The Struggle for a Walkable Houston
Leah Binkovitz writes for Urban Edge about Houston's efforts to become more friendly to pedestrians. "Since 2013, the city’s Complete Streets executive order has required the city’s planning and public works departments to prioritize 'public roadways that take into account all users, including people who are driving or riding in cars, using mass transit, riding bikes, walking, using wheelchairs, driving or riding in trucks, driving or being transported by emergency vehicles, and being served at their residence or property by other users.'"
Still, the city has struggled to overcome policies at odds with the push for complete streets. "Things like minimum parking requirements — and no maximum limit — as well as an ongoing conflict with CenterPoint over the placement of utility poles that disrupt sidewalk space for users, particularly for people in wheelchairs or pushing strollers, continue to hamper what Wallace Brown said was the planning department’s commitment to walkability," Binkovitz reports. Parking requirements can be avoided if developers get special dispensation, but the hurdle can stop projects before they start.