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Associate at the Goodman Corporation
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OST/Almeda Corridors Redevelopment Authority
5445 Almeda Road, Suite 545
City of Houston
Division Manager, Transportation Planning
Emancipation Avenue Reconstruction and Bicycle/Pedestrian Improvements
Pierce St to McGowen St, AND Elgin St to Southmore St
Emancipation Ave (formerly known as Dowling St) is a major historical corridor in the Third Ward area which is currently experiencing a resurgence in activity due, in part, to the $33 million renovation of the adjacent Emancipation Park. A 2017 COH Pavement Condition Report indicates that the pavement ranges from fair to poor, with signs of the failure of previous repairs starting to become evident throughout the corridor. The roadway is generally in poor condition as evidenced by recurring failing patches and longitudinal, transverse, block, and alligator cracks. Twenty-eight percent of the roadway is concrete, while 72% is asphalt overlay. Additionally, the majority of the stormwater lines are beyond their useful life and are classified as inadequately sized by the COH Comprehensive Drainage Plan.
The sidewalks and curbs are in a similar state of disrepair throughout the corridor. Most sidewalks along Emancipation Ave are 4’ wide (with a few exceptions along areas of new development) and are not currently in compliance with the latest COH standards. ADA ramps are missing or non-compliant throughout the corridor. There are missing curbs and overgrown grass over sections of sidewalk. Pedestrian lighting is missing throughout the corridor. Additionally, the planting strip along the entire corridor is not wide enough to provide sufficient buffer between the roadway and the pedestrian realm.
The inadequate roadway, pedestrian, and bicycle facilities result in unsafe conditions for users, hindered mobility and access, and excessive repair costs.
The project consists of the complete reconstruction of Emancipation Ave from Pierce St to McGowen St, and from Elgin St to Southmore St. The intervening section (McGowen to Elgin) was previously reconstructed as part of the improvements to Emancipation Park. The project includes the rehabilitation of the existing pavement, installation and upsizing of additional storm sewer and sanitary sewer infrastructure, and the upgrade of pedestrian amenities to COH/ADA/Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations (TDLR) standards. The project will also improve the turning radii at intersections throughout the corridor, providing for safer vehicle turn movements. The existing roadway geometry will remain consistent with the current alignment, upgraded to the standards prescribed by the latest COH Infrastructure Design Manual (IDM). Slight modifications to intersection geometries might be necessary to accommodate the bicycle facility. The 2016 City of Houston Bike Plan recommends dedicated on-street bikeways on Emancipation; hence, the project will incorporate 6’ on-street bike lanes on both sides of the street throughout the corridor. The inclusion of a bicycle facility will require the total reconstruction of the back-of-curb throughout the project corridor to better accommodate pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicle users. Pedestrian improvements will consist of enhanced 6’ sidewalks on both sides of the street, pedestrian lighting, and streetscape improvements. Streetscape enhancements will include public art, historical markers, and monuments. The project will incorporate Low-Impact Development (LID) storm water treatments along the corridor including raingardens and bioswales. The landscape treatment will be the same as that implemented adjacent to Emancipation Park, along Emancipation Ave from Elgin St to McGowen St.
The outcomes to be achieved by the project are multi-faceted:
Increase safety – Between 2015 and 2017 there were 230 roadway and intersection crashes along the corridor resulting in 7 severe injuries, and 7 ped/bike crashes resulting in 1 severe injury. Improving the roadway condition, bikeability, and walkability of Emancipation Ave will increase safety and lead to a measurable reduction in crashes, in turn resulting in fewer injuries/deaths and reduced economic costs associated with the crashes. Note that an alternative, HSIP oriented, safety benefit has been completed and submitted with this project. It provides a significantly higher benefit than the H-GAC methodology provides.
Maintain a state of good repair – This segment will require substantial maintenance throughout the 20-year planning horizon. Costly ongoing maintenance of the existing facility would require 1,100 ft of new concrete panels in 2021, 5,500 ft of mill and overlay in 2021 and 2030, and 2,200 ft of new concrete panels in 2035. The reconstruction of this facility will avoid the need for costly repairs and travel time delay costs in the planning horizon.
Improve connectivity, access, and mobility – Pedestrian and bike improvements will facilitate connectivity among residences, businesses, churches, and Emancipation Park, as well as facilitate access to transit (specifically, the four METRO bus routes that traverse the project corridor). Bike facilities will also promote connectivity to the regional bike network. The project area is classified as an “environmental justice” area. As such, improvements to the corridor will improve access for a population that has higher than regional amounts of minorities, households below poverty, households without an automobile, and senior population.
Improve drainage – Reconstructing the corridor stormwater system to meet code requirements for the 2-year and 100-year frequency events will improve area drainage and reduce the risk of property damage and loss of life during catastrophic rainfall events.
Facilitate economic development – Research has shown that improving walkability and bikeability can increase property values of residential and commercial properties. The resulting increase in property values yields an increase in tax revenue, which is considered a benefit.
Facilitate biking – Research has shown that the installation of exclusive bike lanes encourages and increases bike usage in the community. Bikeways have a number of benefits for users, including health and recreation.
Less than $100 million
(Manage) Access Management/Safety/Grade Separations
View Uploaded File: 1 Emancipation Ltr of Funding Commitment.pdf
Categorical Exclusion (CE)
(c)(22) – Projects that would take place entirely within the existing operational ROW
View Uploaded File: 11 Holman City of Houston LOS.pdf
View Uploaded File: 4 Emancipation Project Dev Timeline.xlsx
The proposed project will greatly improve the roadway condition and pedestrian environment of an important COH corridor that is currently in disrepair. The project will also enable safe bicycling in a dedicated bike lane, furthering the objectives and connections promoted by the COH Bike Plan. The project was approved/permitted for construction in 2010. Construction drawings will need to be updated and resubmitted for permit approval. City of Houston representatives have provided a letter of project support.
