Houston officials held a news conference Tuesday to announce the official groundbreaking to “transform Hilcroft Avenue into a safer and more equitable road,” according to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
Turner said the city partnered with Together for Safer Roads in April 2019 to launch phase one of the Houston Safer Streets program, an initiative to make roads safer for pedestrians, drivers, cyclists, and those who take public transportation.
The goal of the Grafton-area redesign is to make the area as safe as possible to those who travel in the area and to connect commuters to different areas across town, according to Turner.
Turner said the project is broken into three segments:
Gulfton between Hilcroft and Westward
High Star between Rookin and Hillcroft
Westward between Hilcroft and Gulfton
According to Turner, construction is underway in some areas. The new plan includes wider sidewalks, adding shared-use bikeways, installing new traffic signals, improved access to Metro bus stops, a hike and bike trail on Westward, and travel lanes will be reduced from eight to six, Turner said. Community members will also see new color-coded crosswalks, curb ramps, and crosswalks that will help make intersections safer.
Turner also spoke about the city street rehabilitation program that he announced in September. The program is designed to improve streets, curbs, and gutters city-wide, Turner said.
“The street rehabilitation initiative is my vision for creating safer more sustainable communities for all Houstonians,” Turner said.
According to Tuner, the goal for the program is for public works to complete 292 lane miles. So far they have completed 191.4 miles at a cost of $32.4 million and there are another 51.7 lane miles under construction, Turner said.
Turner said the project is on target to meet the goal by the end of the fiscal year, which is double what crews accomplished in 2020.
Even with all the improvements, Turner said it is up to drivers to be responsible on the road.
“The city is doing its part to makes streets safer,” Turner said. “We also need drivers to work with us. We need drivers to stop drinking and driving … Slow down. Do not drink and drive, and avoid distractions while driving. Look out for yourself and your fellow Houstonians.”