University Blvd is being rebuilt and the City of Houston is taking public comment on the proposed street design until this Friday, April 21st.
If you travel through the University Blvd area, then you should send in an email into firstname.lastname@example.org, letting them know you want safe bikeways. (see the presentation from public meeting here). See sample email and read more about this project below.
Sample Comment Email for PWE, due Friday April 21st!
This is a sample email to send based on key concerns from area riders, village shop owners, Rice students, and other stakeholders. Please be sure to personalize the email with where you live and why you travel through this area – PWE wants to hear from regular users:
Subject: University Blvd. Rebuild, safe bikeways
Dear PWE Planning,
Thanks very much for the chance to comment on the University Blvd. Reconstruction project. It is great to see PWE working with stakeholders and asking for public input.
I travel regularly through this area for XYZ. I am happy to see bikeways being included in this project as this is a key corridor and I understand that right of way is constrained. I do have a few questions and concerns.
From Main to Greenbriar – Current design proposal from PWE is 5’ bike lanes on each side of the street, however the lanes currently disappear at Main, Stockton, and Greenbriar intersections, due to addition of turn lane.
- Please consider how this design can be made more safe and comfortable. I would ride more if there was a physical barrier between me and the cars, especially as traffic can be heavy and fast through University.
- Please consider how to make the bike lane uninterrupted and/or a safe way through all intersections.
From Greenbriar to Kirby – Current PWE proposal shows shared lanes between people bicycling and driving. However, I can’t tell what kind of paint markings and signs will be used to help people riding and driving share space.
- Please make this shared space clear with paint and signs.
- Please make the sidewalks as wide as possible or consider if there can be a sidepath because I know sometimes people ride on the sidewalk, since they feel safer there.
Thanks again for the chance to comment.
Background Information on University Blvd and the Reconstruction Project:
- University Blvd. runs along Rice University and connects into the Texas Medical Center. This part of town has the highest bicycle commute mode share in Houston ~ 5%. It attracts top talent from around the world and its infrastructure should showcase Houston. There is a demand here for safe, high comfort places to ride.
- Right of Way is constrained in different ways from shop and parking needs through Rice Village to 100s of year old oak trees along the Rice Campus.
- Vehicle traffic, especially during am/pm rush hour is heavy and can be 30 mph or more. The average person would likely not be comfortable riding with only a standard bike lane.
- The City should build safe, high comfort bikeways that keep current bicyclists safe, while attracting new riders.
- University Blvd. is shown on the Houston Bike Plan as a bike route.
There are two different sections of University under design:
From Main to Greenbriar – Rice dominates the context. Keeping the beautiful trees and jogging trail intact are key concerns. There also are few driveways and more ROW available for bikeways. Current design proposal from PWE is 5’ bike lanes on each side of the street, however the lanes currently disappear at Main, Stockton, and Greenbriar intersections, due to addition of turn lane. Travel lanes are all 11’. PWE did consider a cycle track on north side of the street but didn’t advance this option because of the ROW constraints at the 3 intersections. How can partners come together to find a solution to this?
Concerns: Is this design going to attract new riders? Will it be safe and comfortable enough to attract interested & concerns riders, as is the goal of the Houston Bike Plan?
- What are the creative options for adding in physical barriers to increase safety and comfort of users?
- Could there be one-way bike lanes with a 1’ barrier? For a total of 12’ for bike lanes? Perhaps travel lanes could be reduced by 1′ each to accommodate this.
- Could the jogging trail safely become a shared use trail (pedestrians and bicyclists) just at the three intersections?
- How can the design create safe and clear space for bicyclists at intersections? Simply ending a bike lane is not a high comfort option.
- How can paint and signs be used to make instructions clear for all users?
- How will drainage and flooding be handled? Often 5′ closest to curb is full of water during a rain storm.
From Greenbriar to Kirby, the context shifts to commercial in Rice Village. Parking, access to businesses, and safety of all users are major needs. Current PWE proposal does not make clear what kind of sharrow markings and signage will be used to facilitate this sharing of space.
Concerns/Questions: How will PWE transition from Greenbriar to the Commercial Rice Village context, so that it is clear that people driving and bicycling should now share space?
- Will PWE use sharrows and green paint or dotted lane markings to make a ‘lane within a lane’? For examples, please click through the photos shown on the NACTO sharrows page.
- Will PWE use the newly approved ‘bikes may use full lane’ signs?
- Will PWE use rear-in parking?
- Will PWE create as wide as possible sidewalks?
Please let BikeHouston know what you think, email BikeHouston advocacy director Mary Blitzer at email@example.com