What is Urban Corridor Planning?

Urban Corridor Planning is focused on changing the City’s land development regulations and infrastructure standards to accommodate a broad range of mobility options – walking, bicycling, public transit, and driving – in order to improve access
to jobs, services, entertainment and recreation, now and in the future.
Urban Corridor Planning is concentrating on the areas surrounding the light rail and guided rapid transit currently being developed by METRO, with a special emphasis around the transit stations. The corridors under study include East End, Main Street, North, Southeast, University, and Uptown.

Urban Corridor Planning will not result in land use zoning, nor will it affect METRO’s decisions on the transit alignments. The outcomes of the process will include development regulations and infrastructure standards for more transit-supportive
built environment.


Why is this important?

The amount of growth that is projected for Houston is staggering. According to the Houston-Galveston Area Council, the Houston region will grow by more than 3.5 million people over the next 30 years, with 2 million more people expected in Harris County alone.
The way the city grows is directly related to the rules that regulate land development and the standards for the infrastructure that supports development. These dictate things like the width of streets and sidewalks, the distance between buildings and the street, how many parking spaces a business must have, what type of landscaping must be added, and much more. Each of these items may seem like a minor issue
on its own, but when taken as a whole, they create the world we live in and make the difference between having communities we can walk in or where we have to drive everywhere. Changes to regulations and standards can positively impact how growth is distributed, the way the city looks, and how we get around.

What can we do about all this growth?

We can seize the opportunity we have, knowing that Houston is going to grow considerably, to find ways to shape our city, preserve our neighborhoods, and sustain a high quality of life. Urban Corridor Planning is working on ways to help deal
with the projected growth by developing new regulations and setting new standards for areas where urban development is occurring, such as near existing and planned light rail and guided rapid transit stations.

Phase I

Phase I of Urban Corridor Planning was launched in June, 2006. A community workshop, held on August 26, 2006, and was attended by almost 300 people. The key messages that we heard from the community workshop were:

  • Create a connected multi-modal network and provide transportation options – including more transit service and streets friendly to pedestrians and bicycles Protect the unique character of existing neighborhoods and preserve historic buildings, homes, landmarks and community treasures
  • Develop urban standards and ordinances that enable, encourage and allow urban development
  • Create neighborhood centers and great places Initiate pedestrian-friendly destination places, neighborhood serving amenities and neighborhood centers
  • Preserve and expand parks, open space, greens space corridors and trail connections
    Encourage and support more urban infill development
  • Make new development sustainable
  • Provide affordable housing in mixed-income neighborhoods

Phase II & III

A consulting team, consisting of The Planning Partnership, and assisted by Asakura Robinson Company, The Gunda Corporation, Cushman Wakefield LePage, and Working Partner. Phases II& III examined issues of mobility, public spaces, urban design and implementation capacity, and developed appropriate conceptual plans for each corridor.
The Mixed-Use / Transit-Oriented Development Committee of the Houston Planning Commission provided guidance in drafting an Urban Corridors ordinance.


UCP Stakeholder Group

AIA Houston Chapter
Barbara Jordan Mickey Leeland School of Public Affairs
Blueprint Houston
Central Houston
Congressman John Culberson
Crescent Real Estate Equities Ltd.
East Downtown Management District
Greater Houston Builders Association
Greater East End Management District
Greater Greenspoint Management District
Greater Houston Partnership
Greater Southeast Management District
Greenway Plaza
Harris County
Houston Intown Chamber of Commerce
Houston-Galveston Area Council
Houstonians for Responsible Growth
Houston Real Estate Council
Houston Tomorrow
In Town Mobility Task force
Main Street Coalition
Midtown Management District
Northside BOND
Northside Management District
Northside Village Super Neighborhood Council
OST/Almeda Corridors Redevelopment Authority;TIRZ #7
City of Houston Planning Commission
South Main Center Association
TSU Office of the President
ULI - Houston
University of Houston, Community Design Resource Center
Upper Kirby
Uptown Houston

Mixed-Use / TOD Committee

Doug Childers – AIA Houston Chapter
Sheila Condon
David Crossley – Houston Tomorrow
Stella Gustavson
Bill Huntsinger – Houston Real Estate Council
Mark Kilkenny – Planning Commission
Todd Mason – METRO
Alex Sutton
Jennifer Peek – Houston Council of Engineering Companies
Theola Petteway – OST / Almeda Redevelopment Authority
Zane Segal – ULI – Houston Ed Taravella – Greater Houston Builders Association

Staff and Consultants

City of Houston Planning and Development Department
City of Houston Public Works and Engineering Department
City of Houston Parking Management
Steve Spillette – Urban Collaborative
The Planning Partnership
Asakura Robinson Company LLC
The Gunda Corporation
Working Partner
Cushman & Wakefield LePage
Olson & Olson LLP

Urban Corridors Study Phase II & III Consultant Report



City of Houston, 611 Walker Street, Houston, Texas 77002