A team of Houston activists continues their quest to stop a huge highway construction project that harms communities. Molly Cook, a registered nurse & community activist, details the fight.
Molly Cook is making a difference.
Molly Cook walks the walk as she talks the talk. She is not only an activist, but she elected to make a change by getting into elective politics. She ran for Texas State Senate. While she did not win, she showed how substantive she was, working both within and without the system.
Cook has spent years organizing for equitable, sustainable transportation and development throughout Houston and Harris County. She said that we would not see the changes Houston desperately needs until we change who is in power speaking on our behalf. Cook said she is ready to do what it takes to make those changes, and I am not afraid of a fight.
One of her projects right now is to ensure that the major rerouting of Interstate 45 in Houston, Texas, does not infringe unjustly on low-income and POC neighborhoods on businesses. In that light, the team she works with wants all activists ready with the following points.
- Remove the I-45 Expansion from the UTP to allow for a new I-45 project based on a true community engagement process. In the meantime, for communities that were harmed by the initial construction of I-45, their concerns should be addressed and mitigated immediately. These reparations should not be held hostage to a plan that will sacrifice more Houstonians to flooding, pollution, and traffic violence.
- No more added lanes for cars for any projects through urban centers
- Prioritize the safety of all road users and Vision Zero
- All projects should prioritize sustainability and aim to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMTs)
- All projects should center and aim for race and class equity for all road users
- All projects should reduce flooding and prioritize flood mitigation
- We want a UTP that increases multi-modal transportation options throughout the state
- The TxDOT assessment estimated that adding or fixing all on-system missing and broken sidewalks, ramps, and safe crossings across the state would cost $1.56 billion. We request that you increase the funding for the ADA Transition Plan from the proposed $5 million to $25 million a year in the FY2023 Unified Transportation Program.
- As always, requiring the public to travel to Austin in person to participate and give comments is unjust. We demand virtual comment options be made available for Texas Transportation Commission meetings.
Listen to the entire interview. That is how activism is supposed to work.