The Best the City Can Get for Gillette; Not Jus Donuts’ Extreme Cakeover

802 n. nagle

Photo of 802 N. Nagle: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool


9 Comment

  • I was originally for the Buffalo Bayou project, with some big reservations on the potential to be subsidizing erosion control for ROCC and wealthy land owners. Now that the demonstration project between Shep and Sabine has had large segments completed for some time, I now see that this kind of “restoration” is really just beautified channelization that destroys the bayou as a thriving wildlife habitat. The flattened shoreline covered with Bermuda grass has no wildlife compared to the bluffs that were torn out. Where there were once snakes, turtles, frogs, swamp wrens, sparrows, herons, and egrets, there is now almost nothing. Planting immature sycamores and cypress trees to replace mature trees (even invasives) means that it will be decades until the tree canopy is restored to what it once was. Most maddening is the fact that many wealthy homeowners and upstream developers will get publicly subsidized drainage improvements and erosion control without granting any public access to the banks of the bayou. If we are going to rip out the natural habitat, we should at least get a hike and bike trail up to Memorial Park.

  • Wow, I never knew there was a waste incinerator right in the 4th ward. Here’s a handy timeline:

    Post-Civil War: freed slaves construct their own neighborhood in the Fourth Ward

    1917: Camp Logan Race Riots are sparked off when a Houston policeman beats a black soldier in the Fourth Ward ( )

    1920s: Gillette incinerator is built right in the Fourth Ward (

    1944: San Felipe Courts (today’s Allen Parkway Village) were built next to the incinerator. They were originally intended as public housing for the city (following a New Deal movement for public housing in the 1930s) but ended up being handed over to the defense department to exclusively house white WW2 veterans ( ). The other motivation was to “clean up the slums” along Allen Parkway for passing commuters.

    1964: San Felipe Courts are desegregated following the Civil Rights Act and renamed to Allen Parkway Village.

    1970s-90s: Developers advocated for APV’s demolition arguing that the public housing’s costs didn’t reflect the lands “highest and best use.” Meanwhile, the housing deteriorated due to neglect by the Houston Housing Authority and HUD. Residents organized and protested demolition leading to APV’s rebuilding in 1997 ( )

    Today: The city can now cash in by selling a plot of polluted land next to APV now that the Fourth Ward is gentrifying.

  • In regards to 1-45 expansion: What if we just redesignate the East Beltway as I-45, then have both the existing North Frwy and Gulf Frwy just end at downtown? Demolish the beleaguered Pierce Elevated so that the North and Gulf would no longer meet.

    The only traffic on those freeways, once inside the loop, will be downtown bound. All the through traffic and trucks would needed to takes the Belt or the Loop around the city.

    There will be no immediate need to widen either frwy. And, the logistics of expanding the Beltway are much more straightforward and probably less expensive. It would also make the Beltway once federal money can be used to maintain it.


  • Not all of the homeowners who border the Buffalo Bayou project are in favor of this project! We did our own bank stabilization (on our own dime!) and have been working hard to restore willow, cypress, and other plants. We have egrets, herons, beavers, coyotes, all sorts of snakes and frogs and turtles living there now.. Things are looking pretty good, however it will all be ripped apart by this project. Progress?

  • “Now Houston Is Considering Replacing the Astrodome With a Smaller Astrodome”

    An hour after reading this article I can almost see straight again. How many times can “the man” try to pull the wool over the people of Houston’s eyes? This is nothing more than a rehash of the last proposal with “a mini dome” , abet with a slightly larger dome-like structure. They have to be kidding ….Who would visit this monstrosity with parking prices what they are unless it is mainly an event center of some type. A Discovery Green at NRG ….I don’t think so. In short order they will find a good reason to pave over this nightmare of a plan.

    Preserve the dome by opening it up and flattening the field to ground level. Convert it into a multiple use outdoor exposition center, an amusement park (that would be sweet … Texas style!), an “outdoor” amphitheater (NRG stadium bites the big one), or anything else that WILL DRAW A CROWD. No more of these lame idea, please!

  • VMel, I like your idea a lot. There must be people who are using the Pierce Elevated every day for whom no existing alternative is preferable (after all, why would it be so packed all the time?). What happens to them?

    I’m not trying to concern troll your idea. I like the idea of freeway spurs that come into and out of downtown without going through it. Spur 527 works great. Turning the two inside-the-Loop parts of 45 essentially into spurs appeals to me a lot. But we have to deal with what happens to all those drivers currently using the Pierce Elevated.

  • The Houston area TxDOT office is going to sh*t the bed with the I 45 project. They’ve bitten off more than they can chew here. I like the idea of looking at the ‘whole picture’ , but Houston TxDOT doesn’t do ‘big ideas’ well. Tearing up railroad ROW and adding more lanes or building freeway in the middle of nowhere is more their speed. Let’s get some of the guys from the Dallas office down here. Not only does DFW seem to get more $$$$ for freeways, but they get capped freeways w/ parks on top of them. We get the ‘grand parkway section H, I1, and I2’ to nowhere, a 288 toll road within another freeway, and an ‘Aggie parkway’ that’s about as needed as well…. the other two projects I just mentioned.

  • @Robert Byrd

    They (well I since I use it everyday in my reverse commute from Washington corridor to the ship channel) would have to use either I-10 or 59 to navigate around downtown if you really had to stay on a freeway. Or one could use the parkway / surface streets.
    The Pierce elevated doesn’t make much sense when you realize that very few people are taking trips that require you to go from the North freeway to the Gulf freeway though downtown. It’s mostly a north freeway to 288/59 south connector (and visa versa). It’s a poor one at that. Forcing that traffic onto I10 / 59 and upgrading those freeways or rerouting 45 along those roads makes far more sense than slapping lipstick on a pig and upgrading the Pierce.

  • It’s not easy to conceptualize what might be done with I-45 in the downtown area. There are so many connections, so many interchanges, that what matters most isn’t actually the number of mainlanes so much as where the ramps create bottlenecks. I think that if TXDoT thinks the project through in a manner that incorporates notions of the 610/290/10 Interchange with the I-45 stack that starts at Spur 5, then we might wind up with a really awesome outcome. Aesthetes wouldn’t much like it though, I think, unless efficient infrastructure turns you on.