Bayou City Rents Drop; A Push for Affordable Housing in Houston

Photo of 2717 Engelke: Patrick Feller via Swamplot Flickr Pool


36 Comment

  • Urban Edge is starting to sound more like Daily Worker every day. Once they start throwing around loaded words like “Fair” and “Imcome class” then forced communal bathroom sharing is not far behind.

  • Arrimus and UH: Realtor-speak run riot? Lee says 50% of UH students live on campus. What he meant to say was 15% (source: UH web site). Lee says no other housing project is directly adjacent to UH. Google Maps says that Bayou Oaks, Cambridge Oaks, Cullen Oaks and Cougar Place are also directly adjacent to UH. Possibly I misunderstand the article.

  • well…. I wonder what the other side of the story is for all those people who got yelled at on their bikes. What really pisses people off (including myself who avidly cycles) is when people on bikes ostensibly make it a point to let everyone know they have as much right to be on the road as an automobile.

  • Doggone it, I got an invitation to take that Kinder “near miss” survey and I meant to take it so I could report all of the near misses I have as a car driver trying to avoid the pedestrians aimlessly jaywalking in the middle of the block or crossing against the light while gazing bovinely at the glowing devices in the palms of their hands. That, and the cyclists riding on the sidewalk (illegal), or against traffic (also illegal), running red lights, etc.
    I have no problem with pedestrians and cyclists who obey the law. The ones that don’t, yeah, they get honked at. Deal with it.

  • @Carl M.: “What really pisses people off (including myself who avidly cycles) is when people on bikes ostensibly make it a point to let everyone know they have as much right to be on the road as an automobile.”
    “ostensibly” – apparently or purportedly, but perhaps not actually.
    You get pissed off when people on bikes do what?

  • Fort Bend County is the most diverse county in the US. Take that, LA Times!

  • I’m all for biking but this is what pisses me off is the following scenario

    on Waugh / Heights I pass a bike who is 30mph slower than the traffic flow,I then stop at a red light…bike goes thru traffic and run red light. I’m now stuck behind bike again.

    Don’t be surprised I’m pissed the second time I have to pass you.

  • @ Memebag: some cyclists try to prevent motorists from passing them by moving toward the lefthand portion of a lane. From my reading of bicycle-advocacy posts, the strategy is two-fold: 1) to demonstrate the cyclist’s equal right to a complete lane in traffic; 2) consequently, to make the motorist consider passing only by moving into an adjacent free lane.
    As a commuting cyclist myself, I think this is dangerous and needlessly antagonistic. My own riding strategy is to take only as much space as I need to safely get where I’m going. Most car-drivers allow me that space, as is legally required, and we get along just fine.
    I recognize that there are car-drivers who don’t like sharing the road with bicycles, and I don’t agree with them, but the idea of expressing my disagreement by steering my 25-pound bicycle into the way of a 2- or 3-ton vehicle is counterproductive and reckless.

  • 5 comments at the time I’m reading this and all of them are about cyclists and pedestrians.
    I’m more interested in the LA Times article about the diversity on Hillcroft. Great article. I just wish the diversity at Wisdom (formerly Lee) Highschool wasn’t treated as a novelty. With students from all over the world, that place should be a go-to place for researchers from UH, Rice, and the other universities who want to talk to people with first hand knowledge of international affairs.

  • @Houstonreader: Yeah, no. On a 7.3 foot wide lane, the bicycle is supposed to stay in the right most 3 feet. The car can’t pass within 3 feet on the side of the cyclist by city ordinance. If the cyclists is in the middle of the right most 3 feet, that leaves only 2.8 feet of the lane for the car to pass. Cars need to get in the next lane or wait their turn.

  • I laugh when I read these “Houston is so diverse” stories. If you take Houston as a whole, and look at the % of mix we have, sure.
    But as someone that owns multifamily, I can tell you that some areas are nearly 100% white, some nearly 100% hispanic, some nearly 100% black. And those locations can be a few miles apart.
    So if diversity is a goal unto itself, don’t pat yourself on the back too quickly.

  • @ZAW, I agree that Wisdom HS is a great place for researchers. Unfortunately, it’s not a great place to send your kid to school. It’s a shame since I’d like to take advantage of the high school my kids are zoned to attend. All of the diversity is to be celebrated but I think many HISD schools are suffering because of it.

  • If you want to see some real Houston diversity, check out Beechnut between 59 and the beltway. All the colors and creeds that the LA times article mentions…. for sale. The new wave of diversity in the oldest profession.

