It's time to contact your City Council Members if you'd like Houston to become a more bike-friendly city.
One year and 4,000 online survey responses later – coupled with dozens of public meetings and community events – the Houston Bike Plan is bringing a vision to a Houston City Council vote in August that could make a car-driven city the gold standard for bicycling metropolises.
Council Members reviewed the plan in June that calls for 1,789 miles of bikeways across Houston with more off-road trails, high-comfort bike lanes to make riders feel safer, and connections so riders can get to where they need to go.
While ambitious – the total plan is a 20-year vision with a $500 million price tag – planners believe it can be partially implemented through grants and existing dedicated city funding of up to $5 million per year. In fact, planners believe adding close to 800 miles of bikeways is doable within the next decade. Beyond that, creative funding will be required, such as seeking donors or a possible referendum to give voters the opportunity to weigh in.
Nearly 700 miles of proposed bikeways would be separated from automobile traffic creating what are called “high-comfort” lanes. Numerous surveys indicate people want to bike but they just don’t feel safe, or comfortable, doing so on city streets.
ADDING CONNECTIONS TO MORE DESTINATIONS: JOBS, PARKS, SCHOOLS
If the plan comes to fruition, it would connect more Houstonians with more destinations via bicycle to job centers, parks, schools and entertainment venues.
The idea is that adding connections between existing bikeways would encourage more bicycling. Currently, Houston has a hodgepodge network of bike lanes and trails making it challenging to bike east and west. Several neighborhoods in Near Northwest Houston don’t connect with trails or bike lanes.
The city has taken significant strides to improve bicycling in the past few years, earning Houston a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community award from the League of American Bicyclists in 2013.
CONTACT CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS TO ADVOCATE FOR BIKE PATHS IN YOUR AREA
For Houstonians who want more opportunities for safer bicycling -- along with more transportation choices -- now is the time to contact your city council member. Council members representing Near Northwest Houston and Super Neighborhood 12 include Brenda Stardig for District A, Ellen Cohen, District C, and all five at-large council members, Mike Knox (Pos. 1), David Robinson (Pos. 2), Michael Kubosh (Pos. 3), Amanda Edwards (Pos. 4) and Jack Christie (Pos. 5).
Review an executive summary of the plan and an interactive map of trails and bike lanes here. You can advocate for specific trails and bike paths in your area.
The Houston Bike Plan is supported by 4,000 public comments, 97 percent of which were positive, according to Bike Houston, the city’s only non-profit bicycle advocacy group, one that played a key role in community outreach for the plan.