January 2018

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Seeking Improved Walkability and Transit Connections, ECD Board Approves More Sidewalk Construction

Concrete pouring could begin as early as March

Continuing its work to improve walkability in West Houston, the Energy Corridor District board of directors has approved funding to build more sidewalks.

For several years now, the District has been adding sidewalks, creating safe places to walk where none existed before. This year's effort is focused on improving connectivity to public transit, while filling in some gaps where sidewalks are missing, explains the District's Landscape Architect Robert Rayburn, ASLA.

At its January meeting, the board approved $260,000 to connect stretches of missing sidewalks, while adding concrete pathways designed to help people walk to and from the Addicks Park and Ride. Sidewalks will be built both north and west of the METRO Houston transit facility, while work along N. Dairy Ashford Road will increase connectivity to business campuses such as ConocoPhillips and Shell Oil.

Meanwhile, engineering construction plans are in the final phase to design and install transit and pedestrian improvements - including bus shelters and a portion of sidewalks serving METRO bus stops - along Addicks-Howell Road on the west end of the District.

The District is seeking reimbursement of up to half of that project's costs through a Local Initiatives Projects (LIP) grant managed by Harris County and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Design and construction plans are expected to be submitted for review and comments by the City of Houston and the Texas Bureau of Licensing and Regulations in February.

All of those efforts tie in with the District's work in 2017 to significantly enhance pedestrian and bicyclist safety along the Katy Freeway. Three busy IH-10 intersections at Highway 6, N. Eldridge Parkway and N. Dairy Ashford have been transformed. Following a model known as Dutch Junctions, the intersections were designed with distinct, well-marked lanes for cyclists and pedestrians, more separation from vehicular traffic and protected islands as buffers from right-turning motorists.
 

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