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W E S T PA
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E L D R I D G E PA R K W AY
C L AY R O A D
The Greater West Houston Subregional Planning Initiative will be a comprehensive multi-‐modal transportation study that integrates land use and growth scenarios for the Greater West Houston region. The study will look at street network inclusive of the freeways and tollways; transit modes like commuter rail, light rail, bus rapid transit, local bus, vanpools, car pools, park & ride facilities, etc.; intelligent transportation systems; pedestrian and bicycle network; and other transportation strategies. The Study would guide development of short, medium and long-‐ range transportation investments in the Greater West Houston region and encourage development to be responsible and sustainable to improve the quality of life in the region. This plan will also align with the City of Houston’s Inner Loop West (Subregional) Study to provide comprehensive mobility solutions for West Houston.
This proposal is in response to the Houston-‐Galveston Area Council (H-‐GAC) Call for Proposals seeking applicants from local governments or other eligible project sponsors for Subregional Planning Initiative studies. The local sponsors of this submittal (City of Houston, Energy Corridor, Westchase and Memorial City management districts) are eligible governmental entities. This proposal suggests a Steering Committee consisting of multiple public jurisdictions and agencies, the three management districts and the West Houston Association representing many of the private Stakeholders in the Subregion. Collectively, we intend to bring public agencies, private developers, communities and businesses together in a participatory planning process, to more closely link regional plans and investment priorities with local plans, initiatives, and investments.
Part I – General Project Information Part II – Application Narrative and Scoring A. Project Impact • • • • • Goals Statement and Objectives Need and Purpose of the Study Desired Outcomes Issues and Areas of Interest Tools and Best Practices Transportation Assets o o o Improve Connectivity with Subregional Jurisdictions Accessible and Safe Pedestrian and Bicyclist Environment Strengthen Accessibility of Transit and Transit Connectivity • H-‐GAC Regional Transit Framework Study Scenario 2 – Maximize Transit Access Scenario 3 – Maximize Transit Mode Share
5 6 6 6 7 9 9 10 11 11 11 14 16 17 18 19 20 20 20 20 21 21 21 22 23 24 26
B. Fulfilling Program Goals •
Environmentally Sensitive Areas and Green Spaces Air Quality and Mode Shift Environmental Awareness Integrate Green Space and Preserve Natural Resources Potential to Positively Transform the Subregion Community Engagement Plan Efficient Use of Existing Infrastructure Potential for Investment and Development of Major Activity Centers
Quality Communities that attract new people and businesses
C. Ability to Implement D. Conclusion Part III: Attachments A. Letters of Support and Proof of Interlocal Cooperation B. Local Funding Cash Match
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The Greater West Houston Subregional Planning Initiative
The Greater West Houston Subregional Planning Initiative will respond to current and future mobility and quality of life issues in the Greater West Houston area. If not addressed, these issues will present real challenges to the long-‐term economic viability of activity centers and the quality of life of the adjoining neighborhoods as expanding population and employment in the Greater West Houston subregion is projected to increase demand on the existing transportation network to unsustainable levels.
