05/25/18 4:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: NARROW THE STREETS TO MAKE NON-DRIVERS SAFER Looks like Montrose Blvd. needs some work—unsurprising, given it’s a street with a lot of combined foot and vehicle traffic, while being extremely wide with few obstructions to get motorists to slow down. Notice that Westheimer has fewer incidents even though it’s an even busier street with a lot more foot traffic. It will probably never happen, but Montrose Blvd. could really benefit safety-wise from much narrower lanes, and bike lanes and on-street parking substituted instead. It certainly has the space to do it, especially if you subtract the center turn lane in some places. [Christian, commenting on Your Map of Where Walkers and Bikers Have Been Run Over by Cars in Houston Over the Past 2 Years] Photo of Montrose Blvd. at W. Gray St.: Andrew Steffler [license]

05/15/18 4:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHO CARES HOW FAR AWAY YOU ARE FROM A DECENT GROCERY STORE? “I live downtown and use Instacart every week. Saves a ton of time. I don’t understand the fixation about going to a grocery store in person.” [Matt, commenting on Comment of the Day Runner-Up: The Hole in the Donut] Photo inside H-E-B, 1701 West Alabama St.: Candace Garcia

05/14/18 5:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: BLAME IT ON THE TUNNELS “If you’ll forgive a play on words, the tunnel system is undermining Downtown’s bid to become a livable, walkable destination. The restaurants and businesses that occupy the tunnels skim the cream of the workforce during business hours on weekdays, then are sealed off from the public on evenings and weekends. Given the price of real estate and rents downtown, and that street level businesses have to survive on the evening and weekend trade to [stay in business], and the fact that so many buildings are inhospitable to pedestrians (many have only two street level entrances on an entire block) — retrofitting Downtown into a livable space is not going to be easy. There are exceptions: Market Square and stretches of Main Street. But for the most part, that which has already been built is an impediment to filling this donut hole.” [Big Tex, commenting on Comment of the Day Runner-Up: The Hole in the Donut] Photo of Lamar Tunnel: Swamplox inbox

05/14/18 4:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: HERE COME THE FULL-NESTERS “I bought in a community that I thought was a step up from inner loop city living. It turns out that of the 4 homes around my house, 3 homes have their married kids living with grandkids living with them. It will be interesting how this dynamic changes school systems in the suburbs.” [Suburbanite, commenting on Redo for the Omni Houston Hotel; Gearing Up for MFAH’s New Campus Opening; La Vibra Tacos for Heights Village at Yale and 5th St.] Illustration: Lulu

05/11/18 3:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: THE HOLE IN THE DONUT “I enjoy living downtown to be close to events, bars and work. But it is a major pain to not have a decent full-service grocery in walking distance. And all of the fast casual restaurants are closed on the weekends. And we desperately need something like a CityTarget or Walmart Neighborhood Market to get random everyday items. Spend all this money to be close to everything but still have to leave Downtown to do most shopping.” [JasperRasper18, commenting on Latest Downtown Houston Headcount; A Restaurant and Juice Bar for Houston’s First Whole Foods 365] Photo of Main St. at Commerce St.: Bill Barfield via Swamplot Flickr Pool

05/04/18 2:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE DOWNTOWN APARTMENTS THAT RAN IN MY FAMILY “My uncle, J. Holly Brewer, bought the Plaza Court and Peacock apartments sometime about 1942. It was managed by his mother, Kate Lillian Brewer, and my mother, Edith Fox Bannerman, until J. Holly Brewer and my father, James Knox Bannerman, returned from service in the U.S. Navy during World War II. J. Holly Brewer then operated the apartments alone until his death in 1984. Edith Fox Bannerman and her sister, Frances Marion Marchiando, then inherited the property and jointly managed it. After Mrs. Marchiando passed away her son, Michael Marchiando, jointly managed the buildings with mom until 1995. At that point I, James Knox Bannerman II, and my mother, Edith Bannerman, shared the management of the buildings until we sold them in 2014. I felt it was time to sell them as [my] mother was 97-years young. Mother did not speak to me for a week after the sale. When she did speak her first sentence was, ‘You took my job away.’ Go figure. She is amazing. She drove the Houston freeways until she was 93 with never a citation or accident. Mom is 100 now and occasionally we drive her to visit some of the long-term tenants. These buildings have many stories to tell. I am delighted to see they are to be updated and preserved.” [James Knox Bannerman II, commenting on The Changes Coming to the Pre-War Peacock & Plaza Apartment Complex Downtown] Photo of apartment courtyard: LoopNet

