A pair of Houston-area management districts will use a $10.1 million U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) grant to improve pedestrian safety in four of the city’s most dangerous corridors. The funds for the Greater Northside and International Districts Safe Streets Project will support improvements to 5.9 miles of roadway north of downtown and in the city’s southwest.
More than 1,000 crashes occurred along those corridors between 2017 and 2021, killing five and resulting in 21 serious injuries, according to a release issued by the Greater Northside Management District. Management Districts are created by the Texas legislature to promote safety, welfare, economic development and urban planning aspects.
The funds will support safety improvements and the city’s Vision Zero strategy, which seeks to reduce roadway deaths to zero, a top district official said. El Paso and Dallas have also committed to Vision Zero and received SS4A grants.
Specifically, improvements will be made to four corridors:
- Airline Drive from 28th Street to North Main Street and at the intersections of Parker Road, Witcher Lane, Burress Street, Berry Road, Service Street, Link Road and Gibbs Road.
- Bissonnet Street from Eldridge Parkway to Dairy Ashford Road.
- Jensen Drive at Aldine Westfield Road and approximately 350 feet south of Tidwell Road.
- Tidwell Road from Nordling Street to Irvington Boulevard.
The $12.6 million project will install rectangular rapid-flashing beacons, pedestrian refuge islands, hybrid beacons, improved street lighting and upgrade traffic signals.
Other roadway additions include new or upgraded ramps, high-visibility crosswalks, upgraded pavement markings and the implementation of traffic calming road design changes. Plans also call for wider sidewalks, multiuse paths, improved bus stop accessibility, and building sidewalks. The improvements will connect residents and visitors to local destinations, including a farmer’s market.
Houston is one of 385 communities receiving grants from USDOT’s five-year, $5 billion Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) program. The federal agency announced SS4A grants worth a combined $817 million in December — including support for projects in Dallas and El Paso with awards of $21.8 million and $9.9 million respectively. The USDOT awarded over $1.7 billion from the planned $5 billion allocated for the program from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) in 2023.The application window for the next round of SS4A grants will open in February 2024.
Photo courtesy of the city of Houston.