This One Neat Trick Will Help You Cross Hutchins and Tuam Streets Faster Than Ever Before

New protective barriers of ankle-high concrete have been added around the curbs that already front each corner at the intersection of Tuam and Hutchins streets, slowing down traffic and speeding up curb-to-curb travel times for pedestrians crossing at the crosswalks. The additions were put there by the city’s Complete Communities initiative, a project Mayor Turner launched last April to focus in its initial round on adding infrastructure to 5 neighborhoods: the Third Ward, as well as the Second Ward, Near Northside, Gulfton, and Acres Homes.

The photo at top — Tweeted out by an observer heading southbound through the Third Ward along Tuam — looks down the street to show all 4 new pedestrian pockets including the one in the left foreground that sits outside the northeast corner of Emancipation Park. That portion of the park is where its playground lays out as indicated in the map above.

A view looking east from inside the park shows what the kids’ corner has to offer:


The newly-curbed corners sit beyond the yellow slide.

Photos: C Money (intersection); Erwin Handoko (playground). Map: Emancipation Park Conservancy

A Concrete Solution

14 Comment

  • Makes so much sense. Kudos to Turner and co. The only way to significantly influence traffic behavior is through design; enforcement does little to nothing. This may save some kids’ lives.

  • Score one for the recapture-the-pavement crowd with this.

  • Good idea. During rush hour, I often go down Hutchins or Emancipation as a bypass of 59 to get to the north side of downtown, and pass by Emancipation Park. It is very nicely redone, and we plan on visiting it soon.

  • Just in time for gentrification. SMH Mayor Turner is a developer puppet.

  • I foresee many blown tires, ruined suspensions, and busted oilpans in the near future. Not to mention the destroyed concrete blocks covered with tire marks. There’s an attractive and effective way to do this, and there’s what’s been done here. Ugh.

  • I assume they’ll be painted. Even with paint, this is a bad implementation of a good idea.

  • 1. In that area, Tuam runs from NW to SE, and Hutchins runs from NE to SW, but more generally, Tuam is considered to be an E-W street, and Hutchins to be a N-S street.
    2. If you look at a map, there is no “northeast corner of Emancipation Park”. Because of the orientation of the streets, there’s a north corner, an east corner, etc. Tuam at Hutchins is on the north corner.
    3. I like the idea in theory, but I hope those curb stops get some reflective paint, or there are going to be an awful lot of chewed-up cars who assume that the edge of the road is near the STOP sign.

  • If you look closely you can already see many tire marks on the curbs. I’m not sure how they were able to put an unmarked obstruction in the middle of the street without proper signage. Also, this makes it a “non-standard” road feature which in theory must be approved by the state.

  • Why not just pave between the old curb and new ones so you are not left with the weird void between the two.

  • This is a solution looking for a problem. I predict that this will be torn out within a year. A traffic light and wider sidewalks would better serve pedestrians. Then again, if the purpose is to allow the walkability crowd to give cars the middle finger, this works very well.

  • they need to be careful where they put these or else they’ll turn be crack kiosks in some neighborhoods and little flea markets in others.

  • Irony there with the pic of expanded “pedestrian pockets” with no pedestrians. Clearly this isn’t an idea that was born from a real need.

  • I can’t believe that some of you would think this isn’t worth trying.

    It’s the corner between a neighborhood and a giant city park. There are probably pedestrians using it.

    Houston drivers aren’t exactly well known for paying attention to pedestrians. I would much rather someone gets a tire popped from not paying attention versus a kid getting run over because someone is not paying attention.

    Evidently there are four more of these that will be spread out over the four other Complete Community designees.

  • Great idea! Also keeps people from parking right at the corner on top of crosswalks which makes it very dangerous for pedestrians that must circumvent horrible parking. If someone isn’t paying attention and drives over them oh well too bad for them for not keeping their eyes on the road. I do think they should be higher or at least be painted with reflective pain for nighttime driving.