Houston, Texas news: Construction on Houston Avenue

Freeman

The city said the medians are problematic because they reduce lane capacity and restrict access to businesses and places of worship along Houston Avenue.

HOUSTON — Time is running out on a city-funded project near downtown Houston. 

“This project has hardly been in the ground for two months,” said Peter Eccles, Director of Policy and Planning for LINK Houston

Medians and crosswalks installed along Houston Avenue between Center Street and Memorial Drive will soon be removed after Houston mayor John Whitmire decided to have them removed. 

“This is a safety project that was identified by the previous councilmember for this district,” Eccles said. 

The $100,000 project was part of ‘Vision Zero‘, an initiative introduced in 2019 to eliminate the number of traffic deaths and increase safety for pedestrians on the city’s streets by 2030. 

“This section of Houston Ave. right here has a crash rate which is three times the statewide average for similar streets like this,” said Eccles. 

The city said the medians are problematic because they reduce lane capacity and restrict access to businesses and places of worship along the busy stretch of Houston Avenue.

“Unfortunately the way that it was done does not allow our emergency response vehicles that are very heavy and very long to make the turns necessary,” said Marty Lancton, Chairman of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association, at a City Council meeting Wednesday. 

“I believe some changes in that section to these improvements could make it work for everybody, make it safer for everybody and improve the businesses that have been adversely affected,” explained Ray Hunt, with the Houston Police Officers Union

Leaders with Houston Public Works said once the medians are removed, starting next week, they will immediately begin studying the corridor for proposals that will enhance pedestrian safety. 

“If they’re taking this out, it’s not just about this street, but it’s about all of the other safety improvements that either have been made already or in the pipeline to be installed citywide,” said Eccles.  

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