03/19/13 12:00pm

MACGREGOR PARK’S MLK MEMORIAL TREE ‘DOESN’T LOOK GOOD’ Last spring, Metro spent $100,000 to relocate this tree out of the way of the expanding Southeast Line. Planted in 1983 near Old Spanish Trail and MLK Blvd., the tree was meant to stand in for an MLK memorial that’s still to come. While Metro crews worked in May to transplant the tree a few hundred feet away to a site inside MacGregor Park, Black Heritage Society president Ovide Duncantell chained himself to it to make sure everything went off without a hitch. But now the 30-year-old tree’s “strugging to survive,” reports the Houston Chronicle‘s Robert Stanton: “‘The tree doesn’t look good to me,'” Duncantell tells Stanton. “‘I’m not in a position to say that tree is dying, but I’m hoping like hell that it’s not. The city . . . and Metro have a commitment to our organization that the tree would continue to stand there as a sentinel until that statue is completed. They should have been watering the tree all along, and this wouldn’t be a question. . . . Somebody fumbled the ball.'” Stanton adds that Metro has been watering it through an irrigation system and said it would “step up monitoring.” [Houston Chronicle] Photo: KHOU

04/20/09 7:55am

Here’s a whizzy reel showing what the new Metro trains and stations on 4 upcoming light-rail lines are supposed to look like. Dowling St. in the Third Ward, the Edloe Station in Greenway Plaza, the Moody Park Station on the North Line, MacGregor Park Station on the Southeast Line, and Lockwood Station on the East End Line each get about 30 seconds of CGI treatment, from a low-flying camera buzzing some extremely lifelike — though torpid — pedestrians.

Christof Spieler finds a few flaws:

The Third Ward footage seems to be out-of-date; it shows the old alignment crossing Dowling on Wheeler, not the new route that switches to Alabama. But other details are correct: the stations shown are the new prototype station design (by Rey de la Reza Architects), minus artwork.

It’s nice to be able to visualize what these lines might look like. But it’s also a reminder that it’s important to get the details right. At Edloe, for example, the trees integrated into the canopy are nice, but there’s no crosswalk at the west end of the station platform, which means a 500-foot detour for some riders. The Moody Park and MacGregor stations do show that crosswalk, and the sidewalks look pretty good, too. But in all the images, the overhead wires are suspended from their own poles in the middle of the street, not from the streetlight poles on either side, as on Main Street. That makes for more poles and a more cluttered streetscape.


03/26/08 5:50pm

Rendering of Proposed Southeast Metrorail Line on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Between Griggs Rd. and Old Spanish Trail

Just a few blocks north of the site of the new Houston Texans YMCA, the University of Houston has bought 43 acres immediately southeast of its main campus.

The new UH land looks like it’s part of MacGregor Park, but whether it is — or was — was a matter of intense . . . legal interest. The property was originally part of a larger 110-acre parcel that was donated by the MacGregor family to the City of Houston in 1930. More recently, the donors’ heirs sued the city for violating the terms of that gift, which required that the city turn the land into a park. By 2002, the MacGregor heirs had won back rights to the wooded 41 acres between MLK and Spur 5, on the north side of Old Spanish Trail.

The MacGregor heirs’ sale of the property to UH for $25 million closed in February, according to a report by Jennifer Dawson in the Houston Business Journal. The new UH property is south of the gigantic Wellness Center, across Buffalo Brays Bayou.

The land gives UH a possible new entrance on Martin Luther King Blvd., but it’s also likely to give the campus a fifth light-rail station: a MacGregor Park stop will be the second station on the Southeast line, which begins at the new transit center planned for Palm Center.

Rendering of planned Southeast light-rail line on MLK, south of UH: Metro