At-Large Position 5


Sidewalk TAG
In 2023, I created a Sidewalk Technical Advisory Group (TAG) consisting of members from Houston Public Works, the Planning and Development Department, the Mayor’s office of People with Disabilities, and the Finance Department and Legal Department. The goal was to determine the feasibility of an overarching citywide sidewalk program and to develop a comprehensive funding model. We met throughout the summer to discuss research presented by my staff on Houston’s current programming and best practices in other large metropolitan cities. This included examining the spending of Community Development Block Grant public facilities dollars (utilized in San Antonio, Dallas, and El Paso) as well as the legality/capacity for a future sidewalk bond election (as seen in Austin, San Antonio, Atlanta, Chicago, and Phoenix). The group presented its findings and methodology for a potential increase in funds toward sidewalk construction and repairs to the Mayor, who agreed to transfer $5 million from the general fund to the city’s existing sidewalk programming, increasing the total sidewalk funding for FY 2024 to $10.1 million. This additional funding will help clear out the backlog of applications for the Pedestrian Accessibility Review program, school sidewalk program, and major thoroughfare sidewalk program.

I am committed to pushing for greater public investment in sidewalk infrastructure, including a possible bond election. Leaving improvements and maintenance up to adjacent property owners is insufficient.

Resilient Sidewalks
The Resilient Sidewalks Plan was created to assess the state of sidewalks and develop scalable solutions to address pedestrian mobility needs without contributing to flooding impacts. The plan, completed on June 1, 2023, includes a citywide toolkit and resilient community sidewalks plans for both the Gulfton and Kashmere Gardens communities. The plan’s design was funded by Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery 17 (CDBG-DR 17) funds the City of Houston received after Hurricane Harvey for planning activities. Houston Public Works and the Planning and Development Department jointly applied for the Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods Program grant funded by the Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act in 2023. The project, awarded in March 2024, will invest $43 million in walkability and resiliency improvements to meet the need of these two communities. Once constructed, the project can be scaled and replicated across Houston.

Sidewalk Summit
On September 21, 2021, Council Member David W. Robinson and I convened a virtual sidewalk summit with expert panelists and over 300 Houstonian participants. The Sidewalk Summit served as an opportunity to: educate Houstonians on the city’s sidewalk rules, policies, and investments; amplify the role of the pedestrian and assert that safe and well-maintained sidewalks are a critical component of Houston’s transportation network; and explore ways we can do better. Through this coalition-building and educational community engagement event, the City of Houston and many of our partner organizations highlighted the important role sidewalks play in improving walkability. In my time at City Hall, I have noticed we spend a lot of time focused on bike lanes, trails, roads, transit, but we don’t spend as much time focused on sidewalks as a connecting network. I think many of the attendees felt the same way and were delighted to see the focus shifted. The Mayor said it best in his opening remarks, “Everyone is a pedestrian in some form on their trip.”

Sidewalk Summit Video Recording - September 21, 2021

Sidewalk Summit