DOWNTOWN GUIDE + EVENTS

Programs Operations

The Operations Program works to ensure that downtown is one of the safest and cleanest neighborhoods in the city. Street teams clean the sidewalks and maintain the landscaping on Main Street; Operations and the Houston Police Department work together to ensure public safety. Additionally, homeless issues are also a focus of this program.

Cleaning, Maintenance and Safety Overview

The Downtown District Safe & Clean Program strives to make downtown Houston an attractive place to live, work and visit. These highly visible teams of safety guides and maintenance and cleaning teams provide daily services to maintain safety and cleanliness within the district.

  • The District provides for the cleaning and care of downtown’s sidewalks and streetscapes, keeping litter levels over 80% lower than before its inception.
  • The District now cares for over nearly 2,000 street trees, flower planters and beds and other landscaping as well as operating a street banner program that is part of the transformation of downtown’s pedestrian environment.
  • The District designed and continues to expand, improve and support the operation of a street/ pedestrian light system that has significantly increased the quality of lighting on downtown’s sidewalks and streets.
  • The District partners in coordinating security efforts to keep annual crimes at a consistent level less than one-third of the high level experienced in the 1980s. It also now plays a pivotal downtown role in emergency preparedness and response coordination.
  • Starting in 2011 the District provides an on-street presence with its Downtown Public Safety Guides now with over 25,000 contacts made in 2014 with members of the public.
  • The District collaborates in the creation of a number of ordinances and regulations addressing the improvement of downtown’s quality of place.
  • The District collaborates in significant changes now in progress related to coordinated housing and services for the homeless with a 46% reduction in homeless from 2011 based on the annual late January 2015 enumeration.
Public Safety

The Downtown District developed the Downtown Public Safety Guide Program in 2011 to ensure that residents, workers and visitors to downtown Houston feel confident in their personal safety and have a positive downtown experience. 

With a focus on hospitality and safety solutions, the Downtown Public Safety Guides (DPSG) provide a customer-friendly and visible presence serving as additional eyes and ears for downtown.  They strive to offer a professional relationship with all local law enforcement and social service agencies, business and property owners, private building security companies and City entities.  All Downtown Public Safety Guides receive special training in first aid, safety procedures, conflict management and customer relations.

The Guides patrol downtown daily focusing on the busiest pedestrian areas and also offer extra support for special events. Through high visibility and consistent coverage, their responsibilities include:

  • Provide hospitality by serving the downtown public residents, workers, visitors, and convention attendees by providing directions and assistance; distributing informational materials and advising about downtown amenities. Those amenities include but are not limited to museums, attractions, retail and restaurant venues, government services, and parking options.
  • Support merchants by addressing their concerns and needs for service.
  • Provide increased support to the various conventions and special events going on in the District and support them with outreach and assistance.
  • Report to local police or proper authorities any suspicious and/or illegal activity and/or safety and security issues.
  • Address nuisance activitythrough education, outreach and reminders to street and other populations of ordinances regarding smoking, noise, open containers, aggressive panhandling, sleeping during prohibited times, trespassing, etc.
  • Escalate situationsas needed to the Houston Police Department.
  • Discourage problematic street behavior by educating on what’s allowed under the current law and on expectations for appropriate behavior, byacting on behalf of merchants orstakeholders who complain, and/or by requesting the person to change their location.
  • Notify appropriate local authorities or social service agencies of incidences of panhandling, public intoxication, public consumption of alcohol, intimidating public behavior, and other behaviors that discourage the public enjoyment of the District.
  • Report problems such as overflowing trash containers, clogged storm water, burnt-out street lights, non-functioning traffic signals, or obstructions to the public right of way.
  • Familiarize themselves with downtown businesses and be attentive to their concerns.
  • Proactively obtain information about business openings (including hours of operation) and business closings in the District, advise the District Operations accordingly, and advise new businesses about services offered by the Public Safety Guides and the District.
  • Provide additional patrols and assist with civic events when needed.
  • Be trained to handle a variety of situations, including calls for assistance to police, fire, and EMS.
  • Adequately patrol all five “zones” within Downtown. Attentive surveillance of retail storefronts and unmanned parking lots will be stressed.
  • Provide such other services as the District and Contractor may agree from time to time.
  • Report on blight issues to the District Operations, including safety hazards, property damage, broken street lights, graffiti, campsites, landscaping issues, abandoned bikes and news racks, etc.
  • Know all the relevant outreach services available to the homeless community, and communicate services to those individuals that show motivation for change & work with Homeless Outreach Coordinator to facilitate opportunities to known homeless individuals & families.

