Drivers say it creates a traffic nightmare, but some neighbors say they love it.
HOUSTON, Texas. The Height project on 11th Street is underway, but not everyone is happy about it.
Drivers say it’s creating a traffic nightmare as construction crews turn a four-lane road into two lanes, and businesses say it’s scaring customers away.
“They just moved the problem elsewhere,” said Heights resident Don Farrell.
The proposal had already generated its fair share of controversy before it was approved last year.
“Give us some time, nothing during the construction is not yet the final look of how everything will work. When this is completed, things will get a lot better,” said David Fields, chief planner and development officer for Houston.
When completed, 11th Street will be reduced from four lanes to two, and bike lanes will be added in both directions.
Authorities say they are doing this to make the road safer.
“There is a small trade-off: if we want to make our streets safer, people will have to move a little slower,” Fields said.
But a petition on change.org is asking the city to halt construction and rethink the plan. Some neighbors say the traffic has now been pushed into the neighborhoods.
“What has been done is to redirect traffic to this street, as you can see we have a lot more traffic on these streets that are not designed for the amount of cars we have,” Farrell said.
Businesses, too, say they have been affected.
“4 to 7 is a dead zone for us,” said Larry Norman, CEO of Daddy’s Chicken Shack.
The restaurant, which recently opened, said heavy traffic and a new concrete barrier make it difficult for customers to get in.
“They blocked all the turn lanes to get in or out of the building,” Norman said. “It’s not good for business. It harms us. “.
The City has said that once the project is completed, likely this spring, they will study the traffic impact over the next six months and see what needs to be fixed.
However, not everyone is against the project. Bikers call it a nice addition.
“Once they get over that initial ‘Oh, that’s creating all this traffic,’ I think they’ll get over it, and it’ll just make it better in the community,” Heights resident Homero Avila said.
Even some of those who were initially against it now like their new tracks.
“At first I hated it, you know. I have to ride this road all the time,” said cyclist Jakey Johnston. “But now I like to drive home late at night. I feel safe.”
Some drivers say that this is also better.
“I was totally against it. Now that they’ve actually done their job, I’m very happy with it. I feel it is much safer. I am a driver and now I feel safer behind the wheel,” said Heights resident Kristen Adams.
If you have questions about this project, there is a public website where people can ask questions and engineers can answer.