(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.
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.