Submitted to H-‐GAC on January 21, 2011
Part I – General Project Information Sponsoring Agencies; City of Houston (COH), Energy Corridor District (ECD), Westchase District (WD) and Memorial City District (MCD) In-‐Kind Contributing Stakeholder; West Houston Association (WHA) Contact Persons; • Mr. Amar Mohite, Transportation Analyst, City of Houston Planning & Development Department, 611 Walker Suite 600, Houston, Texas 713-‐837-‐7950, Amar.Mohite@houstontx.gov • Mr. Clark Martinson, General Manager, Energy Corridor District, 14701 St. Mary’s Suite 290, Houston, Texas 77079, 281-‐759-‐3800, firstname.lastname@example.org • Ms. Irma H. Sanchez, Vice President of Projects, Westchase District, 10375 Richmond Ave., Suite 1175, Houston, Texas 77042-‐4163, 713-‐780-‐9434, ISanchez@WestchaseDistrict.com • Mr. Pat Walters, Executive Director, Memorial City District, 820 Gessner, Suite 1530, Houston, Texas 77024, 713-‐984-‐8737, email@example.com • Mr. Roger Hord, President, West Houston Association, 820 Gessner, Suite 1310, Houston, Texas 77024, 713-‐461-‐9378, firstname.lastname@example.org Lead Sponsoring Agency: Energy Corridor District Name of Proposed Subregion: Greater West Houston Specific Study Location and Proposed Boundaries: FM 529 to the north; Blalock to the east; Bellaire to the south and SH 99 to the west. Proposed Funding Contributions • Study total: $500,000 • H-‐GAC Match: $400,000 (80%) • Local Match: $100,000 (20%) o City of Houston: $40,000 o Energy Corridor District: $30,000 o Westchase District: $20,000 o Memorial City District: $10,000 • TxDOT 3%: $15,000 (additional amount to be contributed by all three management districts)
5-‐mile – 10-‐mile map of Commuting Thresholds from Major Activity Centers in Greater West Houston
A. Project Impact (20%)
Goals Statement -‐ The goal of the Greater West Houston Subregional Planning Initiative is to facilitate a comprehensive transportation planning process in the Greater West Houston Subregional area of the eight-‐county H-‐GAC Transportation Management Area in order to identify and develop viable projects for the Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) that reflect the goals of the 2035 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) and the needs of the Greater West Houston Subregion. • Develop consensus on the vision and growth scenario(s) of the Greater West Houston Region • Propose growth projections and alternative development concepts • Meet travel requirements and improve our quality of life • Protect environmentally sensitive areas & green spaces • Improve the quality of life of existing and future communities • Develop a sustainable transportation plan to guide transportation investments within this region • Integrate recommendations from the subregional plan into the local and regional plans
• Propose better ways to plan for future infrastructure investments • Update a feasible and realistic Major Thoroughfare and Freeway Plan • Develop a list of projects and methodology to prioritize and update the list Objectives • To define, characterize and quantify the regions existing and projected demographics, development patterns, transportation facilities, services and usage • Integrate protection of environmentally sensitive areas & green spaces, existing land uses and future development scenarios into the transportation planning process • To identify and assess by magnitude and mode share, the major travel markets that play a key role in impacting travel patterns; • To evaluate the ability of the existing transportation system to efficiently and effectively serve current and projected travel needs • Examine the benefits and impacts of the proposed improvements identified by this Study in the context of the regional transportation system. • Evaluate alignment, refine and prioritize the proposed transportation improvements and modal alternatives
Distant master planned communities like Bridgeland enjoy good schools and recreational amenities Need and Purpose of the Study -‐ The H-‐GAC region lacks consensus on how to best handle future growth in the Greater West Houston Subregion. The Subregion is fortunate to contain attractive natural features and high quality school districts that have historically attracted affluent and workforce households. Developers have enhanced the attractiveness by creating a number of master planned communities that include open space and recreational amenities within their boundaries. Historically these developments have emerged before major transportation improvements were made; thus the construction or expansion of US 290, IH 10, US 59 and the West Sam Houston and the Westpark Tollways have only partially mitigated what were already serious congestion and accessibility issues. Upscale residential subdivisions now reach well over 30 miles away from urban core commercial centers like Downtown Houston, Uptown Houston and Greenway Plaza. To provide more convenient
