Mayor Sylvester Turner Addresses the City’s Future Transit Plans at the 2018 TAG State of Mobility Luncheon

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BBI's Larry Barfield, PE, F.NSPE; Chris Campbell, PE; Louis Cardenas, PE; and Jeremy Austin, PE attended the 2018 Transportation Advocacy Group (TAG) State of Mobility Luncheon Thursday at the Houstonian, where City of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner was the featured speaker. Turner delivered his annual State of Mobility speech, addressing how the city could benefit from an improved, more streamlined public transit system. As roadways become more congested, Turner believes the public will be motivated to start using transit. “But we have to make it attractive, we have to make it more convenient, and they have to move faster on the public transit system than they would be moving in their car or their trucks,” Turner explained.

The Mayor said the city’s most crucial transit needs include better connections between downtown and The Galleria. He also called on Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) to come up with new options for getting riders to Bush and Hobby Airports. “What we have to do is create more of a transit grid so people can get to wherever they need to go as quickly and safely as possible,” explained Turner. “We have a number of business, economic centers all throughout our region. So we have to create a transit system that connects better to these economic centers.”

Turner also addressed the ongoing hot topics of cycling and pedestrian safety in the city, sharing his current collaborations with Bike Houston and cycling advocates to help identify the city’s most dangerous intersections for bikers and walkers. “And I’ve said to Public Works, then let’s quickly go out and assess those areas, those intersections, to see whether or not the design is creating problems, making these areas more hazardous,” he explained.

Other items addressed by Turner included his request for METRO to study whether HOV lanes should be open 24-hours a day, seven days a week, instead of just during business days, as well as current efforts to improve I-45 North, a project that calls for part of the freeway to go underground. The Mayor said he has already put together a task force to look into ways to create new public spaces as part of that project.

To learn more about TAG’s mission to improve regional mobility by advocating for transportation infrastructure, visit their website: https://www.taghouston.net/