Research and discussion for citizens and decision makers

Cycling Towards A Better Future: The Houston Bike Plan

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Do you own a bicycle, but feel reluctant to ride it for fear of your safety? If so, you are like 60% of bike-owning Americans, national data suggests. In 1993, the City’s Comprehensive Bike Plan was developed not only in response to air quality issues, but also to increasing auto congestion. In this plan, the Mayor’s Task Force on Bicycle Safety and Mobility put forth the following goal: “Develop a plan for a comprehensive system of bikeways, support facilities, and programs that can be used to promote bicycling as a mode of transportation and to provide safe and convenient travel for commuting, utilitarian, and recreational purposes.” Since 1993, great progress has been made to improve citizens’ ability to bike to more destinations: New trails are being built along our bayous, new protected bikeways have been installed, and more people are riding all over the City. However, there is plenty of room for the improvement of our city’s bikeways. One recent national survey of bike safety across major cities shows that on average five cyclists are hit and killed on Houston streets every year. As part of an ongoing effort to improve the City’s quality of life, a $500,000 planning program is being launched over the next 12 months to do just that.

The Houston Bike Plan aims to deliver a blueprint for how Houston can develop and maintain a complete bicycle network. There are three main results that the Plan hopes to produce in a year’s time: A map outlining the bike network that will include trails, on-street facilities, and bike routes, a Bicycle Toolbox that will identify needed: projects like trails, bike lanes, and safe neighborhood streets; policies like bike parking, facility maintenance, and transit integration; and programs like Bike Share and Sunday Streets, and an Implementation Strategy that will prioritize projects and identify funding sources.

You have the opportunity to participate! Two more public meetings will be held this month in which the community can hear a presentation of the plan and discuss goals and opportunities to improve biking in Houston. Furthermore, a survey has been created to gather as much information as possible from the people of Houston about what improvements to the City’s bikeways the value most. It can be hard enough to maneuver the streets of Houston in a car, but riding the City’s streets on a bike can increase the difficulties tenfold. Become a part of the Houston Bike Plan and share your ideas on how to create a better, safer system for Houston’s bicyclists. 

Public Meeting Locations and Times:
Tuesday, June 16, 2015, 6:00-8:00 PM
HCC Memorial City Performing Arts Center
1060 W Sam Houston Pkwy N, Houston, TX 77043 / Theat. II Room 411

Tuesday, June 23, 2015, 6:00-8:00 PM
Baker-Ripley Neighborhood Center
6500 Rookin, Houston, TX 77074

Plan Document:
About the Houston Bike Plan (PDF)

Meeting Documents:
Bicycle Advisory Committee Meeting – May 29, 2015
This presentation lays out the goals of the Houston Bike Plan as well as the challenges that it currently faces. It describes past, present, and future opportunities for public engagement and the 6 Phases of the plan itself.
Existing Bike Network (Public Meeting Board) – Full City – June 2015
This image illustrates the existing bike network in Houston, including the comfort levels of each bike path.
Existing and High Comfort Networks (Public Meeting Board)
This image pinpoints the high comfort level bike paths and shows, importantly, that there are many gaps in these paths. This information means that for any given ride, the path likely contains low-comfort areas, making potential rides more challenging to many bicyclists.

For more information about the Plan, future meeting information, and to sign up for email updates, please visit www.HoustonBikePlan.org.

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