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No Sidewalks in Houston — Why? 

No Sidewalks in Houston — Why

In the city of Houston, it’s not easy for pedestrians to get around the city. Sometimes it can be dangerous to even get to the hair salon or barbershop

Why? Because there are no sidewalks. People without cars or the cash to take taxis/ride-share services everywhere are often inconvenienced living in Houston for this reason. 

So, the next time you think about walking to your favorite taco truck to get street tacos, think again. Let’s find out why!

Why are there no sidewalks in Houston? 

The city of Houston’s original developmental design did not provide the space needed for pedestrians and sidewalks. 

Houston City Sidewalks

Since Houston was not designed for walkers, the number of sidewalks you see in the city are scattered about. 

There’s even a long distance between crosswalks, so if you’re out in the city, refrain from trying to walk back to, say, your corporate housing because it’s practically impossible. 

Even if there are sidewalks, they are unfortunately poorly maintained. Most of the sidewalks have been taken over by shrubs and trees. 

Without a doubt, the city of Houston is a car-happy city. But what about in the suburbs? 

Houston Suburbs Sidewalks

Some suburbs do have sidewalks, while others don’t. If a neighborhood was developed within the last 40 years, then there are sidewalks for people to get to and from their suburban apartments.

However, the city of Houston only has sidewalks in places where existing ones were. Most older communities don’t have sidewalks because the developers didn’t require them when they were built. 

Therefore, if a neighborhood that was developed in the last 100 years didn’t have sidewalks, the city of Houston didn’t add any new ones. 


Who holds responsibility for sidewalks in Houston? 

The Houston municipal code clearly states that the responsibility for sidewalk maintenance belongs to private property owners. 

Furthermore, privately owned properties have to go through the permitting process through the planning department if they want to build sidewalks. 

As a result, people who own private properties are required to subdivide the lots and have to assign individual addresses. 

Because of this, these private homes would have to face the city street. Of course, though, if there is ponding on these unpaved roads, the Department of Neighborhoods or the Health Department are allowed to investigate private properties. 

Are there changes being made to add more sidewalks in the city of Houston?

Since Houston has one of the worst records for pedestrian traffic deaths, the city has been aiming to make Houston more pedestrian-friendly. This means adding sidewalks where they are needed the most.

Additionally, new city regulations require any new construction projects to add sidewalks. 

There are plenty of bike and walking trails in various Houston communities as well. These trails are sometimes even safer than sidewalks because of the separation from motors and vehicle traffic. 

Outside of the city limit, the developers of privately owned land are responsible for any sidewalk changes. 

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