Bright Spot in My Day: From the Planning Director

Last month we announced a momentous accomplishment when City Council approved our recommendations for changes to the development and parking codes known as the Livable Places initiative. I cannot fully describe the elation I felt the moment I knew that three years of committee work, community engagement and collaboration with the home-building industry would finally come to fruition. 

As a department, we know the work we do touches the lives of Houstonians, but as Mayor Turner said, Livable Places will bring transformational change to our City. The changes allow more flexibility in constructing a second dwelling unit on your land, a small multi-unit home like a four-plex, or courtyard-style neighborhoods. They also increase safety by requiring new home development to face the street and provide an improved pedestrian space.

Our Development Services team deserves a standing ovation for their work on Livable Places, but they made it to the final stage with the support of all of our teams. From Transportation and GIS to Permitting and Communications, every team played a role. My greatest pride is to work alongside these professionals who every day put public service ahead of fancy workplaces, flexible working opportunities and private sector paychecks. Each one puts our customers at the fore. Whether it is assisting applicants at the permit center, helping a neighborhood sort through a divisive issue, or creating way to notify neighborhoods about their flood risk, this is a team that means business every day.  

Margaret Wallace Brown, A.I.C.P.

Director, Planning & Development Department

Citywide Truck Route Plan Updates & Draft Ordinance

The Citywide Truck Route Plan Study was initiated by the Planning and Development Department in January, 2023. Over the last months, staff has launched multiple engagement activities such as surveys, public meetings and an interactive web map. Based on findings and local condition analysis, staff has drafted a Truck Route Plan Ordinance. Our target is to have the City Council officially adopt the Citywide Truck Route Plan in 2024, with the aim of effectively managing freight movement, enhancing roadway safety, and improving the quality of life in Houston.


Staff presented the proposed ordinance to the Planning Commission on October 19, 2023, and received positive feedback from the Planning Commissioners. You can access the presentation slides and the view draft ordinance on our project webpage. Stay tuned for further developments.

Contact mobility.planning@houstontx.gov for more information.

November 19: World Day of Remembrance

For Road Traffic Victims

The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims is held annually on Nov. 19 to honor those who have been killed and injured on roads around the globe. This day reminds us that more than 1.35 million people die each year simply while walking or biking or driving in their communities.

In Houston, 323 people died on our roads in 2022, and close to 1,600 people were seriously injured. While this was a slight decrease in crash fatalities and serious injuries, the number is still high and we can save more lives with your support.

This is not acceptable, and it’s not inevitable. We can prevent these tragedies by continuing to design streets and setting policies that make safe spaces for all road users, especially for our most vulnerable – children, seniors, people with disabilities, and people walking and biking.

The City of Houston will join 50 cities across the country to hold events that show our commitment to prioritize safety on our roadways and advocate for more #SafeStreetsforPeople.

We will host a limited seating outdoor candlelight vigil for the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims on Sunday, November 19, at 5 p.m. at Hermann Square lawn in front of City Hall, 901 Bagby Street. The event brings together families of crash victims, street and traffic safety organizations, community members, elected officials, and advocates to remember, support, and act, as part of Vision Zero Houston’s efforts to create awareness and express the City’s commitment to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030.

Map of the Month: Vision Zero Crash Dashboard

The Transportation Planning and GIS teams collaborated to launch the Vision Zero Crash Dashboard, which provides quarterly safety data and pinpoints crashes that resulted in serious injuries and traffic deaths in an easy-to-use format with data sortable by many categories. The dashboard shows data as of September 2023. Data Sources include the TxDOT Crash Records Information System, Houston-Galveston Area Council, and City of Houston GIS database. Click the image for a full view.

Resilience Feedback Needed for Greater Inwood

Greater Inwood residents: Please take a few moments to complete this Neighborhood Resilience Survey by November 17, 2023. Your feedback will help shape the projects for Inwood’s Resilience Plan by providing critical experience and insight from neighborhood residents. Please consider sharing the survey link with your neighbors and community friends: bit.ly/NRP-inwood-survey-102023

PD to Host Braeburn Resilience Workshop on Nov. 9

Braeburn residents: Join us Nov. 9 to share your resiliency concerns & ideas on how to prepare for, withstand & recover from drought, flooding, excessive heat/cold and more. We'll review project ideas, identify partners & connect you to resources. Learn more at https://www.letstalkhouston.org/braeburn.

Historic Spotlight: Leonel J. Castillo Community Center

The elementary school after its closure in 2002 and before its purchase by Harris County

Precinct 2.

The Leonel J. Castillo Community Center shortly after its remodel and opening in 2013.

This month's Historic Spotlight is the Leonel J. Castillo Community Center. The Center was recently designated as a Protected Landmark by Houston City Council. Formerly known as Robert E. Lee Elementary, the Near Northside building was designed by Alfred C. Finn around 1921. In the 1970s, the site was converted into a huelga school—a “strike” school of 3,000-4,500 Mexican students led by Leonel J. Castillo who fought against HISD’s plans to segregate minority students from white students. The school closed in 2002 and was bought by Harris County Precinct 2 in 2011. Today, the school still serves as a reminder of Castillo’s commitment to community and education.

PSEFI Conference Gives Insight Into Planning Activities

Congratulations to our Planning staff who presented at the annual Houston Platting Workshop for the Professional Surveyors Education Foundation, Inc (PSEFI). Topics included platting basics, the Sidewalk Ordinance, off-street parking, the Major Thoroughfare and Freeway Plan, Vision Zero and Livable Places Chapter 42 changes. Proceeds from the conference benefit educational programs at University of Houston. View more event photos on our Planning Department Facebook page.

611 Walker Street, 6th Floor,
Houston, TX 77002 
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