City Wants Your Comments on the Road Work Planned South of the Halted Road Work in Freedmen’s Town

Proposed street work, Fourth Ward, Houston, 77006

The presentation slides from last week’s meeting about the street and infrastructure work planned for Fourth Ward between W. Gray and Welch streets are now online — you have until May 6th to email the city about it, if you feel like doing so. The green lines show areas where 50-ft.-plus cross-sections are planned, with anywhere from 7 to 22 ft. of pedestrian space (mostly running 12-to-17 ft., in the not-to-scale drawings). Streets marked in light blue would range from 33 to 36 ft. wide, including only 1 sidewalk and a 2-ft. easement on the opposite side; areas marked in dark purple would also get 1 sidewalk, but both vehicle and pedestrian lanes would be several feet narrower (27 to 30 ft. in total).

The work skirts the southern edge of the not-quite-rectangular Freedmen’s Town National Historic District, which runs north-to-south roughly from W. Gray to W. Dallas St., and east-to-west from Gennessee St. as far west as Arthur St. in some places. Planned street and infrastructure work in that area is currently on hold due to the ongoing court case over preserving the remnants of brick roadways laid by freed slaves in the district, along parts of Wilson and Andrews streets. 

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Houston Public Media reported last week that representatives of the Freedmen’s Town Preservation Coalition are trying to schedule a meeting with Mayor Turner about the brickwork. Contracted crews began removing the bricks last spring, but were halted by a neighborhood resident laying down on the work site. After that, a district court hearing the preservation group’s lawsuit issued a temporary injunction that stopped further work; the legal fight is ongoing. Members of the preservation group have previously asked that the needed infrastructure work be completed without disturbing the bricks, by laying utility lines under sidewalks or by tunneling under the existing roadways.

Image: ReBuild Houston

Hitting the Streets

6 Comment

  • If we are going to keep changing the names of schools to erase the memories of the Confederacy, why not tear out the bricks and erase the memories of slavery as well, we will just be a country without any history, good or bad….

  • Did anyone happen to notice the CIP website has this slated not to begin construction until 2020 with complete install occurring for finish in 2022?!

    According to my sources (PW&E) representatives; just because a CIP project has design funding. It DOES not guarantee that the work will get installed/completed…

    Because…? You may ask. That will/could be under a poetentially different mayoral and council administration, with an ENTIRELY different City budget shortfall.

    Pensions anyone?!

  • Texmex01- How can you equate HISD removing the names of traitors to the United States (who raised arms against our country in defense of the indefensible) from our public school buildings (in which the decedents of the very persons oppressed by said traitors are now educated) to removing all traces of the community built by those persons who were freed from said oppression? What?

  • Texmex – Yeah I don’t think renaming is the same as destroying, that’s an odd argument. I am all in favor of finding a solution that doesn’t destroy a piece of Houston’s history. I’m also in favor of improving the roads and sidewalks in East Montrose (and most of Montrose in general), they are badly needed!

  • One of the reasons streets were paved with bricks was to make maintenance easy. If something needed to be done under the street, or the surface got uneven, just pick up the bricks, do the work, level the surface, and re-lay the bricks. Perfect! I am sure the gentlemen that laid these streets would be shaking their heads and chuckling at all the furor over their handiwork.

  • As if anyone in Public Works actually gives any credence to the public’s suggestion. After attending these mettings for the past three years, it is all just a dog and pony show to comply with law. COH could give a darn. That’s why the CIP meetings, road reconstruction meetings etc….seem to be just smoke and mirrors and one more excuse for our elected officials and bureaucrats to applaud one another while getting nothing accomplished.