workplaces for these increasingly distant commuters, suburban business centers like Memorial City, Westchase, and the Energy Corridor have developed. Despite recent transportation investments such as the widening of the Katy Freeway, serious and growing levels of congestion, connectivity, and accessibility remain traveling to West Houston’s more peripheral employment destinations. These issues present real challenges to the economic viability of all these centers, which will stand to lose market share to new centers that will spawn even further out on the urban fringe, intensifying these conditions. If unaccounted for, this pattern will create even more transportation challenges while existing ones remain unsolved and much land in existing centers sits underutilized. The Farm-‐to-‐Market roads and rural county roads, which form the basis of Greater West Houston’s street system, were not designed to handle the volume and patterns of traffic that urban growth continues to bring. Safety has decreased for automobile drivers while congestion has increased. Many of the facilities lack pedestrian and bicycle accommodations. Even expanded thoroughfares in quickly growing areas suffer massive congestion at both traditional peak and non-‐ peak times. The degradation of air quality that results from such a high incidence of automobile travel, plus the attendant congestion, adds another health risk to the Subregion’s employees and residents. Looking past the current economic slowdown, strong population and employment growth is forecasted to continue in the Houston region. This growth, as it has in the past, will place stress on our public infrastructure, delivery of services and the general environment. This situation generates unnecessary and unsustainable costs to fiscal efficiency and quality of life. The Greater West Houston Subregional Planning Initiative Proposal will address the need for: • Better functionality of existing infrastructure due to congestion • Dealing with congestion and lack of access in residential areas and activity centers • Addressing commercial and employment growth in further outlying locations • Preserving ecologically valuable open spaces and productive agricultural lands • Desirable increased density of infill sites especially around the activity and transit centers • Personal safety for both drivers and non-‐drivers as traffic increases • Improved air quality for better public health • Sound planning in Greater West Houston • Strategic transportation investments and policies • Encouragement of development and street patterns that foster walking and cycling for short trips
Westchase District vision for the future of Meadowglen with pedestrian amenities Desired Outcomes -‐ The Study will evaluate highway, tollway, transit and pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure projects proposed by multiple jurisdictions and agencies to: • Develop goals and objectives through the public and stakeholder engagement process • Develop preferred subregional scenarios to guide transportation investment • Encourage measures to increase transit ridership • Develop implementation strategies • Develop a list of recommendations for integration into local and regional plans • Develop a prioritized list of short and long range improvements • Promote quality communities that attract new people and businesses to the region and promote economic success Issues and Areas of Interest – The three management districts and local governments compete for limited capital improvement projects provided by METRO, TxDOT, Harris County and the City of Houston. Bus service, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, drainage and roadway capital improvement plans are often proposed to benefit local community interests without concern for the larger region. • Local and regional bus service is not adequately marketed to attract new patrons • Access management issues that cross multi-‐jurisdictional boundaries aren’t coordinated • Intersections outside one jurisdiction’s boundaries are not studied • Some neighborhoods experience cut through traffic • Trails plans do not connect and lack of integrated planning approach
Tools and Best Practices – The issues and areas of interest identified above can’t be resolved in isolation. The Greater West Houston Subregional Planning Initiative Proposal may be the most significant employment and residential concentration in the 8-‐county region. The City of Houston, the three management districts and the West Houston Association represent a variety of interests with a strong track record of conducting and completing comprehensive long range planning studies, including: • City of Houston o City Mobility Planning, Phase I o Urban Corridor Planning & Transit Corridor Ordinance o City of Houston General Plan Energy Corridor District Plans o Energy Corridor District Street Condition Inventory o Energy Corridor Sidewalk Inventory Analysis o Energy Corridor District Livable Centers Study o Energy Corridor District Unified Transportation Plan o Energy Corridor District Bicycle Master Plan o West Houston Trails Master Plan (Energy Corridor District with the National Park Service Rivers Trails and Conservation Program) Memorial City District Plans o Memorial City Redevelopment Authority Traffic Study o Memorial City Redevelopment Authority & Memorial City District Project Plans o Memorial City Redevelopment Authority & Memorial City District Capital Improvement Plans Westchase District Plans o Westchase District Long Range Plan o Westchase District FTA Pedestrian-‐Transit Access & Streetscape Plan West Houston Association Plans o West Houston Association Trails Concept (Kerry Gilbert) o West Houston 2050 Plan
In each of these efforts and studies, the sponsors showed that they are effective facilitators of stakeholder involvement throughout each process. The partners will be able to include METRO, TxDOT, Harris County, Fort Bend County and City of Katy in the discussion of needs and resources available to meet those needs at a time when limited resources need to be allocated for the greatest good.
