A Land Use Counterattack from the Yale St. Alexan Heights

A LAND USE COUNTERATTACK FROM THE YALE ST. ALEXAN HEIGHTS Though the variance for unrestricted use that Trammell Crow had sought to make way for the Alexan Heights apartments along Yale St. was denied, other amendments to the existing single-family restrictions on that lot bound by Yale, Allston, and 6th that the developer is now seeking might allow the 366-unit complex to go up after all, reports The Leader. And, besides this play in the land use game, it seems as though Trammell Crow has also responded, in part, to the first round of objections coming from neighbors: “TCR has restricted the project’s driveway on Allston Street to be a service exit, left turn only, to divert traffic away from the neighborhood,” reports Cynthia Lescalleet. “[And] if the city will approve a HAWK signal — a crossing signal controlled by pedestrians or bicyclists — at the bike trail adjacent to the . . . site, TCR will fund and build it.” This revised application will go up in a public hearing Downtown this Thursday. [The Leader; previously on Swamplot] Rendering: Trammell Crow Residential

33 Comment

  • Is the massive, massive apartment development on Heights just south of I-10 not enough? And the one about three blocks south of that just getting started? And the entire Dallas St corridor? And so on and so on?

    There is going to be serious oversaturation once construction starts finishing.

  • My objection is that the complex will be built around existing houses, surrounding them on 3 sides. If the complex stayed clear of Allison, I would have no problem or if there were not already houses there I would be ok. As is, the project is anti-neighborhood.

  • As we all learned from the Ashby debacle, anyone who lives within a 2 mile radius of a proposed project has the right to go all NIMBY on it.
    Well, I live within a 2 mile radius of this project, and I’d like to declare myself to be a BIMBY – Build In My Backyard.
    I purchased inside the loop so that I could be in a dynamic urban environment; that includes high density housing options mixed in with single family; that includes the associated traffic; that includes noisy bars letting out at 2am right in the middle of neighborhoods; that includes Ferraris wailing at 120 Db at 7am on Sunday even if they’re only going 15mph. Bottom line, I’d love it if the Heights became more like Greenwich Village or Tribeca. While the Heights, or Montrose, aren’t likely to get there in the near future, projects like this (and Ashby) help get us just a little bit further in that direction. And I consider that to be a good thing. BIMBY!

  • Walt + 2. This is why I bought in Montrose last year…

  • The response to this development has been nothing like the Ashby response. No signs, no bumper stickers. Just a low key web presence for one group and a lot of communication between the community, the City and the developer. The concerns are real. Allston is 18′ wide with open drainage ditches. Will overflow parking from the apartment complex make it difficult/impossible for emergency vehicles to get through Allston? Yale St. now backs up to 6th St. during rush hour thanks to the new feeder and development south of I-10. But, they are going to want to have residents enter the garage on Yale St. Will this grid lock 6th St. and Yale whenever a resident needs to get in or out of the complex? We all know traffic is going to continue to increase in the neighborhood. But there is a big difference between increasing traffic and making an intersection unworkable and dangerous because of poor planning. Showing concern over the latter is not being a NIMBY. It is being a good citizen.

  • I’d love to get one of the units on the top floor so i can see in to people’s backyards. Way in to voyeurism these days.

  • Walt and JD. I hope you remember those thoughts when people get hurt while out on the jogging trail or the children from the largely proportionate single family base get run over with all the increased development beyond what is reasonable. I don’t think the majority are against development at all. They are against the size and scope of this development in the location chosen and the works of the developer to avoid community input as much as possible.

  • we need more luxury apartments with first floor retail. Dont you guys know there are 2397846o82734 new people moving into Houston for the jobs.

  • @ Jarrod –

    That’s called being a bad driver!

  • Old School +1000

    I’d rather single family homes there. They put in a bike path then open Yale up to I-10 thus making it very hard to cross, especially with children. Now they want to add at least 500 more cars within 20 yards of the bike path in the name of urban density? That type of development should be on the service roads of I-10 not tucked in around other peoples houses in a already strained traffic environment.

  • I live in the neighborhood and don’t really see why there is so much angst associated with this development. They’ll add a HAWK signal on the bike trail so we can finally cross Yale during rush hour periods, they’ll help finish the Mars Surface Replica that was supposed to be a park/detention pond, and we’ll have a new entertainment option once I drop off a “Welcome to the Neighborhood” gift and sweet talk the management into giving me the gate code to use the pool. Good timing as I’ve been looking for a place to showcase my new Speedo.

