Rare Drone Footage Captures Actual Houston Pedestrians in the (Corporate Sponsored) Wild, Foraging Lower Westheimer

Westheimer Rd. During Cigna Sunday Streets HTX, Lower Westheimer, Montrose, Houston

Lower Westheimer is, of course, one of those select “walkable” areas of Houston, but last weekend’s first corporate-sponsored Sunday Streets made it especially so — even in the absence of a traditional neighborhood festival. The Montrose road was blocked off to automobile traffic from Taft to Woodhead for 4 hours.

Video footage of the event from a DJI Inspire 1 piloted by Adam Brackman shows rare scenes of introduced free-range human bipedal and bi-pedal activity in not-so-native habitat — from a few new angles:


Westheimer Rd. During Cigna Sunday Streets HTX, Lower Westheimer, Montrose, Houston

Westheimer Rd. During Cigna Sunday Streets HTX, Lower Westheimer, Montrose, Houston

Photos and video: Adam Brackman

Straight Up from the Street

24 Comment

  • Just curious, did he obtain a special permit for this, or can anyone (who is not Adam Brackman) operate a drone over large crowds like this?

  • Turnout for the event looked pretty thin…..

  • JL, despite the fact that these people are flying fairly heavy equipment directly over people, homes, cars, buisnesses, near wires.. no you don’t need a permit. That is unless you’re doing it for commercial purposes.

    Russel Hancock’s photos are featured here a lot, where he flies his DJI over the freeway. I keep waiting to hear about ‘drone crashes in freeway, causes pileup’. I wonder if the owner would fess up if damage did occur, they could just walk away.

  • I agree, the attendance doesn’t seem very high. I would expect something along the lines of a parade with thousands of people. Hope they continue to improve, though.

  • Hah – love drones, creep factor and all – wish I could afford the money and time to have one for myself. Google Earth is a cheap alternative, but doesn’t work in real-time. I thought I heard on the news recently that FAA was just now starting to consider rules for drones, given the absence of any.

    As for that stretch of Westheimer, it badly needs to be converted to 1 lane in each direction with a center turn lane. The right lane in both directions is a death trap due to potholes, its extremely narrow width, and sharp curves. Metro bus drivers already disregard the existence of the right lane and just cruise down the street straddling the dividing line between the two lanes.

  • wish I had remembered about it, but don’t think i ever left the house Sunday to even notice

  • AKA, Old and Grumpy. I avoided that area.

  • No wonder I was corn-fused. He shot it with south up.

  • I can see my old house in that video. So glad I moved.

  • Drone or not, the airspace from this video is restricted to the surface and the activity is illegal. The drone was operated in Hobby airport’s class b airspace, which extends to the surface in this area.


  • Nice footage but I wish that more drone owners would fly lower and closer to the “action”. A drone shot flying about 12 ft above the road traveling the entire length of Westheimer would have been great.

    The city doesn’t do a great job of promoting these events. And very few businesses take advantage of this Opportunity by doing something special near the street.

  • @ Swamplot: Just because you’re able to lure birds into your back yard with recorded birdsong and seed does not mean that your back yard is a natural habitat or that you’re observing them in the wild. This is a contrivance, nothing more.

    The really interesting question here is, what’s in it for the people that run the City? Why have they been motivated to expend time and money on these contrived scenarios? Now its true, some people are content just to lure and observe animals just in order to observe them; however, most of the time, if there’s something like this going on relating to the animal kingdom, the scenario is being staged by trappers and hunters. Out of those, some hunt for sport while others hunt for food. Maybe there’s a loose-fitting analogy that can be made. Maybe.

  • OK, that comment from TheNiche has to be a Comment of The Day.

