Interstate 45 Realignment Would Cut Through a Historic Black Neighborhood in Houston

A plan to realign Interstate 45 in Houston has been criticized as a highway boondoggle as well as a failure of racial and social equity, and recent protests have only amplified the latter criticisms of the project.

June 9, 2020, 11:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Kea Wilson reports:

The construction of America’s downtown highways destroyed thousands of black neighborhoods during the height of the urban renewal era in the 1940s and ’50s — and a new impact study of a controversial highway project in Houston serves as a reminder that the racist policy never ended.

As reported originally in an article by Dug Begley that might be behind a paywall for some readers, the current North Houston Highway Improvement Project plan would remove "158 houses, 433 apartments or condos, 486 public housing units, 340 businesses, five churches and two schools," most of which are located in  part of the city that was once Texas’s first black-formed municipality, Independence Heights, a region of major historic significance.

"BIPOC activists have long cited displacement and the destruction of black communities in their fight against the $7-billion megaproject, which would functionally rebuild most of the downtown freeway system in the process of expanding and re-routing the interstate," according to Wilson, but the opposition gained new fuel in recent weeks as protests and calls for racial justice have swept the country after the killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery.


Monday, June 8, 2020 in Streetsblog USA

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