  • Jarrod and JB:
    thats called not watching your children. And joggers jogging blindly through the streets….
    and Old School,
    Definition of GRIDLOCK

    : a traffic jam in which a grid of intersecting streets is so completely congested that no vehicular movement is possible

    hm.hmmmm. people love that word.
    i live over there. no locked grids so far.

    and WALT! +3 !

  • Ron B. – What makes you think the City will approve a HAWK signal? The developer says they’ll pay for one IF the City approves it. I’m guessing they’ve already talked it over with the City and it’s not going to happen.

  • I cross the hike and bike at Yale all the time with no problems. It’s a major artery to the Heights; of course it’s going to have traffic. Have you tried crossing at 11th? It’s much worse.

  • @LudaKris: Look at the plans for the project. Residents returning from work will need to make a left turn from Yale St. just past the 6th st. intersection. That will back people up into the 6th st. intersection as they try to make their way around the guy turning. If there is enough traffic and people enter the intersection of 6th and yale before it clears (people always do that downtown), then you will have cars stuck in the intersection once the light changes and people trying to go on 6th street will be stuck. There is your gridlock.


    TCR is looking at the Pappas land while there is another 300+ apartment that is in the works on the land inbetween 6th and 5th.

    Oh and there was an apartment planned on the YSP land to the south of that, where 4th dead ends.

    Building tomorrows slums today!

  • You live in the 4th most populated city in the US….there is going to be traffic congestion.

    Stop complaining about it.

    If you don’t like it, move.

  • This is hilarious to watch, the thread sounds like someone threw a snake into a chicken coup.

  • They should ban cars from crossing the bike lanes, why just the other day I was ambling lackadaisically down the trail, and as I confidently crossed the street the cars I wasn’t paying any attention to nearly bowled me over! As it was they honked and make a ruckus, it was annoying and I had to grab my iPod and restart the Katy Perry song I was listening to. The same thing happened at 3 other intersections!
    If only this were built, then at least traffic would be so slow in the area I could cross the street without needing to worry about people not paying attention to me not paying attention to them!

  • oh. ok. ?
    guess it will be like the GRIDLOCK around Waugh and W. Gray? …oh wait, that didnt happen yet. like the GRIDLOCK in WEST U because of Ashby? oh, wait, no,no…not yet.
    like the GRIDLOCK on Shepherd and Alabama?…oh wait. no, that isnt really, well, no. oh I know like the GRIDLOCK at …yeah, no.
    Hey! let’s look at that definition again!

  • Some people think it’s the end of their world.Poor darlings.They think Houston is congested live: go live in NYC, LA or even better Mexico City(25 million plus population; that is a crazy place to live. Houston is changing. Adapt and get used it. Maybe even like it.

  • Solution would have been simple if people passed zoning when they had the chance several times in our recent past. Only alternative is to add more street lights to Yale, more speed bumps and stop signs on side streets to slow people who cut through. Also protected left turn signals to aid left turning since there are no middle turn lanes on Yale. While at it, add more cops to enforce traffic laws where pedestrians/joggers/bikers in cross walks have right of way. High density is coming like it or not.

  • @Walt – 2 miles away is in your back yard??? Cut the BS, you’re far away from the affected area lobbing in grenades at the embattled residents. You’d love for the area to be like the Village or Tribeca…do you mean areas that have effective public transportation???? That would certainly change my opposition to this fiasco. I live within 150 feet of this proposed project and must admit to having mixed feelings about it. On the one hand I’d love to no longer have a view of Pappa’s junkyard & truck parking area and have something to block my view of the big power station on Yale, but given the present traffic backups on Yale, the future traffic looks bleak indeed. All of the traffic entering this new complex from the south will have to turn left on 6th street and enter from 6th – the Yale entrance will be structured to only be accessible from the north (not that that will stop people from trying). Drop by Dry Creek one of these weekends when the mobile shoe-store is parked on Yale and imagine the traffic flow with a long line of cars trying to turn left on the only other lane of Yale. LudaKris doesn’t think we understand the definition of gridlock?? it’ll be here for all to “enjoy”. And “no locked grids so far”…ummm, you do realize this project hasn’t been built yet?? Let’s try to keep some logic & common sense in our statements.
    @Benny – “we need more luxury apartments with first floor retail.” – exactly! finally a pro-developer post with some sense! This is exactly what we told TC at the one meeting they deigned to have with the local community. They rejected this outright. The proposed development has no retail whatsoever. Ground floor is all parking garage & leasing office…oh and maybe a couple apartments on the little skinny arm they are building along 6th street to be sure they completely surround the poor lady who dared to not take their buyout offer.

