March Scenic Citizen: Council Member Abbie Kamin

This month Scenic Houston is proud to celebrate Houston City Council Member Abbie Kamin as our Scenic Citizen.  Council Member Kamin represents 15 unique super neighborhoods, including: Greater Inwood, Central Northwest, Lazybrook/Timbergrove, Greater Heights, Washington Avenue Coalition/Memorial Park, Neartown/Montrose, University Place, Braeburn, Meyerland Area, Braeswood, Willow Meadows/Willow Bend, Midtown, Afton Oaks/River Oaks, Fourth Ward, and Greenway/Upper Kirby.  She chairs the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee and is Vice Chair of the Quality of Life Committee.  She also is a member of the Budget and Fiscal Affairs Committee, Childhood and Youth Committee, Economic Development and Ethics Committee, and Elections and Council Governance Committee.

A fourth-generation District C resident, Council Member Kamin says it’s impossible to choose her favorite scenic site in Houston, “I’m proud to represent some of our city’s most iconic parks, from Memorial Park to our ever-expanding hike-and-bike trails along our bayous, to even smaller neighborhood spaces like Little Thicket Park.”

Council Member Kamin has been a tireless scenic advocate through her work on City Council.  She is committed to pedestrian safety and walkability, two things that Scenic Houston focuses on through our Streetscape Resource Guide, a practical, photo-rich companion to standard streetscape regulations.  One of her primary focuses is increasing sidewalk connectivity to provide safe routes to trails.  She recently used her office funding to provide several missing sidewalk connections between neighborhoods and trails in Robindell connecting to Brays Bayou Trail, the Heights neighborhood connection to the MKT Trail and Cottage Grove Park connecting to the TxDOT pedestrian trail over I-10.  She also has two ongoing road safety connectivity initiatives, one near Rice University and another in the Montrose and Midtown neighborhoods.

Council Member Kamin’s most recent safety and walkability project is the Montrose and Midtown Safety and Connectivity Project, a Vision Zero initiative that addresses safety and lack of connectivity in these neighborhoods.  Council Member Kamin brought together a stakeholder group including neighborhood leaders, the Midtown District, the Montrose TIRZ, and METRO to identify areas of concern and barriers to connectivity.  The Planning Department studied these issues and presented concepts for short- and long-term solutions, some as simple as timing of pedestrian signals, and some more complex such as bridging a gap in the bike network. The stakeholder group determined their top priority items, and her office is now working with the Planning Department and other funding partners to move these projects forward.

When asked about her biggest scenic accomplishment, her passion for connectivity is apparent, “I am proud of these projects that my office has done to ensure residents around the district can safely go from their neighborhoods to our city’s wonderful network of trails and hike-and-bike paths.”

Scenic Houston shares Council Member Kamin’s enthusiasm for improving the city’s walkability and improving our public spaces.  She states that “Scenic Houston is setting an example for Houston to incorporate green infrastructure and thoughtful design elements into our public projects because it provides multiple benefits to residents, elevating our quality of life and enjoyment of the outdoors.”

With Council Member Kamin on our side, Houston will become a much more connected city, positively impacting and giving us better choices for transportation. It will also become a much safer place to walk and bike and a more beautiful place to live.  For those of us who are lucky enough to live in her district we greatly appreciate all the improvements she has made and the plans she has in place to continue to make Houston a more scenic city.