Houston Is On The Way to Becoming A More Walkable Urban Destination

A common complaint in Houston is not being able to walk to anywhere worth walking to. As local organizations start the early stages of development for Washington Avenue, this may be about to change.

Back in May of this year a civic action forum known as Better Houston got together with a number of other groups to raise $50,000 dollars. Their purpose was to get an additional $300,000 in Federal funding to put a livable center plan together for the Washington Avenue Corridor. A livable center is basically an area where anything you could possibly need is within walking distance, making it, well, quite livable. It would include improved sidewalks, plenty of retail and restaurants.

Former council member Peter Brown is the director of nonprofit Better Houston. He’s excited about the prospect of change coming to Washington Avenue.

"I’m very pleased to be quite heavily involved in the prospective planning for the Washington Avenue Corridor. It has a chance to become a real exciting, vibrant, walk-able urban destination."

A room full of development planners met today at the Houston-Galveston Area Council who are also involved in the project.

These developers will basically submit their resumes to show how qualified they are to be part of this mixed-use urban development plan. The closing date is September 15th and then Brown says the real planning begins.  

"What’s in my view really important is that we have not a theoretical plan, but a very practical plan, something that will lead to a more orderly, more coherent, more walk-able and mixed-use, urban development."

Once the official planning group is in place they will have exactly nine months to work on legitimate usable plan for Washington Avenue. The next step is to actually build it and Brown hopes it will be a success.

"Well, I think this is one of the great urban development opportunities, certainly in the city and in any city in the country, and we’ve got to make it work. We can’t blow this one."

Bio photo of Edel Howlin

Edel Howlin

Producer, Houston Matters

Edel is a producer on Houston Matters and reporter for PBS’s Newshour Weekend...