Mayor Parker’s Plan for a Bigger, Friendlier Uptown TIRZ

MAYOR PARKER’S PLAN FOR A BIGGER, FRIENDLIER UPTOWN TIRZ Why not both? Yesterday, Mayor Parker announced a $556 million plan that, if approved by city council on April 24, would fund the seemingly unrelated instead-of-light rail Post Oak BRT and Memorial Park reforestation: Uptown would annex 1,768 acres of property into the TIRZ, and a gradual increase in tax revenue over the next 25 years would help to keep the BRT operational and implement a program of park improvements. Those would include, says Houston Parks and Rec director Joe Turner in a city press release, “erosion control, removal of invasive non-native plants, the reestablishment of native grasslands and forests and facility needs.” Still: Only 36 acres of the property roped in for annexation would be taxable. And does this plan mean that BRT — first thought to be up and running by 2017 — will be delayed? Don’t worry, says Uptown Management District president John Breeding. Besides what will be generated by the more environmentally friendly TIRZ, money for BRT will come from TxDOT and — if approved by a vote on April 26 — Transportation Improvement Program grants from the Houston-Galveston Area Council. [City of Houston; previously on Swamplot] Drawing of Post Oak BRT: Uptown Management District

20 Comment

  • What in the heck do these acronyms mean? Isn’t it customary to spell out the phrase the first time it’s used in a story?

  • It is but there’s always Google.

  • For all of you rail lovers, a BRT system will pave the way eventually for LRT.

    Having this occur through the TIRZ also means residential property tax money and the base commercial property tax money isn’t used.

  • This is the approach I was advocating before rail came to town. But of course I voted Yes for Trophy Rail instead.

    And our Trophy Rail is already essentially this on rail.

    My 6 year old daughter even commented “the train (trophy rail) is more like bus.

    Smart kid.

  • Even if the BRT doesn’t turn into Rail at some point in the future, implementing a successful brt corridor could lead to more being implemented across the city which would be extremely useful! :)

    Take a look at Curitiba, Brazil’s BRT network. It’s off the chain.

  • The only BRT I’ve used in the States was in downtown Denver. It worked fantastically.

  • Unfortunately it’s 2013 and we are on track to add another million people per decade. BRT, more P&R commuter bus, and local bus is certainly needed. Quite frankly though, Houston is way behind on mass transit and this patchwork BRT businesses is a pretty nice bandaid to a problem that will require rail. Unless of course we want to seriously a BRT type system like Curitiba, Brazil. Either way it requires MONEY, which the cheapos don’t want to spend. No money to expand and maintain our roads. Certainly no money to fund better mass transit. Glad we have Republicans and libertarians (aka two cheapo parties) in this state that believe in the infrastructure fairy.


    A trophy line is a not a first built, single, 7 mile rail line, that’s called a starter line son.

  • Considering the backwardness of the natives (me) , the lack of rail progress, that is a Trophy Rail!

  • Agree with Dom. Unfortunately, the private sector will never solve our transit problems. So, unless we want to live in a totally traffic choked third world type city with no services, we are eventually going to have to get over our “not my problem, won’t use it, not going to pay for it” attitude about public transportation. I have never had children, but I still have to pay for a school district. I don’t use the port, but I pay for it. I have insurance, but I pay for the health district, and lastly, I don’t rely on the freeways, but I pay for them. I still benefit from all of these, but not directly. The whole region would benefit from mass transit, if not as an individual directly. How did we get this way?

  • @dom

    Is $550 million not MONEY? How much should we spend on our toy trains? A billion? 2 billion? How much faster/efficiently will a light rail car get you down Post Oak over BRT? Is it worth the extra MONEY?

  • BRT, rail, a system of gondolas like the ones that take people up mountains to ski, jetpacks — we need to start working on something beyond cars, or this quickly growing region will be completely gridlocked in a decade or two.

  • I agree with sjh – “we are eventually going to have to get over our “not my problem, won’t use it, not going to pay for it” attitude about public transportation.”

    The way many times transit is talked about makes it sound like a simple project that simply needs to be completed and then we will have a solution. What we need are solutions for MOBILITY while still keeping a certain quality of life – this will likely be accomplished by a combination of buses, pedestrian friendly streets and buildings, private cars, bikeways, maybe even pods, and certainly a change in attitude.

  • If built as shown in the drawings, this will drastically increase congestion.

  • @eiioi

    Why? If the buses don’t have signal priority, you still have protected signalized left turns, and the same number of regular traffic lanes, all you’re really doing is putting in a really big median. The new signalized intersections have actually already been added to the Boulevard.

  • Craig,

    Well this native must be enlightened ,or perhaps I’m just more wordly.

    It is a very small fraction of your money. I’m not opposed to brt at all. My point is that we are so behind on mass transit this is more of a bandaid fix.

  • Oh yes Houston, put light rail thru the ghetto, but in uptown put buses!!! are you nuts?!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i’ve been so disappointed in Annise Parker I dont know where to start, she’s been an AWFUL mayor and im gay liberal! This travesty is so her. Look, I’m totally for Memorial Park reforestation, what I want to know is what took so LONG!!!!!!!!!! This bus idea down the center of Post Oak is just horrid! I mean the rest of the city gets light rail, but the Galleria? let’s give them buses!! This is so short sighted and obtuse. The Mayor has no taste and she only cares about the bottom line, she’s not the least bit of a visionary. I had great hopes for her, but she doesn’t play well with others and she’s polarizing even when she doesn’t have to be, but the most disappointing is how cheap she is with the city. You’d never know Houston is leading the nation out of the recession, you’d think we were Detriot and dead broke listening to her.

  • First try spending 1/10 as much FIXING THE EFFING ROADS THAT ALREADY EXIST.
    Then spend 556 million on toy trains!
    Bus Rapid Transit all the way!

  • etherist,

    Don’t you mean toy buses? lol

  • @Shannon / A etherist: EXACTLY !!!! Houston has money. Our cheapo mayor has a “poor us” mentality. And no visionary ideas in that frosted do head of hers. Just another “gray” bureaucrat.