Development in the Heights (Full Video)

A compilation of Pete’s walk around this new development in the Heights’ Walmart. Make your own judgement, but don’t you think the City could do better?

See each clip of Pete’s walk here: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5

9 responses to “Development in the Heights (Full Video)

  1. Getting mad doesn’t help your case much – it seems to lead you into bringing up too many things that you can get shot down on. Roads and sidewalks are typically built, then “given” to the City – which then takes over the upkeep… Except there is no budget to keep up the sidewalks; not even the free ones. As for making “improvements,” those trickle in as grants are asked for and given to build wheelchair ramps and such. Take note: if you want to talk about “rip offs” then calculate the price of the dirt plus the price of concrete forms and construction, times the number of hundreds of miles of sidewalk there are in Houston – then you’ll have a multi-billion dollar example of PUBLIC infrastructure being misused and abused. Multi-billions in assets ruined and wasted. Meanwhile, many people are too fat, too worried, too “stuck” for things to get better… while most of the other people think, STILL, that they own the sidewalk in front of their homes and businesses; so they can park all over them. If they did own them individually, I’d be glad to (a) get the tax from “their” extra property, and, (b) compel them to clean up and repair “their” sidewalk. Try tossing a few more of those apples into your talks and see if you get more interest.. Not to mention, “You know, the more people can get out of your way, the faster you can drive.” (Win-win, anyone?)

    • Thanks for the good suggestions:
      1) I’m not really mad, mostly disappointed in the City – no effective enforcement.
      2) Actually, property owners are responsible for building and maintaining sidewalks on their street frontages.
      3) The main sidewalk funds the City has available are federal grants for “safe routes to schools” – very limited.
      4) With the public monies spent on the Walmart site area, a modern city with modern standards can and should do much better.
      This actually put the Public Works Department on notice and has gotten a positive reaction from key City Officials.

  2. 1) You sound mad, in general, in the videos; one “obvious” complaint after another with no copy of the plans where you can say, “See, they left this out. See, this is the law here. See, I’m not upset, just looking to see this put right… ” You name no city officers who are in charge and you site no specific laws or codes to hold them accountable to. You offer complaints and only “somebody oughta do something” “solutions” – without naming who, according to what, why, when, or, how.

    2) As a (multi) property owner (residential) for thirty plus years, I am NOT responsible for building the sidewalk in front of my house. Like most people (and most sidewalks you’ll ever walk on), it was already there. As for maintaining it, define “maintain” and MAKE ME do a damn thing. I’m not against your efforts Pete, but what you say here is insupportable by observed action in real life.
    3) The “main sidewalk funds…” What…? The City owns all the sidewalks next to the streets – every cubic inch of the land from the back part of the sidewalk to the center of the street is city property. It’s a City asset (and, an expensive one) as much as the street, the street lights, the street signs, the painted strips at the intersection. This weak “dodge” that there are no funds for sidewalk installation or repair is just a lack of willingness until “Baby Jane” busts her head open, or, “Grandma Jones” falls and can’t get up. Now, of course the City can’t be sued (not strictly true), but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be sued to compel decent performance on, at least, these health and safety issues related to safe passage, exercise, and recreation. Where are “our” rights, for example, according to attractive nuisance statues, as in “It looked like a great day for a walk – and I got hurt!” ?
    4) Woulda, coulda, shoulda, oughta… Wah-wah-wah. That horse is out of the barn. You’ll have to wait, it seems, until another barn gets built so that, this time, you can insist on decent sidewalks and foot traffic planning, etc. – and so they can ignore you because, after all, the sidewalks all over the City are crummy, so why shouldn’t they just build to the defacto standard? “Why pick on us, Pete? We’re not doing any worse than anybody else ever does!” The retailers, and or retail center, by the way, or, even the neighborhood associations, could make a few curb cuts, petition for a crosswalk, etc. But, that would take an preexisting general agreement that people – including people exercising, going to see a friend, people running a simple errand, kids and old people – should be treated as well in the public walking space as delivery trucks, soccer moms, shoppers, and, joy riders are on the “main roads” and that some of us are willing to even things up for everybody’s benefit. It does no good, as I’ve said before, to ignore sidewalks until you hit some “dope” walking in the road… Or, to be that “dope” the one day your car doesn’t start, you have a flat, or, you just decide to see what using your legs is like…

    • I’m just going to touch on a few points:
      1. In reference to ownership of the sidewalks, I’m just explaining what City policy is – which I do not agree with.
      2. I agree with your comment as to the “lack of willingness” until someone gets hurt. The City should have a “walkable sidewalks” fund with a reliable source of revenues, like a small part of the motorvehicle sales tax.
      3. As for the “woulda, coulda, shoulda…” The Public Works Department is not doing its job in properly reviewing plans and enforcement through inspections in the field. We are pressing the Mayor to adopt a “Complete Streets” policy which gives pedestrians and bikers rights just like cars.

      • 1) I am only aware that the City’s policy is to pretend there is nothing that “they” can do about sidewalks. Yet, it’s just thin concrete – it’s not like building an airport, a train line, or, a road network – and keeping them in good condition. No, it’s EASIER. So, it is TOO easy to be rewarding? If you need a challenge, try growing hair when you’re bald…
        2) Metro, as part of it’s mass mobility plan, should jump on repairing any sidewalk within 1/2 miles of a bus stop – in any direction from a bus stop. How can I (Why would I…?) ride mass transit if I HAVE to drive to the mass transit stop to get there clean, dry, and safe?
        3) The clever thing about “Complete Streets” is that you can ask a car driver, “How would you feel about getting these non-drivers out of YOUR way?” and then offer, “You know, IF they could use another route, like a sidewalk or bike path, that would be pretty cool, wouldn’t it?” It’s surprising how often someone says: “Damn straight! Those idiots…”

      • From the Houston Chronicle – see the article link below. It’s about how things don’t work because they’re MADE unworkable. It’s not that it’s not known what “good” and “better” is… The “good” and “better” just get undone. Note how “variances” become “standards” and how those “new standards” take the “civil” out of (city) life. It’s all about the money of course; but, about MAKING money and creating a denser tax base – for the investors and for “the City,” not making a more CIVIL place for PEOPLE to live. Pottersville, anyone? Yes, when it comes to the (moral) City’s duty to promote “the good,” it’s as if you sold your little sister into sexual slavery because YOU couldn’t keep her safe, and told yourself she was better off whored-out than dead. Really? Did you ever hear of “your duty,” for example, to dial a phone on her behalf as in, here’s a thought: “Doing the RIGHT thing”? But, what then, did or do you do with the money you took for her life – new chairs at City Hall, more funding for “Houston is great place to live” ads? Sadly, the cost of culvert pipe, fill dirt, curbing and sidewalk concrete isn’t really all that much – and life gets better if you do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, instead of creating and then passing on the problem you made worse onto the innocent, the hopeful, and the trusting. And, we do trust the City with our lives, daily, don’t we? We drink the water, we count on the sewers working, we watch the firetrucks go by, we “go” on the green lights… Would the people we trust push us into the street, trip our grandparents, and, injure our kids? Yes:

        • The City of Houston has not done a very good job facilitating growth within the city limits (2000-2010, 1.7 million people opted to live in the suburbs and only 144,000 within the city limits). The key here to economic development is “Infrastructure First” – efficient, functional, and attractive infrastructure. This is what attracts investors and real estate development to stimulate the tax base (and take some of the burden off the taxpayers in our relatively high tax city – compared to West U). Rail transit needs to be a part of this infrastructure. I don’t know how you feel but I’m tired of being the pothole/broken curb capital of the US!

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