City of Houston Working to Slow Speeding Drivers Down
The city of Houston has a major problem with speeding drivers. Though always an issue, this problem has worsened with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with experts reporting that empty roads freed drivers to drive at dangerous speeds.
Additionally, the city’s layout plays a part in its residents’ need for speed. In his annual meeting with the Houston Transportation Advocacy Group, Mayor Sylvester Turner addressed the city’s transportation issues, saying that the city of Houston was designed with cars in mind, which encourages speeding and makes transportation difficult for individuals without vehicles.
Since his election in 2016, Mayor Turner has worked with the city of Houston to add miles of bike lanes and sidewalks, better the city’s response to potholes, and work towards “Vision Zero,” a goal to end road fatalities.
Houston TX Speeding Statistics
Speeding is one of the leading causes of accidents in the state of Texas. In 2021, there were 425,074 car accidents across the state of Texas, 29,832 of which involved speeding. Of those 29,832 crashes, 808 of them were fatal car accidents, in which 935 people died.
Houston is sadly no exception to this statistic. Across the nine counties that make up the city of Houston, there were 3,518 crashes caused by speeding last year, in which 161 people died. Harris County alone reported 2,036 accidents caused by speeding, 109 of them which were fatal, with 125 casualties.
The Texas Department of Transportation Crash Records Information System also reported there have been 960 car accidents in which speeding was a factor so far in 2022. Of those crashes, 38 were fatal, resulting in 61 fatalities. Though many of those crashes occurred on highways, many of them did not.
Steps Towards Change
Unfortunately, reconfiguring roads with speedbumps, signage, and other features to discourage speeding is not as easy as it sounds. There is not enough money in the city’s budget to accommodate each dangerous area, which leaves multiple spots competing for limited funds. Additionally, the changes Houston are able to make can take years to be planned, budgeted for, and fully implemented.
A reported 13,000+ requests for new signs, signals, and other changes were requested via 311 last year alone. However, some areas are not an issue of design as they are an issue of speeding. One Houston hotspot notorious for speeding drivers, 11th Street in the Heights, is set to be reconfigured starting in the next several months. A recent proposal to turn a couple of vehicle lanes into bike lanes in the Heights has been approved by Mayor Turner as of last month.
In a recent announcement, Mayor Turner stated that 11th Street is going to be condensed from four vehicle lanes to two, allowing for two bicycle lanes. The lane changes will run from North Shepherd Drive to Michaux Street, a length of about 1.5 miles. The city also plans to add a pedestrian refuge island at the intersection of 11th Street and Nicholson so that hikers and bikers utilizing the Heights Hike and Bike Trail can travel across 11th Street without worrying about speeding cars.
The decision was controversial, with naysayers protesting that the proposed changes will exacerbate traffic issues, especially during rush hours. However, Mayor Turner reported that this area sees 10% more accidents than similar areas across the state of Texas, and he hopes that these changes will help slow drivers down in the area, encourage bikers and increase pedestrian traffic. Officials state the lane conversion project is expected to take 20 months.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a speeding driver, contact The Callahan Law Firm today to speak with one of our Houston Car Accident Attorneys. We have been successfully representing injured people and their families and we can help you too. Give us a call at 713-224-9000, or fill out our contact form here.
Michael uses his curiosity and skill to fight for people whose lives have been forever altered by tragic or traumatic events.