March 2017
Updates from your City of Houston
Planning & Development Department
In This Issue
Quick Links
Bike Plan Headed to City Council
The Planning Commission recommended approval of the monumental Houston Bike Plan on February 2, 2017 and forwarded the plan to City Council for consideration. The revised plan  has been updated and published at .

According to Transportation Planners Matthew Seubert and Robert Guthart, key updates include strengthening recommendations regarding public engagement, additional clarification on map legends and bicycle facility types, and additional recommendations for the role of the Bicycle Advisory Committee. The plan was presented to the City Council's Transportation, Technology & Infrastructure Committee on Monday, February 13, 2017. It is expected to be considered by City Council in early March.

Thank you to the many individuals and organizations who have written over 600 letters in support of the Bike Plan!  You can visit  to download a letter of support template, which can be customized and sent to the Mayor and City Council Members.
Planning Staff Use Technology to Document Historic Buildings
Creatively merging GIS (Geographic Information Systems) with history, GIS Analyst Courtney Spillane and Historic Preservation Planner Matt Kriegl have utilized the mobile data collection application Collector for ArcGIS to survey over 5,000 historic structures in the city's 22 historic districts. At the recent National Trust for Historic Preservation Conference,  the department's Historic Preservation Survey Tracker, or HiPSTer,  was introduced to the enthusiastic crowd on hand.
GIS is a software system that enables the display and analysis of geographic information. Staff contributed extensive weekend and after-hours work on creating this specific GIS project. Collaborating with other Departments, such as the City's Information Technology Department, culminated in the release of this valuable initiative by the Planning and Development Department.
Technically speaking, the app helps staff log and organize historic data. The app is now used in the field to measure historic houses within the historic districts. The data helps staff analyze current historic buildings, determine measurements, and consider parameters for how new construction would fit best within each block of each historic district.
Staff Highlights
Recent CAPS graduates
Maribel Torres and Kevin Shuff, in the Management Services Division, graduated from the City's 18 week CAPS (City Accreditation Program for Supervisors) institute. Since our Management Services group handles a range of financial matters, personnel, and technology needs, the CAPS program provides them with additional competencies in managing various circumstances regarding city policies and leadership, management behaviors, and essential tasks. They join an esteemed group of graduates from within the Department. Congratulations!

Carlos Espinoza, of the Development Services Division, is now a National 2017 American Planning Association (APA) Ambassador. He is appointed to contribute his time, experience, and talent to advance the public understanding of planning, and is one of only 6 Texas Planners selected for this distinction. For details, visit
APA Ambassador program participants organized an event for students Photo courtesy of Yes Segura
Fast Facts
Plan Houston: Visit  for information about this unique, Houston-style general plan. Various committees and departments are working on stated objectives now.

Near-miss Study for Bicyclists: Your participation is needed! The Kinder Institute will be tracking "near-miss" collisions between March 4 and 10 to see what routes are safer and which places are more dangerous for bike riders in Houston. This information can be used to make Houston streets safer for all people riding bikes, including pedestrians and transit users. The trips and near-misses will be reported through an online travel diary or via a Safe Activity app.  For more information on the study, go to the Bike Houston Page.
Committees: The Planning Commission's Walkable Places Committee meets March 8, and Platting Standards meets March 9, 2017. See for agendas and more information about these dynamic working committees. Meetings are open to the public.

Montrose Special Parking Area: A special parking district was approved by City Council for the Montrose area. This new SPA will allow the Montrose Management District to use different parking requirements to assist businesses with meeting their parking needs while protecting the neighborhoods from unwanted overflow.

Chapter 26: Proposed revisions to the City's ordinance is making it easier to locate off-site parking options. Visit our web site for interim reports, and visit for adopted updates.
Annual Report: This comprehensive departmental publication is released annually in the spring, with fascinating descriptions of all functions and highlights of the city's Planning and Development Department. See for the complete report and related departmental information.
In the Know- Department Publications
The Planning and Development Department currently distributes eight publications:
Bicycle Master Plan: News about everything pertaining to alternative transportation via bikes.
Development Review: Platting and Development News, aka "Platting Updates," is a periodic publication of most interest to frequent Plat Tracker applicants.
Heights Design Guidelines: Targeted historic preservation news.
Lower Westheimer Corridor: Specific transportation planning study information.
Monthly Planner: Planning and Development Department's periodic newsletter.
Permit Report: Weekly development news of construction and permits, from Public Works' Planning and Development Services Division and Houston Permitting Center.
Plan Houston: Periodic news about the City's master plan and related resources.
Plat Report: Bi-weekly Plat Summary Report from the Planning and Development Department regarding items on the Planning Commission Agenda.
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