  • No permit(s) required-yet. Kewl video footage..( BTW, Adam Brackman owns properties in Midtown and has allowed ” urban artists ” to paint visually arresting murals on some of the buildings). @MarkH ,et al: right now the FAA does not require a permit to fly drones-nor do other jurisdictions from what I know- but there are operating guidelines. Of course, that will change – thankfully. Because there is the potential for abuse and the potential creepy factor in the wrong hands is dangerous ..Re: The Sunday Streets events – they need to be held in spring / fall when the weather is better.. NOT in the summer !!! Good idea to promote local businesses…Needs heavier promotion.. @ Superdave: the COH will NEVER spend the kind of money your idea requires. Besides traffic , already a mess , would become WORSE.. The COH does NOT have that kind of excess revenue to maintain our street infrastructure. Have you REALLY looked at how bad our streets are? Mainly due to previous mayors delaying / pushing improvements onto successive administrations. The COH has ALWAYS had a very cheap,miserly,crappy attitude towards expenditures of any kind. The COH has always had a HALF ASS mentality. For EVERYTHING except pet projects ! Which fall into disrepair /neglect within 5 years of completion. Annise Parker during her first term campaign could have proposed a $1 BILLION + bond issue (we already owe about 8 billion in bond debt and another 1 billion really wouldn’t matter) and she probably would have had the majority vote for that! But NO. Miss Play It Safe – the bean counter CPA that she truly is, went the “safe” route . And now our streets are WORSE. And her CIP ( Capital Improvement Plan) “defers” most streets repairs til 2017 !!! When she is conveniently (per term limits) out of office … Then she can’t be held accountable nor face the ire of the voters/ taxpayers….Of course S. Shepherd, along the east boundary of River Oaks is being completely replaced ( the crews are working SEVEN days a week from 7a-7p ,weather permitting ). What a load of crap . And on my nearby street I can’t get a missing 10 foot section of curb repaired nor a NO Parking sign installed in the right of way next door. Typical government brown nosing the elites and screwing everyone else. !!! Can’t wait for the egotistical ,meglomaniacal Mayor to be out of office. Along with Ellen Cohen and other hangers on who only make themselves look good ,flap their gums and DON”T do enough with the tax revenues and time frames they are given by their bosses – us the taxpayers/voters !!!

  • I don’t usually walk along Westheimer because of its derby-like traffic and narrow, broken sidewalks, so the Sunday streets events have been welcome opportunities to stroll by the shops and restaurants along the road—with my kids, no less.

    Niche’s reasoning is tendentious and cynical: Sunday streets is as much a contrivance as, say, block parties or parades. The city is doing it because there are people who like it.

  • @Padraig, and the daily traffic count on your street is how many, vs. the over 50,000 cars on S. Shepherd every day?

  • @Padraig: Regarding the curb replacement, that is normally the adjacent property owner’s responsibility, by city ordinance.

  • Maybe not a throng of people, but the turnout was great and better than last year. The
    city estimated 20,000 over the four hours and 1 mile section of street. I love Sunday Streets, and I wouldn’t want to see it turn into 100,000+ people out on the street. That would just get unruly and eventually shut down like everything else they’ve had to move off of Westheimer. I live five blocks off this strip, and I was able to stop in and check out some new bars and restaurants. I won’t do that from my car or on foot when there’s so much traffic.

  • Bring back The Westheimer Street Festival so people would actually have something to do instead of walking around aimlessly.

  • @ BringItBack, yes Sir. I remember the good ole days of that festival… One of the reasons I still live here!

    @Padraig, you for the win! I agree about the infrastructure and issues related to money management.. Street issues, but Council can approve $300m for Memorial Park??! Oh and wait until they pull the trigger on this $10m Allen Parkway resurfacing and beautification project. As far as WASTE goes! It will need to be redone in 15yrs +\- for utility improvements… This ‘City’ is such a joke sometimes!

    Mark my words swampies, we are headed for catastrophic Detroit scenarios. Jus sayin!

  • Could I get a copy of this so I could set it to “People Get Up and Drive Your Funky Soul” by James Brown for absolutely no reason other than the fact that it needs to happen?

  • COH can close Westheimer for this, but not for the Pride Parade – which they moved downtown – how pathetic. The Houston GLBT community would like to celebrate where they fought and won many battles for justice and equality, but they lose out to newcomers who can’t even be bothered to check out Westheimer unless they can bike and walk without cars to watch out for?

  • Well Amanda, I am never one to let you down. I also included a bunch of footage that I thought was lost but I was able to repair the file. New footage starts around 4:10 if your curious.


  • CH is right, the airspace from this video is heavily restricted and heavily traveled i don’t see this in anyways be legal especially from the altitude the drone seems to be flying, i may not have share the same concerns from the FAA regarding drones before, but after watching this video i am very troubled by the safety of General aviation with drones.