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Posts Tagged ‘Department of Public Works and Engineering’

Is this development really necessary?

Boy, the optics of this sure are lousy. The Houston City Council has indefinitely postponed a proposal to build hundreds of homes in a west Houston floodplain amid questions about whether city leaders’ actions would match their rhetoric about mitigating the risk of flooding after Hurricane Harvey. Mayor Sylvester Turner supported the move to refer […]

Can we share these lanes?

Metro is rethinking how the light rail lines run in parts of downtown. Traffic woes and collisions along the newest light-rail lines in downtown have Metro leaders toying with the idea of backpedaling on their promise not to close parts of the lanes to cars. The Metropolitan Transit Authority’s new Green and Purple lines in […]

HCC Board censures Chris Oliver

It’s the most they can do. The Houston Community College system’s board of trustees decided Thursday to reprimand a 21-year veteran of the elected board who has pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge. The board’s eight other members decried Christopher W. Oliver’s acceptance of unlawful payments as “reprehensible.” They voted unanimously to formally censure […]

Houston Public Works director caught up in HCC bribery case

Unclear yet how big a deal this is, but it is a big deal. Houston Public Works Director Karun Sreerama made $77,143 in unlawful payments to a Houston Community College trustee who faces up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to bribery, according to federal court records. The payments – made when Sreerama […]

Smarter streets

They’re coming soon to Houston. Houston City Council on Wednesday will consider a $33.6 million contract – partially funded by a $10 million federal grant – to add hundreds of traffic-tracking devices across the city so officials can receive better up-to-date information, respond by adjusting traffic signals and provide current conditions to drivers more quickly. […]

Be careful what you flush

Yeesh. Grease blockages are the main cause of Houston’s epidemic of sewer overflows, a problem so widespread that it has drawn the city into negotiations with the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The multibillion-dollar enforcement action that could result – likely increasing residents’ water bills – would be aimed at limiting raw sewage spills by replacing […]

Potholing

The city’s pothole repair program seems to be going well. Faster response by city crews to resident-reported potholes has saved thousands of drivers a bumpier ride around Houston the past six months, though officials warn there’s a long way to go before local streets are smooth driving. Since Mayor Sylvester Turner announced on Jan. 4 […]

How much would you pay to fix Houston’s sewer system?

Whatever your answer to that question is, the real answer is that

Meet the toucan light

The first of its kind in Houston, though maybe not the last. The new traffic signal suspended above Appel at Yale and Seventh is a first for Texas, but also an adjustment for residents – some of whom are unsure of its benefit. Called a toucan, as in “two can go,” the signal gives pedestrians […]

More speed bumps coming

Like ’em or not. Houston officials are speeding up the process of slowing down residential street traffic. A laborious process to improve traffic and safety by installing traffic calming devices such as speed humps is radically streamlined in a new method by the city’s public works department, unveiled Monday at a City Council committee meeting. […]

Flooding as election issue

I suppose this was inevitable. As thousands of Houstonians recover from the recent storms, the flooding is emerging as a political issue. Mayoral candidates are criticizing the city’s drainage infrastructure, attacking an unfinished project along Brays Bayou – around which much of the flooding occurred – as well as ReBuild Houston, the controversial street and […]

Changing pothole procedures

Mayor Parker seeks to reduce the number of campaign issues for this fall by half. City officials are hoping to replace more concrete segments of streets in lieu of simply patching over Houston’s many potholes, part of an emergency response that Mayor Annise Parker called for earlier this year when she branded the onslaught of […]

Fixing sidewalks

I like this. Houston’s leaders often decry the condition of city sidewalks, whether missing, overgrown or buckled by tree roots. Then there’s the safety risks when pedestrians are forced to walk on the crumbling concrete or adjacent streets. But the city is unwilling to assume responsibility for all sidewalks in Houston – or foot the […]

