Transportation

Houston’s Ambitious Bike Plan Delayed

Supporters say the plan is needed to make cycling safer. But some officials want to know how the city will fund millions of dollars in proposed improvements.

Bike stand at Rice University.

(Updated 11:09 AM)

City Council has delayed a vote on Houston’s Bike Plan. The plan maps out hundreds of miles of new bike routes around the city, but some council members say they have questions about how those projects would be funded. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says the Bike Plan doesn’t mandate any of those projects, but serves as a guide for future planning. 

Backers of the plan say it’s needed to help keep cyclists safe on Houston streets. 

 

After months of planning and discussion, Houston City Council is expected to vote this morning on updates to the city’s comprehensive Bike Plan. The original plan was approved in 1993.

Backers of the plan say the goal is to help Houstonians feel more confident on a bike by increasing the number of “high-comfort” bikeways. It calls for hundreds of miles of new bike routes with the goal of improving access to schools and jobs. The plan also contains a “toolbox” for designing future bike infrastructure projects.

As for how much the plan will cost, Houston Planning Director Patrick Walsh says they’re focused on about $50 million in improvements over the next decade. The plan doesn’t contain funding but Walsh believes they can get the money from various sources.   

One of those speaking before City Council was Michael Huffmaster, president of the Briar Forest Super Neighborhood. Huffmaster said he supports the Bike Plan but he asked that the city not use money from the voter-approved initiative ReBuild Houston.

“Our drainage fee, it’s a utility fee,” said Huffmaster. “And that should be reserved for drainage and flooding projects.”

Also speaking in support of the Bike Plan was Houston cycling advocate David Dick who said the plan is crucial to public safety.

“You can’t get everywhere on the trail,” said Dick. “A lot of people just want to ride on the trails and think that does it. You have to have safe on-street bikeways as well.”

Other speakers asked City Council not to implement any parts of the Bike Plan without extensive public engagement.  

 

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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