Trees for Houston, the city of Houston and two Upper Kirby District groups outlined a plan leaders from each group said would save as many trees and create as much "pedestrian space" as possible within the parameters of what would meet with city approval.
Construction on that segment will begin on the west side of the street in April -- about three months later than previously scheduled.
"If you're going to have six lanes, that's as well as we can do," Bill Coats, president of Trees for Houston, said of the agreement. "It ought to save most of the trees."
Coats said, as it turned out, the TIRZ had proposed a four-lane Kirby "a couple of years back," but the proposal was rejected by the city. As a result, the follow-up plan was "by-the-books" for a 100-foot right of way.
He described what would have resulted without the compromise as "somebody with a manual saying 'cut 'em all down.'"
Public Works Director Mike Marcotte said for safety reasons the city would not have allowed anything less than the agreed on 10-foot wide inside lanes, and 11-foot outside lanes to accommodate buses.
He said Kirby had to remain six lanes, because that is required by the city's Freeway and Thoroughfare Plan and is the Houston's only major continuous north-south roadway.
From the Things That Surely Sound Worse Than They Are department:
In order to protect trees during construction, a process called "water sawing" will be used to trim roots away from the construction area.