Feel free to approach any of the Downtown Public Safety Guides for assistance, information or directions.

DPSG hours of operation (may vary):

Sunday & Monday, 9 a.m.- 6 p.m.
Tuesday-Thursday, 9 a.m.- 8 p.m.
Friday & Saturday, 9 a.m.- 11 p.m.

For immediate assistance and emergencies, call 911 or the Houston Police Department Special Operations at 832-394-0000.  For questions about the program or to make a report, please call 713.223.2003 during regular business hours Monday through Friday, or email dpsg@downtowndistrict.org.

Street Team

The Street Team Program was implemented in 1992 to provide a clean and safe environment for residents, workers and visitors to Downtown Houston. Keeping Downtown clean is one of the most visible and challenging tasks the District provides. The tasks include graffiti removal, litter collection and removal all of which require a diligent on-going commitment by the selected Contractor. The District litter removal program was enhanced in 2007 with the District being awarded the METRO bus stop daily servicing and cleaning contract, a major source of street litter. Additionally, the District is responsible for maintaining Market Square Park, and an associated kiosk restaurant plus three fountains including the highly visible downtown landmark Main Street Square Plaza and fountain.

The current Downtown Street team program is made up of a third party contractor with 32 employees. The administrative staff includes an Administrative assistant and Project manager. The street teams have 25 employees, three maintenance technicians/helpers and one special team member that focus on graffiti and one park attendant.  

Street Team Cleaning

  • Keep approximately 800 block-face sidewalks (200 city blocks) plus planter beds, tree-wells and pavers continually free from rubbish, trash, food particles, debris, stains, grime and weeds.
  • Remove graffiti inside the District within four (4) business hours after notification throughout the District
  • Keep amenities and outdoor furniture i.e. trash receptacles, benches, bike racks, drinking fountains etc. free from soils, stains, trash, graffiti etc and ensure all hardware is tight and all components are present and usable.
  • Water areas that are currently not on the irrigation system utilizing the District trailer and pick-up.
  • Keep three (3) District sponsored Port-a-cans clean and free from soiling and debris.
  • Perform safety flagging as needed.
  • Report deficiencies / discrepancies utilizing technology immediately upon identification.
  • Continually audit publication vending machines and remove after four day abandonment.
  • Provide additional duties as desired and directed by the Sr. Director of Operations.

Maintenance / Fountain

  • Perform required work identified through work order system
  • Perform operator level maintenance and repairs on required electrical and plumbing fixtures
  • Maintain fountain(s) and pond(s) to a sparkling, clear and sanitized condition. Keep the fountains operating 100% of the time except when scheduled for planned routine reoccurring maintenance.
  • Provide additional duties as desired and directed by the Sr. Director of Operations

Trash Removal

  • Service 100 METRO trash receptacles
  • Service 150 City of Houston trash receptacles
  • Provide additional duties as desired and directed by the Sr. Director of Operations

Elevated levels of Service

This section identifies the specific areas in the District that will require increased efforts to maintain them to a pristine level of cleanliness, a high level of operational reliability and a demonstrated commitment to providing programmatic support resulting in an elevated standard of care. Park/plaza attendants will be responsible for reporting and deficiencies or defects via the work order system.

Market Square Park

  • Perform custodial and operator level duties at Market Square Park and adjacent block faces.
  • Have a dedicated presence to support program activities requiring approximately 250 man-hours per year.
  • Park is to be free from liter, debris, discarded food stuffs, dog excrement and other foreign objects
  • Monitor and report any electrical or plumbing devices not working such as AC, toilets, drinking fountains, lighting outages etc.
  • The dog-park is to be raked and free from excrement.
  • Keep tables, chairs, art, bike racks, benches, and trash receptacles clean and operational.
  • Keep concrete and paver walkways clean and stain free.
  • All drinking fountains and dog water bowls to be clean and free from debris and stains.
  • Ensure all trash receptacles are clean, odor free and serviced.
  • Provide ongoing quality inspection of all organic matter (lawns, bedding plants, shrubs etc.)
  • Provide additional duties as desired and directed by the Sr. Director of Operations

