Managing a business is enough of a challenge. Here are a few of the issues of interest to Rice Village area merchants, residents and institutions that the RVA is monitoring for you:
The Rice Village Alliance
The Rice Village/ La Mesa parking program, in summary:
Previously, all patrons paid to park in the large garage on Kelvin and Morningside (though those who shopped in the businesses connected to the garage could secure a two-hour parking validation from these merchants); meanwhile, surface parking spaces located on private property (and situated closest to ground-floor storefronts and therefore most sought-after) were unrestricted; as a result, the surface spaces stayed full, inconveniencing patrons who needed to make a quick stop, and causing them to circle looking for parking, thus increasing traffic. By reversing the locations of free and paid parking, the new plan increases the number free parking spaces available for those who visit for two hours or less (the vast majority of Village shoppers), opens both the surface parking lots and the garage and rooftop parking to use by any shoppers, regardless of where in Village they shop (thus benefiting the entire Village, not just the properties where this privately owned and maintained parking is located), and helps to assure that those who need or want storefront parking and are willing to pay a small price for that added convenience can readily find it. Village patrons may now park for two hours free of charge in the upper levels of the garage and on the rooftop of the nearby Rice Village-managed building, and metered surface lot parking at these and the La Mesa-managed properties costs only $1 per hour for the first two hours, Mon-Thurs. ($2 Fri.-Sun.). Patrons who stay longer than two hours in the garage and rooftop parking areas pay a maximum of $5 per day; max rates for metered parking are $8 per day ($10 Fri.-Sun.).
University Reconstruction (between Kirby and Main Street)
The RVA is negotiating with Houston Public Works and University Boulevard merchants on parking, lighting and landscaping improvements to phase 1 of this city of Houston Capital Improvement Project. The latest public information on the project (the first phase of which involves rebuilding University Boulevard between Kirby Drive and Greenbriar Drive) may be found at rebuildhouston.org/university.
Rice Village and La Mesa Properties implement elements of City and Kinder Instititute Parking Studies
In 2013-14, the City of Houston's Parking Management office conducted a parking survey of Rice Village stakeholders, resulting in recommendations that included metering curbside parking places on public streets (as presently is done in Houston's central business district) in order to encourage parking turn-over and to generate revenue which could be used by the Village for beautification and to improve area infrastructure. In 2015, a follow-up study conducted by Rice University's Kinder Institute for Urban Research proved that even at times of peak parking demand, there are more than 1,000 unused parking spaces in the Rice Village, suggesting that better management of existing, privately-owned parking spaces could help to alleviate the perceived parking shortages which current protectionist parking practices have created. In February of 2017, two of the largest property management companies in the Rice Village acted on these recommendations by allowing parking spaces on their privately owned properties to be utilized as shared community assets.
A map showing the location of free and metered parking spaces on the Rice Village and La Mesa properties is provided below. In addition, there are city-operated parking meters on the street near the larger of the two Hanover residential buildings in the Village. In its 2014 Village parking survey, the city recommended adding more metered parking on public streets in the Village, but to date has not taken action on that recommendation. In the meantime, the RVA continues to monitor this ongoing private parking experiment, and engage with area property owners and the city of Houston to seek the best possible outcome for all Village businesses and their customers.