The Rice Village Alliance
RVA Rice Village Guide
The Rice Village Alliance recently contracted with local publisher TEA in TEXAS to create a printed Rice Village Guide which was printed the fall of 2018. The rack-sized fold-out brochure includes a map of the Rice Village area, free listings of every Rice Village merchant and institution, and a limited amount of paid advertising. Information for free Village Guide listings was due on 15 July 2018. Paid membership in the RVA is not required to receive a free Rice Village Guide listing, but it does help the RVA promote, protect and improve the Rice Village for all who live and work here, and paid RVA members will receive preference for the limited number of paid ads available in the Rice Village Guide when next it is reprinted. To request copies of the guide, please contact RVA board member Pamela Vargas of Trademark Properties.
Greenbriar Reconstruction (between Holcombe and Rice Blvd.)
Work on the project began in Jan. 2018 and should conclude in fall of 2019. Construction began near the intersection of Greebriar and Holcombe, and will progress northward in five phases of construction with certain exceptions. The phase 5 portion of the project, which is closest to the Village (between Rice and University Boulevards), will be constructed in Summer 2019. Additional details may be found here.
Chevron Houston Marathon passes through the Rice Village on Jan. 20, 2019
On Sunday, Jan. 20, the Chevron Houston Marathon will pass through the Rice Village! The race route runs straight down University Blvd. from Greenbriar to Kirby Drive, and University Place neighbors are being invited to bring their families and come join in the excitement. The elite competitors should pass through the area at around 7:40 a.m., and the balance of the runners will follow for the next two hours or so. There will be breakfast food for sale at El Meson, live music by the Rice University Marching Owl Band (The MOB), and lots of your neighbors holding signs and cheering for family and friends, so if your business would like to join in the fun, please do! The race route, including projected road closure times, is shown here. The elite competitors should pass through the area at around 7:40 a.m., and the balance of the runners will follow for the next two hours or so.
New BCycle Stations in Rice Village
As part of a planned increase in the number of Houston Bcycle bike share stations that will soon be available citywide, the RVA has partnered with Trademark Property Co. and the Children's Assessment Center to install two Rice Village Bcycle stations on Kelvin Steet, one at Amherst and another at Dunston. The Rice Village stations now connect to a larger network of stations on the Rice University campus and into the Museum District and the Texas Medical Center, making it possible for visitors to pedal to and from the Village as an alternative to driving. Special thanks to RVA president Pedro Angel Garcia and El Meson restaurant, who hosted a charity wine dinner to help fund the two stations.
University Reconstruction (between Kirby and Main Street)
Work on this project will begin after Greenbriar reconstruction is complete (construction in 2019-2020).Details here.
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 Trademark / 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 properties managed by Trademark and La Mesa), 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 Trademark-managed building, and metered surface lot parking at La Mesa and Trademark-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 pay a maximum of $5 per day; max rates for metered parking are $8 per day ($10 Fri.-Sun.) and a portion of the proceeds from the meters even benefits neighborhood elementary schools Poe and Roberts.
Trademark 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, Trademark Properties and La Mesa Properties, acted on these recommendations by allowing parking spaces on private property to be utilized as shared community assets.
A map showing the location of free and metered parking spaces on the Trademark 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.