Mayor Parker bound by her word to patch up Cullen Boulevard
On a day with nice weather, the UH campus is beautiful. We have more grass and trees than one would expect to see in a concrete city, and we also have unique sculptures and fountains scattered around campus.
Of course, people wanting to visit UH will never see the campus if they are scared off by our country road-like streets. Many of us can agree that some of the roads surrounding our awesome campus are less than awesome — Cullen Boulevard in particular.
Since Cullen is one of the more frequently used roads on campus, it would be thought that the city would make street maintenance more of a priority for a road that students, faculty, staff and many others often drive on.
Fortunately for us, recently re-elected Mayor Annise Parker may make fixing Cullen Boulevard and other problem streets a prio5rity — or so she said.
Parker, along with fellow candidates Ben Hall and Eric Dick, paid a visit to UH in September to talk about the future of Houston to rally in more voters. During a routine question-and-answer session, Parker and the other candidates debated some of what they believe are the major problems in Houston.
Unsurprisingly, the issue of Houston roads was brought up as a major issue. While Parker and Hall had differing opinions on how to fix the bumpy roads of Houston, both agreed that they are a problem.
This is not the first time Parker has spoken on campus during her years in office, and this is also not the first time Houston roads have been brought up. Parker spoke on campus this past March at the Elizabeth D. Rockwell Pavilion when the subject of repairs to Cullen Boulevard was addressed.
An article released on the UH website describes the questions asked of Parker during her visit in March, one of which regarded how UH could help make repairs on Cullen Boulevard a city priority. The article said Parker told the audience she would travel the road to witness the infrastructure problem.
Members of the UH community are continually heard commenting on the rugged terrain.
Some people may not understand why Cullen Boulevard should become a priority, but the abundance of resources on this street should be taken into account. Cullen Boulevard is a major access point for many of our campus’s amenities.
Along this street is an entrance for the new stadium being built and food resources for students such as Taco Cabana and Cougar Woods, not to mention the entrances for student housing options like Cougar Place, Cambridge Oaks and Cullen Oaks. In addition, many economy parking lots open onto Cullen Boulevard.
Parker has mentioned her ties to the UH community during her addresses to our campus. She has said that her parents attended UH and met here.
When it comes down to repairs around the community, it shouldn’t matter that her parents were Cougars. Cullen Boulevard isn’t the only road in Houston that needs maintenance, and this needs to be a concern of the current mayor of Houston and perhaps those of the future.
Ph.D. geology student Proma Bhattaeharyya commutes to campus and travels down Cullen Boulevard every day. She notices Cullen’s bumpy terrain, but recognizes that rough streets are not only a campus problem.
“There are some potholes, and it’s pretty bumpy,” Bhattaeharyya said. “But it’s a city of Houston problem; roads are bad everywhere.”
The UH article said that, during Parker’s March visit to campus, she was questioned about repairs to Cullen Boulevard, and City Council Member Wanda Adams indicated that the city of Houston Public Works is planning an overlay project for Cullen Boulevard.
The Houston Public Works website directs visitors to the city’s departments, including the Public Works and Engineering Department.
SGA President Cedric Bandoh gives students hope for repairs in the future.
“The University is currently in discussions with the city of Houston regarding a short- and long-term plan for Cullen Boulevard,” Bandoh said. “Those discussions are still ongoing, and to my understanding, the University will release the finalized, agreed-upon plan at the appropriate time.”
Whether these renovations happen sooner or later, students need to be more active in making things happen.
Students can only hope that this overlay project mentioned by Wanda Adams will begin in the near future. One thing is for sure: it has taken an extended amount of time to get road projects in Houston underway.
Environmental science senior Robert Michael thinks roads should be a main priority of the University, and collaboration with the city is needed to get them fixed.
“I think it should be a partnership. There should be some communication between the city of Houston and the University to get these things worked out,” Michael said.
If this project is not started within the next few months, it has to become the duty of the voters who helped put Parker in office to keep Cullen Boulevard on her priority list. Cougars, we have to fight for the quality of our streets — and the shocks on our vehicles.
Senior staff columnist Kelly Schafler is a print journalism junior and may be reached at [email protected]