Taxpayers to foot estimated $730K bill for median removal along Houston Avenue: 'Kind of crazy'

Nick Natario Image
Saturday, February 24, 2024
Taxpayers left with $730K bill to remove medians from Houston Avenue
Taxpayers are left stunned after new data reveals how much they have to spend to remove medians from Houston Avenue.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Some Houston taxpayers said they feel it is a huge waste of money after new numbers show how much it costs to remove medians on Houston Avenue.

The commute along Houston Avenue just north of downtown has seen a lot of construction lately.

"I didn't even know this needed to be repaired," a driver said.

RELATED: Houston Public Works removing barriers on Houston Avenue reportedly to improve traffic safety

The long lines are just some of the frustrating parts. The price tag attached to construction crews on Houston Avenue makes drivers even more furious.

"That's a lot of money," one driver said.

"Oh my goodness," another driver said. "Wow, that's kind of crazy, to be honest."

Here's why they're so upset. A few months ago, former District H council member Karla Cisneros used $100,000 to put the medians on Houston Avenue to improve pedestrian safety. Instead, Mayor John Whitmire said they blocked businesses and caused public safety issues.

He then ordered them to be removed.

Public Works told ABC13 it cost $230,000 to remove the medians. It'll cost another $500,000 to repave the road.

"They could've put that money toward a better cause," Houston resident Candice Flugence said.

The area's new council member is concerned, too. Mario Castillo said he wanted to know the cost before work started.

"If there was that significant of a safety issue and they needed to be removed right then and there, people deserve to know why," Castillo said.

The medians were meant to slow drivers down. Now, some are wondering about other projects.

RELATED: Section of Houston Avenue deals with construction impacted by water main break

"Pedestrian safety is like a big concern of mine for sure," Houston resident Abe Kroger said. "I would like steps being made, but if they're destroying them, no step was made."

"I think this is one example," Castillo said. "It's very early in the mayor's term. We need a little more time to see how other projects like this are approached."

ABC13 reached out to Mayor Whitmire on Friday. We were told he wasn't available.

In a statement from earlier this month, Whitmire said pedestrian safety is his top priority.

The medians may be gone, but it doesn't mean pedestrian improvements won't be coming. Public Works said it'll conduct a safety study.

It's a deeper dive that Castillo says he'll make sure it is done. Public Works has yet to say when crews will be finished on Houston Avenue.

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