How About Washington Ave Jitney Rapid Transit?

HOW ABOUT WASHINGTON AVE JITNEY RAPID TRANSIT? It’s not as well-designed or well-funded as the Post Oak Bus Rapid Transit that Uptown’s got in the works, but Houston Wave owner Lauren Barrash thinks her jitney service could work for the Washington Corridor in a similar way: Having located about 900 available parking spots in city lots nearby, Barrash is proposing a kind of park-and-ride deal for Washington Ave visitors and employees to get to and from their destinations — and all for a small, even discounted fee. For one thing, Barrash tells Culturemap, it might be safer than walking late at night. But it also might stir things up again after what appears to be a lull in the action ever since those revenue-generating Parking Benefit District meters went into effect in early March. Says Barrash, “There were no cars on Washington at all that first week.” [Culturemap; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Houston Wave via Facebook

16 Comment

  • The more I read about this area and it’s problems the more I think it will become this generation’s “Richmond Strip”.

  • No need to use future tense there, Walker.

  • People could have said the same thing about downtown or Midtown. Yet neither ever, truly, became the new Richmond Strip.

  • If it does become the next “Richmond Strip”, at least it will be on a smaller scale.

  • I think Midtown has more of a shot at some type of “relative permanence” but Washington Ave is certainly well situated. However, it was a victim to Houston’s lack of regulation and planning.

  • “Houston Wave” is in full PR mode.

  • Midtown will always having staying power because the street grid is directly tied to Downtown’s (and the rail goes through it). Washington Avenue has always been a strip off to the side and there isn’t anything special about it. Almeda (or another similar type of road) could easily take Washington’s place. I hope Washington turns for the better, but I think the area is drastically overpriced and people will one day be underwater in that location.

  • You guys are crazy. Washington Avenue is perfectly situated close to downtown and is a major thoroughfare for accessing some of the “hottest” (ugh, too much HAR reading) real-estate markets in Houston. How it’s still thought of by some solely as a place to go drink while wearing a tight shirt with birds and swirly junk on it is beyond me … maybe five years ago it was. It’s between Buffalo Bayou, the Heights, Memorial Park, and downtown. Sure, residential infill gentrification hasn’t taken the best forms in some areas, with one-off townhome developers controlling much of the “look” of certain areas, but the rapidly-increasing population density combined with the age and income of the people living along the Washington Corridor, in addition to the wide-open possibilities for commercial development along Washington Avenue itself make for an area that’s not doomed to become Richmond, the development of which is really apples and oranges compared to Washington. If we’re talking about failure meaning the inability to be “a place just to drink/party,” then I welcome its failure.

  • @Jason C has it right. It’s amusing to hear all of the talk about Wash. Ave. becoming the next “Richmond Strip.” Ever since Washington became popular, people have made this quip. But it is simply not true. For one, it’s a different time and completely different location. It is a major thoroughfare in the inner loop, and close to many popular and affluent residential areas. If it ceases to be a clubby/trendy destination, then all the better, since that is in all likelihood not the best use for the area. The surrounding areas have experienced large growth and will continue to densify. Washington’s future will not be determined by the clubby bar scene, nor should it. It is a prime location for mixed use–restaurants, more casual bars, and residential. Houston is BIG, growing at a fast pace, and increasingly becoming populated by a younger generation who don’t want to live in the ‘burbs. Areas like Washington will simply not revert back to their old ways and become “the next Richmond strip.” The market will not let that happen.

  • Brian, I agree about Midtown, but I think Washington Avenue is special in terms of what’s around it and where it’s going—it’s a natural corridor through and to places of enduring interest and value. There’s nothing faddish about Memorial Park or the Heights or the Bayous or downtown. I think we have to wait for a more thorough infill of the north side of the corridor between Washington and I-10, including the train tracks—which is happening rapidly—before we can prognosticate about its future.

  • I’m with Jason – this area might actually become a great place to LIVE, and I think you can argue it already is. The Washington “scene” is already dead and good riddance. Let’s focus should be on rebuilding the area’s infrastructure. I can’t imagine paying $500k for a townhouse with an open drainage ditch in the front yard and crumbling 13 ft roads. Only in Houston.

  • It’s a matter of time, once the Affliction wearing Doucheoisie is chased off, the area might become tolerable to live in, even a couple of blocks away.

  • re: JB3’s comment – what would a homeowner need to do to get the ball rolling on the city coming in and widening at least the main roads and putting in enclosed drainage and curbs etc?

  • To be clear, I don’t think it will turn into a dump. I just think the area has plateaued and will hold steady. Proximity to Memorial Park isn’t that great unless you live right by the park and walk. Otherwise, it still requires getting in a car and parking. As the thrown-up townhomes age and the scene has moved elsewhere, people are going to question whether living in a hood with narrow streets, rare parking, older townhomes, a train track through the middle, and awkward access into Downtown is really worth 400k+. Those with that kind of money to spend on a townhome are going to want to be near the action.

  • @Jason C & @thedudeabides are 100% correct in their assessments of the area. As an owner of property on Washington which previously housed a ‘club’, the ‘clubby/trendy’ scene is already going by the wayside and the area is maturing. More national retailers and restaurants are showing interest in the area which ultimately is more ‘user-friendly’ for the neighborhood. It will not be another ‘Richmond Strip’… the demographics are too strong, the proximity to Downtown, Memorial Park, the Heights…. I fighting tooth and nail to get more property in the area because its going to continue to do nothing but improve.

  • So, if the club scene is going away, who’s going to pay to park at the new meters which only operate at night?