Energy Corridor District Livable Centers Pedestrian and Bicycle Facilities Plan B. Fulfilling Program Goals “The primary goal of the SPI Program is to enable the Houston-‐Galveston region and its local jurisdictions to continue to be successful in protecting its economic success, transportation assets, environmentally sensitive areas, green space, and quality communities that attract new people and businesses to the region by improving coordination of regional and local planning efforts.” The following descriptions of “Transportation Assets”, “Environmentally Sensitive Areas and Green Spaces” and “Quality Communities that Attract New People and Businesses to the Regions and Promote Economic Success” are intended to fulfill the goals of the H-‐GAC SPI Program and the goals of the local sponsors described in the “Project Impact” section of this proposal. Transportation Assets (20%) Improve Connectivity With Subregional Jurisdictions -‐ The study will lead to solutions for providing enhanced access to activity center work places from the disparate communities, work force housing subdivisions and multifamily complexes within the subregion. The study will identify deficiencies that exist in the subregion’s roadways, transit and pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. It will propose connectivity solutions that can bridge the massive gaps between transit routes, neighborhood streets, sidewalks, trails and the destinations along thoroughfares and highways. These locations currently rely on a small set of overburdened freeways and thoroughfares, along with occasional local residential street cut-‐through routes that are much resented by impacted residents. The study will identify more
route options to be pursued building upon planning and implementation work that is already being done within the management districts. The Study will look for opportunities to prioritize City of Houston Proposition 1 Projects. Proposition 1 projects will address drainage and street improvements. A study goal is to work with the City to give higher priority to projects, which benefit both drainage and streets. Schematic Plan of Overpasses and Major Intersections • Coordinate with City of Houston “Proposition 1” Drainage and Transportation Projects Plans • Look at traditional highway, tollway and major thoroughfare investment • Apply access management practices to major thoroughfares to improve traffic flow • Reduce the negative impact of cut-‐ through traffic in residential neighborhoods • Reduce traffic congestion at intersections • Improve traffic flow on thoroughfares by synchronizing signals • Identify new streets for connectivity, street widening and overlay projects
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Major Thoroughfare Sufficient Width – 320 miles Major Thoroughfare to be Widened – 46 miles Major Thoroughfare to be Acquired – 29 miles Major Collector Sufficient Width – 20 miles Major Collector to be Widened – 4 miles Major Collector to be Acquired – 0 miles Freeway/Expressway Sufficient Width – 57 miles Freeway/Expressway to be Widened -‐ 5 miles Freeway/Expressway to be Acquired -‐ 6 miles
# of Thoroughfare/Thoroughfare intersections (includes freeways and major collectors) – 304 # of Proposed Thoroughfare/Thoroughfare intersections (includes freeways and major collectors) – 10
FREEMAN RD. FM 529
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Greater West Houston Bike Lanes, Bike Routes and Shared-‐Use Trails Map Accessible and Safe Pedestrian and Bicyclist Environment – The Subregion provides residential locations and job opportunities for highly educated and well paid employees who often seek a lifestyle that includes cycling and walking for recreation, errands and commuting. It also offers more moderately priced residential areas that provide “workforce” housing for service and blue-‐collar employees who commute to the many work centers in the Subregion. Many of these residents cannot afford the costs associated with providing a private automobile for each family member of driving age so relying on non-‐ motorized modes of transport. Most residents and employees who desire to travel on foot or bicycle to access jobs, schools, or retail services must follow unsafe routes due to a lack of adequate facilities and roadway designs that force conflicts with motor vehicles and / or unnecessarily circuitous paths. Transit service, apart from long distance park-‐and-‐ride bus to central Houston, is not as extensive as needed for the growing region. For those who for financial or other reasons cannot travel by car, they must place themselves in potentially unsafe conditions to make even neighborhood trips.
