Woodland Heights Neighbors—
As you may know, the City of Houston (COH) is modifying certain major connector streets around our neighborhood to: 1. increase vehicular, bike, and pedestrian safety; 2. increase connectivity; and 3. improve traffic flow.
As a part of the plan, COH has proposed a major update to 11th Street, extending from Timbergrove to the point where 11th meets Pecore at Michaux. The initial COH plan included Pecore too—removing all street parking and adding bike lanes on both sides from Michaux to Houston Avenue. However, COH has put the Pecore section of the plan on hold for now (but is still planning to implement the 11th Street section). We want to explain why.
The initial plan was to for 11th/Pecore to act as a major cross-Heights bike connector from Timbergrove to the Near Northside. Along 11th, bike lanes will be added to both sides, a turn lane in the center, and four lanes of traffic reduced to two. Refuge islands will also be added at major pedestrian/bike crossings, such as Nicholson. COH studies show that this will still accommodate the volume of traffic while increasing safety for pedestrians, bikers, and cars. Initially, the same modification was proposed for Pecore all the way to Houston Avenue, minus the center turn lane and removing all street parking.
After the plan was presented by COH planners at our general meeting on Tuesday, March 19, the WHCA Board heard from a number of neighbors who were concerned about the removal of parking on Pecore (as well as several who supported the plan). On Friday April 19, we sent the following letter to Mayor Turner, several city council members, and the COH planners in charge of the project:
“Dear Mayor Turner,
I am writing on behalf of the Woodland Heights Civic Association Board of Directors. We wanted to commend you for your efforts to make Houston a city which is safer and more friendly to cyclists. Although it is not in our Association footprint, we want to express our personal commendations for your effort to make the intersection at 11th Street and Nicholson Street safer for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers.
However, we are expressing our concern regarding the plan to remove all the street parking from Pecore Street. As you likely know, our Association is dominated by historic bungalows which commonly do not have wide driveways and two-car garages. By removing all the street parking from Pecore, the Associations residents living on that street would be put under undue hardship.”
Three hours later, we were notified by COH that they were “tabling the Pecore proposal…due to the many concerns [they] heard.” As an alternative, the east end of the 11th Street bike lanes would connect to a north-south bike route on Michaux, ending at Stude Park and the White Oak bike trail. This segment would not include dedicated bike lanes, but would add improved signage along the route and improve the intersection of Michaux and White Oak.
Subsequently, we heard from COH planners that they tabled the Pecore section not only because of concerns from residents, but because they don’t have an existing safe bike connection on the east side to connect to (presumably where Pecore meets Houston Ave). In the future, COH intends to pursue high-comfort bike lanes on Main Street. They may restart the conversation regarding Pecore at that time.
COH will have another public meeting at 7 pm on May 8 at Hogg Middle School to discuss 11th Street, Pecore, Michaux, and other future plans. We encourage Woodland Heights neighbors to attend.
As always, feel free to contact the WHCA Board if you have any questions or concerns.
Director of Infrastructure
WHCA Board of Directors