Take a survey, check to see if your neighborhood is served and comment by April 11
April 11 marks the final opportunity for public comments on the draft Houston Bike Plan that, if implemented, would triple the miles of bikeways and add six times more high-comfort bikeways than what exists now.
More than 1,000 public comments and close to 3,000 online surveys have been made following the City of Houston’s public Bike Plan engagements at some 70 community meetings.
Though the plan is long, an interactive map here provides quick details on neighborhood-specific plans – such as the Centerpoint Corridor that would turn a utility easement into a miles-long, off-street trail leading from The Energy Corridor to Spring Branch.
If the draft plan and its proposed 1,656 miles of bikeways and off-street trails became reality, a huge portion of Houston residents could eventually bike to work, shops or friends’ homes on safer bicycling paths. The total cost of the long-term infrastructure effort is projected at $300-500 million – about 14 percent of the $3.5 billion spent on transportation mobility by TxDOT, METRO, the city, Harris County and the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) in 2014.
The costs for adding 800 miles or so of bikeways along some of the city’s 8,000 miles of roads would be included in street reconstruction projects. Construction for 200 miles of off-street trails is estimated at $214-347 million.
“If Houstonians desire safer, more comfortable places to ride and an infrastructure that encourages fewer cars on the road, public input is critical to create a citywide bike plan that meets these needs,” explains Kelly Rector, transportation coordinator for The Energy Corridor District. The city garnered initial input from some Energy Corridor constituents last summer when it held a public Houston Bike Plan meeting in The District.
After the public comment period closes April 11, the Houston Bike Plan team will prepare and then present the final plan during public hearings for Houston City Council members and the city’s Planning Commission.
Draft plan recommendations include:
- Creating 328 miles of high-comfort bikeways through modest investments in short-term projects such as street restriping and wayfinding signage on low-volume, low-speed streets.
- Adding 86 miles of high-comfort bikeways to connect neighborhoods and activity centers to a citywide network.
- Establishing a long-term vision to add 861 miles in high-comfort bikeway facilities, including nearly 600 miles that will be developed over time as streets are reconstructed.
- Creating a Bicycle Toolbox that contains comprehensive approaches and recommendations for the design of bikeway projects, a policy framework and programs that will educate and encourage more people to bike.