The Houston City Council unanimously voted on Aug. 5 to clear the way for more pedestrian-friendly and transit-oriented development, in a bid to make streets safer for people to walk along.
The council's "Walkable Places" ordinance would bring buildings closer to the street, expand sidewalk widths, add buffer zones between the sidewalks and the street and situate parking lots either beside or behind buildings.
That ordinance would be in effect for new building and redevelopment projects in certain areas of the city and has the overarching aim of improving conditions for pedestrians.
Previous regulations required buildings along major corridors to be set back at least 25 feet, meaning less space to build and often meaning parking lots facing the street.
The "Transit-Oriented Development" ordinance looks to do similar work on streets within a half-mile of the city's light rail or bus rapid transit (BRT) stations. The changes will take effect Oct. 1.