Existing Eldridge Parkway Cross Section In response to these concerns, the Study will examine street design which currently creates a major safety risk and barrier for pedestrian / bicycle mobility in most of the area. As an example, gaps in sidewalks and crosswalks accessing local destinations and transit services will be identified and remedies suggested. The three management districts, the West Houston Association, TxDOT, METRO, Harris County and the City of Houston have independently dealt with the need for safer pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. The Study will identify ways that partnerships between multi jurisdictions may improve the situation for pedestrians and cyclists. The City and the other sponsors have tremendous experience with pedestrian and bicycle initiatives. The City’s bicycle program is one Energy Corridor District of the most extensive in the nation. The Energy Corridor District Bicycle Master Plan adopted its Bicycle Master Plan in 2010 and with the National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program, they conducted a planning process within 130,000 acres from January 2008 to December 2010. As a result, the West Houston Trails Master Plan has been finalized and the City of Houston, Harris County and the Energy Corridor District are implementing the first trails projects identified in the plan. Promoting programs that encourage and support bicycling. The Westchase District FTA Pedestrian-‐Transit Access & Streetscape Planning Process was conducted in 2010. As part of the plan, the Westchase District proposes a 1.62-‐mile trail that will run along the banks of the Harris County Flood Control drainage ditch, just north of Richmond Avenue, between Wilcrest and Rogerdale. This trail, known as Library Loop Trail, will be the first leg in a planned series of trails throughout Westchase District that will ultimately connect the Terry Hershey Trail to Art Storey Park. The Westchase District partnered with the Westchase Community Association II to help plan the routes. The West Houston Association Trails Concept expands beyond the City and the three management districts to the Katy Prairie along streams and utility easements connecting master planned communities
and Katy, Texas. Regional connectivity of hike and bike trails is a priority and will connect Terry Hershey Park’s shared-‐use paths and the City’s sidewalks and on-‐street bike lanes and bike routes to outlying destinations across the 1,000 square mile Greater West Houston Subregion.
Strengthen Accessibility to Transit and Transit Connectivity -‐ Development of appropriate transit service and facilities will be a major focus of this effort. A key ingredient in creating a holistically robust transportation system in West Houston will be implementing attractive transit service to employment centers and other destinations via existing and new transportation corridors – the Katy Freeway HOT lanes, the Westpark Tollway corridor, and the existing Park-‐and-‐Ride and Transit Centers for example. TxDOT, HCTRA and METRO are currently working with all four local sponsors. It is vital for the ongoing economic health of existing centers that employees and customers have a wider range of options for accessing these places and the Study will bring all parties together to agree on a vision complementing the transit investment already in place and planned for the future.
Greater West Houston Transit Concept
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H-‐GAC Regional Transit Framework Study
The Study will continue the analysis of the transit scenarios proposed in the H-‐GAC Regional Framework Plan as they apply to the West Houston area. Coordination with master planned communities such as Bridgeland, Fairfield and Newland Communities and rural, suburban and urban transit providers will identify ways that development of commercial, industrial and residential projects can more efficiently integrate with public transit options to reduce trips and vehicle miles traveled. Through the Regional Transit Framework Study planning process, four regional transit scenarios have been developed to provide the Houston-‐Galveston area with alternative concepts for addressing the region's transit needs in 2040. The Study will include Memorial City, Westchase, Energy Corridor and other West Houston business districts in relation to the scenarios listed in the H-‐GAC Regional Transit Framework Study. The transit scenarios would be applied to existing development and future growth in the West Houston area east of the Brazos River between US 290 and US 59. The scenarios will need to include H-‐GAC’s growth assumptions that were part of the Regional Framework Study and coordination with H-‐GAC, METRO, Fort Bend Transit, Colorado Valley Transit, Brazos Valley Transit and others identified in the Regional Framework Study. The two most likely scenarios offered are described below.
Scenario 2 provides a more robust fixed route bus and premium bus network in the H-GAC region. A greater number 0' passenger facilities were also added to accommodate the expanded bus network. This scenario focuses on expanding the region's transit service ransit through premium bus services, to provide H-‐GAC Regional Tprimarily Framework Study Scenario 2 direct access to as many people in the region as possible. As a result, there is a greater focus on bus operations and expanded demand response service.
MAXIMIZE TRANSIT ACCESS
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Scenario 3 includes expanded transit services throughout the region; however, transit investments would be focused in high demand corridors to maximize regional transit mode share. This scenario would include local area circulation with feeder services connecting population and employment centers with transit services operating in the region's high demand corridors. In addition, Scenario 3 would provide: • Additional high capacity transit services (Peak and All Day) and a more concentrated fixed route bus and express bus network than the two previous scenarios multi-modal transit access points
• Additional passenger facilities such as park-and-rides 3 H-‐GAC Regional Transit Framework Study Scenario to establish throughout the region MAXIMIZE TRANSIT MODE SHARE
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0000000000000 FACT SHEET FOUR - 2040 TRANSiT SCENARiOS 0 00000000003 0 Includes a 25% increase (based on cost) in planned transit investments. However, Scenario 3 focuses more on providing new or expanded transit services, including high capacity transit services like commuter rail or light rail in the region's projected highest demand corridors. Other services include modestly expanding bus service in large suburban and urban areas, increasing community transit services (e.g. call-‐a-‐ van) in small suburban and rural areas, and expanding the region's vanpool program.
