In The News
The Energy Corridor District: Can We Conquer the Great Divide?03/3/2016
There is a great divide in The Energy Corridor, a barrier between north and south business districts, multifamily homes and sprawling open space that dissuades people from safely walking and bicycling. It is the massive expanse of the Katy Freeway, where in West Houston it represents one of the widest spans of concrete interstate in the country.
Crossing under the freeway at the busy intersections of Eldridge, Dairy Ashford, Hwy 6 and other thoroughfares is seen as dangerous. At the least, it can be an unpleasant experience, dodging vehicles while crossing multiple lanes before the light changes.
But this year, The Energy Corridor hopes to transform that experience into something far more appealing for cyclists and pedestrians. The District will begin to reconstruct key IH-10 intersections into places designed to be more welcoming to all users.
Ultimately, the idea is to reward short trips taken by foot or bicycle. By adding aesthetic and infrastructure enhancements, The District hopes to create inviting places designed to encourage a fundamental shift from taking personal vehicles for brief trips. Our hope is to replicate these design elements at other busy intersections throughout The District.
When it comes to mobility, The District strives to provide people with options. That is a core principle of our master plan and its vision for improved livability, which guides how we spend our limited resources.
In many areas of Houston, walking, bicycling and taking transit are viewed not as realistic options, but as inconvenient and even dangerous alternatives to driving a personal vehicle. Of course, we recognize that The Energy Corridor, like many other suburban business districts around the nation, has developed in a way that favors single-occupant vehicles over alternative transportation. But as growth continues, we plan to use our master plan principles to help guide development in order to amplify opportunities for providing safe, reliable and convenient mobility options for employees, residents and visitors.
The Katy Freeway is one major barrier for people wishing to walk or bike. We’d like to know what your barriers are to walking or bicycling.
- Are there infrastructure barriers keeping you from biking around your neighborhood or to your workplace?
- What would make you feel safer?
- What would need to change for you to consider walking or biking?
- If you already feel safe walking or biking to work or in your neighborhood, what is it specifically that makes you feel safe?
Perhaps a more core question is this: should public agencies such as The Energy Corridor District be pouring limitedresources into projects that can provide mobility options that make transit, walking and biking a priority? Are we on the right track?
Please take the time to join the Mobility Houston conversation and let us know your thoughts to the questions above. The more people taking part in the Mobility Houston conversation, the better chance we stand to make a real impact in The Energy Corridor and beyond.
Once you’ve shared your ideas with us online, we invite you to join us in person at the Texas Trails and Active TransportationConference (TTAT), March 9-11, 2016, at the Houston Marriott Medical Center. If you want more trails, bicycle/pedestrian-safe streets and active transportation choices, this conference is the place to be. (Full disclosure, The Energy Corridor District is a sponsor.)
Themed “Future Trails: Planning Spaces, Connecting Places,” the conference will feature 60 sessions, exhibits, prominent experts, mobile workshops and networking. An electric bike expo – with test rides over a course – is sure to be a highlight.
Keynote presentations will feature insightful looks into sustainable transportation trends, “reclaiming the streets,” creating healthy communities and more from renowned international, national and state experts. You’ll be able to hear Energy Corridor District GM Clark Martinson discuss The District’s initiatives to improve trail connections, create safer places for pedestrians and cyclists to travel, and encourage alternative transportation use in West Houston.
Sound interesting? Read more about the TTAT Conference here.