04/26/18 4:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: MY SUITE CHILDHOOD YEARS IN A DOWNTOWN HOUSTON HOTEL “My dad was the innkeeper when the Holiday Inn opened, and we lived in the building for a couple of years. It was quite a place — with the Orbit Lounge, one of A. J. Foyt’s Indy cars in the lobby, and so on. But its day has passed.” [Patrick, commenting on Downtown Houston’s Foremost Abandoned Building Now Listed for Sale]

04/23/18 4:45pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE SELF-DRIVING BUS ASPHALT PALIMPSEST CHALLENGE “Have any readers here taken the [southbound] exit off of 59 to the West Loop lately? If some hypothetical autonomous driving system could navigate that tangle of past and present lane markings, then they might just have something to build on.” [TimP, commenting on METRO Now Testing Out Self-Driving Buses for Houston] Photo: Roy Luck [license]

04/17/18 5:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE CITY SHOULD HAVE BEEN BUYING PARK SPACE SOONER “Back in the Mayor Parker days, the city would just take the green space fees and use them to plug holes in HPARD’s budget. As was typical for the time, the reasoning from the Parker administration was basically: ‘Nothing says we can’t do that.’ Sadly, back then, market value was about half of what it currently is in the Heights and other hot markets in town where larger tracts are becoming exceedingly rare. Many opportunities to add park space were missed.” [Old School, commenting on A New Heights Park for the Shuttered Bus Stop on N. Main?] Illustration: Lulu

04/05/18 4:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: BACK TO NATURE “Cities with a ‘home flood rate’ of over 25 percent — like Bellaire — should really consider mandatory green space, meaning some property owners simply cannot rebuild. Tough in the short term but the city can front good money to buy them out . . . because all that park land, trails, fishing, sports fields will pay back multi-fold when these communities are Edens in the midst of a major city.” [movocelot, commenting on Bellaire’s Flooded Home Count; Chicken Salad Chain Making Houston Debut] Illustration: Lulu

03/16/18 5:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOW TO MAKE YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD’S NEW STRIP CENTER MORE PEDESTRIAN-FRIENDLY “Just walk around to the other side and pretend that’s the front. Then the parking lot will be in the back! A walkable solution!” [Memebag, commenting on The Strip Center with Offices Above Planned for the Corner of Chimney Rock and San FelipeSite plan of Shops at Tanglewood proposed for San Felipe St. at Chimney Rock Rd.: Edge Realty

03/13/18 4:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHAT’S STILL MISSING FROM THE TOP OF THE CENTRAL SQUARE PLAZA REDO “After all the beautiful exterior enhancements, does Claremont plan to update and restore functionality of the enormous electronic retro clock on top of the building? The building now looks so nice. I can’t believe the clock sitting on top has not been restored, paint peeling off and not turned on, especially when it completes the whole retro-mod feel of the entire project.” [Unsure About This, commenting on Midtown’s Redone Central Square Plaza Looking To Lure Tenants to Its Empty Ground Floor] Photo of former Central Square Plaza clock: meltedplastic [license]

03/01/18 5:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOW THE RUSTY RESTAURANT LOOK MADE ITS WAY TO HOUSTON I blame Austin. Check out Uchi on Westheimer with its weathered metal patio screening. Or the late, unlamented Doc’s across the street, resplendent in the sort of patina that can be attained only through time (several hours’ worth of antiquing). Both had their roots in that fair city. If property owners want to transform their buildings into movie sets for Larry McMurtry stories, I suppose it’s their business (and businesses). Frankly, any change from the ubiquitous cheap stucco and warped sheet metal panels that clad Houston’s lesser buildings is welcome. There will be more attempts at false history; eventually, this trend will run its course.” [Big Tex, commenting on The Heavy Metal Taco Redo Now Taking Shape on N. Main off I-45] Photo of former El Taquito Rico, 3701 N. Main St.: Swamplot inbox

02/16/18 1:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: A SOGGY MOD FOR GRABS IN BRAESWOOD “For what it’s worth, my house flooded. I’m selling as is and would be thrilled for the free publicity.” [Joe, commenting on Houston Home Listing Photo of the Day: The Halfway House] Photo of 3611 N. Braeswood Blvd.: HAR

02/09/18 4:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: IDENTIFYING THE WILDLIFE ON THE VALENTINE CORNER LAW OFFICE IN SEABROOK “So those are dolphins along the sidewalk, made many years ago by Mr. Miller across the street. And there were sharks on the side of the building up high. I took them down a few years ago to have the sharks polished, and the guy I hired disappeared with my 2 sharks.” [Michael Valentine, commenting on TxDOT Wins Custody of Head-Turning Tiny Law Office in Seabrook Ahead of Planned Hwy. 146 Widening] Photo of Valentine Law Office, 1210 Bayport Blvd.: BFS Man [license]