Archive for February, 2023

Houston’s Most Dangerous Road to Receive $28 Million Upgrade

Car speeding at night in city

The federal grant is the largest grant any city received in Texas.

The City of Houston has announced a major overhaul to one of its most dangerous roadways, as the federal government has pledged $28.7 million to enhance safety measures on a seven-mile stretch of Bissonnet Street, according to Chron.com.

The project, which will focus on the stretch of Bissonnet between S. Dairy Ashford Road and Hillcroft Avenue, aims to reduce the number of fatal accidents on the roadway, which city data shows has a higher death toll than any other street in Houston.

Houston is among 510 communities nationwide to receive funding for safety improvements through “Safe Streets and Roads for All,” a federal grant program¬†announced by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) that awarded a total of $800 million in grants.

“The project will help reduce traffic deaths and serious injuries along the corridor, which travels directly through the underserved communities of Alief-Westwood, Gulfton, and Braeburn,” DOT officials wrote in the project’s description.

Upgrades are a welcome change.

The advocacy group LINK Houston, which advocates for equitable transportation access, has welcomed the much-anticipated safety improvements. LINK Houston has long been pushing for a robust and equitable transportation network and has named the intersection one of the city’s most dangerous (No. 8 on the organization’s priority list).

“It’s about time,” LINK Houston’s Gabe Cazares said. “It’s about time that every level of government use every resource available to them to make sure people stop dying on Texas roads.”

The initiative aligns with the city’s “Vision Zero” mission and aims to reduce traffic accidents and improve safety for motorists and pedestrians along Bissonnet Street. This particular stretch of road, which is part of Houston’s High Injury Network, has seen a disproportionate number of fatal crashes and serious injury incidents compared to other city-owned streets.

According to ABC 13, upgrades to the stretch of road are scheduled to begin in 2025 and are set to be completed by 2028. The revamp will feature wider sidewalks, multi-use paths, new traffic signals, and pedestrian crossings designed to lower dangerous speeds. The new design will aim to create a safer and more accessible environment for all street users.

Bissonnet Corridor Fatal and Serious Injury Crash Statistics (2014-2021)

According to data published in the Bissonnet Corridor Safe Streets Project application, from 2014 to 2021, there were 19 fatalities and 149 severe injuries due to crashes on the Bissonnet Corridor. Of those 19 deaths, 11 were pedestrians, and 8 were classified as motorists (drivers, passengers, motorcyclists).

For serious injuries, there were 111 suffered by motorists, 35 by pedestrians, and 3 by bicyclists.

With a fatality and serious injury crash rate of more than 18 per mile over the eight years of analyzed data, this stretch of road affects a significant portion of the city’s population. Over 135,286 residents, or 6% of Houston’s total population, live along Bissonnet Street. In addition to these residents, the area is home to 19 schools and over 25,000 workers.

The grant application states that commuting along Bissonnet Street is especially challenging for those who rely on walking, biking, or public transit, with 8% of commuters using these modes of transportation. The #65-Bissonnet bus route, which carries an average daily ridership of 4,055 people, is one of METRO’s busiest and most important routes, and it is slated to be upgraded as part of the Safe Streets Project.

The project’s overall goal is to make Bissonnet Street safer for all who live, work, and travel along it.

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