By Peter H Brown
Here’s hoping that 2016 will be a year of recovery, renewal and transformation. Where ever you are in the world, we surely need it. Locally, for Pedestrian Pete, there is a lot to recover from – a plague of potholes, a budget deficit that just won’t go away, crashing oil prices, and an infestation of visual blight hovering over our streets, sidewalks and intersections. Walking should be a much more pleasant experience, a feast for the eyes.
For sure, the first order of business is community safety, especially for pedestrians, bikers, and motorists. I am optimistic that Mayor Turner’s policy of “community policing” (residents and police collaborating) will make us all a lot safer.
So let’s get to the point, Pedestrian Pete’s NEW YEAR’S WISHES for 2016:
- All of us should resolve to walk more; it’s healthy, promotes clean air, and fun.
- Plant more street trees; more shade will get folks outdoors.
- Mayor Turner’s administration will set a goal, within the next 4 years, of every resident living within a 5 minute walk (1200 feet) of a park or greenway
- Expanded light rail transit, and let’s get going on that High Speed Rail line connecting downtown Houston and Dallas.
- Let’s expand and embellish our fantastic and growing network of “Bayou Greenways.”
- The Museum District becomes THE walkable district outside of downtown. It has so many destinations, and many mid-density residential projects, growing retail and restaurants, and is well served by light rail.
- Mayor Turner announces the design and funding for 3 “Complete Streets” (serving all users). Pete’s suggests Navigation Boulevard, Montrose Boulevard, and Heights Boulevard. Bissonnet, one of our longest east-west streets, has immense potential as well.
- Harris County starts an inspiring make-over of the bleak area of treeless parking lots and super-scaled structures around NRG stadium. It could be transformed into a great place for walking and outdoor activities, especially for Super Bowl 51.
- Harris County will announce a funded plan for the restoration and re-use of our most iconic architectural structure – the mighty Astrodome!
- TxDOT will announce the end of disruptive and costly freeway expansion within the urbanized areas of the city, with more funds devoted to rail transit, streetcars, walkways and bikeways. [Shucks, it will probably never happen anytime soon].
- CenterPoint Energy will announce a phased plan to bury or relocate the ugly, invasive overhead utility poles, wires and transformers which blight our streetscape. [This could actually happen!].
- Finally, Mayor Turner, let’s recognize that potholes are now just in streets; there are plenty making our sidewalks unsafe.
- The below pothole was seen today, January 13, 2015 on Monstrose!
SO HAPPY NEW YEAR 2016 EVERYONE; MAY YOUR WISHES FOR AN EVEN BETTER HOUSTON COME TRUE.
Friends, email your most important 2016 wish to Peter@pedestrianpete.com.