The 3 People You Meet in Parking Meetings, Plus a Little Nighttime Entrepreneurship in EaDo

THE 3 PEOPLE YOU MEET IN PARKING MEETINGS, PLUS A LITTLE NIGHTTIME ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EADO How’d that first public meeting about changing the city’s off-street parking requirements go? Andrew Burleson reports: “The crowd at the meeting was overwhelmingly comprised of three types of people.

While those voices are pretty common, there was another case that I thought was much more interesting. One person voiced concern that in his neighborhood (East Downtown) there were a large number of abandoned warehouses, and that vagrants were coming to these abandoned properties, setting up a hand-painted sign reading “Event Parking – $5″, ushering cars onto lots they don’t own and charging for it. The Police Department refuses to take action to stop this, because it’s happening on private property and the owner is not available to complain or press charges – and has not filed a no-trespass order. The neighborhood cannot get the absentee owner to respond to the problem, or even communicate with them, so they’re not getting any help from the public sector on the issue.” [NeoHouston; previously on Swamplot]

35 Comment

  • If your biggest problem is people parking in the street and walking to other homes or businesses, then the answer is a permit/tag system for neighborhoods. Several areas in Houston have this and if your car doesn’t have the right tag it is towed.

    As the multitude of problems that will be created or made worse by LRT on Richmond, parking won’t be one since you can’t park on the street anyway (except for maybe on the far east end, but I haven’t seen it).

  • Problems 1&2 drive me absolutely nuts. If people want to live in a cosmopolitan urbane area, then they need to put up with a little congestion! I live in the Montrose area and Friday/Saturday street parking is hellish (and I don’t have off street parking for my apartment) – but hey, there’s a reason I live here instead of Sugarland! I’m not against permit parking per se, but if so, I believe the city should make it expensive enough to raise revenues!

    I wonder what these nimby close minded neighbors would do given that choice of true market rate vs free-for-all off street parking.

    And for the people who charge for parking on vacant lots, there are a few guys who do that here in the Montrose area…but as far as I can tell, the dudes who do it in my area keep a good eye out and I suspect my neighborhood is a bit safer on these crazy nights for their service. If the owners aren’t complaining, I appreciate their regularity and familiarity with my area. For one thing, they’ve helped keep me from getting my car towed by pointing out danger spots (and no, I’ve never had to park on their lots, for free or pay).

  • The lots in the Montrose area that offer pay for parking service are generally already owned by nearby establishments, are leased by them, or have agreements to used the land after daytime business hours.

    Montrose is one location that has permit parking along Avondale street. Since it’s one block from Westheimer, the tow trucks keep busy.

  • if they start taking away more public parking on the streets (ie. implementing a permit system), then the city will truly deserve every expletive i can think of. with the way parking is, a lot of times you have to park on random streets to get to a friends place or business.

    parking and crime are not the same thing and should not be treated as such.

    maybe they should just enforce the same rule for houses that they do for businesses, every home has to offer off-street parking for each apt. just imagine how much nicer the montrose will look when everyone has a paved front yard like all the townhomes.

  • and avondale is a huge scam/money maker for the city. a lot of those signs aren’t noticable from all the different ways to park on the street and to folks not familiar with the area they probably have no clue anyways.

    the signs are at least noticable on lovett, but there’s absolutely no reason parking should be restricted there.

  • I’m amused by people who get so mad at those who park on Public streets.

  • I don’t think people are mad that others are parking in public streets. The are mad when those who park there come back drunk throwing up in their yards, knocking over mail boxes and street signs, blocking driveways, parking on both sides of narrow streets so fire trucks and ambulances can’t reach homes. Welcome to the streets immediately by Washington Ave.

  • I get mad when, people park illegally on public streets, example, is the intersection of Colquitt & Roseland. After Hanson built his latest building on the corner of Montrose & Colquitt. There are a lot of visitors to the office building, they park all the way to the stop sign, in front of the fire hydrant, on the corner of the street. Everything is clearly marked, they risk getting a ticket, many do, but the parking never gets better. This makes the intersection hard to get through, and increases the change of a accident.

