Houston being questioned on traffic safety after 2 pedestrians fatally hit by cars within 24 hours

Pooja Lodhia Image
Thursday, March 28, 2024
Houston sees 2 deadly auto-pedestrian crashes in less than 24 hours
A pedestrian was killed in the greater Uptown area less than 12 hours after another man died while walking in Spring Branch, Houston police say.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Houston Police Department is investigating after a driver hit and killed a man at Westheimer near Sage Road in the greater Uptown area on Wednesday morning.

The deadly crash was less than 12 hours after another man was killed while walking down Long Point Road near Antoine Drive in Spring Branch.

These two deaths come at a time when some are questioning the city's commitment to traffic safety.

"You've got to have law enforcement and others make certain that we enforce our traffic laws," Mayor John Whitmire said.

In 2019, the City of Houston adopted an initiative called Vision Zero, requiring all city departments to improve traffic safety to have no serious injuries or deaths on city roads by 2030.

However, since taking office, Whitmire has already asked city crews to remove the downtown medians at Lubbock and Washington that were initially created for pedestrian safety.

The removal and road repaving is costing taxpayers about $750,000.

SEE MORE: HPD searching for hit-and-run driver after man thrown 100 feet in deadly crash in Spring Branch

"I think we need to do an evaluation of all the public works projects," Mayor Whitmire said. "There are folks that were not taken into consideration, first responders."

The mayor has also asked the public works department to look into removing bike lanes on 11th Street in Houston's Heights, saying they are hindering firetrucks.

The lanes were installed in 2022.

"I have not made a decision on that yet. We're listening to the residents," Mayor Whitmire said. "The fire apparatuses have to go down 10th street, not 11th, when they're making a call."

According to the Texas Department of Transportation's latest numbers for the city of Houston, 109 pedestrians died in Houston after being hit by cars in 2022.

That number dropped by 13%, to 95 pedestrians, in 2023.

But, serious injuries increased from 203 in 2022 to 228 in 2023.

"I think we need to have common sense, and I think the bikers need to be protected from the traffic, and they need to do that on bike paths that are recreational and not try to compete with people going to work and school," Mayor Whitmire said. "If somebody wants to politicize that, go for it. That's not my statement. Vision Zero is critical."

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