Archive for August 28th, 2014

Buy In

The City of H-Town is thinking about creating a bike lane on Lamar Street in Downtown H-Town. Commentary is not a bike fella but I make sure I look out for bicycle riders. That being said, creating a Downtown bike lane is a big deal. You have to be on your toes when you are driving Downtown with construction, pedestrians, parking garages – you name it. Oh, I also forgot about the rail lines that will be opening on a couple of Downtown streets. If you are going to change things up Downtown then you better have buy-in from folks that make up Downtown. Apparently that is not the case. The building managers are not on board. What? These are the folks that make up Downtown. What the ____! Here is from Chron.com:

It turns out there may be some opposition to Houston’s first protected on-street bike route, to be placed on Lamar Street downtown, after all.

One lane of Lamar, which is devoted to parking except during rush hour, will be converted to a two-way bike path, separated from the traffic lanes by a two-foot barrier lined with plastic humps.

Several people involved in gathering support from businesses along the 11-block, roughly 0.7-mile stretch of Lamar from Sam Houston Park to Discovery Green said they had run into no stated opposition, though they acknowledged not all tenants had been contacted and that some had not responded to emails.

In an email today, however, Tammy Betancourt of Houston’s Building Owners and Managers Association said several of her members have expressed concern with the initiative and its impact on cars exiting parking garages along Lamar. (Downtown booster Bob Eury had noted that concern in today’s story).

An unnamed BOMA member, who oversees a building at 1000 Main that borders Lamar, expressed concern in an email to Betancourt that the decision already has been made to build the bike lane, while city sustainability director Laura Spanjian referred to the idea as a “proposal” in an email inviting stakeholders to a Thursday morning meeting.

“I have great concerns in regard to the impact this will have on traffic along Lamar including the already congested 900 Block that has two lanes being used for construction of the new Hillcorp building (the recently demolished Macy’s, which borders Lamar),” the BOMA member wrote.

As Betancourt put it, “This is just one more example of the Parker administration implementing public policy without the input of citizens or businesses as to what the unintended consequences of the initiatives may be.”

Spanjian said just because the project is moving forward does not prevent city officials from working with those affected to address their concerns.

“We’ve worked out issues with certain stakeholders and we will continue to work through issues with stakeholders to make sure their business is not impacted in a negative way,” she said. “We’re happy to talk to and work with any property owner or tenant on Lamar Street that might have missed our communication to them to work out any issues that they have.”

As for the writer’s traffic concerns, Jeff Weatherford of the city’s Department of Public Works and Engineering said traffic on Lamar isn’t bad from an engineering perspective. Spanjian again stressed that for most of the day the lane is for parking, not driving, and said portions of it today are taken up by taxi stands and commercial zones.

Come on! Can we talk? A Downtown bike lane may sound good but can we make sure everyone is on board?

The Rangers are in town for four. What is our record against the Rangers this season?

The HPD Police Chief threw out the first pitch at The Yard Tuesday evening and bounced it a third of the way down. I tweeted this right after:

Poor #HPDPoliceChief. Threw out first pitch tonight at #MMP and bounced it a third of the way down. #hounews #HPD #Astros


Hand it to @houstonpolice for transparency. Did not cover-up #HPDChief’s bouncer. #hounews #Astros

HPD put the errant toss on Vine. Good for them. Here it is: https://vine.co/v/MlrhbDa3W7O.

Maybe the Chief should have asked The Mayor for lessons on how to get it over the plate.

I am not going to say much about Lisa Falkenberg’s write-up yesterday on The Dean’s and UH Chancellor’s way of communicating with each other, other than to say I am obviously not caught up on the latest code words because I sure as heck can’t read between the lines if you know what I mean. What a lovely pair though!

Dynamic Pricing at The Yard is what they use to sell tickets. For instance, they charge more for the Yankees than they do for the Royals – got it. Like in Field Box, the closer you are to the field the higher the prices. That’s why the seats at the top of Field Box sections are in more use than those closer to the field. It is not like a few years ago when all Field Box tickets cost the same throughout the season.

Only season ticket holders get the lower prices. Of course, you have to buy 83 games worth of tickets.

The ‘Stros are 8-4 against the Rangers this season of course.

Chad Qualls blew a save last night. It is Dollar Dog Night this evening at The Yard. I wonder how many folks will show up to see two teams battle to stay out of last in the AL West.

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