  • What is with people who are irate when someone parks in front of their house? We have one on my block – he’s nuts, he’ll come out holding a baseball bat and scream at people if they park in front of his house. Note that normally there are about three cars parked on the street on our block in the Heights.

    Permit parking is reasonable when there are so many cars that residents cannot park reasonably near their homes. There are precious few times and places where this happens in Houston.

    On Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, however, the street was filled (there’s a church two blocks away). OH NO! When I looked out the window, there was a car in front of my house! The horror!

  • I agreed with John above, people need to chill out about people parking in front of there house, as long as they obey the law.
    I did have one neighbor, leave his car parked along the side of my house, for three weeks. It was ticketed, & towed. I understand that his car was needing repair, and he didn’t have the $$, or maybe he lazy.
    The city can mark the tires of cars, that have not moved for 24hrs, then ticket them & towed them.

  • The nerve of those people, parking on streets paid for by taxpayers!

    If the problem is with the 2:05 AM douchebags stumbling out of bars and causing a ruckus, that’s disordlery conduct and property damage for the police, not a parking problem. If people don’t want a bar in their neighborhood, there’s always *gasp* zoning or threatening to protest the renewal of the establishment’s liquor license.

  • privatized, market-priced curbside parking in combo with residential permits.

  • Permit-only parking should be illegal. These are public streets, and the COH should not have the authority to privatize them for the benefit of a self-selected few (who bitch the most to their councilmembers and sign a petition). It is wrong. NewFlash: Just because you live on a street doesn’t make it YOUR street. It’s OUR street, and as long as I am driving, biking, walking, or parking legally on it, I should be able to use it any time I damned well please.
    Next, these same losers will want Permits to use the sidewalks on “their” streets or to use the Public Parks in “their” neighborhoods, and who knows what’s next. I’m so tired of the whiners and complainers in this town I could just spit(as my Granny used to say), and I was born and raised here.
    Maybe a good old-fashioned lawsuit against the city will put a wrinkle in this issue?

  • “Permit-only parking should be illegal. These are public streets, and the COH should not have the authority to privatize them for the benefit of a self-selected few”

    That’s utter nonsense.

    Plenty of parking regulations are designed to optimize use of public space. For example, parking meters with time limits are designed to provide for constant turnover of spots throughout the day for the benefit of nearby businesses; handicapped parking spaces limit parking for those with special requirements; etc. If you have a neighborhood where lack of parking near homes becomes a serious problem, it’s reasonable to provide some kind of restrictions.

    Moreover, there are plenty of other public services and properties that have residence requirements. You don’t get to go to a city’s schools if you don’t live there. Where I grew up, there were parking restrictions based on residency near the oceanfront. The town dump was not available for non-residents to use. Etc.

    There’s nothing magical about streets that places them outside the realm of ordinary restrictions.

    Permit parking guarantees nobody a space, and privatizes nothing; it’s simply a reasonable measure to maintain quality of life for a neighborhood’s residents.

    (When I lived in Boston, which has an extensive permit system, there were several neighborhoods in which the number of permits given out (they were free, but you had to prove you really lived in the zone) was more than twice the number of on-street parking places. No guaranteed perk there, just preference in the hunt for whatever spots were available.)

  • “When I lived in Boston…”

