After conducting resident surveys and more than a year of design and planning, the city of Sugar Land unveiled its 2023 Mobility Master Plan in February.

The plan will help the city to address mobility as it nears build-out and focuses on redevelopment. It identifies five values to guide an effort to create safe and comfortable streets for all users, as well as 101 action items and a 100-day action plan.The core values are safety, accessibility, healthy lifestyles, innovation and proactivity.

“These core values are a result of what we heard from the community during the extensive public engagement that took place throughout the plan’s development,” Sugar Land Communications Director Doug Adolph said.

Work on the plan began in fall 2020. It went through three rounds of community surveys, gathering over 1,900 responses, with residents primarily interested in street safety and adding more trails for walking and biking.

“Safety for all road users, regardless of mode, age or ability, is the No. 1 priority for all of the mobility projects that are planned in the city, and aligns with regional planning goals as well,” Adolph said.

Expanding transportation options

In addition to action items and the action plan, the plan also establishes a Transformative Mobility Network, which highlights the network of existing and proposed streets and trails where the city should focus its resources over the next 10 to 15 years.

The action item list includes a pilot of an on-demand microtransit service open to all users. The six-passenger vans will use designated pickup locations anywhere in Sugar Land as well as door-to-door service.

The city is applying for a Houston-Galveston Area Council grant for a one-year pilot and will look for permanent funding for the service if it sees demand, Adolph said.

The city received funds from H-GAC’s Livable Centers Study Program to conduct its first small area plan. The plan will list infrastructure projects and policy changes to create alternative transportation options connecting the Sugar Land Town Square to the Lake Pointe Town Center and foster infill development and redevelopment in these areas.

“We hope to see more housing and economic development opportunities in these areas as a result of this program,” Adolph said.

The plan also includes introducing a Safe Routes to School program, which will propose infrastructure projects to increase safety for children walking and biking to school.

“This is something the city has wanted to do for a long time but has not had the resources to support this program in the past,” Adolph said.

Funding the plan

Sugar Land is eyeing numerous external funding sources for the plan’s projects, including fees, a possible 2024 bond, grants, and partnerships with regional, state and federal agencies.

The city has also already prioritized several corridors and mobility projects, and applied for project funding from entities including the Texas Department of Transportation, H-GAC, and the November mobility and park bond Fort Bend County is considering.

“We’ve been taking advantage of as many external funding opportunities as possible to try to leverage the city’s funds,” Adolph said.

The Mobility Task Force unanimously recommended the plan to Sugar Land City Council for adoption during its final meeting in February. The project awaits a planning and zoning commission public hearing, consideration and action prior to a City Council vote. A public hearing and two readings of the ordinance must happen before adoption.