City kicks off 12-month effort to create a safer, healthier, more bike-friendly place
With new trails and protected bikeways being built, the City of Houston wants to take bicycling up a notch, launching a $500,000 Houston Bike Plan effort that seeks input from the region’s growing legion of pedaling riders.
Already, the work being done earned Houston a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community award from the League of American Bicyclists in 2013.
“Riders throughout town now have an opportunity to help make Houston a safer, more convenient place to ride,” explains Kelly Rector, transportation coordinator for The Energy Corridor District and organizer of the recent Energy Corridor Bike to Work Day. “We hope to see a city that makes it easier to bicycle to more destinations.”
The Houston Bike Plan – an update of the city’s Comprehensive Bikeway Plan adopted in 1993 – seeks to create an improved citywide bicycling network that would serve a broad spectrum of riders of all skill levels. The goal is to provide more transportation choices, with both on- and off-street facilities, and connections to key destinations such as job centers, parks, schools and entertainment venues.
Public input is vital to this plan. A community meeting is slated near The Energy Corridor for 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, June 30, 2015, at the Spring Branch Campus - Houston Community College (HCC) Memorial City Performing Arts Center, 1060 W. Sam Houston Pkwy N.
Building on current efforts such as the recent Bayou Greenways Initiative, the plan intends to identify supporting programs including expanding bike rack and bike share facilities, improving integration with transit, and increasing motorist and bicyclist safety education. The Plan will also look at best practices in bicycle facility maintenance, bike program funding, and bicyclist and driver enforcement.
For its part, The District has been instrumental in developing the West Houston Trails Master Plan, with some 50 miles of trails in The Energy Corridor. The District’s newly forged master plan seeks to complete more trail connections in the coming years, says Robert Rayburn, senior project manager for The District.
“The Energy Corridor has a vibrant bicycling community,” explains Rayburn, an avid cyclist who regularly rides the BP MS 150 from its traditional starting point in The Energy Corridor. “We have a huge number of charity bike riders here, plus trails full of recreational riders and even an active bike racing community that participates in the Bear Creek Crit Loop series in the spring.”
Leading the Houston Bike Plan, the City of Houston Planning & Development Department is collaborating with the city’s Public Works & Engineering Department and Houston Parks and Recreation Department. Funding partners include BikeHouston, Houston Parks Board, Houston-Galveston Area Council, the Federal Transit Administration, the Federal Highway Administration and TxDOT.
The plan is scheduled for a spring 2016 launch.
Let your comments be known. Click here to take the Houston Bike Plan survey, view interactive bicycling maps and send in your comments.