Harris County and City of Houston Announce $30 Million Street Repair Project

ABOVE: Harris County Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Mayor Sylvester Turner, District D Council Member Dwight Boykins and other city staff and community leaders on hand for “Complete Streets” project announcement

Some exciting new developments will be happening in the City of Houston, as Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis and Mayor Sylvester Turner announced a joint county-city agreement on March 13, in which Harris County Precinct One has agreed to pay $30 million to dramatically upgrade the functionality of seven streets in the University of Houston-Texas Southern University corridor.

The initiative by Commissioner Ellis, dubbed the “Complete Streets” project, will improve safety and accessibility to pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders.

“This is a great example of how Harris County can innovatively and strategically partner with the City of Houston, our universities and other entities to improve mobility, safety and quality of life for all residents,” said Commissioner Ellis. “Harris County Precinct One is looking forward to supporting TSU and UH, and the entire Third Ward community through this project.”

The “Complete Streets” project also serves as a wonderful compliment to Mayor Turner’s “Complete Communities” initiative, which involves improving Third Ward and four other neighborhoods that have been under resourced for many years.

“I want to thank Commissioner Ellis for this spirit of collaboration and cooperation with the city utilizing resources at his disposal in order to address many of the needs within the city and within Harris County by bringing safer and more attractive streets near the University of Houston and Texas Southern,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “The city already has taken some steps to improve sidewalks and mobility in the Third Ward area, but if the improvements in these areas were just relying on the city, they would be highly incomplete. This program near this community of twin universities is an example of the county and city working together for the 2.3 million constituents we share.”

The goal of the “Complete Streets” project is to create streets that are attractive and a source of neighborhood pride, while improving safety and accessibility to all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders. In addition to roadway work, the project also includes drainage improvements, which will help reduce street flooding during heavy rain events.

“This project is a win-win opportunity for everyone and will significantly enhance the gateways into these great institutions by creating a beautiful streetscape for students and residents,” said Commissioner Ellis. “Pedestrian and bike-friendly streets bring neighbors together and encourage healthy activity. I also hope that these improvements will help attract new businesses and jobs for communities in Third Ward, as well as help hundreds of Houston residents who attend classes and work at the universities.”

Houston City Councilman Dwight Boykins, whose District D includes Third Ward, also praised the city-county partnership.

“Given Houston’s revenue cap, it’s crucial that we lean on different partners to find innovative ways to access desperately needed dollars to support our infrastructure,” said Boykins. “As history has shown us, collaboration between the county and the city in these matters often falls short of what we need to get this job done. As a proud graduate of Texas Southern University, I’m appreciative of the efforts and welcome the opportunity to work with Commissioner Rodney Ellis and my friend, Mayor Sylvester Turner, who have brought $30 million into my district.”

METRO Chairwoman Carrin Patman also applauded the “Complete Streets” project.

“METRO is excited to support this important initiative which demonstrates the innovative approach of Harris County and the City of Houston to invest in infrastructure that improves quality of life,” said Patman. “METRO is committed to this mission and we look forward to collaborating with the city and county as we explore potential investments to enhance our region.”

Earlier on March 13, Harris County Commissioners Court voted to negotiate with two engineering firms that will develop the scope of the work.

Harris County Precinct One is committing $15 million to improve infrastructure near TSU and another $15 million to projects around UH.

The streets in the TSU area are Cleburne (Emancipation to Scott); Blodgett (Scott to Ennis); and Attucks (Cleburne to Wheeler). The streets near UH are Cullen (Interstate 45 to North MacGregor); Wheeler (Cullen to Scott); Elgin (Scott to I-45); and Holman (Scott to Cullen).