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

Nick Natario Image
Tuesday, February 6, 2024
Safety barriers on Houston Avenue to be removed, officials say
The concrete medians and curbs were installed back in December for pedestrian safety, but according to Houston Public Works, the precautions have caused more danger than improved drivers' experience.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Some drivers who take Houston Avenue for their morning commute may have noticed the drive is slightly longer, possibly due to some construction delays.

City officials placed concrete medians and curbs along Washington Avenue and Lubbock Street along the bridge in December, but they are no longer there.

RELATED: Why do 18-wheelers keep crashing into the Houston Ave. bridge on the Katy Freeway?

The improvements were cited to help with pedestrian safety.

According to Houston Public Works, the medians reduce lane capacity and restrict from turning.

A statement from Houston Public Works stated that removal of the barriers would begin in early February and that the conditions would be back to normal operations.

According to the agency, restoration would also include the placement of new asphalt.

City Council Member Mario Castillo, whose district includes the stretch of the road, said the improvements should be modified if they are not working,

"Don't waste taxpayer money," Castillo said.

Castillo told ABC13 that former council member Karla Cisneros spent $100,000 of District H funds for the Houston Avenue median project. Eyewitness News asked the mayor's office and public works how much it'll cost to remove the median but hasn't received an answer.

Houston Mayor John Whitmire sent ABC13 the following statement:

"During the campaign, I said I would listen to the community; pedestrian safety is my highest priority. The changes last month on Houston Ave. were done without the City listening to stakeholders, including public safety personnel and faith leaders operating nearby houses of worship. Because of the barriers, Firefighters at Station 6 said they could not easily turn a fire engine on Washington Ave. to get to 45 South, and some police officers also have the same concerns. Right now, I am more concerned about safety than the costs of removing the dangerous concrete medium. The community asked me to revisit this project, and we are doing that to ensure the City of Houston is considering everyone's input and safety."

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