While continued growth is vital to Houston, we need to think about how to leverage this growth to create a healthy, durable region. Smart strategic decisions about mobility will be key to leveraging the growth to our advantage.
That’s because mobility decisions of our public agencies – including many of the organizations and people here today – will shape our growth patterns. Land development significantly follows our transportation investments.
For example, we are already seeing tremendous development activity along the recently completed sections of the Grand Parkway. A recent Harris County study estimates that by 2050, the Houston population in northwest Houston in the vicinity of US290 and the Grand Parkway will increase by over 1 million people with over 100,000 acres of land to be developed in the area. This and other examples of similar patterns in the region have demonstrated how transportation investments like our freeways influence the market and drive location decisions of our residents and businesses.
And these growth patterns, and the mobility investments that drive them, will impact not just our mobility needs – but many other goals as well. That’s why we can’t simply think of our mobility decisions narrowly, in terms of congestion relief alone.
Strategy 1: We must encourage well-connected urban centers/Transit Oriented Development
The first strategy is to encourage well-connected, denser urban centers.
We are already a region of multiple urban centers. Some are inside our City, such as our downtown, The Medical Center, the Westchase District; others are throughout the region, such as Sugar Land or the Woodlands, or Katy or Baytown.
We should also build on this model and create well-connected transit oriented development throughout the region. Having denser places with a mix of nearby uses means that you can live, work and play in proximity to this area. When you add the right mix of infrastructure and design, this means more people will be able to walk or bike, or ride transit for many of their travel needs.
The density and mix of users fosters economic activity while reducing the need to get into a car for every trip, minimizing congestion. This approach also creates an opportunity for vibrant public spaces that are important for the region to be attractive and internationally competitive.
From a regional perspective, we can then connect the centers together with strong multi-modal investments, especially transit, further reducing vehicle trips in the region.
Full Story: State of Mobility Speech
Source: City of Houston Mayor’s Office, May 17, 2016
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