visionNewMasthead

Houston-Galveston Area Council

October 2013
In This Issue
TPC - September 27, 2013
Greater West Houston SPI
New Traffic Safety Laws
METRO System Re-Imagining Survey
Springwoods Village Presentation
N.Brazoria Co. and Pearland Study
Smaller Cities Officials Visit H-GAC
METRO Bike & Ride Public Meeting
Mobility NOW Presents...
Clean Trucks Looking for Owners
Did you know...?
H-GAC in the News
Join Our Mailing List!
Meetings & Events
TAC - Wednesday, October 16, 2013
 
TPC - Friday, October 25, 2013
 
METRO Bike & Ride Public Meeting
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Houston Permitting Center
1002 Washington Avenue Houston, TX 77002

Greater West Houston Subregional Planning Initiative Public Meeting
Tuesday, October 15, 2013

6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Wolfe Elementary Gym
502 Addicks-Howell Road
Houston, TX 77079

H-GAC's YouTube Channel 
Click to subscribe! 
youtube 

Transportation Policy Council - September 27, 2013

On Friday, September 27, 2013, Fort Bend County Commissioner Andy Meyers and Richard Fields, Chairman of the Highway 36A Coalition, described the Coalition to the Transportation Policy Council (TPC). Mr. Fields said that the organization is preparing for the day when funds would be available to improve and preserve the corridor.
Map of State Highway 36A
 
This Coalition, made up of both public and private interests, advocates the development of a multimodal transportation corridor from the Freeport area to north of Hempstead. The 36A corridor would support economic development, hurricane evacuation and
goods movements.
 
H-GAC Air Quality Program Manager Shelley Whitworth discussed H-GAC's development of a voluntary PM2.5 Advance Program. This program aims to reduce fine particulate matter in our region's air in order to maintain compliance with new federal air quality standards. A task force was formed to develop a draft plan for particulate matter reduction. 
 
TPC also approved three amendments to the 2013-2016 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and 2035 Regional Transportation Plan Update (RTP). Amendment #41 programs $12.6 million of additional Transportation Enhancement (TE) project awards to eligible projects submitted under TxDOT's 2012 TE Program Call. Amendment #42 reallocates $140 million in FY 2012 transit funds, in part to help Fort Bend and Harris Counties mitigate the impact of MAP-21 legislative changes. Amendment #43 provides $40 million for METRO rail system upgrades and bus facility rehabilitation. You can view the projects here
 
H-GAC's Transportation Director Alan Clark presented a draft policy and procedures document for the award of Transportation Development Credits (TDCs) based on the recommendations of an ad hoc TDC Committee. Transportation Development Credits are earned based upon our region's investment in toll roads. If awarded to a federally funded highway or transit project, TDCs allow up to 100% federal reimbursement of eligible project costs. The document was approved and can be viewed here.

 

David Wurdlow of H-GAC presented a quarterly project status update of the 2013-2016 TIP. This status update helps to ensure that projects in the TIP are implemented in their proposed timelines. Click here to view the report.

  

The TPC agenda with audio is available with one click

Subregional Planning Comes to Greater West Houston

The Greater West Houston area, home to nearly 660 thousand residents and 388 thousand jobs, has seen significant growth over the last 20 years. 

 

H-GAC has initiated a comprehensive transportation and land use study for West Houston. The Greater West Houston Subregional Planning Initiative will examine strategies for improving travel on the region's freeways, toll roads and surface streets, as well as transit, pedestrian and bicycle systems. H-GAC invites the public to a meeting on October 15.

 

Greater West Houston Public Meeting

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. 

Wolfe Elementary Gym

502 Addicks-Howell Road.

Houston, TX 77079

 

The study will collect information to analyze existing land use and envision future land-use scenarios (including protection of environmentally sensitive areas and green spaces). A series of short, medium and long range projects will be identified to help improve mobility throughout the study area, which is bound by FM 529 to the north including the US 290/Beltway 8 interchange area, SH 99/Grand Parkway to the west, the Campbell/ Blalock/Fondren corridor to the east and Bellaire Boulevard to the south.

 

The public will have an opportunity to participate through public meetings scheduled over the next seven months. An online survey is available at www.mywesthouston.com. 

New Traffic Laws Emphasize Safety

New traffic laws have been passed by the Texas Legislature, and many of them enforce new safety rules. Here are a few of the new ordinances:

 

Move Over for TxDOT Vehicles: The "Move Over" Law requires Texas motorists to provide a one-lane buffer between their car and the law enforcement or first responder vehicle on the side of the road, or if this is not possible, to slow down to 20 mph below the posted speed limit. The law now applies to TxDOT vehicles with their lights activated and not separated from the roadway by a traffic-control device. 

 

School Buses: Drivers who illegally pass school buses when the lights and stop signs are activated now face increased fines from a minimum of $500 to a maximum of $1,250. The fine also increases to $2,000 for drivers with two or more of these violations within a five-year period.

 

Schools and Cell Phones: Texas law has now been expanded to prohibit use of cell phones anywhere on school property, including outside of a school zone, unless the vehicle is stopped or the driver is using a hands-free device.

 

Car Insurance: Texas law now allows you to show proof of car insurance by using your cell phone.

 

For a full list, visit the DPS website or click the image above.

 

METRO Wants Feedback on System Re-Imagining Project

METRO is seeking input on plans for redesigning its transit networks to better fit the growing and changing transportation needs of Houston and the region. Demographic and density changes in Houston have prompted METRO to take a look at its system to see how it can better serve riders.

 

METRO invites you to take their an online survey to better understand the needs of riders. What do you think can improve ridership? Frequency of buses? Easier access to routes? Your input will help METRO make their future planning decisions.

