Scenes from Another Changing of the Oak Trees on Yale St.

Tree Cutting on Yale St. Between 5th and 6th Streets, Houston Heights

Landscape crews last week chopped down 16 live oak trees lining the west side of Yale St. just south of White Oak, along the eastern border of the second of Trammell Crow Residential’s Alexan Heights apartment complexes. A similar scene took place last year in front of the Alexan Heights north of White Oak and 6th St. (at right in the above photo).

A reader sent in pics of the recent street-tree sawfest:


Tree Cutting on Yale St. Between 5th and 6th Streets, Houston Heights

As with the other apartments, the tree chopping was approved by the city. According to plans prepared by landscape firm Kudela & Weinheimer (whose logo on a banner hangs conveniently on the fence in the photo below), the trees along Yale St., Allston, 5th, and 6th streets will be replaced after construction with new trees on the inside of the sidewalk, many of them live oaks.

Tree Cutting on Yale St. Between 5th and 6th Streets, Houston Heights

Plans approved by the city show 12 new trees lining Yale between 5th and 6th.

Tree Cutting on Yale St. Between 5th and 6th Streets, Houston Heights

Photos: John Sheeren

Chop ’n Plant

26 Comment

  • Is every developer, planner, engineer, and anyone else involved in the decisions here clueless to the fact that trees BETWEEN the street and sidewalk are better for pedestrians? Why even have a sidewalk if you’re only going to have 6 inches of grass between people walking and cars driving 40 MPH. Well, at least Houston is consistent. Consistently a disaster.

  • Yes, and we could have had 11′ wide lanes on Yale had those trees been able to be removed before. This was fought and so now we have no trees and 10′ lanes. Oh, well.

  • Stupid. Stupid developer. Stupid landscape designer. Stupid city. It’ll take 30 years before the “new” trees will reach the size of the “old” ones.

  • This shouldn’t even be a story. They’re replacing them…

  • CJ, Yeah I don’t get it either. Why not leave trees between the sidewalk and the street? I see new townhome communities all over the city plant live oaks and other huge trees next to a home and leave the ROW with only grass. Then I see hear people complain about old houses with foundation issues due to trees. When I moved to my current home the developer was still building out homes. The ‘design’ pictures had trees planted in the ROW. After buildout the developer told me that it was illegal to plant trees in the ROW. I called the city forestry dept and my city council member and was told that was incorrect. In my case I think the developers were being cheap, but here I’m not sure unless they have to replace the underground plumbing or something…

  • WhoCares is right. This is not a story.
    @PB Freeman – there is no need to widen Yale. Speed limit is posted at 30MPH. Making it wider would only allow the people driving 40 or 50 MPH to go faster. Most people don’t realize you can park on sections of Yale after 6pm M-Sat and all day on Sundays.

  • does seem weird to have the trees on the inside of the sidewalk though. I haven’t seen that with any of the other large complexes throughout midtown & montrose. but yeah, i don’t think anyone expects these trees to really get back to full growth again at this point.
    there’s going to be a lot of demand for new retail above these complexes so will be interesting to see what further changes Yale will have in store.

  • Trammel Crow is the devil. Thanks for ruining this section of the Heights for the rest of us. Instead of single family housing you are giving us 700ish apartments with over 1200 more cars a day right next to the bike trail and small trees on YOUR property instead of the ROW. Thanks for cutting down all of the mature oaks. All for the mighty profit. May you all rot in hell.

  • CJ, Dustin,

    I suspect the city encouraged the developer to put the trees between the sidewalk and the building in order to leave the ROW between the sidewalk and the street available for future widening of Yale. This way the developer pays for the new trees, and the city gets less resistance when they go to widen the street in the future.

  • I’m bracing for the opening of this monstrosity. Yale&I-10 is going to be a complete cluster bleep.

  • Where is Responsible Urban Development Houston in all of this?
    Oh yeah, walmart isn’t the main tenant so they can do whatever they want to do to this spot to ruin traffic, destroy walkability, not have retention ponds for flooding, and cut down as many trees as they like.

  • The city in partnership with developers is trying to make sure Houston has no livable neighborhoods. Turning Yale into another Shepherd is part of the master plan.

  • TRC Hater: Your anger might be misplaced. Blame the demand for apartments. What gets built is what is in the most demand.

