Reader Report from Last Weekend’s West End Walmart Car Rally

How many cars showed up? “If Steven Colbert can get away with 6 Billion on The Mall, we can call this 22,000…what’s in a number?” asks a reader who says there were actually probably 70 to 100 cars lined up at about 10:15 at last Saturday’s traffic-themed protest of the planned West End Walmart. Comments sent to Swamplot yesterday:

We made the scene at 18th & Rutland during preparation for what one organizer described as a “Flash Mob sort of thing”. . . . The mood was fairly lighthearted; it was a beautiful morning after all. Plan was to drive down and around the Koehler Street site and make general mischief, I guess. Saw one TV station camera crew, but did not see anything in print over the next couple of days. Admittedly, I didn’t look real hard.

While I don’t agree with these folks . . . I have to admit, I honor their activism.

“What we need is sustained outrage”, indeed!

Photo: Swamplot inbox

29 Comment

  • The point of CARnage was really just to give us all a chance to get out there and show our neighbors and the city that we’re not done fighting the Walmart fight. A lot of folks think the 380 approval signaled the end for us. The 380 is only a stepping stone for the development. It’s not an all access pass. We have a lot of work left to do, and we have a lot of irons in the fire. Feel free to join us!

  • You go girl! Fight the good fight.

    This is about as effective as those Friday night bike riding morons who think they are making a point for cyclists.

  • Craig: You go dude! Way to put down people who are dumb enough to care about something and try to make a difference in their community. Long live apathy, indifference, complacency and obedience to corporate masters!!

  • 70 to 100 is just as good as 22,000 given the fact that both numbers have an equally fictitious relationship to the actual number of vehicle trips that will be generated by the store each day.

  • Yale St:

    If you read the quotes in the HP, the lead organizer was all giddy about the fact they successfully obstructed traffic.

    I think his name is “Urbano” – the irony is delicious!

  • Yale St, I’m fine with people protesting whatever they want to protest. I am less fine with them assuming that they represent the majority of the community or assuming that the rest of us are somehow too lazy or stupid to have formed our own educated opinion.

  • The best way to show your displeasure with WalMart is to not patronize it. What part of the equation do you folks not get? Houston has no zoning so in non deed restricted areas that means almost anything goes. Whether good or bad. I’m no fan of Walmart but I have noticed that some of them are okay aesthetically. They are more attractive than the Super Mega Kroger on 11th that so many of you think is God’s gift. The neighborhood adjacent to this Walmart is probably one of the most blighted in the immediate area. Turn your efforts towards putting zoning on the ballot if you want to make a difference.



  • From Jimbo:
    Yale St, I’m fine with people protesting whatever they want to protest. I am less fine with them assuming that they represent the majority of the community or assuming that the rest of us are somehow too lazy or stupid to have formed our own educated opinion.

    Why do you ASSUME the anti-Walmart crowd assumes they are in the majority of the community or that you or anyone else is too lazy or stupid to have formed their own educated opinion? Here’s what I think. YOU assume that YOU are in the majority and that YOUR opinion is the only educated opinion and therefor, anyone who disagrees with YOU is (a) uninformed, (b) in the minority and (c) too lazy or stupid to educate themselves to get in line with your superior knowledge. Right? Or am I assuming too much? And, this is meant lovingly.

  • Also, since when is it called the West End Walmart? Someone better tell Ainbender, Walmart and the city…

  • @ Mel… please read some of the posts on “stop the heights wal-mart” facebook page and you will see that a lot of the comments may not be stupid but are certainly uninformed and uneducated.

  • I think it is ironic that traffic was not an issue when HEB was planning to go there. All of a sudden it is an issue when Big Bad Wal-Mart shows up.

  • Landguy– So, what is your point?

  • OK, so the words Yale St used were apathetic, indifferent, complacent and obedient. These are themes that I have heard again and again from the anti-Walmart folks. None of them in any way allow for the possibility that I may have reviewed the facts and come to my own conclusion. In terms of assuming the majority the anti-Walmart folks make comprehensive use of phrases such as “the community doesn’t want” and “the neighborhood doesn’t want” without ever ceding that they do not represent either the community as a whole or the neighborhood as whole.

  • Okay then, I personally don’t want a Super Walmart any closer than I-45 & Crosstimbers. I know some of my neighbors agree and others do not.

    During CARnage it took me 50 minutes to drive from 18th St to the Walmart location, loop around it, and head back up Heights Blvd. I thought there were more than 100 cars but that was mainly due to the traffic jam. I can’t wait to see the traffic when there is a huge development there.

    The difference between HEB and Walmart is at least 75,000 sq ft so that is why people weren’t as upset about an HEB. If this were a Walmart Neighborhood Market there would not be so much opposition to it.

  • What a waste of fuel…and not to mention polluting the Houston atmosphere unnecessarily with more CO emissions to make their statement.

  • @xnomad

    They don’t care about that. They just care about THEIR point of view. Damn the other folks that were affected by their childish protest. Wonder if they had a parade permit?

