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Houston Bicyclists Not Overrunning Downtown Bike Lane Just Yet

Downtown Houston’s first bike lane was opened back in March, and so far, it’s a bit lonely. Officials say more construction needs to happen before more cyclists use it.


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green downtown bike lane
Houston’s downtown bike lane runs on Lamar Street from Sam Houston Park to Discovery Green.

I stop Michael Abramowitz riding on the green bike lane on Lamar Street on a busy Wednesday afternoon.

“I cut through downtown every single day,” he says. “And I use it every single day on my work to work.”

He says the lane makes part of his commute a lot safer.

“Houston is a death trap for cyclists. So anything that makes a zone for cyclists is a big plus in my book.”

Abramowitz is one of only two cyclists riding the lane in about 30 minutes.  

Michael Payne, executive director of Bike Houston, a bike advocacy group, says the reason why the lane isn’t that well-used yet is the lack of connectivity.

“It’s kind of like building a nice piece of roadway in the middle of the desert,” he says. “If you don’t connect it to other pieces of roadway, then no one’s going to sort of go there just to use it.”  

Plus, current construction interrupts the lane right in the middle of downtown and detours riders.

Payne expects usage to go up once the path is connected to the Buffalo Bayou trail to the west and the Columbia Tap Trail to the east.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker says the city is working on it. Construction on Allen Parkway starts next week and Parker says the other end will be connected next spring.

“It’ll line up very well, though, with the work that’s going to be done on Allen Parkway,” Parker says. “The other end of it is mostly, it’s going to be mostly on street-striping and so forth.”

In the meantime, the city is working on educating drivers to respect the bike lanes.

Since the lane went in, the city has issued 275 tickets to cars parking on it, according to Lara Cottingham with the City of Houston Parking Management.


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