Solar-Powered Classroom Opens in Spring Branch; Houston’s Most Far-Out Art Galleries

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Photo of Chevron building at 1400 Smith: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool


27 Comment

  • Uh yeah, that neighbor who wanted to remain anonymous in the Rice Military story got those cars towed, yeah, they better hope they remain anonymous. As for the judge tied in knots on the Ashby story, fear not, your decision will be appealed no matter which way you chose to rule.

  • Did I miss something? I would think that NO PARKING on the block meant that you would risk getting a ticket or your car towed/booted. So what if a lot was covered with gravel or even cement; it’s kind of ridiculous that people thought it’d be okay to park there. (Isn’t that private property?) At least maybe talk to the owners or something. It’s not like Rice Military/Washington is known for its abundance of free parking.

  • I’m even more confused. Is the street paved with gravel? What? The article makes it sound like this was a lot near a street or one of those easement situations. Street parking near the townhouses in that area is kind of ridiculous because you can barely get a car on the road; it’s almost too narrow. But still. No parking = no parking. I got towed once (sued and won), but the parking problem in Houston is a nightmare.

  • I feel really bad for those residents in Rice Military, especially if the signs have changed from no parking to the corner to just no parking. Personally I think the City it targeting parking violations for an additional income stream. My neighborhood, located well outside the Loop and barely inside BW8, will turn ten this summer and suddenly we have no parking signs appearing on one side of the street because the City decided it was a “safety issue.” No consulting the homeowners, no chance for feedback or a say in the matter. It’s a neighborhood of 88 homes with a street that just does a loop. There is no through traffic and there has always been a parking shortage with visitors and some residents parking on the street. Yes it gets difficult to get through when cars are parked on both sides but the way to fix a problem with parking is not to eliminate half of the available spots. It’s the City looking for reasons to issue tickets.

  • @Shannon
    Those who were towed were breaking the law, some of them for a full year. The way I see it, they got an unearned reprieve on parking tickets and towing for a year.

    There is a no parking sign for a reason. Or several reasons. The streets are designed for a level of visibility so that vehicles and pedestrians can safely use the streets. Emergency vehicles also need to be able to navigate the streets – EVERY street in fact – and fire trucks are quite large and hard to maneuver.

    Someone’s right to equal access to emergency services trumps some lazy person’s “right” to break the law.

  • Uh, did these people think the No Parking signs applied to everyone but them? I appreciate you have parked there for a year, but the sign is there. Seems like every time you parked, getting towed would be a risk. The parking in Rice Military is ridiculous. The boulders to limit parking are ridiculous.

  • As a Rice Militarian and a person who has called the cops on ppl illegally parked ON THE STREET and not off the street like this (on another RM street mind you- just to be clear) , I even think this is heavy handed. We have gravel off road parking as well and I always though that was perfectly ok as long as you didn’t stick out into the street.
    We have the same double arrow no parking signs along the street every 2-3 houses and it amazes me how many people still fully park in the street. Some people think they’re helping by pulling half way into the yard but they inevitably tear up the easement btwn the street and ditch. I’ve actually had to turn around because a block had become impassable due to the number of vehicles parked in the street…. and its not like I’m driving a Ford F5000 or anything.
    One thing that might make Detering different is that its classified as a higher trafficked street by the COH (i don’t know the technical term, major thoroughfare? Collector?). My understanding is that this street can’t have speed bumps and has to be accommodating for emergency vehicles or something. That’s probably why they were just towed.
    Still feel sorry for the folks though.

  • Detering is to be designated a ‘minor collector’ for anyone who is interested.

  • 2) Minor Collectors are public streets that accumulate traffic from local streets for distribution into a Major Thoroughfare or a Major Collector. A Minor Collector typically has residential uses, however it may also serve commercial or mixed uses.

