Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Neighborhood nomenclature: Where is inner Westheimer?


Uchi on Inner Westheimer? 
In its current state-wide restaurant round-up, TEXAS MONTHLY locates Uchi not on Lower Westheimer, but on Inner Westheimer. What is inner? If that means inside the Loop, it's not incorrect, but it's far-sweeping and imprecise. Highland Village would be "inner" too, as would River Oaks. What's wrong with Lower? Sensibly, the term lower corresponds to the lower street numbers on Houston's longest road, which runs all the way West to Barker Reservoir, and most locals will associate Lower Westheimer with Montrose. Why should out-of-towners be fed a different story about informal street naming conventions? It can only create confusion. 

UCHI entrance on the corner of Lower Westheimer and Grant St 

Uchi sits just East of Montrose Boulevard. If the whole lengthy stretch inside the Loop were called by a single moniker, it would cover way too many blocks to be useful (from 100 where Elgin turns into Westheimer at Bagby/Brazos through about 4700 at Hotel Derek just inside the Loop), and too many neighborhoods, -- not to mention neighborhoods that are very distinct and don't merit being lumped together and tagged with a single label.

100 Block of Westheimer with Neartown Gateway Monument 

Westheimer Rd signage in the intersection at Montrose Blvd.
at Aladdin 
Lower Westheimer from corner of Montrose Blvd looking East
Restaurant row: Aladdin (not shown), uchi, Theo's Greek, and Katz's Deli 

Right on the Loop
Just Inside, but on the other end:
Hotel Derek 

And some would-be diners (those who don't use electronic navigation) might be led astray by the notion that Uchi sits just inside the Loop. They might start looking for the iconic restaurant's sign after taking the Westheimer exit from 610, even though they are miles away, not to mention the construction (obstruction) zones they would encounter heading East toward Montrose on Westheimer passing the new River Oaks District, and on through Highland Village, River Oaks and Upper Kirby.

Disrupted Traffic Flow on Westheimer 

Intersection of Westheimer and Shepherd 
partially closed (Oct-Nov 2015)

Where two road improvement projects meet and compound the
traffic mess: S Shepherd at Westheimer

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