Two of Houston's Freeways Top Texas's 100 Most Congested Roadways

Sorry Austin, but Houston has knocked you out of the top spot. Well, at least when it comes to the top spot on the list of Texas' 100 most congested roadways, anyway. We haven't quite caught up to you on being a hipster hot-spot yet, but we suppose there's always next year.

According to an analysis conducted for the Texas Department of Transportation by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, Houston's very own I-610 West Loop has officially surpassed Austin's IH 35 -- last year's winner of the prestigious traffic award -- as the most congested roadway in Texas. Awesome.

More »

Houston Rent May Be Skyrocketing, But These Five Areas Are Still Affordable

Apartment Guide

Looking for an affordable apartment? Good luck -- and we mean that. Houston's rental prices are increasing at the fastest pace on record, and those sky-high apartment tags are no longer limited to the Inner Loop.

As of July 2014, the average apartment rent in Houston is about $1,249 a month, and recent data shows that apartment rents are increasing at around 4.9 percent every year in the Houston region. The housing market for buyers is also kinda rough -- as in there's not very much to buy -- and residents in Houston are also making a shift from owning to renting.

The data, released by CBRE, a Los Angeles-based real estate brokerage firm with offices in Houston, shows that rents are growing at the fastest pace on record at that 4.9 percent rate. And that growth isn't all in areas one would expect, either.

More »

Five Biting and Stinging Bugs to Watch Out for This Summer in Houston

Categories: Houston 101

Photo by Flex via Wikipedia
Despite what many may believe, this fuzzy little guy will NOT sting you.
Of all the joys that summer in Houston brings -- heat, humidity, hurricanes -- perhaps the most aggravating is the plague of bugs that descends on us like a swamp (which is basically what the city is anyway). As the creepy crawlies come out of hibernation in the spring, they begin to infest what feels like every nook and cranny of our lives. Exterminators no doubt love the summer in Houston for the very same reason most of us can't stand it.

Most bugs in Texas are harmless. Yes, that includes roaches, you ninnies. Some are even remarkably beautiful, like butterflies. But there are a handful of bug types (I say bugs because at least one type is not technically an insect) that can cause you some pain if you come into contact with one of them.

More »

Houston Has Its Own History of Race Riots

Categories: Houston 101

Wikimedia Commons
Murder trial after the Houston Riot of 1917.
As tear gas and rubber bullets flew on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, this week, I couldn't help but be thankful for the relatively peaceful streets of Houston. Sure, we have crime like most big cities and racial tensions do, at times, rise. For instance, when protesters took to the streets of River Oaks after the death of Trayvon Martin. Despite some concerns at the time about looting and violence, it was entirely peaceful. But, that hasn't always been the case.

In the past Houston has been marred by race riots--three in particular--that turned violent, resulting in injuries and deaths to civilians and police. With the civil unrest in Ferguson this week, it seemed like a good time to remind ourselves that Houston wasn't always such a quiet, diverse place.

More »

The 7 Minor Annoyances That Drive Houstonians Crazy

Categories: Houston 101

Photo by Adam Baker
Like death from above.
Traffic sucks. Public transportation is a joke. Heat plus humidity is stifling. Hurricanes threaten to wipe out life as we know it. When it floods, freeways turn into rivers. The lack of zoning and historic preservation ensure our cityscape (beyond downtown) remains a massive sprawl of strip malls (and strip clubs). Our most beloved landmark, the Astrodome, is likely going to be bulldozed. Ozone levels thanks to nearby chemical refineries will probably kill us sooner than we'd like. We're practically the capital of human trafficking. Don't even get us started on potholes and the endless freeway construction.

These are real problems. This is not a story about those.

We could fill volumes with our complaints about the city we love despite its shortcomings, fixable and otherwise. We still live here. We still love it, against all odds.

But there are certain things that are frustrating as hell. They are the daily annoyances that take us to the brink and turn our normally polite demeanor into something more akin to a serial killer who forgot to take his meds. It's not famine or pestilence, but on a Monday, pre coffee, it might feel nearly as bad.

