What Do You Give A City For Its Holiday Gift?
December 8, 2005
In Houston's case, more than 350 blocks of Downtown-Midtown streets, wrapped
in colorful brick crosswalks, expanded bus diamond lanes, widened sidewalks, new
bus shelters, synchronized traffic lights and landscaping.
This month officially marks the completion of the Downtown Midtown Transit
Streets Project - a massive $308 million renovation of transit streets in the
Central Business District and parts of Midtown. Thanks to METRO's partners in
this project - the City of Houston and the Downtown District - much of the
city's aging sewer system and water lines were also replaced along with street
lanes not used by buses.
To celebrate the occasion and thank area business owners, METRO, the City of
Houston and the Downtown District are inviting Houstonians to a party 11:30 a.m.
to 1 p.m. Friday in Main Street Square.
Mayor Bill White, METRO Board Vice Chairman Gerald B. Smith and the Downtown
District's Executive Director Bob Eury will host the celebration, which will
include live New Orleans jazz music, a Foley's fashion show, visit from Santa
and drawing for prizes, including a $1000 Foley's gift card.
"We've worked hard with METRO to get to this stage and make it easier for
Houstonians to get to their jobs and to enjoy the many things our
Downtown/Midtown areas have to offer," said Mayor White. "This is a milestone
we're happy to have reached."
The transit streets project was a key component of METRO's broader plan to
build a fully integrated transportation program for Downtown. That includes
Houston's first light rail line, which now carries 40,000 riders each day – well
ahead of a 2020 projection.
That success, Smith said, has allowed METRO to restructure its bus routes,
removing 600 buses from Downtown each day.
"The transit streets project has been the perfect complement to the
revitalization of Downtown, which is good for the region as a whole," Smith
said. "It is also the foundation for METRO's ambitious plans for the future
which will address not only transportation, but general mobility as well."
The District, Eury said, is proud to have partnered with the City and METRO
on this visionary mobility project. "The results of building better streets,
widened sidewalks with street trees, landscaping, directional signage,
fountains, public art and improved street lighting have set the stage for a true
revival of Downtown's day and night street scene."