Spruce/Fifth Streets

Costello, Inc. Contract  Original contract executed on May 25, 2017, for numerous street and drainage projects: Maple St. from Avenue B to Newcastle; Bolivar St. from Jessamine to Dead End; Spruce St. from Ferris to South Rice Avenue; Fifth St. from Bissonnet to Spruce.

Spruce/Fifth Sts to include 100 year storm sewer design and constrict flows to S. Rice with backflow preventer from S. Rice system; Maple St. – 100 year storm sewer design.

UPDATE 6/14/18: The plans have been modified again for a City Council tour on 6/13/18.  Here’s what was presented at that tour: Spruce_Fifth_6-14-16

UPDATE 5/15/18:  The plans have been modified however the angled parking remains.  I have requested the updated plans from the City and will post them as soon as they are available.     Costello Overlays Updated May 2018

At a recent City Council meeting a member of Council asked the City Manager if the City had received any response other than opposition to the Spruce Street project. The City Manager replied that response was consistent with what they had heard from business owners at the earlier meeting, that 100% of the business owners had been contacted and most expressed concerns about what is happening with the right of way.

Circled items 1, 2, 3 and 4 on the 5200 Spruce St drawing show existing parking spaces crossed out, lost to the businesses.

He added that businesses have become used to using the right of way.  As a matter of fact, most of us use the right of way on our streets as part of our front yards, so following the City Manager’s line of reasoning we’re all subject to this sort of treatment.  That may become more apparent when the Pathways Plan is unveiled later this year.

Just as his staff had recently informed the business owners, some of whom have been in their locations for 25 year or more,  the City Manager stated he would not change the plan. If Council is unhappy with it then Council can change it.

He stated that angled parking like this has not been done before and would not impact a business owner’s ability to use what’s not in the right of way, and insisted the new design would double the number of parking spaces on the right of way.  There was no explanation of why public spaces are needed since there are no small retail shops on Spruce and the existing businesses already have spaces for their customers and employees.

Open this link and go to Redevelopment.

According to the drawings some of the spaces, private spaces not located in the right of way, will be totally blocked and become useless space, while customers and employees will be forced to park in public spaces. If no convenient public space is available  (in use by HEB employees, for instance) they will have even more difficulty visiting the business. Parking spaces of at least three businesses along Fifth St will be eliminated.  Why? How will the changes affect the value of the businesses and the properties?

My take is that a few businesses have always had the use of the right of way along Fifth for parking, Jax has had parking spaces on Spruce since the mid-90s, and all other businesses have parking spaces on their land.

The proposed design of the 5 -foot sidewalk plus angled parking will clearly hinder or block access to most of the parking spaces located on private property on the north side of Spruce.  Circled items 1, 2, 3 and 4 on the 5200 Spruce St drawing show existing parking spaces crossed out, lost to the businesses.  See Costello overlays. 

No estimate for the additional cost of the promised sidewalks, landscaping, trees, irrigation, and streetlights has been provided, but it won’t come cheap.  And now there’s a discussion about another huge bond issue in 2019. 

This City is not the hometown I’ve come to love, which is why I started this website. This plan has not yet been approved by City City Council and it’s hard for me to believe that they would approve this type of action to drive out small business owners, but that’s exactly what the City Manager has proposed.  Is this how our taxes and bond monies should be used?

Comments for Council can be directed to Tracy Dutton at tdutton@bellairetx.gov

HEB is rebuilding a portion of Spruce now in front of the new loading dock to provide access for deliveries to the new store. When asked if HEB is on board with the plan the City Manager’s response was yes – apparently regarding the loading dock area.  He provided an explanation about plans to reimburse HEB for that portion of the street rebuild. Not addressed were the problems HEB will experience with customer ingress and egress to the new store while both Spruce and Fifth are under construction for months.