HOUSTON – Mayor Sylvester Turner, joined Together for Safer Roads (TSR), City Council Members Edward Pollard and Mike Knox, along with community partners today at a groundbreaking to turn Hillcroft Avenue into a safer and more equitable road.
This is a game-changing project initiative that is inspiring both Vision Zero improvements around the city of Houston and bicycle improvements in adjacent neighborhoods.
In April 2019, the city of Houston joined with Together for Safer Roads, a coalition of leading companies, to launch a program called Houston Safer Streets Phase 1.
“Our goal is to make the city’s streets and roads safe for pedestrians, bus riders, bicyclists, drivers, wheelchair users and others,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “The redesign of the Hillcroft area will provide safer transportation options for the Gulfton community, connecting commuters to different areas across town.”
Construction is underway in some areas and the new safety improvement project for Hillcroft Avenue is broken into three segments:
- Hillcroft between Gulfton & Westward
- High Star between Rookin and Hillcroft
- Westward between Hillcroft & Gulfton
The plans include wider sidewalks, adding shared-use bikeways and installing new traffic signals for safer pedestrian access. There will be improved access to METRO bus stops and a hike and bike trail on Westward St. Travel lanes will be reduced from 8-lanes to six.
“Hillcroft Avenue was once considered one of the most dangerous roads in Houston and was identified by the community as a priority for safety improvements, so we are honored to be an integral part of this work in Gulfton,” said TSR president David Braunstein. “TSR in collaboration with some of our generous members, including Anheuser-Busch, Republic Services, AT&T, Lyft and more, helped make this community improvement project a reality,” added Braunstein.
Once completed, the community will notice new color-coded crosswalks, curb ramps and sidewalks, so intersections are safer and more functional for everyone.
”This project represents another step towards reaching the goal of Vision Zero. Houston Public Works is committed to creating transportation equity for all users while we are rehabilitating roadways to give everyone a safer way to reach their destination. We can improve on Houston’s foundation to ensure safe transportation can thrive for the next generation,” said Houston Public Works Director Carol Haddock, P.E.
The new vision for Hillcroft Avenue is also aligned with Houston’s Vision Zero program. As recommended in Gulfton’s Complete Communities Action Plan, it prioritizes safety and accessibility in street design for people of all ages and abilities.
“This Vision Zero-aligned project will improve road safety by prioritizing the lives of people who live, work, and travel through Gulfton every day over vehicle speed. This is important all throughout our City, but especially important in Gulfton where 40% of residents walk, bike, and ride transit,” said Chief Transportation Planner David Fields. “This project recognizes the needs of the local community and makes a reality recommendations from Gulfton’s Complete Communities Action Plan: it prioritizes safety and access in street design for people of all ages and abilities”
Mayor Turner also provided an update on the city’s Street Rehabilitation Program announced last September. The program is designed to improve streets, curbs and gutters citywide.
When he took the oath of office in January 2020 for a second term, Mayor Turner announced fixing streets as one of his priorities, so that drivers could start to see noticeable changes.
The Street Rehabilitation Initiative is my vision for creating safer, more sustainable communities for Houstonians. I asked Public Works to change the way the City of Houston is doing business by taking a more holistic approach to how we use our streets as part of a Complete Community.
So far, Public Works has completed 191.4 lane miles at a cost of $32.4 million and we have another 51.7 lane-miles under construction.
The city is on target to meet the goal of 292 lane miles completed by the end of the fiscal year, which is double what crews accomplished last year and almost four times the amount three years ago.
Moving forward in FY 22, Public Works is taking a different approach on priorities. This includes elevating projects on the high injury network in line with Vision Zero and in Complete Communities.
In addition, we are working with our partners to leverage resources such as METRO’s Boost program.
“While the city is doing its part to make streets safer and we also need drivers to work with us,’ said Mayor Turner. “That means drivers must slow down, do not drink and drive and avoid distractions while driving. Look out for yourself and your fellow Houstonians.”
City of Houston | Media Release