  • With all of the parking changes that the city implemented in the Rice Military neighborhood in 2012, they installed a series of “no parking” and “residential parking zone” signs throughout the neighborhood. One was installed directly across from my house on December 3rd, 2012. I remember the date because I took a picture of it and sent it in to Swamplot as we weren’t aware of any parking changes that had been implemented. Wanting to make sure I didn’t find my car towed, I investigated to see what the signage was all about; and, it wasn’t hard to find on the City of Houston website where parking was and wasn’t allowed in our neighborhood. We found out that all of Detering is a no parking zone. The “no parking” signs hadn’t been installed yet, and weren’t for many months (no one was towed until after signage was installed), but it was still a no parking zone. I agree that it’s a nuisance to suddenly go from being able to park wherever you want to severely restricted street parking, but it wasn’t as if this happened overnight. Those residents had well over a year to figure out they were parking illegally. The sudden presence of many new “no parking” signs in the neighborhood months ago should have been enough to prompt people who live here to do some basic research on the subject. There are many gravel paved areas (off the street but on easement) that residents have installed for the purposes of parking, I’m sure most without the city’s approval. The presence of gravel doesn’t trump the “no parking” sign.

  • I thought the city put the kibosh on expanding single-stream recycling, i.e. if you didn’t make the first cut, you missed your chance. Glad it’s back on track.

  • I wonder how people in New York city or San Francisco get around when they own cars and have to walk a block or two away and god forbid walk well New Yorkers usually don’t have cars but people in San Francisco do and there is never parking anywhere on the same block you want to go. So I fail to see why people in Houston are constantly complaining having to walk to do anything. Enough is enough already. Move on there is more inportant things to worry about than parking your car a block or two away

  • Is there a good place for visitors to park in the area? When going to friends’ houses there I always try to be the first one to arrive so I can park in the driveway. If I’m not so lucky, what are my other options than to park in a ditch?

  • @Push cushion — A couple of reasons people don’t like to walk in Houston:
    1. Heat and humidity for much of the year causes sweating, which is socially unacceptable.
    2. Sidewalks are in such poor condition as to be unwalkable; or they may be nonexistent.

  • You would have to be an idiot to want to live in Rice Military. Now confirmed, idiots live in Rice Military.

  • The signs have been there for a year now, and I think its cute that people think they should be hunted down and warned before having their vehicle towed from a clearly marked no parking zone. Such a southern mindset.

    Agreed that the yuppies moving to that area need to do their homework before buying a home in Rice Military. Although this may be Houston, your fair city didn’t require the streets be widened before issuing permits to build massive townhome complexes, on what are basically alleyways. This is why single family homes with a driveway cost 100k more minimum over a townehome.

  • It is difficult to feel sorry for these people. If you car is so important to you, park it in your garage. I’m pretty sure I saw two car garages behind the two women who spoke to the reporter. Your vehicle less prone to damage from errant drivers or vandals and less likely to be broken into or stolen–and I am sure these people would complain if there were a rash of vehicle break ins or vandalism. If you have more than two vehicles, perhaps a different living situation is required. And meet your friends at the many nearby food and drink emporiums that have sprung up in the area–although you may have to pay for valet or metered parking, at least the cars won’t be towed if you follow the rules.

  • Maybe the folks in Rice Military should set up a meeting with their city council representative and work to have the no parking restrictions removed if that is what a majority want.

  • I don’t get the fear of walking in Houston. I walk all the time. It’s hot? Wear shorts and flip flops. Cold? Put on a coat.

    Almost every weekend we walk to Cherryhurst park (doing a quick search, that’s a tad over 1 mile) and I’m walking with a 20 month old. We walk to stores, restaurants, and light rail (to go downtown — Discovery Green, or Herman Park / Zoo). Are the sidewalks perfect? No. I wouldn’t even say they were good. But it’s still not hard to get around.
    While I hate the idea of towing cars (the bar should be high — as it’s government sponsored theft. Unless it’s truly a safety hazard, give them a fat ticket), I also think people shouldn’t be so married to driving. Part of that is the city being so married to driving by way of building rules being designed around the idea that everyone must drive. But if people tried walking around every now and then, maybe some of these stupid rules would change.

