Mayor Annise Parker, along with several other Houston and Metro officials, broke ground this morning on the Post Oak Boulevard Project in the Uptown/Galleria area. The project will add dedicated bus lanes—one on each direction—along Post Oak, stretching from W. Loop S. to Richmond Ave., while preserving the standing areas.
“This project is about linking Uptown internally but also connecting Uptown to the rest of the region,” Mayor Parker said. “It’s about taking our signature retail boulevard and making it something that’s not a traffic chugged freeway. It’s something that has potential to be a boulevard for all the users.”
We all recognize the fact that this stretch of 610, this West Loop between I-10 and 59, is presently ranked as the number one most desperate roadway in the state of Texas.
In addition to adding dedicated bus lanes down Post Oak, Metro chairman Gilbert Garcia said Metro is redesigning its entire Westside network to feed transit on Post Oak into the Northwest and Westpark transit centers. The plan will also expand sidewalks on Post Oak Blvd. “Because of the frequency of the service, people are going to know if you miss a vehicle, another one is right behind,” Garcia said.
The hope, of course, is that the project will alleviate the terrible traffic in the area. “We all recognize the fact that this stretch of 610, this West Loop between I-10 and 59, is presently ranked as the number one most desperate roadway in the state of Texas,” Jeff Moseley, commissioner of the Texas Department of Transportation, said.
Parker said the entire plan, estimated at $192 million, will bring in more business to the area and increase connectability. The Uptown district employs approximately 80,000 people and does not currently have an established commuter transit service.
The project has faced some opposition in the community. The Cosmopolitan Condominium Association filed a lawsuit the same morning as the groundbreaking, saying the current project conflicts with a 2003 rail line project.
“I know that every time we’ve launched a major construction project, it’s painful for someone,” Parker said. “There have been complaints … well, it’s been a challenge, let me just say. There are a lot of moving parts.”
The mayor urged Houstonians to think long-term. “If we only look at what’s happening today, we never really know for the future,” Parker said.