January 31, 2005
When you gotta go...
There's nothing wrong with doing a story about the availability of public toilets downtown. Doing such a story without mentioning that there are in fact public toilets downtown - indeed, doing such a story in such a way as to give the impression that there are no public toilets downtown - that's not so good. But it's what KHOU did this evening.
I'm talking about the downtown tunnel system, folks. You can't tell from a street-level map, but once you're in the tunnels, the maps they have down there very clearly mark where the various public facilities are. Oddly enough, all the Googling I did on "houston downtown tunnel" did not give me a single link that mentioned the presence of bathrooms in the tunnels, so KHOU missed an opportunity to educate here. Trust me on this - if you go in the tunnels, just look at a map there and you'll find what you need.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 31, 2005 to Elsewhere in Houston
I really think they should go back to the way the tunnels used to be -- well, before my time, but the way my father tells me they used to be -- with no maps at all. You get down there and get lost? Come up in an entirely different part of town? Too bad! Mwahahah and all that.
Seriously, though, the downtown tunnel system is something remarkably few Houstonians even know exist. I mention it to people from time to time, people who have lived there their entire lives (but work in the Galleria or otherwise elsewhere), and get surprised "but Houston's a swamp and we're not even supposed to have basements!" looks.
Problem with public toilets in the tunnels is that the tunnels aren't public space.
Well, technically, pieces of them are--the parts under the streets. But the tunnels also connect through building basements, which are private land. And all of the access points are (or were; I haven't lived in Houston for a long time) on private property as well.
Only toilets that installed and maintained by the city under the street rights-of-way would be genuinely public. Anyone deemed "undesirable" by a landlord could be barred from using a toilet on private property and even from passing through on hisorher way to a toilet elsewhere.
Unless there has been in recent years a comprehensive public access agreement between the building owners and the city, the tunnel system has more in common with a shopping mall than with public space.
Are there any public toilets in downtown that are accessible from a sidewalk or public park?
Wow, we have underground tunnels?!?
How did you get this information?? Are you aware that possession, distribution, manufacture or serving this type of information without proper clearance from the DHS is illegal. I just love it when our precious media elite, the effete products of public schooling and land grant colleges, takes it upon themselves to spread or fail to spread such mission critical information.
Adrianne - My first experiences in the tunnels were circa 1993-94, when I was working at 1600 Smith Street. That's at the far end of the system to begin with, and what was there was not at all well-marked. Had I not only tunnelled with coworkers, I'd have undoubtedly gotten hideously lost.
Demo - The story was aimed at visitors to Houston and downtown, so I doubt there'd be much issue with undesireableness. Your point is well-taken, but in my experience there's unlikely to be much of a problem for anyone.
Chris - I have my sources. :-)
Great map of the tunnels! Never get lost again.
Tremont Homes builds for you again and yet again!
When you buy your Tremont Home ... realize that in your earnest money contract you are giving away your right to sue your builder. If you do not find everything wrong with the subject property,( all of the defects during your walk though) ... you are screwed. You will need more than an average inspection to catch them. They do not disclose defects, water intrusion, mold or faulty roofs. They do however do a great job of hiding them. They seem to have contempt for their own buyers. You will need an air quality test, moisture tests, an engineering and architectural report. It may cost you a little more up front, but maybe it will keep you from being homeless in less than two years with a 30 year mortgage.
Tremont and Stature Construction have been thrown out of the Better Business Bureau and used as the BBB's poster child for bad business: As Tremont/Stature Construction. Be sure you find out who is actually building the Tremont house no matter what their signs say.
These homes have the eye candy to entice you.
But we have houses with eye candy...and thirty year mortgages than didn't last two years. Some have been empty for two or three years. No one will buy them and they sit growing mold and deteriorating.
These men built Hyde Park Crescent and admit in their own sworn testimony they knew all 44 houses were defective when they sold them. They also knew these homes had toxic mold. but do not consider that a problem.
They had many decks needing complete repair, leaks and other problems on their Knox Street development.
Thomas Thibodeau and Jorge Casimiro and Armad Al Bana were the general partners that bought you the 3 year old uninhabited Tremont Tower on Yupon and Westheimer. Drive by that fiasco, please.
They were fired building the police station in Bunker Hill after the job was 7 months behind and had $120,000 dollars worth of mold remediation.
They were not allowed to register, yet another company with the TRCC because of the problems, complaints and the fact that the head of their legal department and warranty division was a convicted felon.
They have new projects all over town including. Memorial Park Village 11, Sheller Street, 77007, This new projects is just laying in wait for you in presale.
Jorge Casimiro remains on the Harris County Housing Authority: even though he is being sued by many in Hydepark Crescent and other developments. These builders have on going cases in court and in AAA arbitration.
Please check them out on the Internet under HOBB, Homeowners for Better Building and HADD, Homebuyers against Defective Dwelling: Both are national organizations that try to warn consumers. These builders can also be can be read about under Tortdeform, Ralph Nader's web sight. Or google my name Jordan Fogal.
Ask your Tremont salesman if Tremont houses are of such excellent quality ... and built by such sterling individuals, why they need to be protected from responsibility by arbitration clauses? Ask them if they believe in their product will they sell you a home without one?
This group of individuals made." Contractors from Hell," in people magazine and were the subject of a seven page expose in "Mother Jones Magazine." Hopefully this information will assist you in making a more informed decision.
"He will cheat without scruples, who can cheat without fear."
Go to tort deform for a audio pod of this story...