How Much Will The Bike Plan Cost?

How Much Will The Bike Plan Cost?

You hear us talk about the Houston Bike Plan a lot. The plan provides a comprehensive guide to making Houston a safer and more accessible city for road users over the next 10 years. It has four pillars: improved safety, increased ridership, increased access and improved development and maintenance of facilities. If you’re thinking this ambitious plan must come with a price tag, you’re right. We talked to Mary Blitzer, Bike Houston’s advocacy director, about some of the questions and concerns she gets on the plan’s cost and funding, and how all this will affect Houston’s bottom line. How much will the bike plan cost? The 10-year cost is $150 million. That can be divided into three buckets, or phases. Programmed projects: These projects are already in the pipeline and are expected to be completed by 2021. Money for these projects has already been allocated. 130 more miles of bikeways are on the way! Potential short-term projects: $27 million – $51 million. This mainly covers  re-striping and signage. Examples include turning  extra space in a car or parking lane into a bike lane,, or posting signs that state “neighborhood bike route”  and “bikes may use a full lane.”. This may also include speed bumps, stop signs and traffic signals. Key connections: $73 million – $119 million. These are higher-cost projects that will connect neighborhoods to create a true network. Examples include building trails along bayous and utility corridors. The longer-term master plan is expected to cost between $235 million and $382 million for additional bikeways. This brings the total cost to around $500 million. What does the money buy, and...
Public Hearing on the Bike Plan Brings Many Supporters

Public Hearing on the Bike Plan Brings Many Supporters

Mary Blitzer, BikeHouston Advocacy Director, mblitzer@bikehouston.org A big thanks goes out to the many (we packed the house to standing room only) people who showed up on this bleak Thursday, 1/19 at 2:30 pm, to voice their support for the bike plan and tell decision makers why people on bicycles need safe places to ride and why Houston needs to develop better bikeways. Watch the full testimony here: http://houstontx.swagit.com/play/01192017-930 It looks like Planning Commission, at its next meeting, Feb. 2nd, will vote to forward the bike plan to City Council for a presentation to the Council Subcommittee on Transportation’s Feb. 13th meeting, and then a vote by the full City Council on Feb. 15th or 22nd. (Council vote dates are pending…) Public session on council agenda items is held the Tuesday before they vote, so please be tuned in and plan to join us on Feb. 14th at 2 pm for the public session at City Council. We will send out notice when the date is confirmed. There were 19 people who spoke today in favor of the Houston Bike Plan and many more who simply showed their support with their presence. A big shout out to the following people and organizations who took time to advocate for making streets safer: Council Members Robinson and Gallegos, The American Heart Association, AARP, Houston B-cycle, CYCLE Houston, Houston Parks Board, Neighborhoods to Trails SW, Rice students and Rice Bikes, as well as the following management districts: Downtown, Greater East End, Greater South West, Hobby Area, Montrose, Spring Branch, Aldine, Brays Oak and these individuals: Stacy from South Houston, Roger Moore, from...
Bike Plan Status Report, Updated Feb. 2nd

Bike Plan Status Report, Updated Feb. 2nd

What’s going on with the Houston Bike Plan? Here is a short rundown of what’s happened with the plan to date and what the next steps are: February 21st (date isn’t set in stone, pending on TTI meeting): Houston Bike Plan goes to full City Council for a vote! (Help us make this happen by sending in your letter of support). February 13th: Houston Bike Plan goes to City Council Subcommittee, Transportation, Technology & Infrastructure.  February 2nd, the Planning Commission voted to send the Bike Plan to City Council!  January 19th, 2:30 pm: Houston Bike Plan goes to the Planning Commission!  On January 19th, a public hearing was held on the Bike Plan – where over 19 people and organizations spoke in favor of the plan. This public hearing on the bike plan was the first step in moving the bike plan through City Council. December 2016: Meeting with Mayor’s Office, Planning Department, and key Bicycle Advisory Committee members, including BikeHouston and Super Neighborhood Alliance. Meeting Outcomes: All agree to final edits to Ch.33, the city code which will govern bike planning. The edits include a strengthened & codified bicycle advisory committee, a codified process for public engagement on bike plan amendments, and consideration of bikeways in major thoroughfare planning. The City legal department will rewrite the Ch. 33 bike plan code. Ch. 33 should be brought to Houston City Council for a vote in the first half of January. Nov. 2016 – Sept. 2016: Continued advocacy for Bike Plan ordinance to be strengthened and the plan to be passed: Ongoing community support voiced for the Bike Plan – over 500...
Bike Advocates @ Work: Bike Plan Pep Rally

