On February 11th, 2019, the City of Houston partnered up with Texas Southern University and Clark Condon Engineering firm to host a town hall meeting to inform residents about the proposed changes to Cleburne Street. Beginning May 2019, the street will be remodeled from Ennis Street all the way down to Scott Street, in hopes to improve the street’s quality and aesthetic.
These efforts hope to create a “better, safer, and pedestrian friendly street” said Sheila Condon, the meeting’s host and president of Clark Condon.
Expected to last 16 months, the project is supposed to widen sidewalks by ten feet in order to make them safer for pedestrians, as well as add additional trees to provide shade and improve the overall aethetic of the street. TSU will mark their territory by adding banners throughout the street and bus shelters will be dressed in maroon and grey to represent the university.
The remodeling project will be divided into two phases: phase one is estimated to last 10 months; phase two, which construction will stretch from Tierwester to Scott, is expected to last the other estimated six months, from March to August 2020. During the phase two period, Cleburne will be closed from Tierwester to Scott and all traffic will be detoured through Alabama St.
$15 million will be spent on the remodeling of the street but residents are afraid they will pay a higher price when they take into account the traffic from turning a four lane street into a two lane street.
“When was the decision made to reduce one of the few arteries (streets) that we have for going across?”, asked a concerned resident, “Other than Blodgett, which floods a lot and Alabama which is also a flood swamp, Cleburne has been a little bit higher than both Alabama and Blodgett. Cleburne can hold water sometimes two-thirds of a year so why take down our main artery (street) to two lanes?”.
Other residents felt as though they didn’t get enough say in the improvements that the city tries to make.
“This was the first town hall meeting the city has put on for residents”, Condon said, “This is the first time we are bringing the concept to the community… the goal is to collect input today and incorporate that to the design as best as possible.”
Considered the front door of the university, the historic Cleburne is long overdue for improvements. With the communitie’s input in mind, the city is expected to host another town hall meeting in Wheeler February 21st where they will talk about this and other upcoming projects.