Where the sidewalk ends
Houston may have been deemed the most walkable big city in Texas by WalkScore's algorithms, but a jaunt around pretty much any city block proves that — at ground level — all is not so easy.
As part of a Houston Complete Streets Week initiative, members of AARP Texas set out with area residents, avid cyclists and members of the Houston Center for Independent Living to document the barriers to pedestrian safety during a walkability audit last week in Houston's Museum District. The results were unfortunate but unsurprising.
"The sidewalks were in disrepair or poorly designed in many places. In some areas, they completely disappeared."
Broken cement, sidewalk gaps, narrow passageways, short crosswalk signals, deep ditches and incomplete thoroughfares make walking hazardous for any pedestrian, and sometimes impossible for those with physical disabilities.
"The sidewalks were in disrepair or poorly designed in many places. In some areas, they completely disappeared. In others, they were warped to the point of being impassible by someone in a wheelchair or walker," Kim Loop, a representative from AARP Texas, told CultureMap.
Activists with the Houston Coalition for Complete Streets hope that the documentation will make Houston decision makers consider the safety and functionality of the streets for all users, and will influence the Texas Legislature to pass House Bill 1102 and Senate Bill 565 — two items that would require transit planners to consider Complete Streets principles — into law.