Pothole progress

Hooray. Two months after Mayor Annise Parker called Houston’s pockmarked streets a “crisis situation” and pledged to clear a mounting pothole repair backlog, the city has reduced open work requests by about 1,000 despite a steep increase in calls for repairs. The welcome news for Houston drivers tired of dodging pesky potholes is tempered by […]

Heights-Northside mobility study

Mostly of interest for folks in my area, here’s the city’s report on mobility for neighborhoods in the upper left quadrant of the Inner Loop. Final Report: Heights-Northside Sub-regional Mobility Study The Planning and Development Department, in partnership with the Department of Public Works and Engineering and Houston-Galveston Area Council, is pleased to announce that […]

Downtown dedicated bike lane delayed a bit

Aiming for the end of the year now. Conversion of a traffic lane on Lamar into Houston’s main bike route through downtown has been delayed as officials finalize plans and wait for in-demand humps known as “armadillos” to arrive. Department of Public Works and Engineering officials initially said work would start on the lanes in […]

A bike lane to connect to bike trails

Makes sense. Houston may get its first protected on-street bike route as early as October, as city officials prepare to convert a lane of Lamar Street downtown into a two-way cycling path connecting the popular Buffalo Bayou trails west of downtown to Discovery Green and points east. The nearly three-quarter-mile connector, from the east end […]

Transforming the GRB Convention Center

I don’t think I’d realized that there was a renovation of the George R. Brown Convention Center in the works, but after reading this story, I’m excited about it. By late next year, people strolling the George R. Brown Convention Center plaza can take in restaurants, sidewalk cafes, landscaped walk-ways and a water fountain. At […]

Yale Street Bridge load limit reduced again

From the inbox, via CitizensNet: Yale Street Bridge Load Limit Further Reduced by TxDOT City of Houston Takes Proactive Steps to Monitor Bridge Usage The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has reduced the load limit on the Yale Street Bridge just south of Interstate 10 from 8,000 lbs. per single axle to 3,000 lbs. per […]

Water conservation task force

Mayor Parker has put together a water conservation task force. “This task force will be forward-thinking in its approaches to addressing water conservation and water supply diversification,” Parker said, “taking into consideration Houston’s climate, existing water supply and alternative approaches to ensuring a robust water supply for decades to come.” Ideas include the use of […]

Fix those leaks

We lost a lot of water this year, which seems like an especially undesirable thing during a record drought. At the peak of this year’s record drought, the city of Houston lost more than 18 billion gallons of water through a system that was leaking like a sieve, amounting to tens of millions of dollars […]

Bumpy roads

This story is mostly about how Houston ranks against other cities in road conditions. Of interest to me is the reasons why we’re not likely to get any better: At the Houston-Galveston Area Council, the transportation planning body for Harris and seven surrounding counties, roughly $50 billion has been trimmed from a $157 billion, 25-year […]

Fixing flooding

I’m glad to see that the city is taking the issue of flooding and drainage seriously, as this is an increasingly urgent problem. It’s really one of infrastructure, which like everything else in this world eventually wears out and needs to be replaced. But as we know these things cost money, and some people don’t […]

Design guide versus transit corridors ordinance

Not sure what to make of this just yet. Fallout from the long-dormant Ashby high-rise development emerged Wednesday as a potential obstacle to the city’s effort to promote walkable, urban-style development along Metro’s planned light-rail lines. Neighborhood opposition to the Ashby project, a planned 23-story mixed-use tower whose developers continue to await a permit almost […]

Stimulus package, Council-style

What to make of this? Houston is set to embark on a program to provide a boost to some of the city’s biggest developments, many of which have been put on hold amid the ongoing financial crisis. The plan aims to entice developers not to put their multimillion-dollar projects on hold in exchange for millions […]

Pity the poor Astrodome

These sure are bad days for the old icon, aren’t they? The Astrodome will not host the rodeo’s nightly country-western dances next month, or any other special event for that matter, as city code violations that would cost millions to remedy threaten to keep the doors shut indefinitely. It would cost Harris County $3 million […]