ReBuild Houston is a great example of how Houston is practicing sustainable living. This business model was voted on by residents of the city in order to address street infrastructure and drainage problems. According to former Chairman Theldon Branch III, the program hopes to make Houston roads and drainage sustainable over a long period of time in order to deal with the population growth Houston is predicted to see in the next 20 years. In a 10-year plan, the city hopes to reduce street and structural flooding and improve mobility.
Since Houston is more prone to hurricanes (and sometimes droughts), it comes as no surprise that drainage is a major issue needing to be addressed. The Department of Public Works and Engineering is working to ensure that underground storm pipes and roadside ditches are designed to hold the standard design rainfall runoff. In addition to drainage reconstruction, streets are being reconstructed, or replaced and expanded due to road condition and traffic congestion.
Areas of identified need as recommended by the Department of Public Works and Engineering as worst first will be the first considered on the project list. Once these areas are completed, more funding for additional projects becomes available. However, in order for the city to make the best decision on projects that are in need of reconstruction or expansion, residents of these areas are encouraged to call 3-1-1 and request these changes. The areas of focused projects as stated in the CIP Process Manual are:
- Intersections. Upgraded equipment will be used to support traffic timing signals and coordination.
- Access Management. Better access to reduce conflict points.
- Neighborhood Traffic Management. Traffic calming measures to improve neighborhood quality and pedestrian/bicyclists safety.
- Railroad Safety and Quiet Zones. Upgraded rail crossings for increased safety and minimized noise due to train horns.
- Sidewalks. Construction of sidewalks for pedestrian accessibility.
- Bikeways. Bikeway facilities to address transportation needs.
In 10 years, Houston will be a cleaner and more accessible city because of ReBuild Houston. Through more municipal and community support, more environmental-friendly projects could be seen in the future. A very substantial project the city of Houston has just about completed will give you a glimpse of what Houston could look like in the future. But telling you now will spoil the fun of my next post.