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Transportation

Houstonians Comment On Plans To Improve Traffic Flow

Officials consider changes to Houston’s streets classification plan.

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At an open house held by Houston’s Planning Department, residents looked over maps that show proposed changes to the city’s Major Thoroughfare and Freeway Plan.

Roads are categorized as to how they’re used and how much traffic they carry. Planners use that information as they map out future infrastructure projects.

One of those attending the meeting was Daphne Scarbrough. She lives near Richmond and South Shepherd. Scarbrough says sometimes the streets are filled to capacity.

“The only time we have really heavy traffic is when the freeway is shut down from a wreck or the freeway’s flooded, and there are no feeder streets on the Southwest Freeway when you get east of Shepherd.”

Many of the changes being considered are the result of the Planning Department’s Inner West Loop Mobility Study. It looks at the area bounded by U.S. 59, the 610 West Loop, I-10, and Bagby Street.

Houston Transportation Planner Amar Mohite says the goal is to create a better flow of traffic on neighborhood thoroughfares, and since they’re constrained from building wider streets they have to come up with something else.

“Our hopes were we would be able to look at a more effective way of using the street grid and existing streets to provide better circulation within the study area.”

One of the streets they’re looking at is Dunlavy. It’s a north-south artery that runs between Allen Parkway and Bissonnet.

Right now it’s classified as a four-lane major connector street, but Mohite says with the increasing popularity of cycling they’re thinking about converting one lane into a bike lane.

Another street under study is River Oaks Boulevard, a street that funnels traffic onto busy Westheimer.

“River Oaks Boulevard, it’s classified as a local street. Every one who’s driven along River Oaks Boulevard, it’s not a local street.”

And if the city decides to reclassify streets like River Oaks, it could lead to improvements in the future.

Paul Nicosia likes the idea of improved transit corridors. He’s hoping for better ways to get around his neighborhood near Memorial Drive.

“You don’t have one person, one car. You’re able to go and do your shopping and get on a bus and go home. The whole issue there is you have to have that full connectivity.”

Residents can speak on the proposed changes at a public hearing July 31. Houston City Council will then get a look at the proposal.

People view proposed changes to Houston’s streets classification plan at a recent public meeting.

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People view proposed changes to Houston’s streets classification plan at a recent public meeting.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

News Anchor

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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