Six safety-focused projects slated for Montrose-Midtown area

This intersection of Bagby Street and Elgin Street/Westheimer Road will be slightly redesigned to improve pedestrian safety, the city said. (Courtesy Google Earth)
This intersection of Bagby Street and Elgin Street/Westheimer Road will be slightly redesigned to improve pedestrian safety, the city said. (Courtesy Google Earth)

This intersection of Bagby Street and Elgin Street/Westheimer Road will be slightly redesigned to improve pedestrian safety, the city said. (Courtesy Google Earth)

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Houston’s Planning and Development Department and City Council Member Abbie Kamin’s office say they have developed a pilot program for “quick action” projects that could serve as a model for future efforts to support the city's Vision Zero initiative to reduce traffic fatalities.

"Everything we do now has a safety lens on it," said David Fields, the city's chief transportation planner.

The city has identified 11 potential project sites, with six prioritized for work in the near term.

"We looked at locations that could be made significantly safer in a short amount of time, not something that required a 25-year study," Fields said.

The project areas and scope were identified over the course of almost a year of input from stakeholders, including advocacy groups Bike Houston and Link Houston. Discussions arose out of community feedback after the city was considering alternatives for the Brazos Street bridge repair, said Julia Retta, chief of staff for Kamin's office.


“The residents and stakeholders who engaged and contributed their time, energy, and input to this project were instrumental," Kamin said in a news release. "We also could not have done this without the dedication and efforts of the Planning Department to identify solutions. I hope this effort will serve as a model for putting Vision Zero into practice in other areas of our city."

The first project will redesign the Bagby Street/Elgin Street/Westheimer Road intersection. The $25,000 project, covered by Kamin's council district service fund, will add curb extensions, eliminate an extra turn space, and apply restriping to improve pedestrian and bike safety at the intersection. Construction could begin as early as this fall.

The other five targeted intersections are Richmond Avenue at Spur 527, Taft Street at Westheimer, Taft at Fairview Street, Taft at West Gray Street and Westheimer at Crocker Street; however, the Bagby project was the only funded project as of mid-March. Improvements vary by location, but range from adding crosswalks and curb extensions to restriping lanes and adding bike facilities.

Future projects will rely on securing local funding partners, Retta said.