Transportation Equity in Houston’s Gulfton
Transportation Equity in Houston’s Gulfton: Announcing the Hillcroft Groundbreaking
Together for Safer Roads is proud to announce the Hillcroft Groundbreaking with the support of Houston Public Works and Southwest Redevelopment Authority/TIRZ 20.
The project will transform Hillcroft avenue into a safer, more equitable and livable street for the people that live and work in Gulfton.
@TSRCoalition announces Hillcroft Avenue groundbreaking with support of @Houmayor Sylvester Turner @HoustonTX @HouPublicWorks @HoustonPlanning – #houston #fleetsafety #visionzero #roadsafety #hillcroftavenue #equity #transportationequity
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW YORK — Apr.13, 2021 — Together for Safer Roads (TSR) today announces the groundbreaking for turning Hillcroft Avenue into a safer and more equitable road. This is a game-changing project initiative that is inspiring both Vision Zero improvements around the city of Houston and bicycle improvements in adjacent neighborhoods.
“Hillcroft Avenue was once considered one of the most dangerous roads in Houston and was identified by the community as a priority for safety improvements, so we are honored to be an integral part of this work in Gulfton,” said TSR president David Braunstein. “TSR in collaboration with some of our generous members, including Anheuser-Busch, Republic Services, AT&T, Lyft and more, helped make this community improvement project a reality,” added Braunstein.
“At A-B, we are committed to improving community safety where our employees and their families, our business partners and our consumers all share the same roads. We have deep roots here, with Houston being the home to one of our flagship breweries,” shared Cesar Vargas, Chief External Affairs officer at Anheuser-Busch. “As a founding TSR member and supporter, we are proud to be a part of this project in Gulfton that will help the community travel to and from work, school and anywhere else safely, without worrying that the next trip might result in a collision or worse.”
Gulfton residents travel by foot, bike and bus more than any other residents of the Houston area – emphasizing the urgency and need for safer pedestrian crossings, protected bike lanes and improved public spaces that ultimately improve walkability. All of these initiatives will create a trunk route for Houston’s bike network and catalyze the connections needed to access local businesses, health services, education and other opportunities.
This was the first project in Houston to use video-based near-miss analysis for scoping, planning and assessment. The analysis, championed by TSR, and analyzed by the Kinder Institute at Rice University, provided timely and quantified insight on near-crashes, road user types and their movements, speeding infractions and lane violations. Traditional data collection relies on often out-dated crash data or field studies. Communities cannot afford this slow, labor-intensive approach when lives are at risk day in and day out. Houston Public Works Director, Carol Haddock shared,”This project represents another step towards reaching the goal of Vision Zero. Houston Public Works is committed to creating transportation equity for all users while we are rehabilitating roadways to give everyone a safer way to reach their destination. We can improve on Houston’s foundation to ensure safe transportation can thrive for the next generation.
Designed by the community in a process involving Gulfton high school students, the Gulfton initiative serves as a model project for Houston’s Vision Zero program to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030. “Building on the Complete Communities Action Plan is critical to the City of Houston,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “The Hillcroft Avenue corridor in Gulfton is a perfect example of how we can transform city neighborhoods into safer, more liveable streets to support residents and local business.”
A key part of the work on Hillcroft Avenue was a STEM-based internship program. Gulfton high school students were offered paid internships over the summer of 2019 to support the community-based planning process that produced “Gulfton’s Main Street: A New Vision for Hillcroft Avenue.” The talented students worked with Connect Community, TEI and TxRx to conduct field interviews and observations, build planning models, host community workshops and present the results to Public Works, City Council members and other stakeholders. Anne Whitlock, Founding Director of Connect Community stated, “This project was a perfect example of human-centered design – designing roadways that work for neighborhood needs, involving the community in the solution, creating a sense of optimism that positive change can happen and basing it on learning by doing and prototyping. We are just thrilled at the result!”
Projected to be completed by mid-2021, the Hillcroft Avenue project has also received $4 million in funding from the Houston Public Works and Southwest Houston Redevelopment Authority / TIRZ 20 to build the project.
TSR would also like to extend its appreciation to all of the local partners who helped make this transportation Equity in Houston’s Gulfton a possibility, including Fiesta, Group 1 Automotive, Legacy Community Health, Southwest MultiService Center, Super Neighborhood 27, Walgreens, and more.
ABOUT TOGETHER for SAFER ROADS (TSR)
Together for Safer Roads is a global NGO that works with government, businesses and community stakeholders on local projects, fleet safety management and technology initiatives to prevent traffic crashes, injuries and deaths. TSR was started in conjunction with the UN’s Decade of Road safety and has partners around the world. TSR’s members include AB InBev, AT&T, CalAmp, Geotab, Lyft, Marsh, PepsiCo, Republic Services, Samsara, UPS and others.