Main Street Square (Dallas to Walker)

  • Perform custodial and operator level duties at Main Street Square Plaza and adjacent block faces for Dallas, McKinney and Walker.
  • Dedicated presence to support program activities requiring approximately 100 man-hours per year.
  • Plaza is to be free from liter, debris, discarded food stuffs, dog excrement and other foreign objects
  • Monitor and report any electrical or plumbing devices not working such as drinking fountains, lighting outages, electrical outlets etc.
  • Keep tables, chairs, art, bike racks, benches, and trash receptacles clean and operational.
  • Keep concrete/paver walkways clean and stain free.
  • Ensure all trash receptacles are clean, odor free and serviced.
  • Ensure all planters are clean and stain-free
  • Provide additional duties as desired and directed by the Sr. Director of Operations

Main Street / Dallas Street

  • Streets are to be free from liter, debris, discarded food stuffs, dog excrement and other foreign objects
  • Monitor and report any electrical or plumbing devices not working such as drinking fountains, lighting outages, electrical outlets etc.
  • Keep concrete/paver walkways clean and stain free.
  • Ensure all trash receptacles are clean, odor free and serviced.
  • Ensure all planters are clean and stain-free

Other Responsibilities

  • Emergency Response support
    • In the case of activation for the Downtown Emergency Coordination Center, our contracted janitorial Contractor will be required to have a team on standby ready to assist.  This standby unit should include the on – site Operations Manager, along with eight (8) other essential personnel that are able to report downtown with the expressed expectation to assist in emergency situations. 
    • All other response and recovery actions are to be completed under the direction of the Downtown Emergency Coordination Center.  Therefore, it may be necessary for essential or standby personnel to report for duty at the DECC located at 1119 Milam and all such employees listed should be prepared for duty ahead of time.
  • Report graffiti, unsafe conditions or damaged amenities
  • Utilize established work order system for tracking work and regular reporting to the District.
  • Maintain best safety practices for Street Team and pedestrians according to work in progress. Supply and use temporary barriers or cones when necessary.
  • Avoid materials or methods that could damage or deteriorate exterior surfaces. In the event that any damage occurs, assume liability and correct such damage within 24 hours, and notify the District of the incident.
  • Comply with City of Houston Municipal Code and best practices for environmental sustainability, for garbage disposal and recycling; use of cleaning products and methods, and use of pesticides and herbicides.
Off-Duty Police

The Downtown District funds and manages a select group of Law Enforcement officers from various jurisdictions that provide additional presence in specific areas of the downtown. These officers are highly motivated, customer service oriented and focused on neighborhood policing by developing lasting relationships with community where they are on foot patrol. They are continually working to alleviate the challenges and negative impacts associated with certain elements of the Street Population.

Other Initiatives

Second Chance Employer

The District strives to be a conscience Second Chance employer; to that end we have achieved success in recruiting our portion of our current Street Team and Public Safety Guide staff. We would also like to continue to provide the opportunity for other social service agency partners such as SEARCH, Coalition for the Homeless, Goodwill or Salvation Army to recommend candidates who might have a past record. Please describe your Second Chance employment practices and experiences and your ability to commit up to 25% of total employees from such a program.

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Participation

It is the objective of the District to stimulate growth of Disadvantaged Business. Furthermore, it is the goal of the District to award at least 20% of the value of its contracts to Disadvantage Businesses.  Vendors are encouraged to use good faith efforts to assist the District in achievement of this goal.

Contact UsContact Us


The Downtown District Operations team is located at:

1119 Milam
Houston, Texas 77002
713.223.2003
Map

Downtown Emergency Response PlanDowntown Emergency Response Plan


This plan describes the preparation and response scenarios for multiple potential emergency situations, including the roles of property owners and managers, Downtown District, HPD, HFD, Public Works  and other public and private entities.

Curbside Trash ProgramCurbside Trash Program


The Downtown District provides a trash and recycling pickup service to small businesses located in Downtown. 


For more information, please contact our Operations office weekdays during business hours at 713.223.2003