Houston: Plan for road diet still in works amidst opposition

A plan that would significantly alter traffic flow on a major Heights thoroughfare is on the verge of being implemented.

If not for the vocal and persistent opposition of some area residents, a reconfiguration of 11th Street might already be underway.

Timbergrove Manor Neighborhood Association president Chris Elliott and Leigh Killgore, another Timbergrove Manor resident who is president of Super Neighborhood Council 14, are among the Heights-area homeowners against the “road diet” proposed by Houston Public Works and the city’s Planning & Development Department. The plan calls for the restriping of 11th Street between North Shepherd Drive and Michaux Street to convert it from a four-lane configuration, with two lanes of traffic going in each direction, into one lane going in each direction with a center left-turn lane and bicycle lanes on the outside of the road.

A median refuge island, which would provide protection to cyclists and pedestrians using the Heights Hike and Bike Trail that crosses 11th at Nicholson Street, also would be installed at that intersection. It was identified by Houston bike advocates as one of the most dangerous spots in the city.

The changes would be funded as part of the Houston Bike Plan, which was adopted by the city council in 2017 and allocates $1.1 million per year to projects aimed at making the city safer and more accessible for cyclists.