- 205 Grogans Point Rd. [HAR]
THE WOODLANDS EXPRESS HAS ARRIVED ITS REAL-TIME BUS MAPPING FUTURE Note: This story has been updated to indicate that METRO also has a real-time bus mapping app. Now you can know exactly how far your The Woodlands Express bus is from picking you up thanks to the township’s recently-released transit tracking service. The tool, powered by transportation mapping company Ride Systems, is accessible right now through The Woodlands’ mobile ticketing app (launched in August) and at this webpage — which indicates all Woodlands Express vehicles at as they proceed along their designated routes. (Things are a bit slow at midday compared to commuter hours.) METRO — which has nothing to do with The Woodlands’ in-house transit agency — released its own mobile ticketing app in 2016, as well as a companion app called METRO Trip that features live location data for its fleet of buses. [Community Impact] Photo of The Woodlands Express bus: The Woodlands Township
A Swamplot reader sends these photos showing signage up a block north of the Waterway Ave. bridge in The Woodlands, where a new venue called Mahoney’s Texish Bar & Restaurant is picking up in place of Tsukiji Japanese Cuisine. The restaurant’s decision to mince words in its title, coupled with the presence of a shamrock on its logo suggests some sort of Texan-Irish fusion will be its focus. And according to trademark applications the restaurant’s filed this month, the phrase “We Are Texish,” and similar taglines will feature prominently on its employees uniforms.
Here’s what the space used to look like:
THE WOODLANDS CAVALRY UNITS ORDERED TO RETREAT FROM WALMART, COSTCO PARKING LOTS Effective January 1, mounted patrols will no longer be present at the 2 stores opposite each other on Hwy. 242 at I-45 — reports The Villager’s Marialuisa Rincon — although they’ll remain at Town Center and Hughes Landing. The Woodlands’ contract with the company that provides the equestrian detail, Alpha & Omega Services, previously made up 13 percent of the township’s $14 million law enforcement budget, reports Rincon. But unlike police officers, the riders “don’t carry guns and are prohibited from intervening if a crime is in progress — instead, they’re required to contact law enforcement if an incident merits police attention.” The cuts will save the town $470,000 a year until the contract goes up for renewal in 2020. They’ll also require Alpha & Omega to eliminate positions from its force for the first time since arriving 23 years ago in The Woodlands — which has become “our crown jewel,” said the company’s president, adding: “Every operation we have in the country, we bring our troopers here to train.” [The Woodlands Villager] Photo: Alpha & Omega Services
How’s this for dockless bike-share pricing: $15 for unlimited rides? Too bad though, the offer has already sold out.
Remember the fleet of nearly 100 bikes from MoBike that mysteriously vanished from The Woodlands last month? MoBike itself, it turns out, pulled them off the streets starting in October and put them in 2 self-storage rentals: one at Amazing Spaces on I-45 just north of Vision Park Blvd., and the other 5 miles down the freeway at the U-Haul Moving and Storage center near the Rayford-Sawdust Rd. exit — which the company used as a repair shop. But no announcement was made and the great bike-share vanishing was kind of mysterious. Residents who called up the township to ask where the bikes had all gone — according to The Villager’s Jeff Forward — were told that the township hadn’t received any communication from MoBike about what had happened.
Then . . . the bikes showed up on Craigslist:
THE MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE OF THE WOODLANDS’ DOCKLESS BIKE FLEET The sudden disappearance of dockless bikes from their usual hangouts in The Woodlands left staff at the town’s newspaper scrambling to figure out where they all went last week: “A Woodlands Villager reporter drove to four areas where the popular ride-sharing bicycles were routinely located and found no bikes,” writes editor Jeff Forward. When reached for comment, township official Nick Wolda told him that the Chinese company behind the fleet, MoBike, became tough to get a hold of starting in July. But the 100-or-so bikes it handed over last year were still there: “In August, we were rocking and rolling and ridership numbers were good. Then, all of the sudden, the bikes started leaving. We were starting to field calls from residents about them, asking where they were.” Wolda never received word from MoBike that the company planned to skip town, and the only mention reporters could find of the firm’s intentions was a note a former employee wrote on his LinkedIn profile: “Mobike decided not to pursue the Houston market — my position was eliminated as of July 2018.” Officials are now holding the few stray bikes that have been spotted since the vanishing act for safekeeping. “If the company wants to come get them, that’s fine,” Wolda says. [The Woodlands Villager; previously on Swamplot] Photo: MoBike
It’s not just the Shepherd Square flagship store that’s biting the dust: Locations in the eponymous New Territory Randalls Center (pictured at top) off the Grand Pkwy. and in the Windvale Center (pictured above) on the northern edge of The Woodlands at College Park Dr. and FM 1488 are goners, too. All 3 stores will shut down around December 1, a spokeswoman tells Swamplot.
At the Windvale Center, the closure will leave behind a nearly 57,000-sq.-ft. hole in the middle of the property, mapped out in this old leasing flyer:
NEW BIRD-SHAPED BOATS PUT FORMER WOODLANDS CRUISER PASSENGERS IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT A flock of 10 swan-shaped boats has now picked up where The Woodlands’ 6 Waterway Cruisers left off when they were destroyed by Harvey last year — reports the Villager’s Marialuisa Rincon — rendering the township’s shipping channels unnavigable by public transit. (One Cruiser survived, but town officials decommissioned it anyway when they terminated their contract with the boat service’s operator in February.) Now, their “long-necked replacements” have former passengers taking water travel into their own hands through the use of a rudder — and their feet, by pedaling — to get where they want to go. Lake Robbins and anything past the Anadarko Bridge along the north edge of Lake Woodlands are off-limits — but aside from that, it’s pretty much free swim in the rest of the lake, as well as the upper and lower waterways. After hours, all bird boats rest in the Riva Row Boat House opposite The Pavilion. [Houston Chronicle; more info] Photo: The Woodlands Township
THE WOODLANDS AT SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST THIS YEAR: ONE DAY ONLY The Woodlands is doubling the spending but seventhing the duration for its upcoming tour stop at Austin’s South by Southwest, reports the Chronicle’s John S. Marshall. “The Woodlands on the Road” will take place in the afternoon on March 15 and feature “live music, food & refreshments, yard games, art demonstrations,” plus a chance to win prizes including a trip to The Woodlands at an “expanded booth with a prime location” in Brush Square, a downtown park. The township announced earlier this week that 4 local sponsor organizations had stepped up to match the $35,000 the township had already budgeted for its sophomore showing on the seventh day of the festival. Last year, The Woodlands’ debut inside the Austin Convention Center also had an outdoorsy bent: the 2-man booth featured a pair of bicycles hooked up to teevees that screened a simulated ride along the town’s bike paths as guests pedaled. [Houston Chronicle; event listing] Photo of Brush Square during 2008 South by Southwest: George Kelly [license]