Transportation

There Will Soon Be A New Bikeway Between Downtown And The Museum District

The route includes a designated bike lane, but planners say the project comes with some challenges.

The Houston Planning Department has released new details regarding the route for the Austin Street-LaBranch Street bikeway, a joint project between the City of Houston and Harris County Precinct 1.

Much of the funding comes from an initiative launched last year by County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, who pledged $10 million in precinct funds for 50 miles of new bikeways.

“People that bike to work bike to destinations in midtown, downtown, and beyond,” said Jennifer Ostlind with the Houston Planning Department.  “What we’re hoping to do is help those people travel more safely and encourage more people who aren’t comfortable riding a bike.”

Ostlind gave a presentation on the project before the Midtown Super Neighborhood group on Thursday night.

The bikeway will start downtown on Austin Street near Minute Maid Park, and feature a separated bike lane with cyclists traveling in both directions, similar to the current Lamar Cycle Track.

Outside of downtown, the Austin route will proceed into a residential area, where it will move onto a lane of the street that’s now mostly used for parking. Ostlind said they have heard from some neighbors who don’t want to give that up but she hopes they can reach a compromise.

“We have just come to an agreement where we can keep parking on the west side of Austin Street,” she said.

South of Houston Community College’s main campus the route will then switch to LaBranch Street where cyclists will share the road with cars.

“In situations where there are lower traffic volumes, we can share the road safely if there are markings on the streets to alert drivers there will be cyclists,” Ostlind said.

 

While there are plenty of attractions for recreational cyclists to enjoy along the bikeway, Ostlind said the new route is crucial for people who rely on their bikes to get to work.

“I think overall people are very enthusiastic about seeing more high comfort bike lanes in this particular area and around town,” said Ostlind. “They are excited about being able to get to their destinations.”

The Houston Planning Department said work on the Austin-LaBranch bikeway should start this spring.

 

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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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