Employee Policies and Procedures

Executive Orders - EO 1-15

Houston Complete Streets and Transportation Plan
November 1, 2013

Article II. – Corporate and General Powers, Sec. 4 – Street Powers, of the City Charter of the City of Houston.

2.1 To direct City efforts to achieve complete streets, as defined herein, through the planning, designing, budgeting, constructing, and reconstructing of all transportation improvements while recognizing that complete streets are achieved over time through single projects, new and redevelopment, and through a series of incremental improvements.

2.2 To build upon recent code and policy improvements such as, Chapter 42 of the Code of Ordinances including the requirement for existing conditions surveys and plans for recently completed and on-going city mobility studies.

3.1 Establish a menu of complete street types based upon Multi Modal Classification.

3.2 Develop a forecast of street type citywide to complement and extend currently established plans to create the long range vision of complete streets.

3.3 Establish city standards to minimize obstructions in public pedestrian travel ways.

3.4 Benefit from community input and thought rendered through reports such as Livable Center Studies and Scenic Houston's Streetscape Resource Guide.

3.5 Recognize the role streets play in drainage and water quality.

4.1 Provide policies and procedures that shall direct the development of the Houston Complete Streets and Transportation Plan (The Plan) by utilizing City Mobility Planning efforts conducted by Planning and Development Department (PDD) and the Public Works and Engineering Department (PWE); and by utilizing prior and existing governance and existing planning tools as a basis.

4.2 Provide an overall framework for revision and expansion of City Mobility Planning and deliverables.

4.3 Transition to and then sustain The Plan.

4.4 Provide framework for coordination and integration of revisions to current plans, such as, Major Thoroughfare and Freeway Plan, Houston's Bikeway Plan, with new component plans, and vice versa, in supportive ways to encourage complete streets.

The Plan will be inclusive of multiple transportation plan components created, adopted and implemented by the City and entities other than the City of Houston. It is intended that those entities will partner with PDD and PWE on the planning and finalization of The Plan as it relates to their specific transportation planning roles. For example, Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO), author of METRO’s Transit Plan, will provide input on The Plan regarding mass transit through a periodic transit plan update. PDD and PWE will integrate all planning efforts for compilation and implementation of the HCSTP.

There are four new definitions that will need to be defined in certain documents used by PDD and PWE that guide planning, construction and reconstruction efforts of land planners, developers and civil engineers. These documents include the MTFP Policy Statement and PWE's Infrastructure Design Manual.

The new definitions are as follows:

Complete Streets - Public roadways that take into account all users, including people who are driving or riding in cars, using mass transit, riding bikes, walking, using wheelchairs, driving or riding in trucks, driving or being transported by emergency vehicles, and being served at their residence or property by other users. Complete streets do not mean that all streets are identical. The complete street concept takes the following variables into account when providing services:

a) People being served at their residence or property by other ROW users.
b) People of all ages and abilities, including children, older adults, and persons with disabilities.
c) The function of the road (e.g. local, collector, and thoroughfare) and the level of vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic.
d) Multi-Modal Classification Street Types.

Houston Complete Street and Transportation Plan - A plan that, at a minimum, includes the Major Thoroughfare and Freeway Plan, Bikeway/Pedestrian Plan, Rail Plan, Multi-Modal Classification Street Type and Master Parking Plan, Bayou Greenway Initiative, Context Report and METRO's Transit Plan.

Multi-Modal Classification Street Type - A public street type classification system that takes into account the functional classification (MTFP designation) and land use context, inclusive of right-of-way width, number of lanes, and traffic volume.

The context of the land use adjacent to the road comprises population and job densities (present and future), projected land use types (residential, commercial, community facility, or industrial), and modes of operation (pedestrian, bicycle, transit, rail, freight and vehicle lanes) can be used as a determinant in identifying Multi-Modal Classifications.

Minor Collector - A public street that accumulates traffic from local streets for distribution into a thoroughfare or major collector. A minor collector typically serves residential uses. Although in some circumstances, it may serve commercial or mixed uses.

Existing definitions below that are contained within this Order are here for the ease of reading the document.

Major Thoroughfares - Divided into two classifications; Principal Thoroughfare and Thoroughfare. Major Thoroughfares are those streets designed for fast, heavy traffic, high traffic volume and are intended to serve as traffic arteries of considerable length and continuity throughout the community.

Principal Thoroughfare - Public streets that accumulate traffic from collector streets and other Major Thoroughfares for distribution to the freeway system. They may be a highway and typically provide a high degree of mobility for long distance trips.

Thoroughfare - Public streets that accumulate traffic from Collector streets and local streets for distribution through the thoroughfare and freeway system. These streets distribute medium to high volume traffic and provide access to commercial, mixed use and residential areas.

