Seeking '20-Minute Neighborhood' Status in Texas

The neighborhood of Montrose in Houston has undertaken a self-funded study to assess the facts on the ground about walkability in the neighborhood.

2 minute read

August 7, 2020, 7:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Houston, Texas

Roschetzky Photography / Shutterstock

"In Montrose [Houston], despite being considered one of the most walkable areas in the city, almost 30% of the sidewalks are in poor condition, rendering 6 out of every 10 blocks potentially impassable to someone in a wheelchair or pushing a stroller," reports Matt Dullin.

Dullin is sharing findings from "a nine-month, first-of-its-kind study backed by the Montrose Tax-Increment Reinvestment Zone," which charts a path to new levels of walkability and pedestrian friendliness in the neighborhood. The goal is the "20-minute neighborhood" that is becoming a more popular idea in some U.S. cities.

"The plan outlines a road map to make Montrose a '20-minute neighborhood,' where a high quality of life is possible for residents without ever having to hop into a car, said Geoff Carleton, senior principal for Traffic Engineers Inc., which led the study with Gauge Engineering," as reported by the article.

"The study identifies over $40 million in potential projects, most of which will involve partnerships between the TIRZ, the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, the city of Houston and Harris County. The study also contemplates other programs to encourage homeowners and developers to make sidewalk improvements with the possibility of rebates," adds Dullin for more detail. 

The news about Montrose's efforts to plan a more walkable neighborhood is supplemented by the big news that the entire city of Houston adopted this week an ambitious plan for new development in parts of the city to devote more priority to pedestrians, and spend less effort devoted to the car-centric plans of the past. 

Unlike much of the city of Houston, Montrose has a reputation as a pedestrian-friendly. Local stakeholders and experts cited by Dullin, however, say that the state of repair of the sidewalks in the neighborhood render much of the neighborhood's pedestrian infrastructure as useless for many users.

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