    Gee John, none of your arguments have any relevance to the issue’s here. I have friends in Boston who have paid $80K for a single parking space because parking is so rare in their neighborhood. Parking restrictions exist in cities like that because enough parking does not exist. The Bostonians I know would find the “issue” here to be laughable. I’ve been to a dozen public meetings in the last several years in Houston about public parking and permit parking and not once did anyone claim that the problem was parking their personal vehicle near their own home. Not once.
    The issue is always people assuming that they have some special rights to the street that they live on. The issues almost always involve guest/patrons of bars, restaurants, or clubs parking on “their” streets. It has been blown out of proportion every time; near Shepherd and Richmond; in various parts of Montrose, Midtown; and now the Washington Corridor. Funny, I lived a block from a church whose members “invaded” local streets several times a week, and were often rude, blocked driveways, etc., but no one tried to prevent them from using the public streets. Why should the patrons of other businesses have their rights to use the same public streets diminished?
    Unlike Boston, NY, or SFO, it is not about a true lack of parking spaces, nor is it even a 7-day per week problem here. It’s just a warped sense of entitlement. It isn’t even a long-term problem, because the club scene ALWAYS moves on. What doesn’t move on after the clubs are gone are these dumb parking restrictions. There are still streets all over Montrose with parking restrictions in place where no parking issue survives – providing nothing more than a revenue stream for tow truck drivers and impound lots.
    At its worse, the “problems” in the Washington Corridor, where I happen to live, are incredibly minor; are only an issue a couple nights a week; and will certainly diminish in time. No one in my neighborhood has a problem parking their personal vehicle a la Boston. Some nutcases simply believe, truly believe, that “their” street should be off-limits to the rest of us, simply because they want it that way. I’ll agree that they might be inconvenienced on a Saturday night by having to maneuver through a street full of cars to get home, but big deal, that is not enough to grant them privatized use of the street 24/7 in lieu of my right to use the same public street.

  • Permit parking is great!! We have it all over Rice Military now and it has really cut down on bar patron parking on the weekends. Take notice bar hoppers, if you are parked on a street in Rice Military from 10pm – 5am Wed – Sunday you will be ticketed and towed. City personnel drive the area constantly ticketing and towing illegal vehicles. This past Saturday night a car was ticketed and not 5 minutes later another car pulls up and parks behind it. The two Ed Hardy wearing idiots couldn’t see the No Parking sign clearly posted 2 feet in front of their pick up truck. Fortunately for them the individual that just got ticketed returned to his car and advised the Ed Hardy idiots that if they leave their car it might get ticketed and towerd. Ed Hardy and his idiot friend Dick Hardy drove off upset searching for some legal parking. Always makes me smile!

  • LOL!

    Ed Hardy = douchebag marker.

  • RMDUDE, An adult who has ‘dude” in his moniker complaining about douchebags is kinda pathetic. Anyway, thanks for providing evidence to support my experience that Parking Permits are not issued in Houston to resolve Parking problems, but to pacify obnoxious NIMBYs who think the streets belongs to them.

    Posts like yours are great ammunition in the upcoming fight against this nonsense. It ain’t over, DUDE.

  • Bring the fight..bring it bring it. And by the time it’s even remotely over the Washington bar scene will have moved on and the need for residential permit parking will be gone. What’s funny is I have private parking for SIX automobiles and if a car is parked on a street without the correct permit, who ya gonna call..bad boys bad boys…who ya gonna call. HAHAHA……

  • The issue in Rice Military exists because the streets are narrow, curbless in most cases, and have little free space for a guest to park due to an excess of townhome driveways cuts. Add the drunk factor from the clubs to drainage ditches/swales that are prevalent and it got a little messy. Why shouldn’t the people that live there have space for their guests?
    For the blowhard that is outraged that the city streets he has a god given right to are now permit only, go down to City Hall and rail at Annise and company to not allow high density redevelopment until the streets are widened, upgraded and properties cannot cover 90% of a lot. Then go throw yourself on the floor at Urban Living and demand that they not charged $7-$10 to park in their lots. Then your problem will be solved.

  • Other John:
    the extent of the Boston example was to show that permit parking is not some kind of parking guarantee. That’s it. other than that, i was only taking issue with the idea that there is something illegitimate about parking permits (but not parking meters, or no parking zones, or handicapped parking), which is just moronic.

    The Boston example was one small piece of my post, so to label the whole thing “irrelevant” is pretty stupid.

    I actually agree with you that there’s no place in Houston that merits resident permit parking. But not because the idea is unacceptable, but simply because there’s no real shortage.


  • John,

    You wrote: “i was only taking issue with the idea that there is something illegitimate about parking permits (but not parking meters, or no parking zones, or handicapped parking), which is just moronic.”

