Feb 7, 2024 - News

City inches toward removing Houston Avenue medians

Orange traffic cones sit on a median with Trinity Downtown in the background

Houston Avenue has seen a lot of work in the last few months. Photo: Jay R. Jordan/Axios

Mayor John Whitmire on Tuesday doubled down on his plan to remove newly installed medians along Houston Avenue.

What they're saying: "I've never felt more comfortable about an issue probably in my career," Whitmire said at Tuesday's City Council meeting. "It's a safety issue. It's a process issue. It's a council issue."

Catch up fast: Houston Public Works announced late Friday that it would begin the process of removing the medians between Center Street and Memorial Drive this week.

  • They were installed by city crews in December in an effort to make it easier for people on foot to cross the street.
  • Critics include Lutheran church Trinity Downtown and Houston's police and fire unions, who say the work has burdened drivers, including first responders.

The intrigue: District H Councilmember Mario Castillo, whose predecessor Karla Cisneros initiated the installation of the medians, asked the mayor to wait at least a week before removing the medians.

  • He told a group of supporters Sunday that the mayor's office denied his request to postpone the removal process.
  • "A one-week pause will give us that and allow the information to come out, understand it and maybe see if we can figure out a compromise that's not tearing [out] this whole thing," Castillo said.

State of play: Houston Public Works has placed traffic cones around portions of the project directly adjacent to Trinity Downtown.

  • As of Tuesday, the medians remained intact.

What we're watching: The timeline for the medians' removal is unclear.

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