September 26, 2007
Kirby renovation by the numbers

Christof looks at the Upper Kirby reconstruction project, and sums up the case against widening the traffic lanes succinctly:

It's been the Houston pattern for 50 years to take away trees and pedestrian space in the interest of wider traffic lanes. It hasn't worked. The streets built to standards are still congested. And, ironically, that's due in part to the wider lanes. A lot of traffic on a street like Kirby is people driving from one store to the next: from Borders to Whole Foods, from Bed Bath & Beyond to Desert Gallery. If those people would walk a block instead there would be one fewer car on the street. But few will walk on a narrow concrete strip with cars racing by 2 feet away. Kirby is at the beginning of a growth spurt that will result in bigger buildings with retail built up to the sidewalk and parking tucked in behind and stacked above. That will draw more pedestrians out to the street. It would be ironic if, at the same time, the city's insistence on suburban lane standards makes the sidewalks less friendly.

Amen to that.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 26, 2007 to Elsewhere in Houston