Houston/ Real Estate & Development
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Published on April 05, 2024
Houston Residents to Debate Controversial Montrose Boulevard Upgrade at Town Hall MeetingSource: Google Street View

As the Montrose Boulevard Improvement Project continues to be a hotbed of debate, Houston citizens are gearing up for a town hall meeting this weekend, hosted by a local nonprofit with the intent to hash out the ongoing dispute. The contentious infrastructure upgrade, spearheaded by the Montrose Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ), seeks to enhance drainage and pedestrian and cyclist accessibility on Montrose Boulevard. Although improvements to safety and support for pedestrians are generally welcomed, the prospective removal of several mature oak trees has sparked significant protest, as reported by KHOU 11.

Concerned locals, such as Mehdi Rais, argue that "Cars go on average 45 miles-per-hour on Montrose", expressing a need for better infrastructure to accommodate the increasing density in one of Houston's dynamic areas, as highlighted by Houston Public Media. Contrariwise, residents like Danny Harries fear that the project could exacerbate road congestion and hinder emergency vehicle access, although Joe Webb, chair of the Montrose TIRZ Projects and Planning Committee, addressed these concerns stating the project will maintain Montrose Boulevard's four lanes to ensure smooth traffic flow.

As the issue heads to City Hall awaiting construction approval, Walk and Roll Houston is rallying to present their case against certain proposed changes, with co-founder Kevin Strickland asserting, "The city is proposing for major changes that we do not support," as he told KHOU 11, emphasizing a vision he believes aligns more closely with community interests, especially those of disabled persons.

While some activists express gratitude for the project's delay due to environmental concerns, with Jonna Hitchcock of Save Montrose Live Oaks Coalition stating, "Once you take down trees, you can’t just go back and put them back up if you decided it was a mistake", the protracted deliberation process has yielded a design informed by extensive public input which according to Council Member Abbie Kamin, involved residents going "block by block putting Post-Its on the design" at numerous town halls, as Houston Public Media reported. The project's advocates and critics will converge this Saturday at SPARK Park at Wharton Dual Language Academy from 10 a.m. to noon, in hopes of finding a consensually viable path forward for Montrose Boulevard's future.

Houston-Real Estate & Development