big things on 11th

Controversial Heights street plans will move forward, Mayor Sylvester Turner announces

Controversial Heights street plans will move forward, mayor announces

Heights Central Station
Heights centers such as Heights Central Station might be affected by the construction, business owners say. Photo via Morris Strategic Investments

Hotly debated plans to redesign a pivotal Heights artery are a go, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced on Tuesday, June 14.

Proposed plans will proceed to narrow 11th Street in effort to make it safer for drivers and bicyclists. The redesign would reduce 11th Street — from Shepherd to Michaux — from two lanes to one lane each way. A new, concrete median would force turn to certain anchoring streets.

All this is an effort to slow traffic — drivers on 11th often speed far past the posted 40-mph speed limit — and reduce danger to drivers and pedestrians. Bike lanes are also planned along 11th.

“Eleventh Street is not safe for the neighborhood and it definitely does not match the Heights character,” Turner said in a recorded video message. “This change isn’t easy and won’t satisfy everyone,. “We are trading off speed for safety.”

Those who won’t be satisfied are the numerous critics who argue that narrowing the street will create “horrific” traffic conditions along 11th, per the Houston Chronicle. Area business owners fear that the construction and ensuing traffic will drive away customers; advocates of the plan say bike safety is a must in the cycle-friendly neighborhood.

Turner noted in his video statement that support for the change also comes from the Greater Heights Super Neighborhood Council, the prestigious Woodlands Heights Civic Association, and positive community feedback. He added that he personally visited the street during midday and evening trips to evaluate the situation.

“It will remind everyone that The Heights is a neighborhood for families,” he said of the project. “It will help 11 Street be more than a street — it will be a place people remember.”