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  • May 30, 2018 6:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    City of Houston’s Planning and Development Department is leading a planning effort focusing on the opportunity to create one or more “cap parks” that support surrounding development in lower Midtown in conjunction with TxDOT’s planned reconstruction of I-69.

    We are pleased to invite you (see invitation here) to participate in the first public programming workshop for the proposed new cap park. See the plans give your input at this meeting.

    To see 3D visualization of cap park and North 45 Freeway Improvement Project, see here.



  • May 07, 2018 5:31 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The following information was presented at the May 2 MPNA Meeting.

    Mayor Turner responded to MPNA’s April letter requesting that the city continue to enforce the March, 2017 ordinances, which address the issues at the Wheeler encampment.  Please see the Mayor's response.

    Marilyn Brown, President and CEO of the Coalition for the Homeless, provided an update on their efforts at the Wheeler encampment. These efforts include on-site placement of personnel to assist eligible clients to transition into permanent supportive housing; convening an advocacy workgroup of 20+ agencies involved in The Way Home; and creating a public education campaign to provide progress updates for our neighborhood and to educate individuals and groups who think they are helping but whose charitable actions actually do more harm than good. See her complete report here.

    The Green Team is a new MPNA initiative to engage the community through volunteer efforts that will make for a cleaner, neater, more beautiful neighborhood.  Led by Cynthia Tang and Jill Miller the Green Team will take on a variety of projects detailed here.  

    Parking Management will host two additional meetings this month to present the Community Parking Program scheduled to begin in Museum Park later this year. 

    • May 15, 6:00 p.m., Judson Robinson Jr. Community Center, 2020 Hermann Drive, and
    • May 16, 11:00 a.m., Clayton Library Carriage House, 5300 Caroline Street.
    At these meetings you will have the opportunity to see the proposed Community Parking Program for Museum Park, ask questions, and make comments.

    Parking Management's  April 18 meeting presentation is available here.  In summary, current Community Parking Plan (CPP) includes:

    • Phase 1 of the CPP calls for new meters to be installed along Jackson Street, south of Binz; streets around Asia Society and its parking lot; and around the Surgical Center on La Branch.  (Please view map on above website for complete locations).
    • In Phase 2, Time Limited Parking areas will be identified based on parking patterns emerging after stallation of meters.  (Please view map to potential Time Limited Parking areas).
    • Residents will be able to purchase 3 annual parking permits at $28.50/hang tag to exempt either the meters or time-limited areas.
    •  Phase 3 will address parking issues on residential streets just east and just west of Almeda at a date not yet determined.

     Among Possible Impacts:

    • Installation of new meters may result in additional parking pressure on un-metered streets.
    • New signage will be installed throughout the neighborhood:  additional meters, ‘no parking’ signs, ‘time-limited’ signs.
    • Narrower streets without curbing may be labeled with ‘No Parking’ signs rather than the continued use of rocks to block parking.
    • If parking pressure increases over time other streets may be subject to meters or time-limited parking at a later date.
    • Increased parking pressure throughout the neighborhood may create conflicts with residential trash days.

    Revenue Possibility:

    The community can request an ordinance establishing a Museum Park Parking Benefit District, although there is no assurance such a district will be implemented. Such a district could eventually result in funds coming back to Museum Park.

    Detailed Questions with Answers from parking Management are available for your review. 

  • April 10, 2018 10:09 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    at work on your behalf

    The following information was presented at the April 4 MPNA Meeting.

    In our continuing efforts to keep neighborhood concerns regarding the Wheeler encampment before the Mayor and his staff, MPNA submitted a letter to Mayor Turner, with a copy to our CM Dwight Boykins, Tuesday, April 3 thanking the city for their clean up and enforcement efforts. Please see the attached letter.

    MPNA contacted Marc Eichenbaum, in the Mayor’s Office on Homeless Initiatives, for information regarding current efforts by the city.  He shared the following:

    • Mayor Turner and his staff continue to work toward opening additional lower barrier shelters.  
    • The Mayor's Office on Homeless Initiatives is seeking funds to open a lower barrier shelter as soon as possible.
    • Mayor Turner plans to re-purpose the area beneath SH 59.
    • HPD will continue to enforce removal of excess property under 59 on a regular basis.  Police officers will enforce, but additional city staff and vehicles are required to bag and tag goods that will be removed to storage for individuals to claim at a later time. 
    • During the most recent clean up (March 23) and excess property enforcement (March 30), 80 bags of belongings were put into storage and nine tons of debris were removed from the area.