Transit Corridor Streets - Rights-of-way or easements that METRO has proposed as a route for a guided rapid transit or fixed guideway transit system and that is included on the City's MTFP.

Collector Streets - Public streets that accumulate traffic from local streets for distribution to the Major Thoroughfare streets. A Collector Street may be a Minor Collector or a Major Collector.

Major Collectors - Public streets that accumulate traffic from local streets and Minor Collectors for distribution to the Major Thoroughfare. A Major Collector Street may have commercial, residential or have mixed uses abutting.


7.1 The Plan, at a minimum, shall include the components specified in the table below.

7.2 The component plans address different transportation related elements of our City and areas multimodal transportation network. The planning horizon specifies a regular period of time an authority will look into the future when preparing an update to The Plan. Validation of assumptions and reprogramming of needs will be re-modeled and re-evaluated so that amendments to The Plan can occur periodically. The re-modeling will identify positive and negative data trends for analysis and possible adjustments moving forward.


Plan Components

Existing Conditions Information

Planned Information

Plan Horizon

Major Thoroughfare and Freeway Plan

Right-of-way owned or to be acquired by city, county, state or federal governments

Classification to include type, number of traffic lanes and right-of-way widths

+ 30 yrs

Bikeway/Pedestrian Plan

Route alignment, type routes

Route alignment, type routes

5 yrs

Transit Plan

Route alignment by mode

Route alignment by mode

10 yrs

Rail Plan

Rail corridors, street crossings, quiet zones

Crossing improvements; quiet zones planned and requested

5 yrs

Multimodal Classification Plan

Current section types

Future section type at reconstruction

20 yrs

Context Report

Land use and development pattern

Population and Job growth forecasting

10 yrs

Master Parking Plan

Street capacity for parking; metered zones, public lots/garages; residential permit zones

Planned lots/garages

5 yrs

7.3 The Plan's components have differing planning horizons. Each component would continue to be amended on its own plan horizon - some sooner than others.


8.1 PDD and PWE along with METRO are responsible for the administration of The Plan's components. PDD, through the Planning Commission and City Council, revises and adopts a new MTFP annually. The METRO Transit Plan is updated periodically through the METRO Board's adoption.

8.2 The parties having component responsibilities will work together when amending and updating their own specific plans in order to remedy conflicts between plans and analyze opportunities to improve comprehensively elements where they converge.

8.3 PWE or Tax Reinvestment Zone design consultants and private development design consultants will propose during preliminary engineering a design concept consistent with the Multi-Modal Classification Street Type as designated in that component plan.

8.4 Additional amenities in the rights-of-way, such as pedestrian lighting, street furniture, etc., will be considered on a case by case basis with PWE approval.

8.5 PWE will refine standards for accomplishment of the objectives and document such standards within the Department's Infrastructure Design Manual.


Plan Component

Content Management

Promulgation of Update

Major Thoroughfare and Freeway Plan

Planning and Development—annual process of general input as established through MTFP Policy; specific input from mobility studies 

Council adoption of annual revision after Planning Commission consideration and recommendation

Bikeway/Pedestrian Plan

Public Works and Engineering, Planning and Development —annual process, inter-departmental coordination

Public Works and Engineering

Transit Plan


Planning and Development will integrate to Houston Complete Street Transportation Plan after METRO presents Transit Plan to Transportation and Infrastructure Council Committee

Rail Plan

Public Works and Engineering with Gulf Coast Rail District

Public Works and Engineering

Multimodal Classification Plan

Planning and Development—recurring process to receive proposed changes from the public by Policy TBP

Planning and Development

Context Report

Planning and Development

Planning and Development

Master Parking Plan

Public Works and Engineering with Administrative and Regulatory Affairs Departments

Administrative and Regulatory Affairs Departments with support from PWE


PDD shall prepare a report to the Mayor on an annual basis for system-wide totals within the City limits detailing efforts that support fulfillment of The Plan. A baseline will be established with Fiscal Year 2014 and cumulative improvements documented. METRO and PDD shall provide documentation related to their expertise. PWE's information will be created from permitted private development data, Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones and Management District projects, as well as the Capital Improvements Plan developed throughout the time period. Examples of this data may be, but not limited to the following:

9.1 Linear feet of new/reconstructed sidewalks (PWE)
9.2 Linear miles of new/restriped on-street bicycle facilities (PWE)
9.3 Number of new/reconstructed curb ramps (PWE)
9.4 Number of new street trees planted (PDD)
9.5 Number of transit stops added to system (METRO)
9.6 Percentage of new/reconstructed transit stops with shelters (METRO)
9.7 Percentage of transit stops accessible via sidewalks and curb ramps (METRO)
9.8 Number of linear miles of new streets constructed or reconstructed in accordance with The Plan (PWE)