More safe, walkable streets for pedestrians and cyclists coming to Westchase District

HOUSTON – Making the Westchase District neighborhood more walkable and safer for cyclists is the main goal for the rebuilding of Walnut Bend Lane.

This area is heavily traveled by not only cars, but walkers and bikers too.

“We got wider sidewalks, we got pedestrian lighting for added safety at night, which is a huge feature here in Houston. And of course, we have an on-street bike lane which we don’t see a lot of here in Houston,” said Ricky Gonzalez, team leader for Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, Inc.

Gonzalez expressed how proud he was of these major improvements coming to Walnut Bend Lane, not only because it’ll improve mobility for drivers, but these improvements also promote multimodal transportation-- getting people out of their cars and instead, consider walking or biking for short trips.

“What we’re trying to promote is, if you’re going from your apartment or your house to the nearest Target, get on a bike or walk. There’s no need to get in a car for one block,” said Gonzalez.

Of course, in order to encourage folks to do so, residents have to feel safe to consider these different options to move around town, especially a busy city like Houston.

Another way to tackle safety is bringing in a Dutch Intersection to Walnut Bend Lane. This is a protected intersection where cyclists and pedestrians are separated from cars, and folks traveling through the Westchase District can see that type of intersection at play with the metal posts along the curb.

The rebuild of Walnut Bend Lane tackled a huge punch list, and on that list was drainage. You can’t see those improvements because they’re underground, but during those rain events, folks walking on the side won’t have to worry about the water getting so high it spills over from the road to the sidewalk.

Another cool feature is the new transit stops along Walnut Bend Lane. There are 11 aluminum and shatter-resistant glass equipped with LED lighting features and modern concrete seats, which are totally unique to the Westchase District.

This project is just about done. They just have to add the finishing touches and plant some trees. The price tag on this project: $20 million.

All the changes don’t stop here, because next up is the reconstruction Meadowglen Lane. This project is still in the very beginning planning stages. Crews most likely won’t break ground on this project until another three years. KPRC 2 spoke with the Westchase District about these major improvements on the way for Meadowglen Lane, so folks have to stay tuned for what’s to come here. It’s a very exciting time for this neighborhood as they strive to make it safer, more walkable, and accessible to bikes so that all those traveling through here flow in a harmonious way with vehicular traffic.

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Traffic expert and What’s Driving Houston reporter, proud Latina, lover of animals, food and our beautiful planet.