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Houston’s first chief transportation planner talks city’s traffic to-do list

HOUSTON – This week, Traffic Expert Anavid Reyes sat down with the City of Houston's first Chief Transportation Planner, David Fields.

Highly experienced in the transportation world with over 20 years in the industry, he started his new gig back in March, coming to us from the Bay Area.

So, we asked him why Houston?

“Houston is the city of opportunity. The mayor said he had enough regarding reports of vehicle-pedestrian crashes, pedestrians being killed on the roads. He had had enough, this had had to stop. So he said, before I got here, the Vision Zero Committee, to figure out how do we make this stop. How do we make our city streets safer? One of the things they said, we probably need a group to lead this. So the opportunity like this to come back to where everybody is aligned, to get this thing done was really really encouraging to me,” said Fields.

According to a recent report from the Federal Highway Administration, 28% of all major roads in Houston are considered to be in poor condition.

When we asked him what his plan was to tackle this issue, he said it takes a lot of communication between the people who live in a city and the people who run it.

Fields shared how his immigrant grandparents got around in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

As the years went by, they went from using the subway to not using the subway because they couldn’t climb a certain amount of stairs.

Fields explained how his grandparents never thought about reaching out and speaking with their city leaders to help improve their transportation experience. Because of this, he encourages everyone to tune into what is happening in their city. Express thoughts, concerns and opinions to help improve their experience, especially with all of their transportation needs.

He also shared how he’s is working on rolling out a Vision Zero Action plan in September. In Houston 60% of fatal and serious injury crashes happen on just 6% of Houston streets. The plan aims to figure out exactly what is going on and where.

During the pandemic, what Fields has learned is that our transportation system is up to us and it should reflect the city’s goals.

According to Fields, having a strong dialogue about these goals is how we grow stronger as a city.