Transportation

Transportation Planners Hear The Concerns Of People Recovering From Harvey

The Houston-Galveston Area Council is gathering public input on its long-range transportation plan, but some people say their needs are more immediate. Neighbors spoke about those concerns at a meeting in northeast Houston.

The Kashmere Gardens neighborhood was hit hard by Harvey’s floods, especially high water from nearby Hunting Bayou. Several months later many low-income people are still struggling to recover.

Keith Downey with the Kashmere Gardens Super-Neighborhood Association was one of the people commenting on H-GAC’s 2045 Regional Transportation Plan, an outline for mobility improvements in the eight-county region. A public meeting was held Thursday night at the Kashmere Gardens Multi-Service Center.

Downey said the neighborhood was facing a lot of challenges even before Harvey.

Many households in Kashmere Gardens have an income between $21,000 and $23,000 a year. A lot of people don’t have internet access. And getting to bus stops can be a problem because of a lack of sidewalks.

“And they’re challenged in getting to where they can connect to services,” added Downey. “And they say, though I need to get back in my home, how do I get information that will help me?”

Downey says the neighborhood also needs more transit and H-GAC says that’s something it’s also hearing in other communities, both in Houston and in the suburbs.

H-GAC Transportation Planner Vishu Lingala said people in Fort Bend and Brazoria Counties are asking for more express buses to get to places like downtown Houston and the Med Center. There’s also increased interest in commuter rail.

Another big issue people are talking about is cycling.

“By and large, in all the public meetings that we’ve had so far, people have shown more interest in expansion of alternative modes of transportation,” said Lingala.

H-GAC has scheduled public meetings through the end of April and Lingala said they may add an additional meeting in Baytown.

“Once all the meetings are done we will gather all the information together and do some analysis with the data we already have,” explained Lingala. He’s expecting they’ll issue a report later this year and start work on the actual plan in 2019.

The next step after that would be to secure billions of dollars in funding for proposed projects.

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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...

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