More »

Houston Chronicle Saying Bye to Downtown, Heading for Just Inside the 610 Loop

Photo by Ed Uthman
The old Houston Post building inside the 610 Loop near the Southwest Freeway will become the new home for most all of the Houston Chronicle's operations, it was announced today.

Promising to develop a "state of the art" facility, the Houston Chronicle Media Group, publisher of the Houston Chronicle, La Voz, and, is going to start the bid process for renovations of the new/old campus. It already runs its press operations, circulation, and sales out of that office.

A press release says " it will be exploring alternatives for its downtown facility" and whether that means sale or something else, we don't know. Some of the newsroom will stay downtown to cover business and government, Chron officials said.

More »

Three Stupid Things People From Other Places Think About Houston

Categories: Houston 101

Photo by Davis
Houston is often criticized or lampooned by people from other parts of the country, but all that really means is that this city is notable enough to draw fire. People don't usually talk about boring places.

Still, a lot of the stereotypes that get flung our way are just silly, and any Houstonian who has traveled around the country has doubtlessly encountered those jabs at
our city. Let's look at a few of these erroneous stereotypes a little closer.

1. Houston is full of cowboys.

Look, I'm not going to say that there aren't people living here who self-identify as "cowboys," or who reflect certain aspects of that lifestyle, but when I've talked with people from outside Texas, a lot of them are shocked to discover that not everyone in the greater Houston area is commuting to work on horseback while dressed like Slim Pickens in an old Western.

More »

Best Five Reasons Austin Is Way Less Cool Than Houston

Categories: Houston 101

Photo by Kumar Appaiah
They may have kept it weird, but we keep it cooler.
I guess city rivalries are a standard thing in almost every state of the U.S. I grew up in the Houston area, lived in Austin through most of the 1990′s, moved back to H-Town, and then recently back to Austin after living in Houston for many years. I like both cities a lot, for different reasons.

But there's a lot of weird hard feelings and mean-spirited criticism of both cities by people that live in the other, and it seems dumb to me. Especially considering that there are a lot of ignorant fools from outside of Texas that think the whole state is populated with subhuman stereotypes, or that the whole area in unfit for human habitation. They think Texas sucks and that we're unsophisticated and stupid. Those are the morons we should save our disdain for, not people living a little less than 200 miles apart.

Rather than determine that one city is "better" than the other, it would be far more accurate to just say that they're very different in many key ways, and the things that make one place paradise for a person, might make it a hell for a different individual.

More »

Ten Things You Have to Explain to Non-Houstonians

Categories: Houston 101

Photo by Daniel Horande

Houstonians love to brag about their town. But there are misconceptions about every city, whether they regard food, politics or transit.

Here are 10 things Houstonians have to tell misinformed out-of-towners:

More »

Houstonian Helps Archive Gay History (Part 5)

Categories: Houston 101

Photo courtesy J.D. Doyle
J.D. Doyle, center, is the grand marshal of this year's gay pride parade.
This is the final part in a series for Houston Pride Week.

J.D. Doyle, the male grand marshal for this year's Pride Parade, is on a mission: To gather as much of Houston's LGBT history as possible and make it available online. Known to many Houstonians as the longtime voice of KPFT's "Queer Voices" program, Doyle is also a leading world expert on "queer music."

In the course of curating an exhaustive collection and operating an online program of queer music, Doyle realized he was "running across all kinds of history that no one knew anything about." He grasped that primary sources for learning the history of the LGBT community were not being collected and cared for, so he undertook the mission. He finds it surprising that "just a historian and radio personality" was selected as a grand marshal.

See also: The Fight For Pride Week (Part 4)

"In recent years that election has become something of a popularity contest, and I'm not political, I'm not a big fundraiser, I don't sit on numerous boards, etc., and I'm not a party boy, so I was totally shocked that I was elected this year," says Doyle, who edited a gay newspaper in Norfolk, Virginia in the late Seventies before moving to Houston. "But I have to say how gratifying it is that my work is recognized by the community. That's very humbling."

More »