IDS provided engineering and surveying services associated with Holman Street (Spur 527 to Main and Crawford to Hamilton). This project is part of the overall Midtown and City of Houston cooperative effort to improve mobility (vehicles and bicycles) access to train/bus passenger pickup/drop off points, and pedestrian safety inside the 610 Loop. As Midtown and other areas continue to become dense with multi-family, single family, and various business endeavors, the roadway and back of curb right-of-way areas will be fully utilized to meet these goals. The transformation of Holman Street will serve as a pilot project for the adoption and integration of street guidelines of the livable centers program.
The aim of this project was to explore how the street can respond to the existing characteristics of its location while setting the stage for future growth in this neighborhood. Additionally, the project served as an example of how to create a functional framework for great livable streets in Midtown. Project elements included sidewalk improvements and pedestrian enhancements between the back-of-curb and the right-of-way (evident or resolved). The design was prepared based on grading needs to accommodate ADA requirements, landscaping features (hard and soft) and edge of right-of-way constraints. Project services included:
- Topographic survey that included locating and establishing existing right-of-way for the public streets and locating all topographic features between the rights-of-way. Features included fences, power poles, traffic signals, manholes, valves, hydrants, and inlets along with other visible structures or utilities on the properties. Additionally, pipe sizes, material, and flow line elevations were determined for the utilities.
- Sidewalk repair/replacement analysis to achieve ADA requirements
- Underground existing private and public utility analysis
- Preparation of traffic signal plans to include upgrades to existing traffic signals
- City of Houston coordination
- Coordination with local residents and business along the corridor
- Preparation of specifications, contract documents, and provision of bidding assistance
- Engineering services during construction including a pre-construction meeting, review of contractor’s materials and shop drawing submittals, respond to contractor’s RFI’s, construction observation, and final acceptance of improvements
Design and construction in this built environment that combines both public and private realm elements requires a greater attention to detail than typical roadway projects. Three elements that required special consideration consisted of:
- Ensuring ADA requirements are met on sidewalks and ramps, not only in direction of the street but also cross streets
- Additional field visits to review the “shelf life” of survey work during the design of the project. This area was rapidly developing and the public/private interface at the right-of-way changed at numerous locations within the projects limits during the design and even as construction started, which required an update to survey data.
- Detail on right-of-way encroachments; plantings size and type; private utilities and drainage features; locations of business access points/pathways; public and private signage; parking meters; and other landscape elements.
The design team worked to create a thriving pedestrian realm that encourages private investment and development. By creating a framework that enhanced the public realm and encouraged future development, Holman Street distinguished itself from other streets within Midtown. The streetscape builds on connections to the light rail line and other nearby amenities, and sets a precedent for future streetscape redevelopments within the community.