 

More information about the project is available online at TransitSystemReimagining.com or click to take a survey: www.TSRSurvey.com.

In Case You Missed It: "Springwoods Village" A Video Presentation

Didn't get to make H-GAC's last Brown Bag Lunch of the year? You can watch the full video and download the presentation right here.


Keith D. Simon, Director of Development with Coventry Development Corporation, made a presentation on Springwoods Village at H-GAC on Monday, September 16.

 

Springwoods Village is a master planned community west of Interstate 45 in northern Harris County south of The Woodlands. The development has attracted major interest nationwide.

 

Five thousand residential units are planned for the 2,000 acre site, along with parks and recreational areas. A town center plaza that will include retail, a hotel and multifamily housing is scheduled to be completed by 2015. 

 

Watch the presentation on the H-GAC YouTube channel. Make sure to download the presentation to follow along. If you have any questions, please contact Rosalind Hebert, CAP-OM, at Rosalind.Hebert@h-gac.com or at (713) 993-2471.

A Closer Look at the Northern Brazoria County and Pearland Study

The Northern Brazoria County and Pearland Subregional Planning Study has concluded, but the work is just beginning. Studies like these are used by H-GAC to determine which projects should receive funding. 

 

There are many suggestions in the study that could improve transportation in the area. Three such suggestions are 1) improving existing facilities by widening busy roadways in cities such as Pearland, Alvin and Manvel; 2) increasing investment in regional transit improvements; and 3) implementing current master plans for bikeways and pedestrian facilities created by the local planning agencies.

 

Planners believe that stretching current transportation funds to encompass the most necessary roadway transportation projects is vital to future projects. They stress the continuance of working with local transportation partners, such as H-GAC, to identify the available funds and target vital roadway projects. 

 

The study highlights how connected transportation improvements and local projects could greatly reduce congestion time and provide relief to local commuters and future residents. It is important to remember that the study consists of recommendations to be considered and not actions to be taken. Public meetings are scheduled before any major roadway project. Visit www.h-gac.com/taq to learn more about a public meeting near you. 

Smaller Cities Officials Visit H-GAC

H-GAC hosted a workshop Friday, September 20th for officials of area Smaller Cities. Bob Fry, Mayor of West University Place and Smaller Cities representative on the Transportation Policy Council (TPC), organized the event.

 

The meeting was designed to explain the transportation planning process and how to work with H-GAC to secure funds for projects. Transportation Director Alan Clark provided information on federal transportation funding opportunities and how to partner with H-GAC. Planners also provided information on funding for Air Quality and Safety programs.

 

Due to severe weather in the area, many invitees were not able to attend. However, a video of the event can be seen on H-GAC's YouTube channel

METRO Bike & Ride Public Meeting

METRO and H-GAC will end the months-long Bike & Ride study with a final public meeting Wednesday, October 9th at the Houston Permitting Center located at 1002 Washington Avenue, Houston, Texas 77002The study seeks to improve the transit ridership experience for area bicyclists. Representatives from METRO, H-GAC and the consulting firm Asakura Robinson will be on hand to present much of the public feedback received and a final look at the study recommendations.

 

The study looked at various improvements to bus facilities to make them more inviting to bicyclists. The combination of biking and riding the bus makes for a healthy and environmentally-friendly commute alternative, especially if the distance between home and work are too great for just cycling. Transit ridership by cyclists has increased by 30 percent since 2011, making this a timely and important study.

 

For more information about METRO's Bike & Ride Study, please contact Stephan Gage at stephan.gage@h-gac.com.

Mobility NOW... Now Featuring "Extras"

Do you have questions about cycling in our area? Then check out Mobility NOW's interview with bike instructor Conrad Hirsch. This series brings you up to speed with the laws around biking, how to get started and how to stay safe. Click the image to the right to watch now. 

 

Mobility NOW is brought to you by H-GAC so you can learn more about the way we move around our area. Make sure to subscribe to the H-GAC YouTube channel for more videos on regional mobility. 

Electric Trucks Seek Fleet Owners

H-GAC has partnered with the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) and Smith Electric Vehicles Corporation to reduce vehicle emissions from delivery trucks in the Houston-Galveston region. As part of a U.S. Department of Energy sponsored effort, local fleets are sought to replace their existing diesel delivery vehicles with all-electric medium and heavy-duty Smith Newton trucks for daily operations in the Houston-Galveston area.

 

The H-GAC Zero Emission Truck project will demonstrate the effectiveness of all-electric delivery vehicles to perform at the same level of operation as similarly sized diesel delivery vehicles while significantly reducing emissions and petroleum use. By deploying 30 zero emission trucks targeted for this program, H-GAC expects to reduce petroleum consumption by over 250,000 gallons of diesel fuel over the two-year demonstration period. The project will have additional impact with an expected reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 37.5 million tons of carbon equivalents per year and an expected reduction in criteria pollutants of over 2,000 tons per year. 

 

Fleet managers operating in the Houston-Galveston area that are interested in participating in the program are encouraged to contact Smith Electric at www.smithelectric.com/contact-us or Allison Carr at allison.car@h-gac.com.

Did you know...?

 

 
 
 
H-GAC in the News 

"Commute Solutions Month" Provides Commute Alternatives

 

H-GAC's Brown Bag Lunch Presentation Makes Chronicle

 

Regional Clean Air Coalitions Take The Next Step To Improve Air Quality 

 

USACE Galveston District recognized as 2013 Clean Air Champion 

Quick Links
This email was sent to mike.fuller@h-gac.com by carlos.giambi@h-gac.com |  
Houston-Galveston Area Council | PO Box 22777 | Houston | TX | 77227-2777