Planners Working on a Road Diet Sea Change in Houston

Planners in Houston are working on street configurations in large swaths of the city. The plans reflect Mayor Annise Parker's recent executive order to embrace complete streets as well as a growing demand among residents for walkable, safe streets.

Dug Begley reports on an effort in Houston to send much of the city on a road diet. "…in a departure from what many consider the Houston model, the city is calling for reducing the space for cars and trucks. Plans for Dunlavy, along with a handful of other street segments between River Oaks, downtown and U.S. 59 and along the Washington Avenue corridor, will decrease driving room in favor of retaining trees and making parking, bicycling and walking easier."

"Most of the 2014 changes proposed are inside Loop 610, though a handful would create better connections to industrial areas in the eastern part of the city. Various changes are proposed in newly developed areas on the city's fringes as well."

The amendments to the city's transportation plan would appear in the 2014 major thoroughfare and freeway plan, according to Begley. The City Council is expected to vote on the proposed changes by September.

"What's significant, officials said, is the decision to reduce driving lanes in some spots. The traditional Houston method of improving a four-lane road - turning it into a five- or six-lane road - is falling out of favor in many neighborhoods, with residents reluctant to lose more private land to roads."

The article also includes a video of Houston Transportation Planning Group head Amar Mohite making the case for such changes.

Full Story: Street plans call for doing more with less driving room

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