I’ve mentioned before that I lived in Montrose for nearly ten years, before I bought a house in the Heights. From 1993 to 1997, I lived on the northern end of Montrose, near Montrose and West Dallas. There wasn’t much there back then – lots of rental housing, empty lots, and a few small businesses. It was a funky, kind of run-down but still interesting urban neighborhood.
Well, a lot has changed since then, and there’s a lot more change to come. I’ve blogged about quite a bit of it, and will keep doing so as the area keeps evolving. I think a lot of good things have happened, along with a few not-so-good things, and I think there’s the potential for a lot more good to be done. I also think there’s the potential for all the changes to have a lot of negative effects, mostly having to do with overwhelming the infrastructure, and I think it’s important to keep an eye on what’s happening.
So towards that end, I had the opportunity a few weeks ago to take a bunch of photos of the area; basically, the stretch of Montrose/Studemont from West Gray to Washington Avenue. I did this partly to document what it looks like now – if you used to live there but haven’t seen it in awhile, you’ll be amazed – and partly to point out what I think can be done to make the eventual finished product better. I’ve compiled the pictures, along with my comments, into a Flickr photo set, which you can also view as a slideshow – click on Options, then Always Show Title And Description to see my comments if you view it this way.
My thesis is simple. This is already an incredibly densely developed corridor, and it’s going to get more so as the new high rise is built and several parcels of now-empty land get sold and turned into something else. It’s already fairly pedestrian-friendly, but that needs to be improved. And for all the housing in that mile-long stretch of road, there’s not enough to do. Not enough places to eat and drink, to shop and recreate. Midtown has a lot more such options, and I think this area has at least as many people. I think there’s an opportunity being missed, and I think with a little vision, this part of Montrose can be a real activity hub.
Anyway, that’s how I see it. Take a look at the pictures and let me know what you think.