    I sure hope no ambulances were trying to go anywhere near them that day.

  • From PYEWACKET2:

    They don’t care about that. They just care about THEIR point of view. Damn the other folks that were affected by their childish protest. Wonder if they had a parade permit?

    I sure hope no ambulances were trying to go anywhere near them that day.

    Is it because you don’t agree with their point of view, or are you opposed to all peaceful protest?

  • Of course, HEB would only build out 75,000 sq ft and then would turn the rest into parkland. Aren’t they just wonderful community citizens? Has it not occurred to anyone that if HEB went in and used 75,000 sq.ft of the land Ainbinder would simply go out and lease the remainder to someone else? That land will support 150,000 sq ft of retail, whether its one retailer or two, the end result is the same.

  • Mel,
    I realize that the group was not starting fires, rolling cars or breaking windows but was it really peaceful?

    The aim was to disrupt traffic. Is that neighborly? Peaceful? To my thinking, peaceful would have been calmly walking down the sidewalk carrying signs.

    Thank the stars that a fire did not break out somewhere on Yale while all of the participants were having their fun ‘disrupting traffic’.

    The thing I don’t agree with is the better than thou attitude of that whole group. The TV interviewer who spoke to an older black man (for) and a younger brown man (for) and an angry white woman (against) knew exactly what the protesting group was trying to say. That’s why those folks saw air time, right? It’s making the hate Walmart crowd look foolish now.

  • Pyewacket, the point of carnage was to demonstrate to the city, developer and walmart what their studies have been saying all along– Yale and the surrounding streets cannot support the proposed walmart. It is interesting that in your attempt to discredit this group’s protest, you have made all the arguments they have made in opposition to the walmart. Like you say, I hope no fires break put when traffic is clogged, bumper to bumper, with people trying to shop at walmart! Also, who cares what color the people interviewed are. But, I’ll let the white woman know you think she is angry, she’ll get a kick out of that!

  • Oh please. In no way shape or form will there be bumper to bumper traffic on Yale.

  • Pyewacket, you must have secret information about walmart shopping habits that not even walmart has! Wow!

  • why do some people who live in the Heights area are so uptight and upity about Walmart opening at this location?
    Walmart is just another retail store to shop at if you choose to do so. The newly remodeled Kroger at 11th Street isn’t so great! Congested parking lot, rude employees, empty shelves, expired milk still etc. I won’t go there anymore. If you don’t like Walmart DON’T SHOP there. Are you afraid of the brown skinned people that will work and shop there?
    No matter who moves into that space it will add some traffic. Walmart is coming soon so
    relax people and enjoy life.

  • Helena:

    If you think there is any comparison between the Kroger on Shep and the proposed Walmart, you are just not making a credible point. Sure, if you want to bash people for caring about their community and want people to just sit inside their homes and let one developer determine the fate of their neighborhood, that is fine. But to claim that the impact of a grocery store that is bordered on both sides by a four lane thoroughfare has no worse impact than a suburban supercenter packed into an area with Yale St as its only thoroughfare road access is just not credible.
    And the racism claim just shows that you probably live in some KB homes subdivision out in Cypress and have no clue what the Heights is like. The Heights is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the City. The average home price is 300k, not 600k+ like West U, Tanglewood or RO. We have apartments mixed in all over the neighborhood and garage apartments in our backyard. The idea that people in the Heights are racist is just stupid. What racist would spend a hefty premium to live in a neighborhood that is as diverse as the Heights?

  • Really, Yale Street?
    Been here sine ’81 – The Heights is FAR less diverse than it was. Few young singles, far fewer elderly, and it is MUCH whiter. At least half of the folks between Yale and Shepherd were black not that long ago and Harvard and Sinclair schools were 98% Hispanic. There is waning economic diversity, which is why the artists have fled. The influx of simulated vintage homes on lots w/o trees has created a suburban housing development in the city, only the Republicans drive Range Rovers instead of Expeditions.
    WalMart does well in the ‘burbs, which is why they have come to the Heights. They fit right in.
    I still anticipate the day when the alcohol ban is lifted and Tillman Fertitta buys up 19th street.

  • Finness:

    I had to bust out laughing at that last sentence! A big blue ferris wheel would be great fun on 19th.

    But, seriously, I’ve wondered why the anti Walmart group did not include residents of the older apartment complexes, if the “stop Walmart” bunch is supposed to truly be for the whole community. Did the anti group even approach the residents of the soon to be demolished apartments and ask them to join their cause? I seriously doubt it. Were there any under 35K income earners in that car parade they had down Yale?

    I don’t live in the area but I’ve visited there many many times in the last 35-40 years and even as a casual visitor, I can see that the whole flavor of Heights has changed. It used to be fun to shop on 19th.

  • Target is effectively the same size, has the same size parking lot and borders a smaller street than Yale and yet has absolutely failed to result in traffic armageddon. When oh when are you going to start facing reality?