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November 2013

New Freedom Sidewalk Project Starts, Paving the Way to Safer Pathways

Enhanced pathways to increase pedestrian safety to crossings, transit stops, employment and parks

Construction of the first of four substantial Energy Corridor pathway improvements will start in November, as the New Freedom Sidewalk Project paves the way to safer, more usable and accessible sidewalks.

Part of The Energy Corridor District’s (ECD) Livable Center mission, the New Freedom Sidewalks will remove barriers, reduce unsafe conditions and increase access to public transportation, employment and shopping (particularly for people with disabilities), while easing access to West Houston’s extensive hike and bike trail network.

The District has issued a “Notice to Proceed” to Tikon Group, Inc. for the construction. The first segment on Park Row, from SH-6 to Park Line, began October 28. During the construction, some temporary lane closures should be expected between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily.

New Freedom Sidewalks will eventually stretch along Park Row from Park Line to Park & Ride Drive, when the infrastructure improvement project’s second phase gets underway later this year. That segment will improve pedestrian access to METRO’s Energy Corridor Park & Ride facility.

The third and fourth phases of the New Freedom Sidewalks focus on Memorial Drive pathway improvements, with construction commencing in 2014. Pathways along busy Memorial Drive will be first be enhanced from N. Eldridge Parkway to Memorial View, then along a stretch of Memorial Drive at Westlake Blvd.

All four phases of the ECD’s New Freedom Sidewalks infrastructure improvement project are slated for completion by mid-2014.

“The Energy Corridor District’s New Freedom Sidewalks will offer Houston residents increased access to employment, job training and shopping – as well as provide pathway connections to parks and recreational trails,” explains John Nunez, Transportation Manager for The Energy Corridor District. “Enhanced pathways will also help individuals with disabilities access public amenities, shopping and job centers, allowing them to better integrate into society.”

Funding comes from a New Freedom Federal Grant awarded to the Energy Corridor District to improve accessibility and remove barriers for disabled persons, beyond the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The ECD’s Liveable Centers mission seeks to create mixed-use, transit-oriented development for Houston’s burgeoning Energy Corridor. The end game is a more livable, workable center that can help reduce traffic congestion, while improving air quality and lifestyles opportunities. The mission is based on consultant observations, public comments and projected development estimates.

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