Building better roads for a better tomorrow: Houston moving towards bike-friendly culture

HOUSTON – Building a better tomorrow for all modes of transportation and construction in the Memorial Heights area aims to do just that.

Exciting changes are happening in our city that will help us move towards more of a bike-friendly culture and the Memorial Heights Redevelopment Authority along with the City of Houston, have been working very closely together to help make the goal of elevating the day-to-day experience for the people who live, work, and play in Houston a reality.

The Memorial Heights Redevelopment Authority’s bike and pedestrian construction project started early in 2022. Here’s a breakdown of the work, according to MHRA:

Completed:

  • The White Oak Bayou Trail Extension
  • Pavement marking at West Dallas

Currently Underway→

  • Shepherd Durham Project
  • Sidewalk at Heights Boulevard. and Center Street and re-striping of Heights from Washington to I-10
  • Median construction at Houston Avenue and Spring Street.

Coming Soon→

  • Trail crossings at Heights Blvd. & 7th St.
  • Trail crossing at White Oak Dr. & Heights Blvd.
  • Traffic Light at Yale and Center (in design stage)

At Houston Avenue and Spring Street, safety for the trail users crossing on the north side of the intersection and drivers is the priority. As improvements are made, our goal is to have a minimal impact on your commute.

The following considerations were part of the decision to add concrete medians to the intersection:

  • The concrete medians provide a refuge for trail users crossing Houston Avenue to wait for drivers to stop and allow them to cross.
  • The refuge will also make it easier for trail users to access the bike lanes on Houston Avenue north of Spring Street.
  • The median will help drivers with the tricky transition from the narrow road north of Spring to the wider section on the south by giving them clear, physical guidance.
  • The eastbound left turns must be restricted from Spring Street to protect the trail users as they cross Houston Avenue.
  • With the median, northbound drivers on Houston Avenue who want to take a left turn onto Spring Street would encroach into the pedestrian refuge area and could block other vehicles headed north; therefore, the northbound left turns must be restricted from Houston Avenue.

While improvements are being made to provide a safer commute for multimodal travelers, we recommend accessing side streets that allow access into the neighborhoods from Houston Avenue (click here for a map of the area). For regional traffic, Crocket Street is 500 feet south of Spring St. and is another alternative for a smoother commute.

Comments on the project

  • “Coming north on Heights Boulevard, there was already a shared-use bike path, that was installed several years ago to help people get all the way up to Washington Avenue, but crossing Washington Avenue is a real challenge, so this project is set to make crossing Washington Avenue and on to the additional sidewalks north of Washington much easier which of course will take you all the way to I-10 and of course White Oak Bayou,” said Sherry Weesner, president of the Memorial Heights Redevelopment Authority.
  • “... and south from here, south of Washington there’s a new shared path trail, that’ll connect to all of this, that’ll provide a north-south connection, for people who are traveling from Buffalo Bayou all the way to the Heights... What’s different right now, is the wide sidewalks, shared use path, that we’re standing on right now, which is why we can even do this interview and have space for safety. So people can walk bike and get to the transit station, which is right here as well,” said Ian Hlavacek, managing engineer at the City of Houston.

Work is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2023.


About the Author:

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