01/13/09 12:18pm

THE WOODWAYS AND THE WESTHEIMERS “I sometimes think that Woodway is made nicer by the fact that Westheimer exists. There are certainly numerous suburbs and exurbs where the Westheimers look like Woodways. Oh, there’s retail, but it’s set back from the street, perhaps behind a tree buffer, with tasteful monument signage out front. I’ve always found such environments to be stifling. It’s so obviously contrived. All-night, six- and eight-lane arterials are SUPPOSED to have large illuminated signs. They’re SUPPOSED to have ratty businesses alongside the nice ones. Every suburb has a Target and a ratty convenience store. Westheimer has a Target and twenty ratty convenience stores, plus ’24 hours video and news.’ I’ve never been in there, but its existence tells me that this strip is whatever it wants to be. This holds true of Woodway. It’s not a pure residential drive; there is retail, much of it even with tasteful signage. The signage follows from the road – Westheimer has large signs because it’s big and straight and a larger sign means higher visibility. Put up a larger sign on Woodway and it’d just be obscured by trees. Some people think of Westheimer (and other streets like it) as ugly. I don’t, but I understand where they’re coming from. Perhaps if they wanted to do something about it, they should plant trees instead of making rules about commercial signage. Proactive versus restrictive. Woodway is a nice drive because it was built to very nice design standards (10′ median with staggered trees) and because the people who own stores and homes along Woodway want to keep it pleasant. And so it is.” [Keep Houston Houston]