    MPNA also requested an update and perspective on the Wheeler Encampment from Marilyn L. Brown, President and CEO of the Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County, homelesshouston.org.  She provided this overview:

    The Coalition for the Homeless knows that permanent housing programs combined with supportive services is the answer to homelessness. The Way Home has housed more than 12,000 homeless individuals since 2012 with incredibly high rates of retention. The Coalition for the Homeless agrees that encampments are NOT acceptable, suitable living environments for the safety and health of homeless individuals NOR for those living in the neighborhoods near them.

    In conjunction with the City of Houston's most recent cleanup, partners of The Way Home provided outreach and engagement to those living at the Wheeler encampment.  Here's what we found:  60% of the individuals living in the encampment were found to be chronically homeless and qualify for The Way Home's Permanent Supportive Housing programs.  Most of these have had more than one housing assessment.  This is why:  

    • The process from assessment to move-in involves several steps including obtaining identification, completing paperwork, verifying eligibility for Permanent Supportive Housing, finding a safe, affordable unit, and being accepted by the property.
    • This process is time consuming and can be overwhelming to the homeless individual.  This means we often lose them in the middle of the process and have to start over.
    • Background checks are also barriers to housing for chronically homeless individuals, leading to longer amounts of time and multiple attempts between applying and moving into housing.  This speaks to the complexities of working with this population.
    We know the solution is Permanent Supportive Housing but we acknowledge that the path to get there can take time.  We don't want people to languish in an encampment while they are working to get into Housing.  The Coalition supports the creation of some type of "bridge" shelter that would be appealing to homeless clients living in encampments, and give them a safe place to stay that is not an encampment while they work through the housing process.

    Consider making a difference by contributing to www.meaningfulchange.org where your dollars will go toward providing permanent housing programs with supportive services.




     at a

    (c) 2018 Museum Park Neighborhood Association

    Contact email:  info@museumparkna.org

  • April 03, 2018 12:55 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    For the latest information regarding the closure of the Southmore Bridge at SH 288, see below or check out TXDoT's Drive 288 website here. For a map of detours see the attached document.

    Continuously, from 4/20/18 at 9pm – 2/8/19 at 5am
    All Eastbound and Westbound lanes of Southmore Blvd will be closed at SH 288.

     Detour for Eastbound traffic: Take SH 288 Southbound Frontage Road to Calumet St. U-Turn at Calumet St to SH 288 Northbound Frontage Road.

    Detour for Westbound traffic: Take SH 288 Northbound Frontage Road to Blodgett St. U-Turn at Blodgett St to SH 288 Southbound Frontage Road.

    Continuously, from 4/20/18 at 9pm – 4/23/18 at 5am

    All Northbound and Southbound lanes of SH 288 will be closed at Southmore Blvd.

    Detour for Northbound traffic: Take Southmore Blvd exit, continue towards Blodgett St. U-Turn at Blodgett St to SH 288 Northbound Frontage Road.

    Detour for Southbound traffic: Take Southmore Blvd exit, continue towards Binz St. U-Turn at Binz St to SH 288 Southbound Frontage Road.

  • March 30, 2018 7:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Houston Police Department is today, March 30, beginning strategic implementation of ordinances passed by City Council in 2017 to address camping on public property. 

    The first step of implementation includes removing excess property beneath US59.  Those living under US59 can keep with them one tent, one working bicycle, any necessary medical equipment, and personal items that can be stored in a 3x3x3 container.   Uncontaminated personal belongings (contamination must be documented by the Health Department) can be stored in lockers provided by the City of Houston.

    According to Marc Eichenbaum of the Mayor's Homeless Initiative Office, today's effort is led by HPD and includes various city departments:  HPD's Differential Response Team, HPD's Homeless Outreach Team, and officers from the South Central Division, all of whom have been working under US59 for many months.  Also assisting in this enforcement step are the City of Houston's Health Department, General Service's Department, Parks Department, and Midtown Management District.
  • March 02, 2018 1:55 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A Houstonian who lives near downtown recently wrote a public letter to Mayor Sylvester Turner about an encampment of homeless people near his residence. The mayor responded with a letter whose entire contents can be viewed by clicking here

  • February 06, 2018 4:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Southmore Bridge demolition has been postponed.  The Southmore bridge across Highway 288 will be undergoing construction and will be closed for 12 to 18 months starting March/April 2018.  

    Access detours are shown on the attached document.  

    Look for an update soon on this link

  • January 24, 2018 5:31 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Take the Precinct One Parks & Trails Survey!

