This sounds like excellent news.
The Montrose Boulevard Conservancy's two-year plan to create a high-quality, landscaped and well-lighted pedestrian pathway with park-like amenities along one of Houston's main streets got a green light from area residents on April 10.
The plan -- "Walkable Montrose: A Master Plan for Re-Establishing Houston's Grand Boulevard" -- was received with mostly positive reviews from about 160 residents and city officials who filled the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral's S.P. Martel Auditorium, 3511 Yoakum Blvd., to standing-room-only capacity.
The community-based plan by the nonprofit proposes to restore Montrose Boulevard, built in 1911, to its original status as a grand avenue or pedestrian "promenade," group president Claude Wynn said.
Wynn and John Walsh, Montrose Boulevard Conservancy board member and real estate businessman, presented the plan. It calls for a 2.7-mile pedestrian walkway from Buffalo Bayou at Allen Parkway to Hermann Park's Mecom Fountain.
It would connect to hike-and-bike trails in Buffalo Bayou Park, Hermann Park, Rice University and the Metropolitan Transit Authority's Red Line Rice/Hermann Park Station.
Some components of the plan, such as the brown signs that direct visitors to the Museum District and specific points of interest, will be part of the city's responsibility.
Other areas, such as individual sections of the boulevard, are to be paid for by businesses that volunteer to spruce up and maintain those sections.
Walsh said the first phase of the project will cost $4.7 million, which includes a three-year reserve for maintenance after work is completed.
"We will call upon property owners for maintenance," Walsh said.
It will save about 50 percent in costs to construct all of the sidewalks, curbs, lighting and other work at one time, he said, rather than space out the construction and costs from business owners over a 20-year period.
"This is really stupendous for Montrose," said resident David Crossley, who predicted the project would result in "an explosion of business along Montrose, because it won't be a speedway -- it will be a great boulevard."