Stop Hillcroft from becoming six lanes & affecting our residential quality of life.
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A meeting was held on August 10, 2016 by concerned citizens that live in neighborhoods along HILLCROFT to discuss the Hillcroft Reconstruction Project (CIP#N-1000012). This project is to reconstruct Hillcroft and improve drainage between Beechnut and Bissonett….two great and necessary improvements. However, because the Major Thoroughfare and Freeway Plan (MTFP) that the City produces has Hillcroft classified as a principal thoroughfare (P-6) these improvements are being designed with Hillcroft being expanded to six (6) lanes. Residents at the poorly attended Public Works July meeting were told this six lane expansion would eventually extend all the way to S. Main (Hwy 90) and even to BW8. This news was the catalyst that brought together residents from Robindell/Braeburn Terrace, Meyerland, Maplewood, Maplewood South/ North and Westbury to voice their concerns over this proposed principal thoroughfare through our residential neighborhoods. Together we represent 10,000 Southwest Houston single family homes; that are trying hard to hold on to residents and property values.
This expansion issue came up in 2004 and again in 2007 and then District C CM Anne Clutterbuck supported keeping Hillcroft a 4 lane thoroughfare. We were all surprised to be facing this issue yet again. Here are our concerns:
Six lanes are more dangerous. Vehicles will go faster and have more opportunities to change lanes. With a 50 percent increase in lanes (from four to six) it will be much more difficult to cross as a pedestrian, as a neighborhood bicyclist, or as a car trying to make a left turn out of a subdivision. (Indeed, the design seems to indicate that residents may no longer be able to take left turns from the subdivisions on to Hillcroft.) Over 200 homes front Hillcroft and have driveways that exit into Hillcroft. There are 200 between Willowbend and South Main and 25 north of Beechnut. From Willowbend to Beechnut even more have their sides along Hillcroft. Hillcroft is a residential street.
Six lanes will travel even faster than the current 4. Speeding is already a problem. In the last 12 months in Westbury in the short stretch from W Bellfort to Ludington there have been 4 traffic fatalities; 3 in two separate single car accidents and a pedestrian.
Six lanes will be louder. These are residential neighborhoods. This is a concrete road. Concrete is LOUD, and you propose to increase it by 50%.
Six lanes will destroy a beautiful esplanade through beautiful neighborhoods. At a minimum there are over 500 trees and hundreds of shrubs and flowers planted through the sweat equity, design work, and money from the adjacent neighborhoods as well as through city matching grants. More than one project on Hillcroft has received a Keep Houston Beautiful award. The picture included here is taken just south of Willowbend on Hillcroft.
Six lanes will add to our flooding woes by destroying our esplanades and removing trees. These neighborhoods all have severe flooding issues. Homes along Hillcroft experience structural flooding. Greenspace absorbs water and the hundreds of mature trees on our esplanades hold water. Adding more concrete and removing greenspace is a just bad idea.
Six lanes WON’T ACTUALLY HELP WITH CONGESTION. Yes, that’s right. The traffic-flow contribution of expanding to six lanes is miniscule according to the City's planning. The engineers for this CIP project said it will improve the intersections at Beechnut and Bissonnet from a peak-hour service level of “E” to a peak-hour service level of “D” in the year 2040. Seriously. That’s it.
Six lanes aren’t needed. The 4-lanes are currently adequate based on existing traffic volumes ranging between 15,000 and 17,000 Average Daily Traffic between Willowbend and South Main St. With the adoption of the Complete Streets Policy, the City says they no longer build roadway just based on the MTFP number-of-lanes classification. But here we are faced again with the six lane threat.
District K has corresponded with Planning and hopefully will ask for an amendment to the MTFP next year to reclassify Hillcroft through our residential neighborhood in K from a principal street to a major thoroughfare. Hillcroft is not a principal thoroughfare and for the most part the only people travelling on Hillcroft are people who live in or near here. For people further afield, Hillcroft will never be the easiest or preferred route to US59 or the Westpark Tollway or 610. We support Fondren and South Post Oak (SPO) as our principal north/ south thoroughfares. Fondren will take you to US 59/69 and the Westpark tollway. SPO will put you on 610. Hwy 90/S Main will take you to US59/69 or to 610 and 288. BW8 will take you wherever you want to go!
What has been the response?
- Individual homeowners are writing letters.
- Grass roots response from the residents of Meyerland Section 10 who created and are circulating a paper petition by going door to door. Braeburn Terrace residents picked this up and are also going door to door.
- The Maplewood Civic Association, through which this first 6 lane expansion is planned, wrote a letter “ to officially object to the proposed plan” and asked that it be re-engineered to 4 lanes and that another meeting be held.
- The Maplewood South /North Association was so concerned that they sent letters to all 1,368 of its residents to advise them of the plans and the public comment period. They worked hard in 2004 on this issue.
- The Westbury Civic Club and the Westbury Area Improvement Corporation met and passed a Super Neighborhood resolution opposing the expansion of Hillcroft to six lanes….just as we did several years ago.
- Southwest Houston 2000 passed a resolution opposing the expansion.
- And now we have started a change,org petition.
We are just so beleaguered out here in the Brays Bayou watershed with the flooding issues and to think with so many pressing infrastructure needs that money would be wasted to further degrade our quality of life is just unthinkable. We agree with Mayor Turner’s commitment that “under his administration he was going to focus on complete communities” rather than complete streets. We welcome and look forward to Hillcroft being reconstructed with four lanes and improved drainage capacity. Our esplanades can continue to act as a sponge and the hundreds of mature trees that live in these esplanades will hold gallons and gallons of water droplets adding just one more small layer of protection for our homes. Thank you for taking the time to consider the quality of life for all of us in the neighborhoods that live along Hillcroft...Maplewood, Robindell, Braeburn Terrace, Meyerland, Maplewood North, Maplewood South and Westbury.... and we ask that you sign our petition. You can put your subdivision in the comment line, if you like. You don't have to live in Southwest Houston to support our petition to preserve our residential quality of life!
The petition is just one step. In addition you can make comments directly to email@example.com. and reference Hillcroft Reconstruction Project (CIP#N-1000012).
Today: 10,000 strong: A coalition of Southwest Houston Neighborhoods is counting on you
10,000 strong: A coalition of Southwest Houston Neighborhoods needs your help with “City of Houston: Stop Hillcroft from being reconstructed to six(6) lanes through our neighborhoods.”. Join 10,000 strong: A coalition of Southwest Houston Neighborhoods and 1,882 supporters today.