OCCASIONAL HAZARDS OF A FEEDER ROAD STRIP CENTER The Shogun Japanese Grill and Sushi Bar in a strip center fronting the northbound feeder of the Grand Parkway in Richmond opened its storefront involuntarily this morning to accept an oncoming 18-wheeler. The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s office has sent out the photo shown here of the restaurant at 7417 W. Grand Parkway South, showing the truck swallowed completely by the restaurant. The adjacent Gossip nail salon was also damaged after the truck broke through the interior wall separating the 2 businesses. According to the Sheriff’s office, the truck was carrying hazmat gasses; the words “nitrogen refrigerated liquid” are visible on the back of the trailer in the photo. The driver is in critical condition, and 3 people who were in the building suffered “minor injuries,” according to the report. The building has been evacuated. Update, 11:45 am: More from the Sheriff’s office: “The driver of the 18-wheeler has passed. We believe the crash was caused by a medical issue he was experiencing.” [FBCSO] Photo: Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office.
This photo of a Jaguar F-Type V8 S stuck in a patch of freshly-poured concrete started making the rounds of internet auto-fan sites last Friday afternoon. The earliest online reference appears to be this tweet from SpeedSportLife before noon — but the Houston car publication was apparently just passing on a photo it had no more information about. In several forum appearances readers immediately speculated that the scene had likely taken place in Houston, and on the Houston Reddit board a poster tersely declared that the site was the intersection of Weslayan and 59. But a couple of other commenters help peg the incident location a couple of overpasses to the east:
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Stuck in Traffic
59 FEEDER ROAD CONSTRUCTION WITHOUT END “Why is there always construction on the feeders between Weslayan and Kirby especially when it seemed like nothing needed to be done?” writes a Swamplot reader, who is under the impression that the work started sometime last summer. “It looks like they are only redoing the road, not adding sewers, nor laying power lines, and doesn’t seem to making it wider. One side is done and then they come back and do the other side! . . . I hope you can find out why they are tearing up a perfectly good feeder road.” Alas, doing so would spoil the chance to indulge in the fantasy of having encountered along the Southwest Fwy. a truly eternal feeder-road replacement cycle. We’ll illustrate that here with the above photo from earlier today of a fresh concrete placement (with shopping cart) on the north side feeder just west of Kirby Dr. Update, 2/27: Clever reader JD finds an actual report outlining the scope of the reconstruction project from last year posted in an obscure online publication. Photo: Swamplot inbox
WHERE THE LITTLE PINK FLAGS ARE WAVING NOW, NEXT TO I-45 NORTH Reader Joel Balderas seeks some Brooke Smith-area feeder road intel: “I’m curious what’s going on at the property located at approximately 2450 North Freeway. I live just around the corner and I noticed that a couple weeks ago the for sale sign was taken down and stakes were placed around the property with pink flags. The lot looks to be about an acre and a half and sits on the northbound side of I-45 between North Main and Patton. I-45 bounds it to the west. Little White Oak and Top Brass are to the north. A small home is to the south at 2406 North Freeway. To the east is a wooded area that would double the size of the lot. After the wooded area you would hit Little White Oak again. On the north east corner is a T-Mobile tower and on the south west corner is a large billboard facing north, which is currently advertising Fiesta. If you hear of anything I’d appreciate the info.” Photo: Joel Balderas
A project to improve a 2.9-mile stretch of the Southwest Fwy. feeder road between South Shepherd Dr. and Newcastle St. could get started as early as May 1, a rep from TxDOT says. And the Upper Kirby Management District contributed some funds to the $19 million project, which might give you an idea about what to expect.
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Expect to see workers moving dirt on the 1.5-acre site at the northeast corner of Greenbriar and 59 within the next few weeks; the city’s planning commission last week voted to approve a variance granting permission for a 7-story auto dealership building at 2120 Southwest Fwy. to poke a few feet further toward Greenbriar (at left in the above rendering) than regulations allow. The result: the country’s largest — and tallest — flagship Audi dealership, featuring a 2-story car display case on the corner of the third and fourth levels that’ll bring the latest models up to eye level for drivers on the raised freeway who aren’t looking where they’re going.
