Friendswood residents will have a more safe and walkable downtown along Friendswood Drive (FM 518) when a Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) project is completed. City officials have learned that Friendswood will be receiving $3.5 million in improvements as part of TxDOT’s curb ramp, sidewalks and traffic signals program.
At no cost to the City of Friendswood, this program will fund concrete sidewalks with brick borders and upgrade traffic signals from the current wire-span to more aesthetically pleasing powder-coated mast arms.
“TxDOT’s willingness to fund these improvements is another sign of steady progress in the plan to make downtown Friendswood more pedestrian friendly,” said Karen Capps, Economic Development Coordinator for the City of Friendswood. “The results of this project, including increased mobility and visible changes, are attractive components that naturally raise the possibility of economic development; something that has been worked on for many years.”
The TxDOT program is a perfect fit with the Friendswood Downtown Economic Development Corporation (FDEDC) plan for downtown, which is defined as Friendswood Drive (FM 518) between FM 2351 and Cowards Creek, and some adjacent blocks.
“Upon completion, we will see functional and visual improvements to downtown Friendswood that will benefit people for generations to come,” said Dr. Pat McGinnis, President of the Friendswood Downtown Economic Development Corporation (FDEDC).
For these improvements, the City of Friendswood will only be responsible to obtain easements where needed, and fund any requested improvements outside of the program scope. “TxDOT is open to incorporating elements from the Downtown Improvement Plan that the FDEDC has presented to City Council,” said City Manager Morad Kabiri. “Should Council and the FDEDC choose to do so, this could also be an opportunity to make additional, simultaneous improvements while minimizing the construction period and inconvenience to residents.”
Detailed planning continues in the final quarter of this year. The design phase of the project is expected to begin in early 2020, and construction is tentatively scheduled for 2021.
“We look forward to working with our partners on this project,” said Quincy Allen, TxDOT Houston District Engineer. “These types of projects help enhance communities while improving safety and mobility.”
“Including Friendswood in this TxDOT program is the culmination of hard work by local elected officials, members of the community who as volunteers serve in advisory capacities and the City Staff who are constantly looking for opportunities to make Friendswood a better, safer place to live,” said Friendswood Mayor Mike Foreman.