SAVING UPTOWN, HOUSTON’S MASTERPIECE, FROM THE SCOURGE OF DEDICATED BUS LANES The Uptown Property and Business Owners Coalition is out today with a new website (portrayed here) meant to drum up opposition to the Uptown District and Metro’s plans to install dedicated bus lanes down Post Oak Blvd. The lanes, the last vestige of what was once a plan for an Uptown light rail line, would run from dedicated bus lanes linking to the Northwest Transit Center all the way to the proposed Bellaire/Uptown Transit Center near U.S. 59 and Westpark, where they might someday intersect with a University Line traveling eastward from that point. But the team behind the website wants none of it: “Uptown is a Houston masterpiece. Why do they want to ruin it?” reads the copy on the home page. Meanwhile, an introductory blog post on the site encourages readers to attend a friendly “town hall” meeting, tomorrow night at the Uptown Hilton, in the company of “hundreds of angry business owners and Uptown area residents.” [Save Uptown; previously on Swamplot]
COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHY THEY WON’T BE LINING POST OAK BLVD. WITH POST OAKS “So close! Just imagine how impressive it would be to have a forest of 800 post oaks on Post Oak Blvd. Unfortunately, post oaks don’t tend to transplant well compared to live oaks, which is why we use live oaks in our landscaping instead of post oaks. (Source: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center)” [GoogleMaster, commenting on Boxed Forest of 800 Trees in Tomball Preparing for March Down Post Oak Blvd.] Illustration: Lulu
FUNDING THE POST OAK BRT Metro board chair Gilbert Garcia throws in his $.02 on Uptown Houston’s proposed Post Oak bus rapid transit system that Swamplot reported last month: “There are transit needs everywhere. We know all about them. But Metro’s resources are finite,” Garcia tells the Houston Chronicle‘s Dug Begley. “‘If we can solve the transit needs in this region without stretching Metro resources, like this does, that is great.’” The project is expected to cost $177.5 million, Begley reports, though TIRZ-powered Uptown Houston will pay up to $92 million of that. “The rest would come from $24 million in state transportation funds, and a $45 million grant from the Houston-Galveston Area Council, using federal money the region received,” Begley reports. And the buses could start running as soon as 2017. Uptown Houston’s president John Breeding adds, ‘”We’re the guys who put arches across the street. . . . We’re the guys who put giant granite balls from China at the entrances.’” [Houston Chronicle ($); previously on Swamplot] Image: Uptown Management District
The driving force of a project that Uptown Houston District has proposed to the city to transform Post Oak Blvd.? Big beautiful buses. With both residential and commercial developments like Skanska’s 20-story office building popping up along the major transit corridor and METRO’s Uptown/Gold Line nowhere in sight, the District has developed a $177-million project featuring light rail-like BRT to update Post Oak — a street “that has long outlived its original use,” says John Breeding, the District’s president.
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GOODBYE TO HEALTH FOUNTAIN A reader is looking for some acknowledgment of the demise of the Health Fountain Restaurant, a fixture inside the Post Oak Y at 1331 Augusta (now officially called the Trotter Family YMCA) for more than 30 years. “Nothing horrible happened, I think the gentleman that owned it was just ready to retire. They quietly closed their doors around Christmastime and the restaurant is now Island Smoothie. I will miss the old place, as will many many others! They always had good healthy food and friendly service . . . Island smoothie will be good too, just would be nice to see some publication say so long and that they will be missed!” Update, 1/24: The restaurant’s new name is Island Grill. [Swamplot inbox] Photo: YMCA Houston