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Livable Communities
Galveston Intermodal Transportation Committee
by John David Suayan
Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Galveston Intermodal Transportation Committee on Wednesday voted unanimously to support Austin-based Third Coast Research & Development, Inc.’s Happy Talk Grocery Shuttle project.

Third Coast principal Cindy Roberts-Gray explained to the committee that an application will be submitted August 3, 2015, to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities for a five-year community collaborative research study to evaluate costs and effects offering a free grocery shuttle for Galveston families with infant children, stating Hispanic and African American families and children are in need of the most help. Listen (20:53)

Roberts-Gray added the study intends “to be able to save brains.”

“Nutrition is really important, access to good food is really important and the relationship between parent and child is enormously important in just determining the size of the brain as the child grows,” she said. “One of the best predictors of whether a child is going to have a problem behaving by the time they’re seven years old is the number of words addressed to them by their parent.”

Roberts-Gray noted that the program is called Happy Talk because some of the rides will have book-reading, singing and inspiration for positive interaction between parent and child on the bus and in the grocery store.

“Food deserts are a huge issue,” said Jayson Levy. “To try to address that without dipping into the city coffers sounds pretty hard. It sounds very attractive to me. It would be transportation for the citizens like a city bus or a sidewalk. I think it makes sense. I’d love to see us address that issue.”

Transportation consultant John Carrara of The Goodman Corporation presented a brief report on the construction of the Downtown Intermodal Transportation Terminal, a project of the Galveston Livable Communities Initiative. Listen (:50)

“The terminal – you may have noticed – the structure’s now complete so it’s a matter of finishing up some of the details of the built structure and then they can start working on the interior walls, interior plumbing (and) interior finishes,” said Carrara.

He said Turner Construction Company is still targeting a September completion.

The committee voted unanimously to authorize the manual operation of the traffic signal at 61st Street and IH-45 during two summer weekends for a traffic study. Listen (17:56)

Andrew Gallagher of the Department of Public Works suggested the committee should get a traffic planner on board to keep track of traffic delays in all four geographic directions of the intersection.

“You just can’t have a policeman out there or two policemen doing it and then nobody really observe the effect it’s having on all four directions,” said Gallagher.

Janet Hoffman said the focus shouldn’t be just on IH-45.

“It’s not just right there at 45; you want to look at what the traffic’s doing on the Seawall simultaneously because ultimately you’re trying get off the Seawall and off the island,” said Hoffman.

Galveston City Council Member Ralph McMorris notified the committee that Mayor Jim Yarbrough has proposed some changes to its meetings. Listen (8:03)

“The only one that I see that affects this group is the mayor has proposed going bi-monthly,” said McMorris.

“This is the one that seems to be the most active,” said Rob Glover. “If it went two months between meetings, it would be really hard to stay on top.”

Glover, however, felt bi-monthly meetings would be ideal for the summer. McMorris said he will share the group’s feedback with the city council.

The committee heard presentations from Sheryl Rozier of the Galveston Park Board and Dustin Henry, Project Manager in the City Manager’s Office.

Clyde Wood was absent.

To listen to the entire meeting, click here (2:03:30)

The next meeting of the ITC will be at 3:30 p.m. on July 15.

Remembering Jim Guidry

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