CTC’s thinks that important design standards having major impacts on neighborhoods and conflicting property rights interests are too important not to have the oversight of city council and be incorporated by reference into the city code. This is particularly true with the IDMs (PWE’s Infrastructure Design Manuals).
Following is an EXCERPT of what we submitted to City of Houston Public Works and Engineering (PWE) et al Apr 13, 2015 regarding the Street Paving Design Requirements:
“CTC strongly concurs with the need to adopt rational street paving design standards and requirements and to integrate those standards and requirements into the various and diverse street classifications, pedestrian and driver needs, safety needs, and the diverse residential and commerce environments in Houston, as well as the need to integrate those standards with the other engineering design standards and requirements relating to mobility and quality of life infrastructure in Houston.
“Incorporation by reference into ordinances and integration with other design standards. As with other important infrastructure standards, the provisions adopted in the Chapter 10 street paving design manual or guidance should be incorporated by reference into ordinances for the chapter so they survive other than as mere policies. Incorporating the standards will also help integrate and harmonize them with developer plans and reduce applications for variances promoting further certainty.
“Any street paving design and classification standards and requirements should be harmonized with l stormwater design standards, l complete street principles, and l the many other related design standards including, but not limited to, l signalization, l left turn lanes, l pedestrian crossing auto-lights and adequate times, l merchant curb cuts and left turns where there is no signal, l ADA ramping, l flooding and detention, l utility rights of way and keeping utilities out of sidewalks, and l green space requirements.
“Integrating the design standards will help cut costs of the overall transportation and mobility environment and will help prevent further damage events to the city and its citizens. A case in point is the Chapter 9 Stormwater Design standards. In addition to our concurrence with comments made through the complete streets steering committee and our specific comments made here, we have previously submitted extensive technical remarks about l Chapter 9 Stormwater Design, supporting, among other things, pedestrian related pervious materials for sidewalks.
“The city’s design standards require far more particularity and specification than many city actions, but the upside is that they help bring Houston to its place as a world class city, set a clearer path for city government action, and provide greater certainty for existing neighborhoods and developer investments.
“Variances sought by private individuals that would bear on these standards. The use of variances by developers and city planners should be done with only the greatest of caution and should not be the norm. Rarely should any variance cause a deviation from a city adopted standard or requirement for street and mobility use including set backs for walk ways or street width or access.”