Bike Advocates @ Work: Bike Plan Pep Rally

Over 90 people showed up in the middle of the day on a Tuesday for the Bike Plan Pep Rally. You are awesome.  Our goals with the Pep Rally were: to bring the Bike Plan to the Mayor and City Council’s attention to spur the Mayor to bring the Plan to Council for a ‘yes’ vote.  We needed a big group of supporters to make this point and we needed media coverage. The bicycling community responded in a big way and the event was successful. Here’s why this bike advocacy work matters: The Mayor and City Council noticed the crowd of supporters in the audience. Mayor Turner said ‘ I see you brought your lights and friends with you’ as we had pep rally attendees bring bike lights into the audience chamber. The Mayor thanked us for coming out. This is a big deal as bringing a big crowd into City Hall demonstrates that people support the bike plan..   The presentation of the bike plan as a treasure chest got the most laughs we have ever seen in Council. Mayor Turner took ownership of the bike plan. He said ‘you haven’t seen the plan till you have seen it from me.’ Watch the City Council Presentation.  Skip ahead to the public session section by clicking the fast forward butoon. At public session minute 27:30, see Tulu, BikeHouston board member and Mary, Advocacy Director, speak directly to the Mayor and Council with the crowd of bicycle supporters backing them up.  Key stakeholders from METRO to City Council staff have complimented us on a well organized event and were impressed by...
Houston Needs Safer Streets

Houston Needs Safer Streets

There have been two deaths in three days in Houston. Marjorie Corcoran, a physics and astronomy professor at Rice University, was killed by the train as she crossed the tracks at Sunset Blvd. Another man, whose identify is not yet know publicly, was killed by the train while crossing at the 610 feeder road (we will update when we have more information on his identity). Our hearts go out to the families and friends of these two people. BikeHouston is asking for the following actions from the public and our City officials in response: Everyone should follow the law and be vigilant while on the streets. Following each death, the City and other officials should start an investigation asking: “Why did the death happen?” A full investigation should be done that includes, how could the designs of these roads and intersections be improved? Does an alternative route need to be provided? What were the human mistakes and how do we change the road design to make it harder for these mistakes to happen? BikeHouston has reached out to officials asking how we can support them in this work for these two incidents. Beyond the direct answer of always stop for trains, what are the underlying and contributing factors in these cases? Regarding the 610 crash: Why was a person riding a bike on the 610 feeder road? Can we provide a safer route through this part of town? Regarding the Sunset crash: How can this complex intersection be simplified? How can the signals be improved to result in more compliance with the signalization? Pass the Bike Plan. These are...
Bicycle Search – A Word from John Long

Bicycle Search – A Word from John Long

I just Googled “bicycle Houston” to see what pops up. Page one of the search included a number of the city’s great bike shops.  I also found Houston B-Cycle, the city’s bike share program.  And BikeHouston, too — I was really glad to see that. Page two included Critical Mass, the monthly casual bike ride with a message:  that the streets belong to bikes, too.  And Bayou City Bike Tours. Page three featured the Houston Bicycle Museum, the Houston Bicycle Club and the City of Houston Bikeways Program. I hope you’re beginning to get a feel for the richness of cycling resources available in the city for every kind of cyclist.  Page three also included a news story about Ghost Bikes, a chilling reminder of the dark side of riding a bike on Houston’s streets. On page four I encountered information about two of the more prominent organized rides that fill our annual calendar:  the Tour du Rouge and the BP MS150. (Let me add a note here about the BikeHouston Moonlight Ramble which is coming up on October 22nd.  You can sign up here.) It was not until page 5 of my Google search that I found an entry for the Houston Bike Plan. It has been 22 long years since the City of Houston adopted a comprehensive Bike Plan.  Anyone who has ridden in one of Houston’s painted bike lanes knows that an updated plan is long overdue.  So much has changed in 22 years.  Population in the city has grown 50%.  Cycling is exploding in popularity. And standards for bike lanes, intersection crossings, and other cycling...

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