Sawyer Street Gets ‘Complete Streets’ Redesign

March 4, 2015   /   Project News

We’re happy to announce that we’re on the verge of wrapping up our Sawyer Street Complete Streets Vision. When the Old Sixth Ward TIRZ approached us to develop a new streetscape for Sawyer Street, we realized that this would be a unique opportunity to build on our Washington Avenue Livable Centers Study and to help support Houston’s nascent Complete Streets policy.

The essence of the Complete Streets movement is a belief that streets should be designed for all users and mobility types, and that they should respond to many factors in addition to the volume of automobile traffic, such as land use, population density, and available modes of transportation. While there are several good precedents to learn from — Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, and other cities across the country are already implementing their own Complete Streets policies — Houston’s unique context requires a different approach.

The challenge we face in Houston, as a city without zoning, is coordinating our streetscapes with the activities and buildings along them. A key part of our process was communicating with the Old Sixth Ward, Public Works Department, and developers and artists’ studios that are reshaping the neighborhood.

The Sawyer Street corridor, in the First and Sixth wards in Houston, connects Memorial Drive and Buffalo Bayou Park with IH-10 and the MKT Hike and Bike Trail. The corridor changes character significantly, and includes both a historic residential district and a quickly changing industrial area. The area is notable for its historic urban fabric, which is experiencing rapid change and increasing market pressure due to its proximity to Downtown Houston and the increasingly desirable Market Square Park area.

Building on the recommendations of the Washington Avenue Livable Centers plan, Asakura Robinson, along with Traffic Engineers, Inc., developed a new Complete Streets plan for the corridor. The plan includes design guidelines, separated bicycle lanes and pedestrian refuges and other traffic calming methods.

Click here to download the final report.

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