Officials with the city of Houston's Planning Department are looking into a series of intersection improvements along Willowbend Boulevard between Hillcroft Avenue and South Post Oak Boulevard. Some findings were presented to residents at an Aug. 16 public meeting, and officials will continue to gather feedback on prioritization through Sept. 1.

The overview

The proposed work has been split into three segments, which will be implemented in phases according to when funding becomes available:
  • a 0.8-mile segment from Hillcroft to just east of Atwell Drive
  • a 0.6-mile segment from just east of Atwell to Cedarhurst Drive
  • a 0.4-mile segment from just west of West Bellfort to South Post Oak
The scope of the project involves addressing gaps in connectivity that limits access to key services and destinations, according to an Aug. 16 presentation from the planning department.

The details

City officials have been studying the area and soliciting feedback from stakeholders on problems along the strip of Willowbend dating back to May. Throughout the process, problems identified included areas where vehicles are known to speed, intersections where traffic backs up, and areas that are difficult to navigate for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • At Hillcroft Avenue, stakeholders said vehicles are known to "stack" at the intersection. Design recommendations include reducing the curb radius, building median refuges for pedestrians, adding crosswalks and adding a pedestrian yield sign.
  • At Rampart Street, recommendations include adding pedestrian ramps that would allow for safer north-south crossings, adding crosswalks and extending the sidewalk on Rampart north to the Westbury Baptist Church. Officials also said there is an opportunity to add striped bulb-outs at the intersection, which involves extending sidewalks into the parking lane to provide more space for pedestrians. The design for the bulb-outs could serve as an art project for students at Parker Elementary School.
  • At Mullins Street, stakeholders noted the tendency for vehicles to speed as the road widens. The intersection is also used by pedestrians looking to access Parker Elementary and Westbury Park. Recommendations include adding crosswalks, putting bulb-outs on all corners and removing eastbound parking restrictions to allow parking along Willowbend outside of school hours.
  • Around Renwick Drive, Atwell Drive and Checkerboard Street, recommendations include putting a crosswalk to Parker Elementary, using a protected left turn for drivers at Atwell, and using a leading pedestrian interval, which gives more time for pedestrians to cross before lights turn green. Crosswalks are also recommended in all directions at Checkerboard.
  • Problems identified at Chimney Rock Road included difficulty in making left turns, red light running and sidewalks that are difficult to navigate. Recommendations include removing the outside thru lane on the bridge and using the space for wider sidewalks, and adding curbed medians and refuges east and west of the intersection.
  • Near Meyerland Middle School, recommendations include adding signage and restriping crosswalks where Wigton Drive crosses Chimney Rock, and rebuilding sidewalk panels.
  • At Manhattan Drive, recommendations include restriping crosswalks and adding bulb-outs. Other considerations include installing all-way stop signs and removing the existing no-left-turn sign.
  • At Cedarhurst Drive, stakeholders noted a sight distance issue for drivers and pedestrians traveling north of Cedarhurst and trying to cross Willowbend. Recommendations include expanding the median, adding pedestrian refuges, striping crosswalks, adding a curb warning sign and changing the second westbound Willowbend Lane west of West Bellfort into a parking lane.
  • At West Bellfort Avenue, stakeholders noted speeding issues and difficulty for pedestrians looking to cross. Recommendations at West Bellfort are among the most intensive and include changing the right-most lane of Willowbend into a right-turn-only lane; adding pedestrian refuges; and adding a curb bulb-out at the northwest corner of the intersection to prevent thru traffic in the right lane. Officials are also considering removing one of the two left-turn lanes from eastbound Willowbend to northbound Bellfort, and widening the median and pedestrian refuge with the new space.
  • At Clematis Lane, recommendations include adding median refuges, crosswalks and signage.
  • At Post Oak Boulevard, officials recommend doing a full intersection study in coordination with the Texas Department of Transportation. In the meantime, smaller recommendations include restriping crosswalks, adding median refuges and closing the second westbound left-turn lane from Willowbend to northbound Post Oak.
What's next

City officials are continuing to seek input from stakeholders on how projects should be prioritized through Sept. 1. Details on timelines and costs will be determined afterward. Westbury residents and stakeholders can learn more about the proposals here.