#City & Town Planning
City of Houston Planning Commission
United States of America

The City of Houston has existing ordinances to adequately plan for safe, effective urban communities.

Let's advocate for quality of life in Montrose.

Dear City of Houston Planning Commission,

We the undersigned respectfully ask the City of Houston to deny the variance request for the Braun Reserve at 1000 W. Gray and Montrose Blvd to forgo the visibility triangle requirement and setbacks.

Our request is based on the following principles:

Visibility lines and setbacks are integral to the protection of sight lines for pedestrians, the mobility impaired, cyclists, and motor vehicles. Granting this variance will be injurious to the public health, safety, and welfare as it significantly impacts visibility at the intersection of Montrose Blvd and W. Gray.

The City of Houston has a poor record of protecting pedestrians and cyclists. Transportation for America found Houston to be the deadliest metroplex for pedestrians, and many of our mobility issues have roots in the Planning process. Foregoing the requirement to provide a visibility triangle at a major intersection is yet another example of mobility made dangerous by design. The applicant's property is particularly egregious with a building line abutting a sidewalk ramp and multiple obstructions impairing visibility for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.

This location has an important connection to public spaces and services in the community and granting this variance will adversely impact citizens:

-- Montrose Blvd is the major artery of Montrose. Residents live here because access to amenities on foot, by bike, and within minutes is greatly valued. As Montrose becomes even more densely populated due to ongoing development, protecting visibility lines and mobility options should be a high priority.

-- Both Montrose Blvd and W. Gray have bus lines requiring safe access for pedestrians. A bus stop without room for a bench, shade, or shelter is located on the W. Gray side of the property, and travelers are forced to wait on the sidewalk.

-- This property is located in a school zone as HISD public school, park, and polling site, Wharton K - 8 Dual Language Academy is on the next block. Further, W. Gray is a primary route to two other public schools seven blocks to the East, Carnegie Vanguard High School and Gregory Lincoln K - 8. HISD does not bus within two miles of a school; it is common for local residents to walk and bike to school. Ensuring safe routes to school should be a standard requirement in the planning process.

-- Four blocks to the West of the property, the City's W. Gray Multi Service Center provides services to citizens with disabilities. Montrose has a significant number of mobility impaired residents who moved into the immediate neighborhoods to be within easy access of these services. Reasonable accommodation of the mobility impaired is the right thing to do- and the law.

-- Three blocks to the North of the property is a primary entry point to expansive hike and bike trails on Allen Parkway and the Rosemont Brigde which link Montrose to the Washington Corridor, Heights, Memorial, and Downtown. Bike signs and pedestrian crossing signs are commonplace along Montrose Blvd because of these amenities. The property site is not an island unto itself but part of a greater vision for the future.

The City of Houston has existing ordinances to adequately plan for safe, effective urban communities. Perpetuating standards from 50+ years ago undermines existing ordinances that evolved to meet the current and future needs of citizens. We generously share our neighborhood with the rest of the city as a destination point- but not at the expense of the safety of our residents.

The time has come for Planning to consider all stakeholders in its processes and for the community to take a long, hard look at the types of decisions being made without its interests in mind.

Please enforce existing ordinances and deny this request for variance.

Photos of site: http://goo.gl/16J2mD

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The Deny Variance Request for Braun Reserve petition to City of Houston Planning Commission was written by Deny Variance and is in the category City & Town Planning at GoPetition.