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City of Houston -Houston Public Works
Waugh Drive/Heights Blvd./Yale Street
IH-10 to Nevada Street/Bomar Street
The Waugh Drive corridor is a key north-south corridor within the inner West Loop area. The corridor connects the Heights neighborhood north of IH-10 to Montrose, providing a key connection between two of the most dense active urban centers of Houston. Waugh Drive is one of only three thoroughfares that crosses Buffalo Bayou within the inner West Loop (a five mile stretch), along with Montrose Boulevard and Shepherd Drive. These roadways provide key connections for all travel modes within one of the densest parts of Houston.
The defining element of the corridor is the Waugh Drive at Memorial Drive clover leaf interchange. The interchange was constructed in 1955 and is a remnant of the historical Houston Freeway Plan that included Memorial Drive as a controlled access freeway. The footprint of the Waugh Drive at Memorial Drive interchange is over 22 acres. Traversing the Waugh Drive cloverleaf as a person walking or bicycling is challenging. The existing sidewalks are sub-standard, especially on the bridge where they are four feet wide next to high speed traffic. Crossing the merge points on either a bicycle or foot can be challenging.
Existing traffic volumes along the corridor vary from over 40,000 vehicles per day at the Buffalo Bayou Bridge to 10,000 along Yale Street near Koehler Street on the north end of the study area. While the existing vehicular capacity is meeting demand, as the area around the corridor continues to transform and increase in density, corridor operations are projected to operate poorly and exacerbate challenged for multimodal users along the corridor. Existing corridor LOS is D but is projected to drop to E for some segments by 2040; many intersections are projected to operate at LOS F by 2040. Currently, substandard bicycle lanes are only located on two discontinuous segments of the corridor with a gap in the middle adjacent to Buffalo Bayou Park and Spotts Park. While sidewalks are present for the majority of the corridor, they are often narrow, in poor condition, and not ADA compliant.
Despite the low comfort level bicycle facilities and missing segments, people are biking along the corridor. People walk along the corridor throughout the day to either reach adjacent land uses or to connect to Buffalo Bayou Park. There is a demand for the corridor to be transformed into an urban corridor that provides safer access and improved mobility for all modes.
These issues were identified in the HGAC Inner West Loop Mobility Study and the HGAC Washington Avenue Livable Centers Study.
The candidate project recommends the redesign and reconstruction of significant segments of the corridor. The project included realigning Waugh Drive between Feagan Street and Allen Parkway. The new realigned corridor will intersect Memorial Drive at a Single Point Urban Interchange (SPUI). The corridor realignment and the more compact SPUI interchange will allow for reallocating 16 acres of right- of-way into urban park space and detention. The proposed realignment also supports improvements to all bridges along the corridor.
The project will realign the intersection of Waugh Drive at Heights Boulevard so that Waugh Drive intersects Heights Boulevard at a right-angle. The project also recommends converting Waugh Drive between Washington Avenue and Heights Boulevard from a one-way street into a two-way street that will connect to two-way Yale Street north of Washington Avenue.
Waugh Drive north of Feagan Street to Washington Avenue is recommended as a four-lane, two- way corridor with an improved pedestrian realm. The four-lanes provide an opportunity for on-street parking if that is desired. North of Washington Avenue, Waugh Drive turns into Yale Street. Roadway recommendations for Yale Street include the reconstruction of the roadway from Center Street to Washington Avenue, including the reconstruction of both signals, an overlay of the four-lane segment north of Center Street, and improvements to the sidewalks between Washington Avenue and Kohler Street.
Heights Boulevard between Willia Street and Washington Avenue is proposed as a five to six-lane divided roadway with shared-use paths. The project includes the reconstruction of the Washington Avenue intersection. North of Washington Avenue, Heights Boulevard is proposed as a four-lane divided roadway with buffered bicycle lanes, improved sidewalks and enhanced transit stops.
South of the Waugh Drive at Memorial Drive interchange the project proposess the reconstruction of Waugh Drive between Allen Parkway and West Gray Street as a four to six-lane divided corridor with improved bicycle facilities (including both bikeways and shared-use paths), sidewalks, and transit stops to match the urban context and strengthen connections for people bicycling and walking along the corridor.
Detention pond(s) are also recommended for the segment of the corridor near the recommended interchange which would increase available detention in the project area.
These improvements are consistent with recommendations in the HGAC Inner West Loop Mobility Study and the HGAC Washington Avenue Livable Centers Study.
Improved LOS, travel times, reliablity and safety.
Improved pedestrian safety.
Improved Transit reliability.
Improved storm drainage and detention.
Improved Pavement Condition.
Improved natural resources/park space and access to them.
More than $100 million
View Uploaded File: HPW PreAp letter.pdf
Environmental Assessment (EA)
The Waugh project is proposed for the long-range Regional Transportation Plan.
City of Houston conducted a pre-engineering study for this roadway. See attached report.
HGAC Inner West Loop Mobility Study
HGAC Washington Avenue Livable Centers Study
View Uploaded File: Waugh Heights - Pre_Eng.zip
View Uploaded File: Waugh Drive Project Map.docx
View Uploaded File: Waugh budget template.pdf
View Uploaded File: Roadway-Safety-Benefits-Waugh.xlsx
View Uploaded File: delay-benefits-Waugh.xlsx
View Uploaded File: Roadway-Emissions-Benefits-Waugh.xlsx
View Uploaded File: Waugh - Major Investment_submital_docs.pdf
View Uploaded File: project-budget-resolution Waugh.zip
Refer to uploaded Major Investment Document.
This proposed project will realign Waugh drive providing improved access and intersection interchange. The project will also allow for the creation of additional park space, regional detention, and natural resource protection.
View Uploaded File:
There are over 86,000 residents and 147,000 jobs within the inner West Loop and many of these residents and employees rely on the Waugh Drive corridor. This project provides an opportunity to transform the corridor into a multimodal corridor that supports adjacent development and continued residential growth downtown and the adjacent neighborhoods to the west.
Waugh Drive is one of only three major north-south connectors between IH610 and Downtown. It provides critical north-south connections to major freeways (US-59/I-69 and IH-10). It is also a critical connector to the most densely developed and rapidly growth area the inner-loop area.
With the interchange improvement, parkland and regional detention space will be created that has tremendous benefit to the Buffalo Bayou Watershed and the Central Business District.
Despite the low comfort bicycle facility and missing segments there is a high volume of people that are biking along the corridor, walking along the corridor all day to reach adjacent land uses or connect to Buffalo Bayou Park.
The proposed improvement will greatly improve safety, access, and connectivity to park space, trails, office buildings, residential, shopping and other amenities.
The City of Houston has a standing maintenance program that includes bridge inspection with TxDOT. Houston Public Works also conducted a scheduled pavement assessment. Data is analyzed annual to plan maintenance rehab/repair and also to plan for capital investment.
Houston-Galveston Area Council