  • I would often “take the lane” when cycling when I felt there was not enough space for cars to safely pass me if I rode as far to the right as possible. In my experience, drivers will almost always try to pass a cyclist who sticks close to the curb, whether it is safe for the cyclist or not.

    In these situations staying close to the center of the lane is not antagonism, it’s simple self preservation. The solution to these problems is to create dedicated bike lanes with enough space for cyclists to safely ride in.

  • I’ve been riding my bike to work from Montrose to downtown for the past 4 years. I take the same route most everyday, which is neighborhood streets until I get to where Webster is one-way. I ride in the lane like it is mine, until a car is behind me and doesn’t have an empty lane for it, then I’ll move out of the way. Better to annoy and be seen, than to try staying out of the way and hoping I don’t get hit. Always ride fast and go through stop signs or red-lights when safe to do so. May piss drivers off, may get honked at, but always more likely to be noticed. Drivers are far less likely to hit what they see.
    Also, what are the laws for bikes in Houston? Does any one know? I’d like to see an education program for drivers and cyclists more than I want dedicated lanes or paths.

  • @ Memebag: your calculations may sound good in theory, but they bear little relevance to reality. Have a better look at Houston streets and see that there is no standard lane width. Most residential streets lack even a median line. In either case, this allows for a car to take more than your supposed standard lane width to get around a bicycle. This happens all the time for the benefit of everybody involved.
    But, just as I said, that can’t happen when a bicyclist moves toward the left side of the lane, and the only purpose served is unreasonable antagonism. And, should you get your wish of making it harder for cars to pass bicycles, then have a look at the comment by “I stop at red lights” to see what you’ll get for it.

  • @GlenW: Visit for all the details on bike laws in Houston.
    @Houstonreader: We aren’t taking the lane for “unreasonable antagonism”, we are taking the lane because not taking it puts us at increased risk. When there isn’t room for a car and a bike, don’t taunt the drivers who don’t understand the 3 foot passing ordinance.
    And I always stop at red lights. I empathize 100% with “I stop at red lights”. That also applies to lane splitting.

  • Cody: that is a good point. Dirk: I agree. It’s sad because educators st the central administration and State level don’t seem to understand or care about the unique challenges facing schools like Wisdom. They don’t provide nearly the funding these schools need to mitigate the problems facing their students: kids who come in not speaking English and two grade levels behind on math. (This is why I’m so pissed off at HISD for willingly sending money back in recapture. Districts like HISD SHOULD be able to use their own money to help schools like Wisdom – whose need is equal to any so-called “property poor” school.).
    And it’s even worse than that because schools like Wisdom, where many of the students are non-native English speakers, are at a natural disadvantage on standardized tests. (It’s really hard to take a test in a language other than your own.). This is a big deal given how important standardized tests are to school ratings.
    Basically, Wisdom HS is set up to fail under Texas law, and that’s why parents like us can’t in good conscience send our kids there.

  • Re cars vs cyclists: even the Tour de France champion is not immune:

  • Wisdom is such a stupid name for a high school. Who in the world came up with that?

  • @ Memebag: You misunderstand my reference to red light’s comment because I also stop at red lights. It’s about not antagonizing drivers, and not about disobeying the law.
    I disagree with your “increased risk” rationale because, in the 15 years I’ve been riding Houston streets, I’ve never experienced what you claim. I don’t hug the curb while riding because it’s hard to do and dangerous, but you seem to claim, in a new argument now, that riding toward the right side of the street tempts drivers to pass closely by. I doubt that.

  • Regarding Top 5 Neighborhoods in Houston to Save Big – Not one of the neighborhoods on the list are in Houston.

  • HISD schools aren’t suffering because of student diversity; they are suffering because like most urban school districts, it is the largest source of political patronage jobs. Too many “connected” administrators consuming resources doing jobs of little value is what takes away funding from teachers and students who need it.

  • @ Jeremiah J Anderson: Margaret Long Wisdom’s parents came up with her name, I would think.

  • @dnaguy – So true, and it’s no secret.

  • @TheNiche her in-laws, but yes, silly comment you’re responding to

  • I ride to the right as much as possible (except for lefts, obviously). It’s much safer and gives motorists maximum room to pass; I figure if I’m clipped then I’ll probably crash over the curb (and not in the middle of the lane). Motorists rarely make full lane-changes anyway. I stop behind the queue of vehicles at red-lights; thus they needn’t pass me a second time (yay for me, too!). I signal when I need to veer leftwards, and sometimes when I’m in traffic and turning right. When I must ride on sidewalks I slow to pedestrian speed; I’ll even hop off and walk my bike at times. Fact is, most sidewalks around here are barely usable, even by pedestrians!
    Curious: I find it safer in Montrose pedaling amuck than in Greenway (for example). I tend to think that more motorists in the Montrose area expect that bikers are around than motorists in Greenway expect (no duh, because there are a lot fewer cyclists in the Greenway area, of course). My point is that this kind of awareness contributes significantly towards biker safety.

