For decades, Houston built transportation through communities, rather than creating communities through transportation. Roadway portals were designed and constructed to move cars, with little attention to other modes of travel or visual character.  The result of this pragmatic mindset is a city riddled with unattractive, cluttered travel way corridors.  With roadways representing more than 80 percent of Houston’s public realm, Scenic Houston recognizes that our roads and adjacent rights-of-way (streetscapes) serve as the defining backbone of our communities. Scenic Houston believes everyone has the right to live in a community surrounded by great spaces. More importantly, everyone has the right to contribute to making the place where they already live great. By engaging stakeholders at every level, Scenic Houston’s long-range, sustainable initiatives are bringing people of different backgrounds together to work collaboratively on a common goal: improved streetscapes. By using these tools and strategies, Scenic Houston is reimagining our streets and freeway systems as places:

AIRPORT CORRIDOR DISTRICT

AIRPORT CORRIDOR DISTRICT

Scenic Houston is working with Mayor Turner’s Administration, City Legal Department and City Sign Administration to write an Airport Corridor District ordinance for the I-45, I-69 and Hardy Toll Road alignment connecting all three Houston airports. This Airport Corridor District designation comes with specific “teeth” to help spur removal of clutter and modernize and streamline the look of these entryway corridors.  Corridor district designations will define this space for concentrated stakeholder improvement efforts.

PARTNERSHIPS

PARTNERSHIPS

Scenic Houston has launched an initiative, co-chaired with Houston First, to organize the City of Houston, TxDOT, Harris County Toll Road Authority, management districts, redevelopment authorities and an array of local non-profits to define clear standards for maintenance and enhancements along the freeway system. By convening all key players in one coordinated effort, Scenic Houston can maximize resources to achieve results.

TxDOT REBUILD COMMENTS

TxDOT REBUILD COMMENTS

Scenic Houston is one of the lead entities organizing a set of comprehensive public comments to TxDOT regarding its momentous infrastructure rebuild of I-45. Proposed elements of the project are out of sync with the past success and current efforts of a number of community stakeholders. Scenic Houston is applying its streetscape expertise to help craft comments.

CITY AND COUNTY CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS

CITY AND COUNTY CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS

Scenic Houston believes thoughtfully designed and functional streets should be available to all communities.  Capitalizing on the public engagement opportunities that accompany city and county capital improvement projects are the perfect opportunity for Scenic Houston to help bridge the communication gap between municipal public works officials and the affected community. The City of Houston, for example, hosts public meetings to obtain citizen input before preparation of its annual capital improvement plan. The meetings provide citizens the opportunity to participate by contributing comments and suggestions. Scenic Houston, with its technical expertise and Streetscape Resource Guide in hand, works with residents and community stakeholders to evaluate street usage and safety concerns, then provide the community context and the vocabulary to discuss project components and modifications with public works officials.  Side-by-side with Scenic Houston, residents and community stakeholders can better advocate for needs specific to their community projects.

TAX INCREMENT REINVESTMENT ZONE (TIRZ) AND MANAGEMENT DISTRICT PARTNERSHIPS

TAX INCREMENT REINVESTMENT ZONE (TIRZ) AND MANAGEMENT DISTRICT PARTNERSHIPS

TIRZs and management districts provide one way for Houston to build public infrastructure, promote transportation, foster economic development, and improve safety and the public welfare. Scenic Houston, with its Streetscape Resource Guide in-hand, is partnering with these special zones to build depth to their public projects by organizing stakeholders and community meetings, providing training for project design consultants, and assisting with facilitation of capital project procurement and design process.  With Scenic Houston as a partner, TIRZs and management districts have started to rediscover the broad role that streets can and should play in public arenas such as commerce, socialization, community celebration, and recreation.