Transportation

As Traffic Congestion Grows In West Houston, Officials Look For Solutions

Getting around was a big problem during the recent floods when major arteries were closed because of high water.

Long-range proposals were presented at a recent forum on West Houston mobility.
Long-range proposals were presented at a recent forum on West Houston mobility.

Rachel Jackson has lived in west Houston for about a year-and-a-half. She has an apartment on Park Row Boulevard, not far from the Katy Freeway.

Jackson says it’s a great location that’s close to everything. But access wasn’t so easy when it flooded back in April. She says when she tried to exit the freeway to get home she found herself in a frightening situation.

She came across a man who was wading from his stalled car in waist-deep water. At that point, all she could do was stay on the main lanes.

“And I was freaked out because I didn’t know how I was going to get back to my apartment,” says Jackson.

And it’s not just when it’s flooding in west Houston that people have a tough time getting around. Over 90,000 people work in the Energy Corridor near Interstate-10 and State Highway 6. Thousands more live and work in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Residents and business people talked about some of those challenges at a recent transportation forum sponsored by the Energy Corridor and Mobility Houston. Energy Corridor General Manager Clark Martinson says one solution is to create more walkable places.

Clark Martinson of the Energy Corridor and Irma Sanchez of the Westchase District listen to questions at a recent transportation forum sponsored by the Energy Corridor and Mobility Houston.
Clark Martinson of the Energy Corridor and Irma Sanchez of the Westchase District listen to questions at a recent transportation forum sponsored by the Energy Corridor and Mobility Houston.

“I would say in five years we need to build some pedestrian bridges that can get you across a creek, that get you from that new apartment over to the trails,” explains Martinson. “Maybe the traffic signals are timed better so they can walk across the street.”

Also at the forum was Irma Sanchez, Vice-President of Projects for the Westchase District, near Westheimer and Beltway 8. Sanchez says more direct transit would help, along with better options for getting around the neighborhood.

“That’s where the management district role would come in, whether it’s a shuttle service, improving the sidewalks to entice people to want to walk from their drop-off destination to their place of work,” says Sanchez.

Bike path connectivity was one of the topics at a recent forum on mobility in West Houston.
Bike path connectivity was one of the topics at a recent forum on mobility in West Houston.

And as for Rachel Jackson and her rough ride around the flood zone, she says she was finally able to make it home.

“It was more scary than anything because I really didn’t know what I was going to do if I couldn’t get back to my place,” adds Jackson. “I didn’t know where to go. I didn’t know what was flooded, what wasn’t flooded.”

One of the Energy Corridor’s big transportation goals is to create safer ways for cyclists and walkers to cross under I-10.

Share

Gail Delaughter

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...

More Information