In 2017, the Memorial Heights Redevelopment Authority (MHRA) and the City of Houston began to refine engineering recommendations for the Shepherd and Durham corridors, from I-610 to Memorial Drive. The recommendations were broken up into 3 phases, with MHRA focused on Phases One and Two and the City of Houston focused on Phase Three.
Given the magnitude of the project and its associated cost, MHRA applied in July 2019 for a 25M BUILD transportation discretionary grant program. This grant was approved in November 2019 for Phase One, which will reconstruct Shepherd and Durham from approximately 15th to I-610. Those funds are being matched by another 25M in local funds from the Memorial Heights Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ 5).
This project will reconstruct and improve these 2 parallel urban principal arterial roadways (four lanes each) to address safety, state of good repairs, multimodal access, and stormwater mitigation.
By creating clear accessibility at points of entry and exit, reducing the number of lanes on both Shepherd and Durham, and synchronizing the traffic lights, the project will reduce the number of crashes and reduce the unexpected traffic. There will also be more clear crossing paths for pedestrians as well as clear sidewalks and designated bike lanes.
It is not news that the obsolete street infrastructure on Durham and Shepherd is in need of major repairs and updates—it has not been updated since 1950! Well, this project is the perfect opportunity to address this. Our cars will be especially thankful! In addition to improving the roads, the project will also add landscaping that will serve as a buffer while beautifying the area too.
The project will create new dedicated sidewalks and bike lanes as well as clear and up-to-date signage. It will also cover the installation of new crosswalk striping, including invaluable crosswalk striping for the 4 schools that are within the project limits. In addition, the current bus stops will be repositioned and trees will be planted all along the project!
As a result of many homes in the proximity of this project being inundated during Hurricane Harvey in 2017, state legislation was approved to create funds for stormwater mitigation. The project will update the stormwater system with a focus on mitigation by providing more stormwater capacity with expanded conveyance to drain to both White Oak Bayou and Turkey Gulley (as depicted below).
The project was discussed in detail with the community at a public meeting held on May 2, 2018 and there was a great virtual hearing held on January 14, 2021. There is an upcoming virtual meeting between MHRA and the Board of Directors of TIRZ 5 on June 24, 2021. This meeting is open to the public if you would like to attend. I will attend to keep you posted on this project that is so beneficial for the future of the Heights and the surrounding area. The project is supposed to break ground this October 2021.
More about this project, its development, and timeline soon!
Complete Project Narrative can be found here.