Transportation

Houston Officials Give Update On Complete Streets Policy

The goal is to make streets accessible to all users. Supporters say the real benefits of the policy are still years down the road.

In 2013, Mayor Annise Parker signed an executive order mandating the city adopt a Complete Streets policy in the future designs of the city’s roads. That means streets need to be accessible to all users, like walkers and cyclists, not just cars.

Jay Blazek Crossley, with the public policy group Houston Tomorrow, said it’s a good start, but things won’t change overnight.

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A cyclist shares the road with motorists in Houston.

“You know, the big change is going to be in your grandchildren’s lives,” said Crossley, an analyst with the organization. “We’ll start seeing things very soon, but this is a monumental change for the City of Houston in the long run.”

In a new report, Houston’s Public Works Department details what’s been done so far to make Complete Streets a reality. 

The department says it’s changing the way it evaluates intersections and parking lots. It’s also created close to 60 miles of new bike lanes and reconstructed over 70 miles of sidewalks.

Crossley says he’s also happy to see that the city is reviewing earlier design plans to make sure they conform to the Complete Streets policy.

“A lot of the misunderstanding of complete streets is it’s not going to be about one street, one project,” Crossley said. “It’s changing the whole philosophy of how we design our streets.” 

Midtown’s Bagby Street has won awards for its environmentally-friendly Complete Streets design. The Midtown Redevelopment Authority wants to do the same thing on Caroline Street, but plans are being revamped after bids for the work came in over budget.

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Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

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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