MONTHLY PLANNER
April 2017
Updates from your City of Houston
Planning & Development Department
In This Issue
Quick Links
Planning Releases 2016 Annual Report
The Planning and Development Department recently released the 2016 annual report, which details the accomplishments of the department during the 2016 calendar year. It was a busy year for Planning and Development! Highlights from the report are below and can be viewed in its entirety on the P&D website.
In 2016, the Department led the review of 124 amendments to the Major Thoroughfare and Freeway Plan, many of which were the result of Harris County's US 290 Area Major Thoroughfare Study. The remaining amendments were the result of applications from other jurisdictions or organizations, both public and private.
The Planning & Development and Public Works & Engineering Departments jointly led a pilot enhanced pre-engineering study for the Lower Westheimer corridor
The Planning & Development Department sponsored an application to expand the city's bike share program, Houston B-cycle, in the 2015 Transportation Improvement Program Call for Projects and was awarded a $3.7 million federal grant. The expansion project will add 71 bike stations, 568 bicycles, and 2 transport vehicles to the existing bike share system of 33 bike stations and 225 bicycles.
The Planning & Development Department began the process of developing historic preservation design guidelines for six historic districts (Houston Heights East, Houston Heights West, Houston Heights South, Freeland, Norhill, and Woodland Heights) and updating the existing design guidelines for the Old Sixth Ward Protected Historic District.
The Land Assemblage Redevelopment Authority (LARA) is a non-profit organization created in conjunction with the City of Houston, Harris County and the Houston Independent School District. In 2016, LARA acquired 13 lots, sold 77 lots to builders or adjacent owners, and builders sold 9 completed houses to new homeowners.
Bike Plan Approved by City Council
Houston City Council approved the Houston Bike Plan on March 22, 2017. The plan's vision is to transform Houston into a safer, more accessible, gold-level bicycle-friendly city by 2027.
  

Group Ride to the Bike Houston pep rally in support of the Houston Bike Plan

 

" Houstonians need more choices to connect safely to jobs, parks and services other than by car," said Mayor Sylvester Turner. " The Houston Bike Plan provides a guide toward creating a safer and more accessible city that can be enjoyed by anyone who wants to ride a bicycle."

The Houston Bike Plan vision is supported by four goals: improved safety, increased ridership, increased access, and improved development and maintenance of facilities. The plan provides recommendations on the general location and types of bicycle facilities, projects, policies and programs that support these goals and vision. The plan does not commit any city resources or funding. The Houston Bike Plan was developed through extensive public and private partnerships and is the product of substantial public engagement. Chapter 33 revisions facilitated this significant initiative.

The bike plan is published at  www.houstonbikeplan.org.
Annual Complete Streets Report Issued by City
The City of Houston has released its 2016 annual report  on the Houston Complete Streets and Transportation Plan (HCSTP). This report  is produced by Houston's Planning and Development Department in coordination with the Public Works and Engineering (PWE) Department.
 
The HCSTP Annual Report provides the Mayor with an update on implementation of the Complete Streets Executive Order, including work completed in 2016, progress on measurements of success, and next steps for 2017 and beyond.
 
Key accomplishments in fiscal year 2016 include the construction of 60 linear miles of new or reconstructed sidewalks, 34 linear miles of new or restriped on-street bicycle facilities, 1,772 new or reconstructed curb ramps, 98 linear miles of new or reconstructed streets, and 223 linear lane miles of overlaid streets.
Staff Spotlight
GIS Day / Expo: A keynote address by Apple was part of the GIS Day / Expo event at Houston Transtar on March 23. City Planning staff including Courtney Spillane, Zach Oyer, Lauren Crain, and Michael Griffith and Larry Nierth (pictured right), were among the professionals involved in presenting state of the art Geographic Information Systems at this well attended annual event. For more details on this event,visit the Houston-Galveston Area Council website.
Beyond the Department
Professional enrichment in the planning field includes a myriad of conferences and opportunities, including the following:
 
American Planning Association (APA): National Planning Conference, May 6-9, 2017, New York City. This premier planning event offers hundreds of options for tours, advanced training, mobile workshops, special events, and opportunities to network with planners from across the country and around the world. For more information visit the APA website.

Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU): CNU 25, national conference, May 3-6, 2017, Seattle. According to the CNU, their 25th annual Congress will "celebrate the last quarter-century of New Urbanist accomplishments and pivotal moments-while looking forward to the future of building sustainable, equitable, livable places." Former Vice President Joe Biden will address a joint ULI, CNU plenary during a "fireside chat" on May 3. For more information and registration visit the CNU 25 website.
Fast Facts
Planning Commission Committees: The Planning Commission Walkable Places Committee is presenting case studies from other cities this month on Wednesday, April 5. See houstonplanning.com for details. The public is invited to observe the meetings at the City Hall Annex Chambers. The Platting Standards Committee meetings have been cancelled for April and May, and the committee will reconvene this summer. Visit the website for updates.

Plan Downtown: The plan was officially launched March 2, 2017 by the Houston Downtown Management District. The plan will examine recent planning efforts and projects currently underway, to set the stage for more Downtown development. Stay informed via the Plan Downtown website.
 
Bike To Work Day: Please join Mayor Turner and friends on National Bike to Work Day, Friday, May 19, 2017, for a fun, Celebratory Bike Ride in and around Downtown Houston. All participants must register for this event. Click here for more information .
 

In the Know: Targeted e-mails and social media
E-mails: To meet the goals of excellent customer service, and to meet objectives for greater community engagement, the Department has several e-mail addresses that are topic based.
 
 
 
 
 
Historic Preservation: historicpreservation@houstontx.gov
 
 
Expedited Site Plan Review: PD.expeditedreview@houstontx.gov
 
 
Social Media: Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!