One of downtown’s main gateways will soon undergo a major facelift. New plans call for a redeveloped Bagby Street, which is known as the “spine” of western downtown, as it connects the Theater District and key civic institutions such as City Hall, Central Library, and the Heritage Society at Sam Houston Park.
It’s a move that signals an approach to urban planning and walkability. Currently between four and six lanes wide, Bagby Street, one of just a few two-way streets in downtown, will be reduced to between three and four vehicular lanes to allow for wider pedestrian walkways, a bicycle lane, beautification elements, and signature lighting.
Given recent flooding concerns, the corridor’s storm sewer system will also be updated to meet current requirements, including additional inlets to reduce ponding and considerably help drainage.
The plans come via The Downtown Redevelopment Authority, which prioritize the Bagby Street redesign as a project that will “greatly improve and expand mobility and infrastructure throughout west downtown,” according to a statement. The project will cost some $22 million, and will be spearheaded by civil engineering firm Jones|Carter.
A new-look Bagby also speaks to downtown quality of life. Bagby flows between nine parks and public attractions, requiring careful consideration and attention to how the street, buildings, and park spaces all interact. Several studies, including Plan downtown and the Theater District Master Plan, have identified Bagby as a key pedestrian and vehicular passageway. The corridor provides connections to Buffalo Bayou in several locations, linking downtown to the broader greenways network.
Another current hot-button issue will be addressed: The corridor has also been highlighted in the City of Houston Bike Plan as a future bikeway location as a north-south corridor west of Main Street.