  • @Mako – the 2 mile comment was a jab at the Ashby NIMBY’s who live that far away but still have “Stop Ashby High Rise” signs in their yard. You are correct in that this project will hardly affect me, if at all. With that being said though, the sentiment of my comment would hold true even if it were on my block. As for the mass transit issue noted in your comment; you have a point but, given that we live in a city that was largely constructed with the automobile was envisioned as the primary mode of transportation, the congestion has to come in order to create the will to pay for effective mass transit – sad but true. Lastly, with respect to gridlock (as defined as being cars interlocked in an intersection, thus locking themselves into an immovable grid), there is next to none anywhere in Houston – slow intersections – yes, gridlock – no. Smith at Pease and Milam by the YMCA can come close at 5pm, but that’s about it.

  • I live near this proposed complex. As per usual, old school’s concerns are overwrought and exaggerated. Let them build the apartments. The only way the Heights gets better restaurants , bars and retail is to increase density, a goal made much harder by the silly lot line and historic ordinances.

  • #24 mako:

    @Benny—“we need more luxury apartments with first floor retail.”

    Then, “…..a pro developer post with some sense of humor!”

    There, FIFY

  • Oh no! They’re putting people into the middle of a vibrant city and next to a bike path. Surely they shall perish.


  • If pedestrian crossings were really respected by drivers, there wouldn’t be a problem. At T C Jester and Viking, there is a crosswalk–not protected by a signal or flashing lights–but a crosswalk nonetheless. When my children were young, I took them on the bike trail, my son on his bike with training wheels and my daughter in the bike trailer behind me. Trying to teach my children that the proper way to cross at the crosswalk was to get off of your bike and walk it across. After waiting a while for a safe car-free stretch, we proceeded to cross, and a driver in a pickup who had turned north on TCJ from 43rd came tearing down the road, slowed down in time to not hit us and yell “You f*****g c**t!” at me.

  • I would love to see Yale converted to three lanes; one lane in each direction with a center turn lane, no parking. I think that the flow would improve. Lanes would be a bit wider and we wouldn’t lose any trees.

  • @Bonnie – I wholeheartedly agree. 3 lanes with left turn lane or peak flow setup like Studewood would be great. Turn lane would give pedestrian flow on the bike path a safe spot to pause between the traffic lanes.
    As far as the “gridlock” nit-picking goes, okay you’re right – it hasn’t gotten to that point yet. But do we really want to wait to do something about it until it reaches that extreme? The TIA for this development concluded that no traffic remediation was required because the worst affected intersection in the study, Yale & I-10 was already rated the worst possible F rating and therefore couldn’t get any worse rating. This might make sense legally but for those of us that live here and have to endure this traffic on our way home every day there is a tremendous difference between an F – 5 minute wait at the intersection and an F – 15 minute wait. The local community should have effective input on decisions made by outside parties who will not be directly / personally affected by the outcomes of their decisions. I have a substantial part of my personal wealth tied up in the home I love in the Heights. Trammel Crow’s investors are putting a small portion of their capital to work in an area & project they’ll never see & don’t care about.
    Beyond the typical “I don’t want extra traffic in my neighborhood” type arguments, this location is unusually unsuited for this type of large scale development: This section of Yale is already designated on the major thoroughfare (MTFP) map as needing to be widened, there is no street to the north of the complex – just the bike trail, 6th street to the south is officially a major thoroughfare but is actually a very narrow 2-lane road that dead-ends one block west of the development, Allston street, on the west side of the development, dead-ends less than a block south – the only ingress / egress from this project the already designated substandard Yale and eastward access on 6th.

  • Anyone see the Bicycling Crossing lane markings they put up yesterday for the Hike/Bike Trail? Don’t know if it was already planned or not, hope there is more to come than just stickers in the road.

  • the pappas family owned a substantial portion of that lot originally, and the developer put another couple of lots under contract to square up the lot. this will be the developers’ “crowning achievement” and they have been working on this one for over a year. this is a very good thing. houston needs the housing, and the location here is such that rents will be so massively high as to only allow the most posh of the neo-yuppie-hipster establishment (libtard and non-libtard alike) to be able to live there. So the objectors needa chill down and remember that their precious paradise nestled in Houston is going to be just fine. Everyone remember that it was not too long ago the heights was a derelict ghetto before the hipsters/yuppies found it. So ummm yah there a lot more good here than bad.