  • Cody, I’m right there with you on the walking. BUT, I think a lot of people have NEVER walked anywhere. For instance, I grew up in a suburb where maybe you walked to a neighbor’s house, but that’s about it; there wasn’t anyplace to go. But years of city dwelling (not all here) & now I love walking (and taking the train)–I tell my kid all the time that you see so much more that way. I am tired of the ‘heat argument’. It is hot and humid in Asia & plenty of people walk and take public transport. Fact is, people here seem to feel inconvenienced if they have to wait for anything or dress for the weather.

  • And think how much that would improve walkability if we didn’t force EVERY business in our ‘walkable urban’ area to asphalt a huge % of their space for cars.
    There will always be a demand for parking, so areas will come up every few blocks that have common area parking. Then you walk a bit to where you want to go — but the whole area becomes more walk friendly because business are not shitty asphalt lots with a store in the back.
    And none of this change would STOP a business from providing parking. It just wouldn’t FORCE them to do so.

  • Heat IS a major factor of not walking… sure it might be ok if you’re going to the park or the zoo but if you have to work and be presentable once you get to your destination, it’s a big no no.

    But I would present an argument of driving vs. walking as a cost of my time…. for 99% of my needs, driving takes infinitely faster than walking or taking public transport. Those many hours a week add up in higher productivity and more relaxed leisure time. It’s similar to hiring a housekeeper, sure I could clean my own house, but my time is too expensive to do that…. I pay hosekeeper $15 per hour while I make phone calls and network with people in person which yields hundreds of dollars per hour.

  • @Cody & museumgoer- Please go easy on all this positive talk about human powered transportation, too much positive talk may lead to crowded sidewalks and too many bikes on the road. Let the silly bastards sit in traffic and deal with towed cars. I always laugh about the heat/humidity complaint as well, yes it is hot and humid, dress accordingly, next.

  • Yeah, I think we can learn a thing or two about other cities (and towns!)–walking more than 5 steps to your destination will not kill you. You might even find something new–a new shop, bar, restaurant, etc. I cringe at the number of surface lots that we have–it’s uninviting and a waste of good space. Yes, we need parking solutions, but we don’t need thousands of spaces that sit empty just because they might get used. For example, why do banks need so many spots?

  • Commonsense: I’m not talking about ditching your car and walking miles in the heat to work. I’m talking about — if the area you live supports it, which many/most inside the loop do — try walking every now and then. Most people live ~10 minutes walk from fun stuff (inner loopers). If you do drive somewhere, don’t say “There is no parking”. That just means there is no parking 4 inches from the front door. Try parking down the street. So you have to walk a minute. BFD.
    It takes me about 6 minutes to walk down to the Montrose wallgreens, kroger, starbucks, berry hill, etc. Yeah, I could drive there in 1. Let’s call it 4 by the time I get out of my driveway, find a spot, and walk to the door. So I save a few minutes by driving. But I’d rather walk (or take my skateboard). Or yeah, it does save a little time by driving to the park vs. walking, but guess what? I”m going to the part to be outside. So if I have 9am-11am as ‘outside park time’, then some of that is simply used on my (enjoyable) walk to and from the park.
    Everything you do can be looked through the prism of how much you could make if you didn’t spend time on x. We still sleep. We still sleep. We still relax and watch TV. And we still post silly comments on swamplot, right? :)

  • museumgoer, i’d just point out that Houston BMI’s are probably double what they are in Asia. although we could all certainly use the extra steps, different people will respond differently to heat and physical exertion than yourself.

  • I tell out-of-towners who complain about the heat that sweat isn’t socially unacceptable. Personally, I think it is weird if people don’t sweat. If you want to live in a walkable neighborhood, then learn to walk and adjust your habits. I have and I love it. I walk, ride a bike or take public transit (gasp!) everyday to/from work. Sure, sometimes I sweat a little. But I wear an undershirt, have a handkerchief to wipe my brow and drink cold water when I get inside. As long as I shower once a day, I’m good to go. But you’ll never hear me complain about lack of parking or trying to parallel park a Tahoe in an alleyway inside the loop.

    If you want an acre lot and air conditioning 24/7, then work sitting in traffic and shopping at strip malls into your routine.