Environmentally Sensitive Areas and Green Spaces (20%)
Air Quality -‐ Creating improved non-‐ automobile options and reducing traffic congestion in thoroughfare and highway corridors in Greater West Houston will have a direct positive impact on regional air quality. Mode Shift -‐ Improving connectivity and travel options, including mode choices, to and within existing centers and destination areas will enable those places to develop more densely and efficiently minimizing impacts to more sensitive areas. Environmental Awareness -‐ Also, development of new multi-‐use trail systems that connect to existing facilities can increase awareness of natural areas, provide outdoor recreational enjoyment of bayous, prairies and parks and help promote open space and riparian preservation. Integrate Green Space and Preserve Natural Resources -‐ The preservation of natural resources as regional amenities in the Greater West Houston Subregion and the conservation of open spaces may be costly.
However, developers can potentially increase the value of their development when proper flood mitigation, drainage and the protection of green infrastructure are sensitively incorporated into their land development. Integration of green space and the preservation of natural resources provide a significant economic benefit and contribute to the sustainability of our region’s environment. The identification and development of regional conservation areas and open spaces in Greater West Houston is progressing with several governments and organizations working to make individual projects a reality long before mid-‐ century. The Study will provide a valuable chance for diverse interests to meet, identify common needs and agree on ways to integrate green space and preserve natural resources in land development and transportation projects.
Quality Communities That Attract New People And Businesses to the Region and Promote Economic Success (20%)
Potential to Positively Transform the Greater West Houston Subregion -‐ Improving the livability of Greater West Houston by enhancing access to its major employment centers and protecting its environmental assets has the potential to make it a global choice of business and improve the livability of the entire H-‐GAC region. Community Engagement Plan – A Steering Committee comprised of the local sponsors, local jurisdictions, stakeholder agencies and groups will be created to oversee and provide input throughout the process. A combination of public meetings, workshops, design charrettes, focus group meetings and personal interviews will be held to gather public input and user groups will be consulted to test the ideas. Examples of the diverse groups to be included can be seen below. A more detailed plan will be determined at the beginning of the study after consultant selection. Steering Committee • The Energy Corridor, Westchase and Memorial City Management Districts • West Houston Association • The City of Houston • Other Cities and Counties • H-‐GAC, METRO, TxDOT and HCTRA • Elected Officials
Stakeholders • Activity Center Companies (i.e. Fortune 500 Companies) • Master Planned Communities and Land Developers • Super neighborhoods and Civic Clubs representing residents/property owners • Business Owners • Super Neighborhoods User Groups • Freeway, tollway and major thoroughfare users • Transit users • Ped-‐bike community • Environmental Interests • Chambers of Commerce • Economic Development Councils • Municipal Utility Districts Efficient Use of Existing Infrastructure -‐ The planning process will look closely at ways of enhancing or modifying existing and already planned transportation infrastructure to address the gaps and deficiencies that now exist. The integration of transit service and facilities into existing roadway networks will be a major focus. Pedestrian and bicycle plans will have the advantage of leveraging existing trail systems built by both public agencies and private communities. The Study will incorporate Livable Centers and Context Sensitive Solutions methods that are intended to create quality communities that attract new people and businesses to the region and promote economic success. Livable Centers are walkable, mixed-‐use places that provide multimodal transportation options, improve environmental quality and promote economic development. Livable communities allow short trips to be made on foot or by other non-‐motorized modes. They are also conducive to transit. These attributes benefit the region by taking trips and turning movements off thoroughfares, freeing them for the longer trips they are intended for. Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) is a collaborative interdisciplinary approach that involves stakeholders to develop a transportation facility that maintains safety and mobility, fits its physical setting and preserves scenic, aesthetic, historic and environmental resources considering the total context within which a transportation improvement will exist. A variety of Context Sensitive Solutions are proposed to deal with traffic congestion issues creating more livable communities. Short and long term street and traffic improvements would be prioritized for different jurisdictions and agencies’ Capital Improvement Plans