  • Yale is already a huge mess because of poor Planning Department and City decisions. Let’s see what is coming down the pipeline:
    – Trees, but not near the road as in areas where people actually use the sidewalks (does this remind you of the walking trail to no where south of I-10 on Heights? I think those folks received a tax abatement for that one!)
    – Yet another bar being attempted in the dry part of the Heights, this time by hipsters with beards and tight plaid trousers who call it an icehouse (a.k.a. mass production – Revival and Coltivare take over of the neighborhood)

    – more variance requests to allow patrons of private establishments to use street parking to satisfy their parking requirements
    – no proper crossings for the bike trail at either Yale or White Oak. It is like a high stakes video game watching families with kids trying to get across.
    – a huge transmission station that is bring expanded within a block of a thousand people. Sounds safe.

  • Part of the issue is also nonenforcement. Look at White Oak for example – there are numerous Certificates of Occupancy on White Oak that are known to be totally in violation due to lack of adequate parking, lack of bathroom facilities etc, but the City has not enforced. It continues to “investigate” and “Red Tag” while these businesses make money off the residents backs. Very nice City. I expect someone is getting a free dinner or dessert every now and then at Coltivare, Revival and Gelazzi. Probably in the Planning Department.
    Coltivare – parking is based on patio and inside of restaurant – they never disclosed that the garden would be used by customers. Further, they received a variance to allow that garden, but that additional 3000 foot space never went into the parking calculation. You can see people standing out in the garden with drinks every weekend night. Absurd.
    Revival – now offering lunch and dinner. The grocery has been decimated but the certificate of occupancy is not valid for a restaurant. Yet they will serve meals because the City will not enforce.
    Gelazzi – the “want to be bar” based on the owner’s Colorado model. Not a single parking space on site, no adequate bathrooms. No Certificate of Appropriateness to ruin the historic building. No handicap parking.
    Everyone know the trees should be located between the sidewalk and the curb, but I will not hold my breath to see that enforced.

  • I don’t want to live in Montrose. Please don’t turn Yale into Shepherd. It seems like there are tools to prevent it but the City is not enforcing.

  • This is F’d up. Ain’t no such thing as “responsible” planning or “planning” in the City of Houston.

  • I’m kind of mystified at all the hate for Coltivare and Revival. At least they provide some character to the neighborhood, unlike these apartments that look exactly like every other mid-rise apartment being built today

  • The Heights is a great place to live right after I moved here last year. It was perfect until someone else moved here. Now not so much. See, I was thinking I would be the last person to move to the Heights and that would have been perfect. Everything that made it great depended on no more people moving here and making traffic worse and turning it into that mattress store infested Montrose. So that’s enough! I’m all the Heights can take!

  • Thanks to Mayor Parker and the spineless enforcement of city regulations this is happening all over the city. If this was a rare occurrence one might be a little less skeptical, but when history continues to repeat itself…pretty clear developers have the best City government money can buy.

  • @Heights OMG you’re killing me. You expect the city to enforce code in a consistent and unbiased manner? You would need two things: 1 competent folks to actually work and enforce code (if you can pull them away from streaming Netflix) and 2. a city council that is not easily swayed by development tax contributions. I hate to say this but zoning would put a little teeth in controlled and planned development. Right now we have a city master plan that spontaneously trumps all and changes from day to day.

  • Oh come on folks, give the apt. developers a break. It is not as if they putting a new Wendy’s or Burger King in there….

  • I don’t see what the issue is here….

  • ” I got Bobby by the pooound Whitney by the key DJ Screw by the gallon b***h the game belongs to me…I got Bobby by the pooound Whitney by the key DJ Screw by the gallon b***h the game belongs to me “

  • @Heights
    I also don’t understand the negativity toward Coltivare and Revival. Those are two fantastic spots that make the neighborhood more desirable. Furthermore, we DON’T want more parking requirements, because then we end up with parking lots in the neighborhood, which kill walkability. In addition, street parking is good for walkability in that it protects the sidewalk and slows cars down.

  • I live near one of the unenforced parking fiasco locations – 3601 White Oak Gelazzi. Unfortunately, White Oak has not slowed down as CJ would suggest. In fact, I see the reverse. My kids used to be able to walk home from school on their own. Now that there is no visibility and cars are parked near the curb I need to keep an eye on them. People take that corner from White Oak to Harvard like it is a highway. It is a residential street. My neighbors on Arlington near Coltivare have it even worse. The bike trail crossing is appalling. I see so many near misses on White Oak every day. It seems like the City is waiting for a child to be hit before they do anything about the parking.