RichmondRail.org has a suggestion for Metro.
For the coming light rail line to be a true asset to our neighborhoods, the streets leading to the transit stations must accommodate pedestrians more safely and comfortably than is typical for Houston streets outside downtown. If enacted, the proposed transit corridor ordinance (aka the Urban Corridor ordinance, which we hope to see on the City Council agenda for approval soon), would foster the evolution toward a more pedestrian-friendly environment as redevelopment occurs along the light rail corridors. That will take time. We believe that there is a near-term opportunity to achieve a better pedestrian environment along the University Line on lower Richmond Ave.
Virtually all of the public right-of-way on Richmond Ave. from Spur 527 to Kirby Dr. is only 80 feet wide. When METRO builds the University Line, we anticipate that they will also need to rebuild the sidewalks along that stretch of Richmond. What better time to create a more pedestrian-friendly streetscape than when the rail line is being built? However, the right-of-way constraints do present challenges.
Click over, and take a look at their resolution of support for a pedestrian streetscape for more. Note that none of this requires any property takings, and will make the area much more pedestrian-friendly. To me, the highlight is the request to bury phone, cable, and electric utility wires. This will not only enable better sidewalks in the space allocated, as utility poles will no longer be there blocking the way, but will also provide for fewer service interruptions during and in the aftermath of storms. Remember how downtown and parts of the Galleria area never lost power during Hurricane Ike? Doing this will add to the cost of construction, but there’s never a cheaper time to do this than when the streets are being torn up anyway. It’s an investment, one that makes a lot of sense and will pay off in many ways. Check it out, and add your support for the idea.