From the Houston Press‘s magnum opus on the Washington Avenue scene: “Drunk people walk through the yard, pee on the house, sit on the porch swing and bark at the dogs. They scream and yell and fight until all hours every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, and now during the day on Sunday. The music from District can be clearly heard from the driveway. ‘Right now you could go sit in my bedroom and feel how the house just thuds. The windows rattle,’ [longtime Center St. resident and property owner Helen] Espinoza said. There are constant accidents at the nearby intersection. With police focused on Washington, late-night drag racers take to Center Street. Espinoza says she has a hard time getting cops to come at all. [Neighbor Marie] Martinez, meanwhile, spends much of her time fighting new liquor licenses in court. She can’t hold them off forever, though, and while she’s fighting one bar, others pop up. Five liquor licenses are pending in the area right now. As more nightspots open, more people flood into the neighborhood to park. They block driveways or sometimes just use them, tear up the grass and get stuck in the drainage ditches. Marlene Gafrick, the director of city planning, says her department began working on the parking problems in March and has tried to bring each of the 35 to 40 bars and restaurants up to code. She too must hustle to keep pace with the development. Soon after one bar finally agreed to rent a nearby lot, for instance, the lot went under construction. . . . After a long fight, Espinoza finally won ‘No Parking’ signs on her side of the street. The factory across the way put up its own, with chicken wire, along its long and tall chain-link fence. People just cut them down.” [Houston Press]
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