As the first street encountered when entering from the west, Bagby Street is a key gateway into Downtown Houston. The street is the spine of western Downtown, connecting the Theater District and key civic institutions such as City Hall, Central Library and the Heritage Society at Sam Houston Park. Bagby also flows between nine parks and public attractions, requiring careful consideration and attention to how the street, buildings and park spaces all interact.
The Downtown Redevelopment Authority has prioritized Bagby Street as project that will greatly improve and expand mobility and infrastructure throughout west Downtown. Currently between four and six lanes wide, Bagby Street, one of few two-way streets in Downtown, will be reduced to between three and four vehicular lanes to allow for wider pedestrian walkways, a bicycle lane, beautification elements and signature lighting. The corridor’s storm sewer system will also be updated to meet current requirements, including additional inlets to reduce ponding and considerably help drainage
Several studies, including Plan Downtown and the Theater District Master Plan, have identified Bagby as a key pedestrian and vehicular corridor. The corridor has also been highlighted in the City of Houston Bike Plan as a future bikeway location as a north-south corridor west of Main Street in Downtown. The corridor provides connections to Buffalo Bayou in several locations, linking Downtown to the broader greenways network.
The corridor’s $22 million rebuild began with Phase One, a traffic impact analysis and preliminary engineering design, which was awarded to Traffic Engineers, Inc. (TEI), Lockwood, Andrews & Newman, Inc., SWA Group and C.N. Joehl Urban Forest Inc. in July 2017. The final report was completed in April 2018/ Phase Two commenced in March 2018 with a request for proposals for an Engineering and Design Consultant team, and is expected to last through June 2021, with a one-year design period and a two-year building period. The firm chosen to lead Phase Two of the project is Jones|Carter.
The street’s redesign is the first major project in a series of transformative projects that will change the look and feel of the west side of Downtown. Once complete, the thoughtfully designed Bagby Street Corridor will provide a common thread and platform to tie together all the projects.
This project supports one of the key recommendations of Plan Downtown, a 20-year vision plan for Downtown Houston released in November 2017, specifically the vision for a “Green Loop” —a combination of new parks and retrofitted open spaces will anchor the new development clusters and emerging activity areas. These open spaces will create memorable landmarks that are supportive of surrounding uses and promote increased activity through design and programming.