Special Achievement in Parking: The Official 2016 Ballot

It’s Wednesday — and it just so happens we’re now over the hump on the ballots for the 2016 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate, too. Quick refresher: So far voting has begun for Favorite Houston Design Cliché, Best Demolition, the “Where Are They Now?” Award, and Best Industrial Incident. The official list of nominees for this year’s Award for Special Achievement in Parking is now ready for your perusal, too; thanks again to everyone who joined in to help round up the contenders.

Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate Ribbon LogoRemember, you can stuff the ballot box by voting 4 times for this award — that’s once by commenting below, once by shooting us an email, and once each by Facebook and by Twitter. Get the complete details here to make sure your votes count, and don’t forget to ask your friends to help push your nominee to the top! All votes are due by 5PM on Tuesday, December 27th. 

Who made the greatest strides this year in the oft-stagnant field of parking? Take your pick from the nominees below:


Allen Pkwy. Parking Redo, 77019

1. Parkside Parking on Allen Pkwy., Downtown Redevelopment Authority. Opening up the green space by adding more gray space: “Parking added to Allen Pkwy. has been a game-changer — the redo swapped out the eastbound de facto freeway frontage for a new west-bound stretch of 175 extra-long spots along Buffalo Bayou Park.”



2. Heights Blvd. Paveover, Heights Mercantile. A bit of Heights de-densification: “When the request for a variance to the off-street parking ordinance hit a snag, the developers solved the problem in a laudably car-friendly way: by buying 2 more buildings next door to the development, knocking them down, and putting a surface parking lot on Heights Blvd.”


Proposed Astrodome Parking Garage Plans

Proposed Astrodome Parking Garage Plans3. Astrodome Basement Parking Plan, Harris County. A true-to-form Houston mashup: “There is nothing that says ‘Houston’ quite like filling the floor of the 8th Wonder of the World and our city’s greatest historic landmark with a basement-level parking garage.”


Lancaster Hotel and Calpine Center, Louisiana St., Downtown, Houston, 77002

4. Historic Flattenings on Louisiana St., Lancaster Hotel. Another parking gem polished up out of the nearby rough: “The Lancaster Hotel’s creation of a brand new Downtown surface lot to hold 50 cars out of the 2 musty 100-year-old buildings next door is a very special achievement.”


Whole Foods Montrose, 701 Waugh, North Montrose, Houston, 77019

5. Parklet-to-Parking Conversion, Montrose Whole Foods. Helping a forgotten corner become what it was always meant to be: “After letting the corner of the parking lot languish as largely unused green space, they corrected course and helped the remaining land fulfill its stripy destiny.


Proposed Office Building and Parking Garage at Rice University, 6100 Main St., Houston, 77005

6. Imitation Fig Leaf Parking Garage Coverup, Rice University. A little privacy for parking business: “It’s not done yet, but the under-construction garage alongside the new admin building will be covered in simulated fig greens to hide all those sensitive parking spots from the Med Center’s prying eyes.


Who’s earned the prime spot? That’s up to you — voting opens now!

Images: Finial Group (Heights Mercantile siteplan), Harris County Engineering Department (Astrodome plans), KineticD (cleared lot and pecan tree on Louisiana St.), Randy Saad (Whole Foods), Rice University (garage rendering), Swamplot inbox (all others)

The 2016 Swampies

18 Comment

  • Fig leaf at Rice. Although if I could submit a write In, the new parking garage at Hobby is magnificent- no sarcasm. Each row has signage indicating how many spaces are available and each space even has a ceiling mounted light showing if it’s available or not.

    Having seen many poorly executed public garages, Hobby nailed it.

  • #1 by far. Beautiful park, possibly the best in the entire city, but it really needed the parking.

    #7 would be my runner-up; also being done in Memorial City area. Sorry, #3 is a plan, not an achievement yet.

  • Number 5. How disappointed that plot must have been when it was originally left out of the parking lot! And by the way, is/was there a number 6 that got banished? Inquiring minds want to know.

  • Oops! Thanks, Al! Number 7 has been changed to 6, and any votes we received for 7 will be tallied accordingly.

  • A couple more funny things about the Whole Foods lot: 1) The lot includes compact parking spots to help increase parking density. However, people regularly park their SUVs in those spaces making it difficult for others to park in neighboring spots. 2) They also had electric car charging spots up front that were removed. Similarly, it was common to see giant SUVs that were definitely NOT electric parked in those spots.

  • #3 Whereas Buffalo Bayou was transformed into something great and the parking was an afterthought, parking at the Astrodome is the catalyst (in theory) that will allow it to turn into something great. Or that’s the plan anyway.

  • 3. Astrodome Parking in the Domeskellar.

    Unsure if Swampies are an achievement or a Razzie “achievement”. Regardless, voting for the Dome.
    The Dome will have a new purpose and perhaps more demolition- resistant. The beloved Astrodome, the 8th Wonder of the World, has lasted along time as an abandoned stadium. Parking will give a new purpose and hope for a above-ground future.

  • It may not be the delusions of grandeur that everyone envisioned when the open call for uses for the old Astrodome went out, but it’s a start. Everyone knows what a nightmare parking is at the NRG complex during Rodeo time, football season, etc and this is probably the best solution shy of building unsightly parking garages around the Eighth Wonder of the World. II mean really, do we need all that space if everything above street level is all you need? And fig leaves? Really Rice? I would have thought maybe ivy leaves for an Ivy League caliber school.

  • #1 – also could be filed under the “duh why didn’t someone think of that before” – Parking along Allen Parkway was a much needed addition to our newly refurbished bayou gem. The placement and the plan fixed many many problems and created a much safer and more efficient Allen Parkway.

  • #6 – it would be great if they could somehow not remove all life forms when adding new parking, but I will take what I can get.

  • “6, fake fig leaf cover up. That trick is as old as Adam and Eve

  • Number 1. Though we really need much more creative ideas and suggestions to alleviate parking especially in downtown. How about an app that directs drivers to the cheapest parking spot close to an address in real-time?

  • #1 I can park by the park now…

  • #1, Really looking forward to parking close to the big ditch,

  • #4. Only in Houston. Shame on us all. We get what we deserve!