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Mayor Parker announces Sunday Streets Houston pilot program

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Mayor Parker's Press Conference March 5 2014  City Hall rotunda State Senator Rodney Ellis speaks in support of open streets
Mayor Parker's Press Conference March 5 2014 City Hall rotunda State Senator Rodney Ellis speaks in support of open streetsMarc Pembroke
Mayor Parker, Senator Ellis, Laura Spangian, Tracy Adair, Paul Nicosia
Mayor Parker, Senator Ellis, Laura Spangian, Tracy Adair, Paul Nicosiaphoto by Marc Pembroke

On Wednesday March 5, Mayor Annise Parker held a noon press conference in the rotunda of City Hall to announce the launch of the Sunday Streets pilot program. The plan is to close portions of certain streets to motor vehicles from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM on the first Sunday of each month, creating a safe place for pedestrians, bikes, and and skateboarders at popular locations. The areas selected for the pilot program are on White Oak, Westheimer, and Washington Ave.

Laura Spanjian, Director of Sustainable Development, emceed the conference, explaining that the Houston Health Department was one of the first to advocate an open streets program in the context of the Go Healthy Houston initiative.

Local supporters took a lead role in each location. Tracy Adair, owner of Lucky's Pub on White Oak, outlined plans to attract and entertain participants on the first Sunday Street.

Another Sunday Street will be a part of Westheimer Ave in Montrose. Bill Calderon, Executive Director of the Montrose Management District, spoke briefly in support of the plan.

The Third Sunday Street, a part of Washington Avenue, within Superneighborhood 22. Paul Nicosia, President of Superneighborhood 22, expressed support for the plan.

Finally, Regina Garcia, President of Bike Houston, cheerfully encouraged all to participate.

Mayor Parker then fielded questions from the media, noting that the cost will be negligible, and the program is funded through grants. She hoped the success of the pilot program would inspire other neighborhoods throughout the city to request participation.