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FEEDER FARMERS MARKET Houston’s first freeway-side farmers market debuts this Friday at 3 pm in the parking lot of the HCC Southwest College’s West Loop campus. Appropriately enough, the market’s organizers at Urban Harvest are telling visitors this new market at 5601 West Loop Fwy. South “will have more of a ‘street food’ component with more food trucks” as well as locally prepared foods. The HCC campus was created out of what was originally a store for Incredible Universe, Tandy Corp.’s short-lived mid-nineties venture into big-box electronics retailing. Also beginning soon: another Urban Harvest farmers market on Thursdays, in Sugar Land Town Square. [Fort Bend Sun] Photo: WhisperToMe
All that’s left of the Now and Forever Bridal Boutique — looking wistfully at Lakewood Church from across the Southwest Freeway — is this lonely sign by the shop’s old entrance. But don’t fret: Next door, in the same feeder-road strip center, Party City still rages! Now and Forever’s new location: the 3701 Kirby office building a block south of Richmond, not far from Hardcore Pilates.
Photos: Swamplot inbox
COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHY YOU HAVE SO MUCH MORE FREE TIME IN HOUSTON “Every other city has the EXACT same commercial development at major interchanges, except instead of being linear (and easily accessible) it’s clumped together, so you have to wade through a sea of traffic lights to get anywhere.
Every trip you take to a feeder-fronting business, whether it’s Best Buy or Kroger, would take several minutes longer if you had to wade through the morass of traffic lights that characterizes freeway-centric commercial developments in the Northwest, the Midwest, or the East Coast. That’s WEEKS of your life back, actual time you spend having sex or playing video games or eating too much queso.” [Keep Houston Houston, commenting on Comment of the Day: The Invention of Feeder Food]
COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE INVENTION OF FEEDER FOOD “On another note, I would like to find out precisely who was responsible for making the philosophical decision to attach feeder roads to freeways in Texas in the first place, way back in the 50’s. Feeder Roads turned out to be an aesthetic disaster, helped kill off many local business districts, and led to the proliferation of countless mediocre restaurant chains.” [Mies, commenting on Comment of the Day: That’s Why They Call Them Feeder Roads]
COMMENT OF THE DAY: THAT’S WHY THEY CALL THEM FEEDER ROADS “Just think how much value they’re adding to the land that will front the service roads. Stores! Restaurants! Strip centers! It’s a developer’s dream.
And isn’t that what it’s all about?” [KC, commenting on Setting Sail Again: Studemont Billboard Flagship]
Checking in from a center lane of I-10 heading east, a longtime Swamplot correspondent has a few questions for informed readers:
This ginormous new billboard structure went up last week at the CBS Outdoor HQ on Studemont at I-10. Is it legal? Was there a similar steel mega-billboard there before the remodeling of I-10, which obliged CBS (then Clear Channel Outdoor) to demolish part of the north end of its building? And what will become of this monstrous two-legged wedge-shaped structure when the feeder road will eventually be extended from Studewood to Taylor — will it be taken down, moved 100 feet and set up again?
Update: As noted in the comments, Off the Kuff has a slightly earlier photo of the naked billboard.
Photo: Swamplot inbox
THE LINGERING SOUNDS OF SELLING BY THE FREEWAY Almost a week after the daylong feeder road-side furniture sale they held on the abandoned grounds of the former Landmark Chevrolet next to I-45 North near the West Gulfbank exit, wacdesignstudio designers and guerrilla marketers Scott Cartwright and Jenny Lynn Weitz-Amaré Cartwright were still feeling the effects: “We were there for nine hours, thankfully it was cloudy… but the sound pollution really affected one of us to the point that even today our head and bodies still hurt… can you imagine how hard of a job road workers have when building or fixing the streets?” [Swamplot inbox; previously on Swamplot]
Swamplot’s many readers eager to return to Houston-area Fig. Medical Body Shaping clinics for continuing fat-reducing injections will be saddened to learn that the national chain has abruptly shut down and discontinued all operations. A note on the fig.com website indicates the company will likely be seeking bankruptcy protection.
There are three local Fig. clinics: in Sugar Land at 59 and Highway 6, next to Panera Bread; next to Jamba Juice at the Summit Plaza by Lakewood Church; and at the Portofino Shopping Center across I-45 from the Woodlands. (Yes, that’s the same Portofino Shopping Center that was home to the statue-genitalia controversy a few years back — which was ultimately solved with . . . a fig leaf.) All three Houston-area Fig. locations had been open only since April.
Okay, whose inside joke was it to locate all three fat-reduction clinics in shopping centers on feeder roads?
What happened to Fig. that would cause it to shut down so suddenly? (Reader caution: suggestive uh . . . medical detail below.)
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