April 28, 2022

What’s Up With All the Train Horns?

Suddenly and without warning, our Quiet Zone is no longer quiet.  This week the trains have been blowing their horns at all hours of the day and night, seriously disrupting the peace and tranquility of our adjacent residential neighborhoods.  When this first started the City immediately reached out to our governmental contacts at Union Pacific to find out what’s going on, for how long, and why we weren’t given advance notice.  It has been a frustrating few days as they’ve worked on tracking it down (no pun intended), but we’ve finally got an answer.

Turns out there’s an “urgent vegetation concern” at a nearby crossing, which triggered a Form C track bulletin prompting the use of the horns.  Such conditions deemed unsafe override the Quiet Zone designation.  We are assured Union Pacific is now working with the City of Houston to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

Having lived right by the tracks myself, both before and after the Quiet Zone went into effect, I can personally attest what a big deal this is.  It’s more than just quality of life; this is about the health and welfare of our residents.  We’ll continue to stay on top of the situation and appreciate your patience as our Quiet Zone is restored.

April 5, 2022

Council Initiates Renewed Focus on Flood Mitigation Planning

Flooding has been a top priority for many years, and we’ve been steadily working toward impactful solutions within our local, regulatory and regional policy framework.  As it’s relatively early in this new term, the City Council has returned its attention to the subject to refine our objectives and priorities for flood risk management, both to inform future decision making and to give clear direction to staff for implementation.  The timing of this discussion coincides nicely with the completion of the Bellaire Master Drainage Concept Plan, which is an important but not the sole component of our mitigation efforts, as well as near-term partnership and funding opportunities we definitely don’t want to miss out on.

We kicked things off last night with a very informative presentation, which I’ll go so far as to say should be required viewing for anyone with a serious interest in understanding our multifaceted flooding challenges.  It serves as a primer of sorts, setting the stage for further deliberation in the development of a comprehensive, goal-oriented infrastructure program.  After starting with Floodplain Management 101, the presentation provides a summary of ongoing major projects to date, an overview of flood risk management principles, proposed next steps and an organized action plan for implementation.

Council will continue the discussion with a workshop in our next Regular Session on April 18, with possibly more workshops to follow, and we envision a town hall meeting in the not-too-distant future for public participation and input.