    Well, we agree and disagree on different aspects of this issue. I happen to think that Parking Permits as applied in Houston are in no way comparable to parking meters, or no parking zones. Meters apply to all equally. No Parking zones are generally applied for traffic or public safety reasons and also apply to all.
    Parking Permits in Houston have nothing to do with public safety, traffic regulation, nor in fact, do they have anything to do with relieving parking shortages; as you noted, shortages don’t actually exist. Houston Permits artificially CREATE parking shortages by reducing the inventory of available spaces in a given area.
    Permits in Houston are awarded to a self-selected group based on no real data to support their implementation other than some forms and petitions. This is absurd. It is nothing more than privatizing public property to a bunch of squeaky wheel NIMBYs.
    It’s your right to consider my point of view to be stupid and moronic. I stand by it. I’d rather see parking meters all over the Washington Corridor that everyone who wants to park on the street would be able to use, local resident or not, than to see permit zones that restrict the use of public property to a self-chosen few.

  • FYI the meetings are about off street parking req’s. It only obfuscates the real logistical issues to bring the off topic Teabaggery to public meetings.

  • “Permits in Houston are awarded to a self-selected group based on no real data to support their implementation other than some forms and petitions”. This statement is complete BULL. Once a petition is filed for permit parking, the city parking commission conducts SEVERAL (in case of RM – 4 weeks worth) of surveys where they monitor the area for excessive parking and only then determines if any area is suitable for residential permit parking based on non-residential parking and safety concerns created by excessive (illegal) street parking (i.e. emergency vehicles not being able to get to a resident’s home.

  • RMDUDE, that’s hilarious. You should be a comedy writer, or not.

  • Really, because I personally witnessed the surveys being conducted. Just because a petition is submitted does not guarantee permit parking will be approved. In fact, there were certain streets that were against permit parking. Unfortunately for them the city did their surveys (including street width) and determined that some of them are not suitable for any parking so they became No Parking Anytime streets.

  • John, are you a resident in an area that has been designated permit parking or are you just a ‘transient’ that is upset because there is no free parking available when you go to Brixx to ‘get your drink on’?

  • Let it be known that the city’s reason for enacting the permit parking particularly for the Rice Military area has little to do with the residents complaints of other people parking in front their homes. That’s what started the inquiry, but the the real problems from out of control parking on many of these streets is due to inaccessibility of emergency vehicles. On nights where there are cars everywhere, an ambulance and/or fire truck cannot pass. This is a critical issue and the parking restriction and permit process helps free up the streets.

    I’m considering pushing for this to occur on many streets in Cottage Grove. The METRO bus can barely make it through many areas and ambulances and fire trucks are wider. The parking problem is not from other businesses, but instead, many of the new homes having three cars to a home. I don’t think we would have to go to permit parking, but signage restricting to one side of the street would greatly help. Potentially even making some of the long streets one-way would make it even better.

  • KJB434…agreed. If you see vehicles parked across from each other that would prevent emergency vehicles from making it down the street, just call HPD and one of the two vehicles will be towed.

  • “From RMDUDE:

    John, are you a resident in an area that has been designated permit parking or are you just a ‘transient’ that is upset because there is no free parking available when you go to Brixx to ‘get your drink on’?”
    DUDE, I happen to live just a couple blocks behind Brixx and the other 4 bars on that block. I’m not a patron of any of them; my 20’s were a long time ago and it’s not my scene. I deal with the traffic and parking every weekend, but it’s not as big a deal as you NIMBY’s make it out to be. As you mentioned, it will pass. Houstonians don’t yet have a clue what real parking problems are.
    Have you always had such a bad attitude? Why is someone a “transient” who comes into the neighborhood? Do you never leave your neighborhood; do you consider yourself a transient when you ever park on streets outside your neighborhood or does that title only apply to “other” people? And why shouldn’t there be free parking when people go to Brixx or any other business?
    There’s a steel shop and a fence company in our neighborhood. Their employees and customers use free street parking every day. The people who attend the churches around here use free street parking every Wednesday and Sunday. Does that bother you too? They are called public streets for a reason. What don’t you understand about the word “public”?
    Where does your warped sense of entitlement come from?

