Changes to Lower Westheimer could mean fewer driving lanes

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- You know the Lower Westheimer area for its popular restaurants, quirky shops and crowded streets. Now, the City of Houston is developing a plan to remodel Westheimer between Shepherd and downtown, stretching all the way to Main Street.

"We need to make sure that the traffic can move so it benefits the marvelous businesses we have in the area," Tony Allender of the Montrose Management District said.

The plan will add turn lanes at stop lights, carve out a dedicated bus lane at bus stops, add trees and parking and rebuild and widen sidewalks to at least six feet. But rather than add more space for cars, the proposed plan will narrow down Westheimer from four lanes to two throughout most of the corridor. But as more people move to Houston, many drivers are worried about additional crowding on the streets.

"I think about reducing the lanes my question would be, Where's everybody going to go? Where is the traffic going to go?" driver Mike Schultz asked.

At Blacksmith coffee shop, partner David Buehrer says he doesn't mind the change as long as it keeps traffic moving.

"I think it's due time for the cultural center in my opinion of this city to get some money for fixing the roads and making it safer and more inclusive," Buehrer said.

Construction on the $14 million project could begin as soon as 2020.

"We've really only got one shot in doing this in a way that really will benefit the entirety of the community," Allender said.

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