The Emancipation Ave project has been previously 100% designed, with the exception of the inclusion of the dedicated bike lane. The project was approved/permitted for construction in 2010. Construction drawings will need to be updated to current design standards and resubmitted for permit approval from the City of Houston. This plan update will also include the addition of the bicycle lanes. Additionally, it is anticipated that design updates will be necessary to conform to TxDOT design standards. Upon funding award, the project can be quickly implemented following design updates. This is contingent upon the project being placed in the TIP, STIP, and an AFA being executed in a reasonable time frame.
A Categorical Exclusion can be completed by FY20. No major impacts are expected.
No ROW is necessary for this project.
Utilities will be adjusted to mitigate potential conflicts prior to and/or during construction. The Emancipation Ave reconstruction includes the burying of existing aerial utilities. The standard utility coordination process with the City of Houston was previously followed when the project was brought to 100% design, and will be re-initiated upon project funding and design updates. Utility adjustments will be funded by the OST/Almeda Corridors Redevelopment Authority (TIRZ #7).
Public involvement activities: The 2017 Joint Infrastructure Development Plan, jointly developed between the Greater Southeast Management District and the OST/Almeda Corridors Redevelopment Authority (TIRZ #7), delineated 21 priority projects that the two entities desire to pursue funding for and implement, including the reconstruction of Emancipation Ave (prioritized #3 out of 21 projects). Extensive public outreach was undertaken as part of the development of the plan, including two public meetings in March 2016 and direct contact with more than 45 individual stakeholders representing approximately 40 community organizations and other entities. Details regarding the public outreach efforts for the Joint Infrastructure Plan are included in an attachment to this application.
The importance of Emancipation Ave was also underscored in the Houston Southeast Community Plan, completed in 2017. In this plan, Emancipation Ave is designated as one of six economic corridors central to the growth and health of the Greater Southeast Management District. An extensive public outreach effort informed the development of the Houston Southeast Community Plan.
View Uploaded File: TIRZ 7 - Emancipation TIP Readiness Materials.zip
View Uploaded File: TIRZ 7 Emancipation Avenue MPK map.zip
View Uploaded File: 2 Emancipation H-GAC template budget.xlsx
View Uploaded File: Emancipation_Roadway-Safety-Benefits.xlsx
View Uploaded File: Emancipation_delay-benefits.xlsx
View Uploaded File: Emancipation_Roadway-Emissions-Benefits.xlsx
View Uploaded File: Emancipation Supporting files.zip
View Uploaded File: Emancipation Alternative Safety Benefit.zip
901 - 1000
0.01 – 0.10
View Uploaded File: Emancipation_lottr-estimation.xlsx
Auto LOS – Improvements to the roadway condition of Emancipation Ave will result in congestion reduction by reducing roadway repair-related user delay (which is frequently experienced in the form of concrete panel replacements and asphalt patches) and reducing user costs associated with potholes and other road failures which create flat tires, damaged suspension, and cause other detrimental impacts. The improved State of Good Repair of the roadway will also result in smoother traffic flow and reduced crashes. Between 2015 and 2017, there were 230 roadway and intersection crashes along the corridor, with seven being severe.
Transit LOS - Transit LOS will experience the same improvements in travel time reliability and delay reduction as seen for auto LOS. Transit LOS also considers ridership and the entire spectrum of a transit trip. As such, other benefits are achieved:
a. Transit ridership will increase as a direct result of the enhanced access to transit afforded by improved and ADA accessible pedestrian facilities, including a more comfortable and accommodating pedestrian realm with wide sidewalks and street trees to provide shade.
b. Total transit travel times will decrease due to traversable sidewalks which may reduce the need for pedestrians to take indirect routes to reach bus stops or reach their end destination.
c. Total transit travel times will decrease due to new bicycle accessibility which may convert the first/last mile portion of the trip to a bicycle trip from a pedestrian trip. This will reduce total travel time.
Bike/Ped LOS – The improved pedestrian realm, including upgraded 6’ sidewalks, pedestrian lighting, and other streetscape enhancements will facilitate a safer, more comfortable walking experience on Emancipation, encouraging more users to engage in this form of active transportation. Achieving ADA compliance along the corridor will provide accessibility which is currently not possible for wheelchair and other, similar, users. Bicycle LOS will increase due to the introduction of a high-comfort facility which will accommodate safe access through signalized intersections. Between 2015 and 2017 there were seven ped/bike crashes resulting in one severe injury along the corridor. Non-expert bike users typically travel on alternate and indirect routes to complete their bike trips to avoid the danger that is present along major thoroughfares such as Emancipation Ave. The introduction of the exclusive bike lanes on Emancipation will allow users, many of whom lack access to an automobile, to utilize a direct, safe route along the corridor.
The proposed project is recommended in the 2017 Joint Infrastructure Development Plan, developed by the Greater Southeast Management District and the OST/Almeda Corridors Redevelopment Authority (TIRZ #7). The Emancipation Ave project is prioritized #3 out of 21 projects recommended in the Joint Plan. The importance of Emancipation Ave is also underscored in the Houston Southeast Community Plan, completed in 2017. In this plan, Emancipation Ave is designated as one of six economic corridors central to the growth and health of the Greater Southeast Management District.
The Joint Infrastructure Development Plan is included in the Readiness Documentation for this project application. The Executive Summary of the Houston Southeast Community Plan is available here: https://houstonse.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/TruncatedHSE_Exec_Summary_for_Lynn-002.pdf
Houston-Galveston Area Council