  • @TSCON: that’s why the State Legislature want you to think. They are in a race to the bottom for per student education funding – Texas ranks 43rd of 50 – and to dodge reaponaibility, they set up an education funding system that makes so-called “rich” school districts a convenient scapegoat.

  • Wisdom HS is quite diverse, yes. The enrollment is under 1800 students which is tiny compared to other area high schools. The fallback is for every 1 student enrolled, there’s at least 1 1/2 expulsions for the year. So for every kid enrolled, they are potentially suspended or expelled at least once in the year. Not a great track record & hence not where I’m sending my kid. I am zoned there, but transferred my kid to another area school as I don’t want this risk. Yes, half the battle is good parenting, blah blah. But being costantly exposed to discipline problems can often sideline good parenting. Learning a different language & having diverse friends, no problem. In fact, I bet they’d learn a different language a heck of a lot better than the language class they have as part of their curriculum!

  • @Jeramiah Wisdom is actually someone’s last name , and she was a local. Still miles less stupid than Lee. Why would we even name a school after some northerner in the first place?

  • @Houstonreader: In 15 years of riding you’ve never had a car pass within 3 feet of you? It happens to me on most of the days I ride. At least once a week, usually several times a week. I suggest my experience is more typical based on the Kinder survey.
    Just last night a driver passed me less than 1 foot away (TX FPT-0439). This was on a 2 lane road, starting at a light. They could have waited 5 seconds for the car in the left lane to clear and had the entire left lane to themselves. From my perspective that’s “unreasonable antagonism” on the part of the driver.

  • @Cricketty

    This is why it’s disingenuous for the LA Times and Anthony Bourdain to put Wisdom on a pedestal and call it the “future of America” or a model for other schools. It’s great that we’re welcoming all of these disadvantaged kids from around the world, but it’s not like they are graduating with a stellar education. At best, they are learning just enough English and basic skills to get by in the world. There’s got to be another way to both provide the neighborhood kids with quality schools and help the newcomers.

  • @ Memebag: less than 3 feet? Yes, probably, but I can’t say that I know exactly how far out 3 feet is. What I can say, is that I am constantly on guard about the proximity of passing cars—if only because of my instinct for self-preservation—and I’m almost always comfortable. Mind you, I feel that I have plenty of skin in the game because I’ve also put in a lot of miles with my kids in a bicycle trailer.
    I’d be alarmed by a car coming within 1 foot of me while passing, and I can remember something like that happening only rarely. But in such cases, I don’t see that your strategy of moving farther out from the curb as either safe or effective.
    More than that, the passing distance chosen by cars is not my biggest worry when cycling. Instead, it’s intersections—like, somebody pulling out in front of me or making a left in front of me or turning right *while* passing me. Compared to those possibilities, a car passing me with, say, 2.5 feet to spare instead of 3 worries me a whole lot less, so I’m happy to accommodate in such cases.

  • Being a cyclist, attitude or not, doesn’t inoculate you against motorists that crash into themselves at alarming rates 365 days a year. The problem is, god forbid, when they crash into you and it’s not just a boo boo. It’s game over, man. Therefore, stay out’a their way, stay focused and pray for the cop with the radar doohickey (does he have an Inspector Gadget like siren-helmet??).
    FWIW: I’m rarely passed with only a few feet to spare. Motorists don’t honk and yell at me. I’ve never been commanded to use the sidewalk (nor get off it). Most of the time my “near misses” are nothing more unlike what I experience in my car.

  • Push for more entitlement in Houston. Fixed the headline…

    Didn’t even click on Urban Edge. They might misconstrue my web hit as a sign of support.

  • If you’re a bike rider or a walker do WHATEVER you need to do to be safe. It only takes one accident for your life to be forever crippled or worse leave you dead. How many car accidents have you walked away from? How many bike-car accidents have you walked away from? Just look at all the damage to street poles, bollards, and curbs will tell you all need to know if the area is safe or not. I live in midtown and work downtown. The north-south streets are scary due to the traffic doing 35 to 60 mph but it’s the east-west streets that a truly dangerous as drivers are trying to beat the lights b/c they are not timed like the north-south streets so you get a lot of T-bone wrecks and red light running. Also for the right wing nutjobs posting here, I carry a loaded glock, no CCL, CASH ME OUTSIDE.