Scenic Houston holds ribbon cutting ceremony for Broadway/Hobby Corridor Redevelopment Project

City of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and other dignitaries gather for celebration

Ribbon Cutting 1 20170109_135246 AFTER ENHANCEMENTS 4 AFTER ENHANCEMENTS 6

HOUSTON – January 12, 2017 – Scenic Houston held a ribbon cutting ceremony today for the Broadway/Hobby Corridor Redevelopment Project, a nearly two-mile-long portion of Broadway Street connecting Hobby Airport and Interstate 45. Joined by Mayor Sylvester Turner, City of Houston officials and other important stakeholders, Scenic Houston led the charge in unveiling the transformation of this highly traveled thoroughfare leading to and from Hobby Airport.

Most of the $6.2 million budget for enhancements has been raised through private and public funding, with installation beginning in the second quarter of 2016. The Broadway Project has added nearly 410 live oaks and other trees in a partnership between Scenic Houston and Trees for Houston. These trees provide both shade and beauty to the corridor. Additional improvements include upgraded LED street lights, enhanced crosswalks, and cohesive landscaping and groundcover.

“Today we recognize the fruits of our labor on this transformational Broadway/Hobby Corridor project,” says Mayor Turner. “The City of Houston and its residents can be proud of this partnership which has led to the enhancement of the area near Hobby Airport through both landscape beautification and infrastructure. I’m happy that visitors who fly in to Hobby Airport will be greeted with such an attractive gateway to the City.”

“Scenic Houston has been able to complement the city’s reconstruction of Broadway Street to ensure a welcoming, beautifully landscaped entry into our city,” says Anne Culver, president of Scenic Houston. “We could not have done this without our wonderful partners, including the Hobby Area District, TIRZ 8, TxDOT and the City of Houston. Today is a celebration of a vision.”

Clark Condon Associates developed the comprehensive landscape plan, while Scenic Houston will manage the landscape contract and the Hobby Area District will maintain the improvements once complete. Scenic Houston is the largest chapter of Scenic Texas, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization. Scenic Houston’s mission is to preserve and enhance the visual character of Houston.

“For the many thousands of visitors to Houston, Hobby Airport and Broadway Street are their initial introduction to the City, and we want to make sure that first impression is a positive one,” says David Mincberg, Chairman of Houston First. “A fresh, attractive Broadway corridor provides an outstanding new ‘welcome to Houston’ from Hobby Airport.”

Houston Area cities recognized for excellence in scenic standards: El Campo, Pearland, Richmond and Webster

Twenty-three Texas municipalities have been awarded Scenic City Certification through the Scenic City Certification Program, a project of Scenic Texas.   The Scenic City program supports and recognizes cities for commitment to high-quality scenic standards for public roadways and public spaces. Nine cities are now certified for the first time, and 14 are re-certifying or upgrading existing certification status, bringing the total certified cities in Texas to 66. Houston area cities certified or re-certified in 2016 include El Campo, Pearland, Richmond and Webster.

Read full press release

New Studies Indicate Digital Billboards Compromise Driver Safety: New studies confirm the evidence 

A review of recent research on driver distraction near digital billboards finds increased evidence the bright, constantly changing digital billboards negatively impact traffic safety. The compendium highlights new studies proving digital billboards are attracting longer and more frequent glances from drivers than do static signs.

The compendium’s author, engineering psychologist Jerry Wachtel of the Veridian Group, said that while digital billboards may be succeeding in capturing driver attention and for that reason “they represent a growing threat to traffic safety, particularly along our busiest streets and highways.”

A 2015 study of eight digital billboard locations on highways in Florida and Alabama showed significantly higher crash rates, 25% in Florida and 29% in Alabama, at sites near the digital billboards than those further away. A disproportionate number were rear-end and sideswipe collisions, both typical of crashes caused by driver distraction.

“These studies are especially alarming given the rate at which digital billboards are going up around the country,” said Mary Tracy, president of Scenic America. “It is particularly concerning that our federal government became complicit in these growing threats to public health when they allowed these signs to start going up without first requiring a study to prove they do not endanger driver safety.”

In 2007 the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reversed a long-held position by giving the green light to digital billboards utilizing “flashing, blinking or intermittent lighting” along federal highways. With no safety analysis, FHWA declared that billboards changing as frequently as 20,000 times a day were not changing “intermittently” as long as they were static for 4 seconds.

This June, Texas Congressman Ted Poe,  along with three other Members of Congress,  urged USDOT/FHWA in a congressional letter to reconsider the decision to authorize digital billboards to operate along the federal highway system. The request was accompanied by the compendium of safety studies reported by the Veridian Group.

Scenic Houston Announces Broadway/Hobby Corridor Redevelopment Project Given the Green Light

$4.9 million raised to dramatically transform the appearance of this major thoroughfare

HOUSTON– January 12, 2016 – Scenic Houston today announced a major plan for enhancing the visual appeal of the nearly two-mile-long Broadway/Hobby corridor connecting Hobby Airport and Interstate 45. $4.9 million of the $7.5 million budget for enhancements has been raised through private and public funding, allowing installation to begin in the second quarter of 2016. Scenic Houston is the largest chapter of Scenic Texas, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization.  Scenic Houston’s mission is to preserve and enhance the visual character of Houston.

