Former Chairman's Message
E.D. Wulfe (1933-2019)
E.D. Wulfe served as the Chairman of the Main Street Coalition since its inception in 1997. The very diversity that enriches and enlivens the Main Street corridor creates a complex environment for reaching common vision, seeking funding and implementing projects.
The organization’s 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 provided 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 were gaining ground as Houston developers and investors explored new lifestyle 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.
Main Street is home to many of Houston’s favorite attractions, critical resources and beautiful destinations. The Main Street corridor is being transformed by billions of dollars of private and public investment, the METRORail line and planned expansions, and the resurgence of an urban lifestyle. Houston’s ability to compete nationally and globally for the best and brightest workforce, students and investors–those who create our nation’s economic, technologic and social future–is enhanced by this transformation. The Main Street Coalition was formed in 1997 as a 501(c)(3) corporation to champion Main Street as Houston’s signature boulevard.
In pursuing the goal of making Main Street Houston’s signature boulevard, the Main Street Coalition:
Drew on the vision and know-how of more than 70 participating civic groups, agencies, businesses and institutions.
Sponsored an international design competition, selecting Ehrenkrantz Eckstat & Kuhn to create the Main Street Urban Design Master Plan.
Advanced design concepts through the Main Street Urban Design Master Plan the formed the basis for system design for the landmark METRORail line connecting the Central Business District to Reliant Park.
Engaged Houston-based The Goodman Company and JR3 to create the Main Street Strategic Plan to advance funding strategies and partnerships for individual transit and pedestrian oriented projects.
Partnered with the Urban Land Institute Houston Chapter to engage the private developer community in creating development guidelines to implement the goals envisioned in the Main Street Urban Design Master Plan.
Sponsored a two-year process called the Urban Corridor Planning Initiative conducted by The Planning Partnership that resulted in the adoption of major changes in City policy embodied in the Transit Corridor Ordinance.
Secured more than $10 million in funding to support streetscape and pedestrian realm enhancements in the corridor, in partnership with the City of Houston, Harris County, METRO, the Texas Department of Transportation, management districts, foundations and other private donors.
Awards and Recognition
2001 James C. Howland Award was presented by The National League of Cities recognizing cities that have demonstrated and encouraged the preservation and enrichment of high quality urban environments.
2001 Joint Center for Sustainable Communities Award was presented by the United States Conference of Mayors and the National Association of Counties recognizing the City of Houston and Harris County’s Main Street Corridor Revitalization Project for “outstanding local collaboration in creating economically prosperous, environmentally secure, socially equitable communities.”
2004 Transportation Planning Excellence Awards was presented by the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration recognized the Main Street Coalition and the City of Houston for planning leadership and technology applications.
“..the rail line has started to thread together Houston’s sprawling collection of business, medical, retail and cultural centers. Now they seem closer together – once-independent nodes that have been stitched into the fabric of the city,” wrote Blair Kamin, architecture critic, Chicago Tribune, January 30, 2004.
Main Street Coalition Joint Efforts with South Main Alliance
In 2012, the Main Street Coalition and the South Main Alliance joined forces to focus on locations within the corridor of special challenge and critical opportunity including the planned crossing of the Main Street and University METRORail lines and development at Loop 610 South which forms a major gateway to NRG Park and the Texas Medical Center.
The Main Street Coalition and the South Main Alliance (SMA) work jointly to create a dramatic gateway to the corridor at Main Street and Loop 610 South that complements the allée of 500 oak trees linking the Loop to Kirby Boulevard, a Coalition sponsored project completed in 2001. The Coalition was chaired by E. D. Wulfe since its founding in 1997 (until his death in 2019) with the purpose of creating Main Street as Houston’s signature boulevard. SMA (the South Main Center Association at that time) supported creating the Main Street Coalition in conjunction with Central Houston Inc., the Midtown Redevelopment Authority, the Greater Southeast Management District and other stakeholders in the Main Street Corridor. The Coalition championed light rail in the corridor, urban design concepts, federally funded projects to enhance the pedestrian realm, and transit oriented development standards codified in ordinance for the expanded light rail system.