HOUSTON – The intersection of High Star Road and Westward Street at Hillcroft Street, the Gulfton community’s main street corridor, are set to receive a makeover this weekend.
Several organizations have had a hand in this decision: Houston Public Works, Southwest Houston Redevelopment Authority, Southwest Management District, Connect Community, and Together for Safer Roads searched for solutions that would improve mobility and safety in the Gulfton neighborhood and along Hillcroft Ave., ultimately deciding public artwork was one such solution.
UP Art Studio, a public art, and creative placemaking firm owned and operated by Elia and Noah Quiles will be integrating art into the crosswalks and pedestrian spaces located at the intersection to improve street safety, revitalize public spaces and get residents involved in their communities.
Dubbed the “Gulfton Project,” this initiative is funded through a Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Asphalt Art Grant which provides cities with up to $25,000 for projects that use art and design to improve their communities. Projects were selected based on their impact, viability, quality, and visual interest. Houston Public Works and the Gulfton Community Selection Committee specifically chose UP Art Studio to lead the charge.
This is just one in a long line of projects designed to make Houston safer. On Aug. 13, 2019, Houston joined the Vision Zero Network, “a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all,” after two pedestrians attempting to cross a street were struck and killed.
Houston Public Works completed the Hillcroft Safety Improvement project as a part of this Safer Streets initiative which included widened sidewalks, new traffic signals, signage, floating METRO bus stops and protected bike lanes. Now the attention has turned to beautifying the intersection.
The Gulfton Safe Streets project is designed to bring vibrancy to the intersection’s dull infrastructure, make the user feel safer while crossing or waiting at Gulfton’s entrance, and will be “living” -- a regenerated design every 2-years, that will reinspire onlookers, retaining its cultural relevance and meaning over time.
The Quiles’ have hired artists Robin Munro, Max Lowtide, Carson Russell, and Amol Saraf to help complete the project. The community is also invited to assist in the preparation and painting of the intersection this weekend on Sept. 24 and 25 from 8 a.m – 4 p.m.
Interested volunteers can sign up here.