City Is Planning Major Changes To Busy Southwest Houston Corridor

The project is designed to enhance safety for pedestrians, cyclists and transit riders in a neighborhood where many people don’t drive.

Pedestrians and cyclists in Houston’s Gulfton neighborhood are invited to give input on safety improvements to Hillcroft Avenue.

Houston Public Works has launched a survey to better understand safety concerns. City officials say the feedback will be used as designs are made for new sidewalks, safer crossings, access to public transit, protected bikeways and improved lighting.

A 2018 study from Rice University's Kinder Institute found about a third of the streets in Gulfton didn't have sidewalks, while others were in poor condition.

Many of the apartment complexes in Gulfton were built in the 1970s to house young professionals who moved to the city to work in the booming oil and gas industry. Like many neighborhoods with clusters of apartment complexes, they were designed primarily for cars.

Now in 2020, Gulfton is home to many immigrant families who have come to Houston from all over the world. Many of those new residents get around by foot or by bus, but they're forced to negotiate a challenging landscape.

On Gulfton's commercial thoroughfares pedestrians have to dodge vehicles entering and exiting parking lots, like one mom who told us back in 2018 about a scary encounter she had while walking her kids home from school.

To remedy some of those issues, the City of Houston is finalizing design work on a series of improvements along Hillcroft. That project would extend from Bellaire Boulevard to the complex intersection at Westward Street and High Star Drive.

For one, the city wants to reduce traffic on Hillcroft from eight lanes to six. A new traffic signal at Dashwood Drive would also help slow down traffic. Other improvements include wider sidewalks, protected bike lanes and new crosswalks. Designs also include a pedestrian plaza on Hillcroft at High Star.

Speaking during an online public meeting about the project, Suzane Abedi with Houston's Complete Communities initiative said the Hillcroft project will allow everyone to use the road safely.

"The mayor emphasizes how we constantly need to strive for more equitable Houston and elevating communities that really, really require it," said Abedi.

Right now Public Works is taking community input on the project. The city says it would like to start work this fall.

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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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