Potential for Investment and Development in Major Activity Centers -‐ A short-‐term five-‐year horizon would consider traffic generated by existing development and the impact of additional vehicle traffic generated by new businesses opening in currently vacant space. Longer-‐range projects would anticipate future development and would be submitted by the City for inclusion in H-‐GAC’s 30-‐year Regional Transportation Plan. The statistical snapshot below illustrates the potential for investment and development in the oval shaped demographic area shown above. Over three quarters of a million jobs in the area are equivalent to 81 percent of the area’s labor force. With thoughtful and effective sub-‐regional planning, future population and job growth might be better matched to provide a future with shorter work trips as persons working in the area can live close to jobs and will be able to choose a variety of transportation modes. Area, sq. mi. 1,172 Population 1,556,889 Households 563,813 Labor Force 900,000 Jobs 849,660
If living and working in West Houston, with its major job centers, requires one to suffer frustrating congestion, unsafe travel, declining air quality, and a lack of transportation choice, it will reflect very badly on the entire region. Improving the livability of this subregion, which has so much attractiveness otherwise, will make it a desirable location of choice for business, individuals and families of national and even global significance.
D. Ability to Implement (20%)
All three management districts are governmental entities that can receive grants, provide services efficiently and represent their constituents. The West Houston Association’s stakeholders add invaluable insight to the future growth of the area reflecting the actual developer interests in Greater West Houston. The sponsoring agencies have proven their abilities to cooperatively work with the City of Houston, TxDOT, Harris County, and METRO on previous studies and projects conducting master plans and building transportation infrastructure. Examples include:
City of Houston • The Capital Improvement Plan for the City’s Public Works & Engineering Department is the largest of any municipal jurisdiction in the region • Engineers, inspectors and road crews are on duty 24/7 to keep the City functioning • The Rebuild Houston Proposition 1 drainage and infrastructure program has the support of citizens and businesses in the Greater West Houston Subregion • Coordination with the City of Houston’s Inner Loop West (Subregional) Study will assure a more comprehensive approach to mobility solutions for West Houston Energy Corridor District • Planning, project management and implementation of transportation enhancements with TxDOT for IH 10 Katy Freeway reconstruction • Planning and implementation of new 75 Energy Corridor bus service with METRO • Planning, engineering, project management and implementation for Safe Sidewalks, intersection reconstruction, traffic signal timing and access management • Coordination with Harris County on hike/bike trail planning and implementation Memorial City Redevelopment Authority and Memorial City District • Planning, project management and implementation of Gessner and Bunker Hill Road Reconstruction Projects and intersection improvements Westchase District planning and implementation of shuttle transit service • Planning, project management and implementation of Westpark Toll Road and West Sam Houston Toll Road projects
• • • •
Planning, project management and implementation of the Westheimer Corridor Access Management Improvements Coordination with HCFCD, Harris County, and area property owners for the development of a hike and bike trail system Coordination with the City of Houston and TXDOT on the upgrading of non-‐signalized intersections and enhancement of traffic signal timing Coordination with the City of Houston and area property owners on the planning and implementation of Rogerdale reconstruction The Study will consider urban, suburban and rural transit planning for the H-‐GAC region and shared-‐use trails for recreation and transportation trips as well as traditional highway, toll road and major thoroughfare planning. Previous studies that will be applied include: • H-‐GAC Plans o Waller Livable Centers Study o Energy Corridor Livable Centers Study o SH 6 Access Management studies
The planning process will look closely at ways of enhancing or modifying existing and already planned transportation infrastructure to address the gaps and deficiencies that now exist. The integration of transit service and facilities into existing roadway networks will be a major focus. Pedestrian and bicycle plans will have the advantage of leveraging existing trail systems built by both public agencies and private masterplanned communities.
