City of Houston Planning and Development Department
Livable Places Goes Live
The Planning and Development Department launched the new Livable Places initiative with the first Action Committee meeting on Sept. 22. Livable Places continues the department’s efforts to update portions of Houston’s development codes to create more opportunities for walkability, affordability and equity. The next committee meeting is on Oct. 20.
The committee, convened by the Houston Planning Commission, aims to create opportunities to:
• build housing on existing vacant lots within neighborhoods that are largely developed
• increase housing options with access to alternative transportation, such as bicycling and mass transit
• improve safety
• preserve great neighborhoods
The committee will be co-chaired by Planning Commissioners Sonny Garza and Lisa Clark. A Steering Committee comprised of industry representatives, subject matter experts, community leaders and other agencies will guide the process.
This effort draws from community preferences identified through several previous planning initiatives, including Plan Houston, Resilient Houston, Climate Action Plan, and others.
Engaging residents from all over Houston throughout the project is critical for the success of this effort. PD uses LetsTalkHouston.org, a public engagement platform, to keep the community informed and involved throughout the process. The site features articles, resources and activities for the public.
The current activity encourages residents to post a photo of something they like from a neighborhood – any neighborhood in any city. You can also leave a comment or send a photo by texting 833-408-2362.
October 20, 2020 - 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Call-In Option: +1 936-755-1521 Conference ID: 676 607 452#
Meeting Link: https://bit.ly/30d3Dsc
The meeting will be streamed live at
A Bright Spot in My Day:
From the Planning Director
Get Outside: Cooler weather is here. We have made it through another summer, albeit one unlike any we have seen before and are zooming straight into fall. Wonderful fall
For Houstonians who headed indoors to escape the heat of the past few months, now is the time to join the rest of us outside in our glorious parks and bayou trails, safely distanced, enjoying the beauty that Houston offers. As we revel in this time, I think it’s important to recognize how fortunate we are to have these assets and to thank the visionaries who brought them to us
Thirty-five years ago, Buffalo Bayou Partnership was formed to turn the unattractive waterway into the world-renown jewel it is today. With more than $200 million in public and private funding, the BBP has given us a gift beyond measure. Add to that, the Houston Parks Board’s Bayou Greenways and Beyond the Bayous programs, the hard work and financial commitment provided by a variety of park conservancies and public agencies, and you end up with a city that has green space for all Houstonians to revel in.
Let’s take advantage. Get outside, mask up, stay six feet apart and enjoy the benefits that these Houstonians have brought us.
Photo courtesy of Buffalo Bayou Partnership
Margaret Wallace Brown, A.I.C.P.
Director, Planning and Development Department
APA Awards Walkable Places User's Guide
To kick off Planning Month in October, the American Planning Association (APA) Texas Chapter announced the state’s best planning projects, advocates, and communities for 2020.
Mayor Sylvester Turner's Resilient Houston strategy earned gold in the resilience category and the Planning and Development Department earned silver in the implementation category for its User's Guide for Walkable Places and Transit-Oriented Development.
"Earning these top awards from the Texas chapter of the American Planning Association shows that Houston is innovative and thoughtful in how we make this city better for all Houstonians," said Mayor Sylvester Turner. "I could not be more proud of our Planning Department and the Mayor's Office of Resilience."
"The Walkable Places and Transit-Oriented Development initiatives represent nearly three years of intensive work from our planners and committee," said Margaret Wallace Brown, Planning and Development Director. "This User’s Guide makes a complex program accessible and inviting for property owners to join the efforts to make our city more walkable and less reliant on cars.
The Texas Planning Awards Program recognizes outstanding efforts in planning achievements and planning leadership in Texas. These awards represent the state’s highest planning honors. The Awards Selection Committee evaluated nominees based on originality and innovation, engagement, implementation and effectiveness, quality, and promotion of planning.
Read more about award categories and recipients.
Census: Respond Today
The numerous census deadline extensions and retractions have created confusion nationwide, but Mayor Sylvester Turner reminds us to keep going and stay focused on getting a complete and accurate count of Houston residents.
“Regardless of how often the goal post is moved, the goal remains the same – counting each and every Houstonian and securing funding for critical community programs for the next 10 years,” Mayor Turner said.
He added that the census form is easy to complete and takes about 10 minutes: “If you haven’t taken the census yet, please do it as soon as possible. There is no reason to wait and no reason to be afraid. There is no citizenship question, and data cannot be shared with any other governmental agency.”
If you have already completed the census, encourage your friends, family, neighbors and colleagues to say #YestotheCensus at my2020census.gov or call 844.330.2020 for English, 844.468.2020 for Spanish.
Council Approves 115 MTFP Proposed Amendments
This year, the Planning and Development Department reviewed 119 proposed amendments to the Major Thoroughfare and Freeway Plan (MTFP), 115 of which were approved by City Council on Sept. 30. The proposed amendments were submitted from the private sector and public sector, including Harris County, Waller County, and the City of Houston.
The MTFP was initially adopted in 1942, as a way to plan for and preserve a long-term transportation network that would support the rapidly, growing city. In 1966, the plan was expanded to include the Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ).
Today, the MTFP utilizes street classifications identifying the preferred right-of-way width dimensions, as well as the rules governing development along the right-of-way. Classifications include freeways/tollways, major thoroughfares, transit corridor streets, collector streets (major collectors and minor collectors), and local streets.
The MTFP is important because it:
• identifies long-term roadway needs for Houston and the ETJ;
• ensures that development and re-development activities dedicate adequate roadway right-of-way to maintain a well-connected street network as the area grows;
• helps govern development that takes place along each of the specific classifications on the map;
• provides a coordinated plan that is used by public agencies when making decisions related to transportation within the City of Houston and its ETJ
• designates classifications that are used within Houston Public Works’ Infrastructure Design Manual to define how roads will be designed and constructed; and
• provides officials and the general public useful information when making land acquisition decisions.
Learn more about the MTFP.
Gulfton Bike Lane Pop-up
Throw on a costume (and a pandemic safe mask) and grab Halloween by the handlebars. Join us from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31 for a pop-up bike lane demonstration. Wear your Halloween costume and meet at the Benavidez Elementary School parking lot, 6262 Gulfton Street. The event is part of the Planning and Development Department’s efforts to educate the public about traffic management solutions. Support for the demonstration was provided in part by an AARP Community Challenge Grant.
The event is brought to you by:
• Planning and Development Department
• Complete Communities
• Houston BCycle
• Gulfton Super Neighborhood
• Connect Community
• Freewheels Houston
• Council Member Edward Pollard District J
For more information visit letstalkhouston.org/gulfton.
View the English or Spanish flyer.
Historic Houston Bus Tour
Historic Office of Preservation team members and other PD staff joined “Mister McKinney” on the Houston History Bus for a tour of historic spots around downtown Houston. The tour was enjoyed by all, but it was especially helpful for historic preservation planners new to the team and new to Houston. R. W. McKinney, a local historian and radio and television personality, converted a school bus to an open-air tour bus and offers numerous educational tours around town including Haunted Houston and River Oaks Holiday Lights. www.MisterMcKinneysHistoricHouston.com.