Montrose awarded $8 million grant to address safety, sidewalk issues

HOUSTON – The Montrose Redevelopment Authority has been awarded $8 million to fix sidewalks and increase safety around three schools due to complaints from the community.

The authority said they were getting complaints from people who live in the neighborhood about safety issues when it came to taking their children to school due to sidewalk issues and concerns of drivers speeding near three schools.

The redevelopment authority applied for a grant with the Houston-Galveston Area Council and received $8 million to help fund the “Montrose Safe Routes to School Connections” project. The goal of the project is to replace sidewalks around three schools: Wharton Dual Language Academy, the Gregory-Lincoln Education Center and Carnegie Vanguard High School.

Joe Webb, the chair for the Montrose Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone, told KPRC 2 reporter Rilwan Balogun that the community’s involvement made it possible for the authority to receive the grant.

“I know we competed against a lot of projects. Makes us feel good,” Webb said. “We had a community that was very involved in this. They worked with us in this.”

Webb said one of the safety issues stemmed from speeding on Clay, in addition to safer routes to schools.

“Their biggest issue is speed on Clay. Lots of people, higher people than usual. It’s looked by the city as a bikeway. It’s still got a lot of traffic and a lot of cut-through traffic and that has caused the kids to have a lot of issues,” Webb said. “Montrose is thought to be the most walkable place in the city. It is but at the same time, it isn’t. It’s a very disconnected set of sidewalks.”

Webb says the grant will give them the chance to address those concerns.

“It can make it ADA accessible. It makes it safer by a long shot,” Webb said.

The project is also reportedly supposed to help with walkability in the area.

“Yes, without a doubt because it starts connecting Carnegie Vanguard, Gergory on the east all the way to Eberhard on the west. But it also does the north-south run,” Webb explained.

One Montrose resident told Balogun she is in favor of the upgrades.

“I think it’s fine if you’re able-body but if you’re disabled they’re a problem,” Sue Escudier said. “If you’re pushing a stroller, they’re a problem, so I think they’re not for an area that should be very walkable I think they need to improve this situation. For an area that should be very walkable, I think they need to improve this situation.”

The authority is hoping the plan will be under design within 90 days, but it needs to go through the city to ensure plan approval. After approval is given, bidding for construction will come next.

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