  • kjb434, you have been drinking the koolaid. If you believe what you wrote, then you are far more gullible than I would have imagined. Your explanations are the official position; there has to be one afterall, but they are bunk.
    If traffic safety, and public safety, and the passing ability of emergency vehicles were the overriding reasons for these Permits, then nearly ALL of Cottage Grove, most of the West End, half of the Houston Heights, and more would have them.

    These permits have been about shutting up whiners, and letting HPD off the hook for enforcing already existing regulations since they first took off around the Shepherd Plaza area in the 80’s. I worked for the COH for nearly 10 years. NOTHING you can tell me will change what I know to be true.
    Instead of enforcing laws, rebuilding streets to accommodate the exploding population and density in 77007, or of modifying outdated suburban oriented parking codes, the COH just decided to offer more and more permits. It’s governing at its worse.

  • Uhhh, kgbkgb? Metro buses, ambulances, and fire trucks are ALL 8’6″ wide. This is the maximum federal width for any vehicle which does not carry an OVERSIZE LOAD sign.

    Buses stopped being 8′ years ago because of ADA requirements for a wider central aisle.

  • John,

    How do you magically plan to rebuilt these street so the are wider?

    Most of the streets also don’t have enough right of way since they are only 50′ wide versus 60′ like normal new neighborhood streets.

    The City of Houston commissioned a pilot study on Kansas St in Cottage Grove performed by AECOM (formally TC&B) to determine various alternatives to deal with drainage and parking in heavily gentrified neighborhoods like Cottage Grove and Rice Military.

    The ultimate solution is to curb and gutter the streets and utilize storm drainage. versus roadside ditches. The maximized street will will allow parking on both sides and emergency vehicle access. This cost is astronomical and is not something developer pick up. If they were required to pick up this cost, development would be greatly stifled. Development that does occur would be large McMansions where the developer can recoup the costs. The other problem you run into is that there are many developers building homes. It would be a nightmare to do the accounting to see who pays for what.

    The width and turning ability of METRO buses, Fire Trucks, and Ambulances is a big deal. METRO buses routinely stop on Kansas St and honk their horns until someone comes out to move a car that makes it impossible for them to pass. Even without parked cars, turning on the streets is a big challenge for buses and large trucks.

    Much of it could be taken care of with signage to have parking on one side of the street without the use of permits in Cottage Grove. Rice Military near Washington Ave is another beast because much of the parking on the street is not from residents or church goers on Sunday morning. The city could also face a big lawsuit from a home owner who’s house burned down or died because the Fire Truck or Ambulance couldn’t reach the home.

    Without and technical parking restriction in place, the cops can have vehicles towed right now if the passage of emergency vehicles is impaired. This usually only occurs at a request of residents. At minimum, signage could reduce this problem. Permits is the more extreme end, but sometimes is needed.

    The public street is not your parking lot when you potentially put the lives of other at danger.

  • JOHN, since you like street parking so much, there is another BIG bar opening just one block West of Taps on Washington. That will just add more street parking and congestive streets on YOUR side of Washington Avenue.

  • “From RMDUDE:

    JOHN, since you like street parking so much, there is another BIG bar opening just one block West of Taps on Washington. That will just add more street parking and congestive streets on YOUR side of Washington Avenue.”
    DUDE, I know. It doesn’t bother me one bit. It’s two nights a week, and as you said, it won’t last. Why are you so hung up on what others do? Why do you care who parks on a street? I choose to live in the BIG CITY where there are OTHER PEOPLE. Why don’t you move to Sugarland/Katy/Pearland in a gated community where no “transients” are allowed before your head explodes? I’ve got news for you, the inner city is not getting less dense and crowded. It’s only getting more so, and better in my opinion. I happen to love city life.

    If you actually believe that the parking issues around here are serious, then should I assume you’ve never lived in or been to a real big city. You are going to have real problems dealing with the future Houston.
    Seriously, can you please explain why you are so obsessed with preventing other people from parking legally on public streets? I don’t get it. Please don’t respond with all that crap about people blocking driveways or pissing in yards; that’s what HPD is for. So, what is your deal?