The City of Houston Planning Department is proposing Transit Oriented Development (TOD) and Walkable Places (WP) ordinances aimed at increasing residential density along transit corridors, reducing automobile traffic on Houston streets, and creating more pedestrian friendly areas. WP ordinances will include an application/approval process for property owners to request block(s) to be so designated and will allow for public comment and objection. WP is currently being piloted on the Near Northside & in Midtown.
Museum Park will be significantly impacted by the proposed TOD changes since the designation for primary and secondary TOD streets includes many streets in our neighborhood (See map here).
Please review the attached draft copy of the Users’ Guide regarding the TOD and send your comments to the Planning Department here. The comment period closes February 20.
Among the issues impacting Museum Park (MP):
- Residential Buffering (including light-reduction from parking garages, sheathed lighting, and noise baffling) is essential to the quality of life of our residents and visitors. Current protections afforded residents under residential buffering ordinances are removed for developments locating along TOD streets. Allowing developers to forgo these standards in a TOD is unacceptable to those who already live in the impacted areas.
- TOD developments will qualify for reduced parking requirements—market-based parking along primary TOD streets, and 50% reduction along secondary streets. As a destination district (14 museums and cultural institutions) MP regularly experiences parking stress. The newly activated (February 11) Community Parking Plan (CPP) prohibits residential parking permits for developments of 125 units or more. Museum Park stands firmly behind this component of the CPP.
- With its backdrop of Museums and Cultural Institutions, MP seeks to partner with Planning to recognize this unique neighborhood as a Design District, in alignment with already being a State designated Cultural District https://www.arts.texas.gov/initiatives/cultural-districts/. Such recognition will better address one of the Design Prinaciples set out in the TOD Users’ Guide to be sensitive to local context, set forth in the H-GAC Museum Park Livable Center Study, crafted as a guiding document for Museum Park.
MPNA, in collaboration with Museum Park Super Neighborhood earlier requested to be omitted from the initial TOD implementation until further review of the impact of this ordinance on our neighborhood, and to better tailor ordinance that fits Museum Park realities of real estate proximal to light rail. Please take time to send your comments to the Planning Department by the February 20 deadline. Together our voices make a difference.