o 1960 Access Management Study o Westheimer Access Management Study o Regional Transit Framework Study o 2035 Regional Transportation Plan o 2010 -‐2013 TIP Agency Plans o TxDOT submittals to H-‐GAC RTP and TIP o Harris County Toll Road Authority o City of Houston CIP and Major Thoroughfare Plan o METRO o Colorado Valley Transit Authority o Fort Bend Transit o Harris County Transit
Before spending scarce transportation funds on new roadway projects, the Greater West Houston region will benefit from developing consensus on its vision that is sustainable to ensure long-‐term economic competitiveness and improving the quality of life within this region. The goals and objective developed through this process would prioritize and guide short, medium and long-‐range transportation investment in this region. The Greater West Houston Subregional Planning Initiative will take a multimodal, system wide and integrated planning approach in developing the subregional mobility plan. It will also consider scenarios for commuter rail, light rail, bus rapid transit, local bus, vanpools and car pools identified in H-‐GAC’s Regional Transit Framework Plan. In addition, the WHA Trails Plan (Kerry Gilbert), ECD West Houston Trails Master Plan (with the National Park Service), WD Trails Plan (SWA Group) and the MCD Trails Plan (LAN) will be consolidated and gaps identified for inclusion in the H-‐GAC TIP and the updates of the City of Houston and H-‐GAC Pedestrian / Bicycle Master Plans.
A. Letters of Support and Proof of Interlocal Cooperation
Local Funding Cash Match and Interlocal Cooperation Letters signed by the authorized representatives for the Lead and Supporting Agencies are attached documenting their final funding amount and details of their staff support, personnel, level of commitment and time commitment. Each agency also confirms that they have reached consensus and are on board with the submittal and their level of participation. Supporting Agencies • Mr. David W. Hightower, President Energy Corridor District (Lead Agency) • Ms. Marlene Gafrick, Director City of Houston Planning & Development Department (Primary owner of streets and sidewalks in the study area) • Mr. Ben Gillis, President Memorial City District • Westchase District • Mr. Roger H. Hord, President & CEO West Houston Association Other Letters attached • US Congress Representative John Culberson (TX 7) • State Representative Jim Murphy (Dist 133) • Mr. Delvin L. Dennis, P.E. District Engineer TxDOT Houston District • Ms. Kimberly Slaughter, Senior Vice President Service Design & Development, METRO • Mr. Oliver Pennington, City of Houston Council Member, District G • Ms. Brenda Stardig, City of Houston Council Member, District A • Mr. Stephen Costello, City of Houston Council Member, At-‐Large Position 1 • Mr. Lance LaCour, President/CEO, Katy Area Economic Development Council • Ms. Jeannie Bollinger, President & CEO, Houston West Chamber of Commerce • Ms. Mary Evans, President, Cy-‐Fair Houston Chamber of Commerce • Mr. Todd Caliva, FACHE, Chief Executive Officer, West Houston Medical Center • Mr. Ben Crocker, President, Memorial Super Neighborhood #16 • Ms. Robin Foster, Secretary, Memorial Super Neighborhood #16
B. Local Funding Cash Match
The letters confirming the local match are from the City of Houston committing $40,000, the Energy Corridor District committing $30,000, Westchase District committing $20,000 and Memorial City District committing $10,000. In addition, each district will pay their share of the $15,000 TxDOT administration. All sponsors are in agreement on the study area and scope of the project and will commit the participation of expertise on their staffs to participate in the process.
C. Further Project Justification/Additional Information
Full-‐page maps • City of Houston Bikeway Network Map with Management Districts’ Boundaries • Energy Corridor District and Greater Energy Corridor Boundary Map • Westchase District Boundary Map on Aerial Photo • Memorial City District Boundary Map • GWHSPI Demographics Analysis Area Map • Energy Corridor 10-‐Mile Radius Demographics Report • WHA Greater West Houston Transit Concept • H-‐GAC 2040 Regional Transit Framework Study Scenarios • Westchase West Houston Transit Plan • ECD Transit Concept • METRO Energy Corridor Transit Map • Energy Corridor District Traffic Impact Analysis Study Area • Memorial/Eldridge Intersection Proposal Map (Klotz Engineers) • ECD Livable Centers trails map • West Houston Trails Master Plan map • ECD Patterson/Eldridge Shared Use Trail Plan • ECD Bicycle Master Plan Map and List of Projects • Westchase District Hike & Bike Trail Plan • Energy Corridor District Regional Access CIP Map
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