Our Town: Alief business owner says flooding has improved, but looks forward to more progress

ALIEF/WESTWOOD – Ponding and flooding is a familiar issue after it rains along Bellaire Blvd. in the Alief area.

Here in this area on the west side of Houston, culture is on display. From fashion to food, Houstonians can experience a slice of Asia along Bellaire Blvd.

“You know, Vietnam belongs in three or four regions. And we bring all that here. You can sample it all here,” said Tao La.

Tao La and his family have owned Kim Son since the 1980s.

“Bellaire has grown tremendously since 2005,” Tao La said.

Their location off Bellaire Blvd. has been there nearly two decades and has become a hub for the Vietnamese community.

It is not only a place where people can come get lunch, it’s where they can make memories too.

“Yes, we do a lot events there. You name it. We do about 70, 80 events every year. Yeah. And it’s big events. Some events that are 1,000 people,” Tao La said.

On sunny days, it is easy to navigate, but when it rains, Bellaire Blvd. can be a headache for drivers.

Tao La says he has seen improvements from construction along Brays Bayou and the installation of Arthur Story Park as a detention pond. He welcomes more projects like this.

“Everybody wants it on the street. They wanted the street flooding to be less, you cannot say eliminate, because in Houston its hard to eliminate, but its going to be less every year, hopefully it will be, how do we get less?” Tao La said.

KPRC 2′s Daji Aswad took Tao’s concerns to Council Member Tiffany D. Thomas.

“I think we’re all aware that storm water is an inconvenience to every keystone. It not only it’s an inconvenience, it raises anxiety. Everyone gets nervous when it rains in the city, but I want him to have the confidence to know that his concerns have landed,” Thomas said.

Thomas says capital projects run on five-year cycles, but there is another program helping the west side.

“Years ago, post-Harvey, we realized that there are some simple drainage upgrades, neighborhoods and intersections and communities require. And with the Stormwater Action Team, council members have up to $3 million to direct projects to enhance drainage. So, for instance, if you have an open ditch system and your inlets were 12 inches, they can increase those numbers to 24 inches, doubling the capacity, allowing the water to flow through. And so in District F, we have that project every year, maximizing that 3 million. And hopefully we’ll have some additional projects on tap and deploy on this side very soon,” Thomas said.

If you are concerned with poor drainage in your neighborhood, you can call 311 or your council member to report the issue. Those calls help the city delegate what areas need upgrades.

About the Author

I am grateful for the opportunity to share the captivating tales of weather, climate, and science within a community that has undergone the same transformative moments that have shaped my own life.

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