UH Begins Initial Steps in Controlling Streets

May 21, 2007

he University of Houston System Board of Regents approved a request from UH to start the process of taking possession of portions of Cullen Boulevard and Holman Street.

Adhering to the campus master plan, which calls for closing Cullen Boulevard to automobile traffic, UH will initiate the steps to formally take control of Holman Street between Scott Street and Cullen Boulevard, and Cullen Boulevard between Holman and Wheeler streets.

Texas Education Code 51.904 authorizes higher education institutions to take possession of streets if they own all adjacent property or 20 or more acres of property on the campus where the streets are located.

“We have not requested to close these streets,” said David Irvin, associate vice president for plant operations. “We requested to take possession of these streets. There’s a big difference. Now, we must talk to the city, people in the Third Ward and the campus community about this matter. At some point, our plan is to close Cullen Boulevard, but this will be a phased project that will roll out slowly.”

Irvin cited advantages connected to adopting these streets. One benefit would be that the UH Department of Public Safety would have a greater authority over traffic during large-scale events such as football games or Houston Dynamo games. Also, the university could make modifications to traffic lights and alter speed limits to enhance pedestrian safety.

Controlling these streets will not happen until the university talks with constituents from the city, community and campus. UH must also notify the city. There is no set date as to when UH will take possession of the streets, nor is there a planned date for the university to close Cullen Boulevard.

The campus master plan suggests closing Cullen Boulevard would have several benefits, including improved campus security, a safer pedestrian environment, expansion of green space and reduced noise and pollution levels.

For more information on the campus master plan, visit http://www.uh.edu/about/initiatives/master-plan/index.php.

Mike Emery