Through a program called Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Grants, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) helps communities facing economic, transportation and environmental concerns.
Recipients get “targeted technical assistance” to help improve their quality of life, including having transit options for people of all groups and economic classes.
The 5 Corners District, under the guidance of economic development committee chairman George Anderson, along with Eric Lyons, a principal with Impact Strategies Consultants, applied in the first quarter of the year for one of these technical assistance grants for Emerging Mobility. In the spring, 5 Corners received such a grant.
Now the District and the EPA will work together to achieve equity in transportation access to the southwest Houston community.
On July 27, 28 and 29, 5 Corners, along with EPA Partners and their consultants, will hold Emerging Mobility public meetings to explore the different options in a mobility plan. Members of the community and other local stakeholders are encouraged to take part in these events.
(See meeting info at the end of this article).
Goals for the program, as listed in the application for the grant, include:
- Expanding safe and accessible pedestrian crossing points
- Adding crosswalk improvements and regulatory signage
- Improving infrastructure for sidewalks to improve safety
- Increasing lighting, video surveillance and emergency call boxes on walk and bike trails
- Expanding access to the trails
- Expanding bike lanes
- And providing pedestrian-friendly commercial spaces.
“We plan to find out the ‘pain points’ for the community by surveying them in this workshop,” Lyons said. “It will be a hybrid of meeting in person and virtual meetings and work sessions to get recommendations on what needs to be addressed. This is our opportunity to gather information from the community.”
Included at these workshops will be representatives from the City of Houston, Harris County, Metro and the Houston-Galveston Area Council.
Topics for discussion will include scooter and bike share programs, curb management, and building a better parking and transportation infrastructure.
Once public feedback is obtained on what is most needed and wanted, the consultant team from Impact will bring the right people to the project to find out what funds are available from local governments to carry them out.
“It is first identifying the recipe for success that we need for this project,” Lyons said. “Then after we figure out what people want and need, we will seek to identify potential funding sources.”
Inadequate access to transportation and limited mobility affects the economy of the area and having too many cars on the road raises environmental concerns. 5 Corners is committed to improving quality of life with these first steps.