Houston First focusing on enhancing freeway scenery

Houston • Dec. 9, 2016

HFC joins Scenic Houston, others to eliminate 'patchwork pattern' to maintenance, beautification

Houston First and Scenic Houston have organized a working group of representatives from local management districts, civic organizations, elected leaders and other entities to focus on ways to improve the scenic makeup along Houston’s freeway corridors.

A group of about 20 people assembled for the first time on December 1 to discuss challenges in improving area freeway corridors, starting with the airport corridors that serve Hobby, Bush and Ellington airports. The group hopes to build on efforts already underway by Scenic Houston to designate the airport corridors as “scenic corridors.”

As a first step, participants agreed to share information on resources each group devotes to cleanup, landscaping and landscape maintenance, and homeless challenges.

“Our goal is to bring together all of the different groups and find ways we can work together more closely,” said Roksan Okan-Vick, senior vice president for regional development at Houston First. “We have an opportunity to move from a patchwork pattern of freeway corridor maintenance and beautification to a more strategic approach that creates a consistently positive impression with the public and, over the long haul, helps Houston First achieve its vision of making our city one of the world's premier destinations by 2025.”

A "white paper" report written by the Public Affairs and Regional Development Departments at Houston First recommended a three-pronged effort to enhance freeways in the Houston region: improving maintenance with common standards across the area, beautification of freeway corridors and development of a funding source to support both projects. The report can be read here.

The paper also traces the history of freeway development in Houston and the efforts by local organizations, the Texas Department of Transportation and Harris County Toll Road Authority to improve local freeway corridor conditions.

The group plans to meet again in January.