing body. The city has no interest in keeping cost and hassle to a minimum, and takes on the role of a red-tape laden bureaucratic police force. The end result is paralyzation of any and all progress, while the infrastructure rots.

    I have the same issue with the city-abandoned alleys behind my house. At some point, things will get so bad that drastic action will have to be taken – and at tremendous cost to the city. Because of transaction costs and sheer numbers of affected landowners, the city will never be able to unite enough landowners to spend enough money to fix the problem city-wide, and the city will end up paying for it.