Parking Hazard: A Brief Guide to Available Spaces off West Alabama

Continuing his commentaries on city off-street parking requirements, blogger Andrew Burleson takes a snapshot of parking conditions near the often-crowded corner of West Alabama and Hazard. To the east: the little 8-parking-space head-in strip center that houses Candylicious, Retro Gallery, and The Chocolate Bar. To the west: Erick’s Auto Center.

Among Burleson’s startling finds: On a weekday evening, actual empty parking spots appear to be available in front of The Chocolate Bar! But what’s going on down the street?


Even with 20 more off-street spaces than the city requires, Erick’s looks like it’s still hungry for more places to park:

Erick’s makes a habit of parking cars up and down Hazard Street, to the point that there’s rarely an available space on Hazard while the shop is open. Not only do they park cars on the street, but they routinely block the driveways of the Condo building behind the shop, as well as the Chinese Antique store across Hazard Street (photo below). Most interesting of all, they frequently send mechanics to work on the cars while they are parked on the street!

Photos: Andrew Burleson

18 Comment

  • That center attracts more oblivious jackasses
    (in from West U.?) than any strip center I pass inside the Loop.

    That’s not some pissant alleyway you’re blundering out into, people – it is a major street (W. Alabama).

    I have seen morons BACKING DOWN Alabama the wrong way for hundreds of yards because they didn’t see their destination the first time.

    Or, cone in hand, they proceed to back out blindly, stopping traffic, then drive 15 mi/hr. down the street indefinitely.

    Truly among the rudest, most (incidently) obese
    collection of self-absorbed drivers I see anywhere inside the Loop.

    Drunks leaving W. Ala. Ice House are models of decorum by comparison.

    I routinely try to shock these selfish dunderheads with rapid acceleration, hard braking, flashing brights, etc.. Why lower myself to their level? I don’t.
    1) I’m paying attention and will not cause a wreck (they don’t know that) and -mostly-
    2) I want to see that double-dip wind up in Mr./Ms. Oblivious’ lap.

  • It can be really fun to turn south on Driscoll there, too – narrow, pot-holed road with the bumpers of parked cars taking up a large chunk of it. Actually, I say road, but it’s more like a quilt of asphalt patches. Plus there always seems to be a UPS truck sitting there

  • as an occasional bike rider, i hate: 1. the entire area within 1,100 feet of the chocolate bar and wh ice house at night. 2. whataburger at westheimer and edloe in the mornings. drivers with food are a menace.

  • On the Driscoll side of the Chocolate Bar, the Chocolate Bar’s dumpster sits in public right of way, but does the city do anything? NO…. Plus the owner of the Chocolate Bar parks his vehicle in the No Parking Zone everyday, right behind the dumpster… must be paying off the cops with chocolate.. The City needs to cite both the Chocolate Bar and Calico Corners for their dumpsters….what a welcome site as you drive in the neighborhood…

  • Have you called the City at 311 to alert them to the situation?

    My experience with the City has been quite good. Some dipshit developer or townhouse owner on Nolda Steet (just east of TC Jester) thought it would be a good idea to install two speed bumps on a public street to slow down traffic in front of the newly built townhouses. One call to 311 was all it took. Twenty-four hours later a couple of City trucks pull up and the speed bumps are gone within 15 minutes. I was quite impressed.

  • Get rid of that garage cum junk yard at the corner of Hazard and West Alabama and there would be a lot fewer parking problems in that area.

  • Don’t forget a couple blocks away there is that snooty little coffee shop Brazil, and that guy(Dan?) has no parking lot at all. He relies on Winlow Place for parking, outdoor restrooms, and open air trash disposal.

  • Erick’s does excellent work at a reasonable price and they have been a part of this neighborhood for a long time. Erick is a graduate of Lanier Jr. HS and a fixture in Winlow Place. He and son Aldo perform a very valuable service to the area.

  • Brasil is a cherished local institution and was the first coffee shop in all of Montrose. The area around Brasil likely has one of the highest walkability scores in Houston.

  • I have written and called 311 many times… they finally put in a no parking sign, but thats all… I like the Chocolate bar and feel the problem their dumpster and the City street being too narrow, dumpsters in the right of way, no sidewalk on one side, and bad sidewalks on the other side. The Chocolate Bar fenced the front side of their dumpster so customers don’t see it from the front, but we get to see it in all its glory in the neighborhood…

  • “Brasil is a cherished local institution and was the first coffee shop in all of Montrose.”

    A cherished institution? By the neighbors, not so much.

    And Smoot was brewing jo at the Empire Cafe while Brazil was still a lawnmower shop.

  • Why are we attacking the Chocolate Bar and Brasil? So what if their customers park on the neighborhood streets? Do you own those streets? What gives you the right?

  • I think there’s a nice tidy suburb somewhere just callin’ out to markd.
    For the rest of us, Brasil and the Chocolate Bar are part of what makes our neighbohood so desirable. I wow my out of town friends — and suburban Houstonites too– by walking them around to Brasil, Menil, Chocolate Bar. That can’t believe this is Houston.

  • I know someone who used to live right behind The Chocolate Bar and now lives right behind Rudyards. She says that people drunk on chocolate are actually louder.

  • I back out right in front of people when I’m leaving this place all the time. I get tired of waiting for someone to let me out and finally just force them to stop. Crash into me if you want.

  • Hey, Ms. Mandell, just reporting the facts from this side, ma’am, as they relate to the article.

    Life in north Winlow Place, behind (y)our cherished institutions(which makes my neighborhood so desirable to you and your sub-urban guests).

    How do you all like the Poison Girl?

  • markd, you are kidding right?
    The Poison Pen Reading Series is one of the most authentically cool things to have ever happened within walking distance.
    You go, Poison Girl…….

  • I can’t miss out on this. Erick’s is awesome. Far better than the ripoff mechanics at the place on Woodhead and Westheimer.

    I’ve been going to Brasil since it opened, and I only go there anymore because I feel like I have no other choice for something I can easily walk to. The food is average at best, but it’s the tradeoff for convenience. I will never understand why people drive more than 5 minutes to go there. I wish it was Rudyard’s instead.