    Provide your feedback on how Precinct One parks and trails can be improved. This survey will help them find out more about what is working well, and what they need to improve. 

  • November 13, 2017 9:11 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Security efforts launched in July 2017 by Museum Park Super Neighborhood are yielding results.   Steps towards the comprehensive solution that we’re all working towards were discussed at the Nov. 8 meeting.  
    • HPD has provided continuous coverage in the area beginning October 23rd including patrol cars and mounted police.  Our thanks to Cpt. Salam Zia, Lt. Shamara Garner, and Sgt. Eric Flores, our South Central HPD officers, who coordinate HPD’s Homeless Outreach Team, Narcotics, Homicide, and various social service providers.  TXDoT has requested that HPD notify them of any fires adjacent to TXDoT structures. 
    • City of Houston Solid Waste Management continues to conduct bi-weekly Solid Waste clean up.
    • HouSE (Southeast Management District) has contracted HPD motorcycle officers who make two checks in the area near the encampment Monday-Wednesday during their three-hour shifts.  Sgt. Frank Gans, who leads the HouSE contract-team, is conducting 4-6 checks of the area near the encampment during six-hour shifts Thursdays and Fridays. These checks are part of the normal HouSE patrol route that takes the patrols south to Griggs Road and Palm Center.
    • Midtown Management District is currently providing dumpsters for solid waste management. Precinct 7 Constable Patrols pass through the encampments generally twice a day at varying times, among their other duties for Midtown.  S.E.A.L. security also provides patrols in Midtown including the area near the encampment regularly.
    • Chris Erickson was recognized as the incoming Safety and Security Committee Chair.  Chris will steer the Museum Park Security Alliance effort that includes Management Districts, businesses, institutions, churches, schools, residents, and all who have an interest in enhancing a thriving Museum Park environment.  

    MPSN Council will continue to work in collaboration with the Houston Police Dept., Houston Southeast Management District, Midtown Management District, and METRO to as effectively as possible manage safety, security, environmental, health, and solid waste issues surrounding the US 59 encampment within Museum Park.   HPD, the City of Houston, social service and health agencies continue to offer outreach services to those living in the encampment. 

  • November 07, 2017 4:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The November 1st MPNA meeting included discussion regarding how best to make our voices heard by Kenneth Hoyt, Judge for the Southern District of Texas, where the ACLU suit challenging the City of Houston's no-camping ordinance is being heard.  One MPNA member at the meeting reported that she had sent a letter to the Judge recounting the impact of the encampment on her as a Museum Park resident.  Discussion followed regarding a possible letter writing campaign from the neighborhood. 

    After the meeting, Kathleen O'Reilly and I reached out to two attorneys--one working in another federal court of the Southern District (not Judge Hoyt's) and to our very own board member and municipal attorney, Kim Mickelson requesting their input.  Here is a summary of their thoughts:

    1.      Letters, photos, etc  from the neighborhood are not helpful, and are not entered as evidence.  The MPNA member's letter was stamped as filed with the Court to acknowledge that it was received and is part of the record to avoid improper unilateral communications (ex parte communications).   It isn’t considered evidence or material to the matter at hand, which is limited solely to the constitutionality of the ordinance and unfortunately doesn’t include or consider impacts to adjacent properties, property owners, or the neighborhood.

    Appearing at hearings, etc., doesn’t influence the judge’s thinking.  It shows community interest, but Judge is, or should be, indifferent to presence; he is evaluating merits of the case based on the law, not how many people are in the courtroom.
     
    2.      It is possible, but unlikely, that individuals in the neighborhood could be called as witnesses.  However, the case is about the constitutionality of the ordinances and enforcement, not criminal activity or any impact on the neighborhood.  Criminal activity can be addressed by other ordinances, not those that are being challenged.

     3.     An attorney can be hired to file an amicus brief if the neighborhood would like to be involved.   However, the case is about constitutionality of the ordinances, rather than neighborhood impact.  The legal costs of that approach may outweigh the benefits involved as well as having the potential to further delay the resolution of the case.

    Based on the professional advice of these two attorneys, the Board does not believe spearheading a letter-writing campaign is way forward at this time. 

    Individuals, of course, should pursue whatever course they feel appropriate.
     

    I have asked the ad hoc committee to continue their evaluation in determining an effective path forward. Please contact me at president@museumparkna.org if you have questions.

    Sandy Stevens, President

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Copyright 2018 Museum Park Neighborhood Association
The Museum Park Neighborhood Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in Houston Texas.