“With this project, we have an opportunity to complement the city’s reconstruction of Broadway Street to ensure a welcoming, beautifully landscaped entry into our city,” said Anne Culver, president of Scenic Houston. “I am delighted with the generous response Scenic Houston has received to date from a broad array of donors. With this support, Scenic Houston can transform Broadway and deliver a high impact, positive first impression of Houston.”

The Broadway Project will add 410 live oaks and other trees, providing both shade and beauty to the corridor. Additional improvements include upgraded LED street lights, enhanced crosswalks, and cohesive landscaping and groundcover. These corridor improvements will begin in the second quarter of this year and are scheduled for completion by year end.

“For thousands of visitors to Houston, Hobby Airport and Broadway are their initial introduction to the city, and we want to make sure that first impression is a positive one,” said Ric Campo, Chairman and CEO of Camden Property Trust. Campo is also the chairman of Houston First Corporation and the Super Bowl Houston Host Committee.  “A fresh, attractive Broadway corridor will provide an outstanding new “welcome to Houston” from Hobby Airport.”

Clark Condon Associates developed the comprehensive landscape plan, while the Scenic Houston will manage the landscape contract and the Hobby Area Management District will maintain the improvements once complete.

To stay up-to-date on the project’s progress throughout the year, be sure to follow Scenic Houston on Facebook or visit their website at scenichouston.org.

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Scenic Houston is a chapter of Scenic Texas, Inc., a 501(c)3. Scenic Houston promotes enhanced design standards for public projects, sign regulation, freeway landscaping and scenic byway development. Visit www.scenichouston.org.

20 Texas Cities Earn Scenic City Certification in 2015

Twenty (20) Texas municipalities have been awarded Scenic City Certification by the Scenic City Certification Program of Scenic Texas in 2015. Seven are certified for the first time, and 13 are re-certifying their status, bringing the total certified cities in Texas to 58. Scenic Houston is a proud Program Partner of the Scenic City Certification Program. Read the full press release here.

Cities earning first-time certification or re-certification in 2015 include:

Bastrop
Belton
College Station
Cuero
Georgetown
Granbury
Grapevine
Horseshoe Bay
Irving
Magnolia
Missouri City
Nassau Bay
Pflugerville
Pilot Point
Prosper
Sealy
South Padre Island
Sugar Land
Westlake
West Lake Hills

Scenic Houston Working to Improve Broadway Street

Scenic Houston is working with the Hobby Area District, City of HouBroadway  medianston, TxDOT, and other key organizations to transform the two mile Broadway Street airport corridor connecting William P. Hobby Airport to I-45. A fresh, attractive Broadway will provide a much needed “Welcome to Houston.”

Read the Houston Chronicle article to learn more about the Project.

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/real-estate/article/Civic-leaders-to-aim-to-improve-the-look-of-6146111.php#photo-7682630

Conroe Declares Billboard-free ETJ

North Houston Association, Scenic Houston and City of Conroe Cooperation

On March 11, 2015, the City of Conroe passed an amendment to its sign ordinance to extend Conroe’s prohibition on new billboards to include its extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ).  Conroe took this action in light of Grand Parkway construction.  The North Houston Association and Scenic Houston had consulted with the City of Conroe regarding its ability to protect the northern Grand Parkway segments from billboard proliferation.  Houston, Tomball, Baytown, Friendswood, League City and the Woodlands Township—other cities along the Grand Parkway alignment— already prohibit new billboard permits within their cities and ETJ.  Conroe assistant director for Community Development Nancy Mikeska said, “The GP is going to be a billboard-free parkway, a scenic type parkway.”

Read more here: http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/courier/news/billboards-now-prohibited-in-conroe-etj/article_80e1a81b-79e0-5a85-98e4-e9e474c25e27.html 

Streetmix: A Streetscape Design Tool

unnamed-st-remixScenic Houston is excited to spread the news about Streetmix, a user-friendly, interactive tool for streetscape design.  Streetmix allows users to build and/or redesign streetscapes using adjustable streetscape features including sidewalks, bus lanes, bike lanes, planting strips, lighting, etc.  We see Streetmix as a helpful tool for streetscape visualization in Houston which can be easily used in conjunction with our Streetscape Resource Guide.

Streetmix was created by Code for America as a way for community members to share their streetscape visions with city officials and planners.

The link to Streemix is http://streetmix.net/-/209414.

 

Street Scene Newsletter, October 2014

Enjoy this month’s Scenic Houston Street Scene, our update to you on scenic activities and issues.

October 2014 Newsletter

The Campaign for a More Scenic Houston – Goal Exceeded!

Scenic Houston is excited to report our Campaign for a More Scenic Houston was a success and exceeded the initial fundraising goal, garnering more than $800,000 from generous corporations, foundations and individuals, including 100% support from the Scenic Houston Board of Directors.

Campaign success enables Scenic Houston to tackle its priorities: promote streetscape improvement projects using the Streetscape Resource Guide, foster airport corridor enhancements, develop education and outreach capacity, and grow Houston-area city participation in the Scenic City Certification Program.

This fundraising achievement is one milestone in Scenic Houston’s overall mission to improve the visual character of Houston. Read the final report for the campaign.