I have had the honor of serving as the Chairman of the Main Street Coalition since its inception in 1997. Leading the Coalition has been like herding cats. The very diversity that enriches and enlivens the Main Street corridor creates a complex environment for reaching common vision, seeking funding and implementing projects.
Our original goal was to achieve a unified aesthetic for the entire 7-mile corridor of the initial METRORail line. Through a dynamic process engaging more than 70 neighborhoods, businesses and civic groups, the end result provides continuity through the light rail line system, signage and a network of pedestrian friendly cross streets that link light rail to the bordering neighborhoods. At the same time, through variations in landscaping and streetscapes, each district through which the light rail line travels preserves its own identity consistent with its history and urban functions.
These accomplishments would not have been possible without a healthy working relationship with all levels of government including the City of Houston, Harris County, METRO, the Texas Department of Transportation and agencies of the federal government.
Just as Main Street belongs to all the citizens of Houston, the community that has supported and benefited from the Coalition’s efforts has been the entire city. The lessons learned in aesthetic innovation and collaboration are gaining ground as Houston developers and investors explore new life style options in a city long devoted to the automobile.
The creation of Main Street as Houston’s signature boulevard continues to be a work in progress. And the Main Street Coalition continues its roles as a catalyst and as the thread linking many activities taking place in a dynamic urban corridor that is reshaping Houston and its perception around the world.