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Dan the Man

Bike Path along Little White Oak Bayou

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I recently discovered that there is a small bike trail along Little White Oak Bayou that starts at Cavalcade and runs northwest to Enid St. The trail appears to be recently constructed, and it of the same construction standard as the trail along Nicholson. However, it does not appear that the trail is regularly maintained; grass runners and vines extend over the pavement, and grass along the trail is probably a foot high.

Anyone know when this trail was built and if there are any plans to extend it further south? Potentially, it could connect to Moody Park, Woodland Park, and the trail along White Oak Bayou.

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anyone know when they plan on extending this? This to be a waste if no plan to extend the trail, its not even a half a mile as is. Would be nice if it continued south and went along the bayou to merge with the Heritage Corridor trail.

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So it looks like it was intended to just be an extension of the bike lanes along Cavalcade? I agree with SilverJK - this seems like it was a wasteful project for such a short distance.

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The bike paths have to be done in short segments because the funding keeps drying up. There was an attempt in the HGAC recently to re-allocate $12 million in bike and pedestrian funding to roads. It thankfully failed.

Edited by kylejack

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I read somewhere that the next section will be started in 2012, but I can't seem to find the link. I wish they'd hurry up and finish the east/west heritage corridor connection, that will make downtown travel much easier.

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I read somewhere that the next section will be started in 2012, but I can't seem to find the link. I wish they'd hurry up and finish the east/west heritage corridor connection, that will make downtown travel much easier.

Considering the city is considering some fairly serious cutbacks, I'm sure this will be fairly low on their spending until things back back to normal.

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Considering the city is considering some fairly serious cutbacks, I'm sure this will be fairly low on their spending until things back back to normal.

It's not entirely their call. $12 million from the Feds was allocated by Houston Galveston Area Council to bike and pedestrian infrastructure. They're only allowed to spend it on that, so they may as well.

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It's not entirely their call. $12 million from the Feds was allocated by Houston Galveston Area Council to bike and pedestrian infrastructure. They're only allowed to spend it on that, so they may as well.

Hopefully there's an investigative reporter out there that would be willing to put together a compendium of misallocated federal monies. This isn't the first time in recent history that I've been made aware of this kind of thing going on.

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Hopefully there's an investigative reporter out there that would be willing to put together a compendium of misallocated federal monies. This isn't the first time in recent history that I've been made aware of this kind of thing going on.

Misallocation? It's federal transportation funds, which HGAC TPC had the responsibility to allocate. There was a motion to transfer it back to roads, but it failed, so it's going to bike and pedestrian infrastructure.

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I didn't want to start a whole new thread and this was the 1st biking related one I found.

An online and paper petition has been started to try and get some signalized crossings for the bike trail at super busy/dangerous intersections. If you're interested, sign. If not, don't.

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/safe-walking-and-biking-in-the-heights.html

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I'd like to state that I am in opposition to this movement on the basis that I neither live in the Heights or work in the Heights, but careen through it on a regular basis and do not wish to be slowed down. Also, it is my belief that no one neighborhood should receive a disproportionate amount of safety implements so as that Darwinism may be allowed to take place on a fair and equitable basis.

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11th and Nicholson is definitely dangerous for an idiot, but I suspect any motivation to address a problem there is driven by frustration of runners and bikers having to wait on traffic at rush hour to cross.

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I probably use these trails more than the average person in the neighborhood, and I've never once felt any form of danger for myself. I have seen a few teens and dumb adults barrel through these intersections without even looking though. I agree with Niche, I dont think we should receive a disproportionate amount of funding to make this happen. If the petition included a section for the neighborhood to raise funding necessary to make these changes I would gladly sign it. If the city approves of the desired changes the group could organize one of those websites to raise the money in a certain timeframe. I'd gladly throw a little bit of money to help make it happen (even though I don't think I personally need the changes whatsoever).

I'd love to see the residents get more active in paying for improvements, I think enough people are willing to throw their own coin at some projects to get them done and stop waiting for the city to pay for it.

Edited by SilverJK
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Disproportionate? The tax base in the Heights has been on a near vertical upward trajectory over the past ten years but much of the residential streets are still 18' with open drainage ditches. You need to use your parking brake when you go to 19th street because the corona in the road is so huge compared to the sidewalk. Residents have to pay out of pocket to hire constables to patrol the neighborhood. A few bucks for some better pedestrian safety is hardly disproportionate attention for the neighborhood.

The hike and bike path at 11th and Yale are extremely difficult to cross by people with children when traffic is heavy. Crosswalk signals at those intersections would be a great idea. Families wanting to walk or bike after work/school would have safe passage for the full length of the bike path.

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Given the number of infrastructure improvements in the Heights in the last few years, including North Main street and storm water, 11th Street street and storm water, the new water main on Heights, repaving of Yale, new concrete, curb and storm water on Harvard and Courtlandt, Studewoodnumerous repaved streets west of Yale, new sidewalks on Pecore, and, of course, the new bike path that is the subject of this petition, I rather suspect that the Heights is over-represented on the infrastructure funding, even compared to the few hundred extra dollars in taxes we pay. I think there are many more valuable uses for scarce city dollars. Perhaps if a 380 agreement were available I might be OK with that.

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Hopefully there's an investigative reporter out there that would be willing to put together a compendium of misallocated federal monies. This isn't the first time in recent history that I've been made aware of this kind of thing going on.
Would love to see a pie chart on the past 10 years of roadway spending vs all other transportation spending for texas and federal. There would be no sense in carving a sliver out for hike\bike because it couldn't be detected using the unaided eye, so might as well lump it with rail and others. For graft you should look at the woodlands water taxi funding.

http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/courier/news/woodlands-controversial-water-taxis-elicit-varied-response/article_eafc6387-81b6-56cf-af30-f9d6f652d517.html

Edited by J008
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Disproportionate? The tax base in the Heights has been on a near vertical upward trajectory over the past ten years but much of the residential streets are still 18' with open drainage ditches. You need to use your parking brake when you go to 19th street because the corona in the road is so huge compared to the sidewalk. Residents have to pay out of pocket to hire constables to patrol the neighborhood. A few bucks for some better pedestrian safety is hardly disproportionate attention for the neighborhood.

The hike and bike path at 11th and Yale are extremely difficult to cross by people with children when traffic is heavy. Crosswalk signals at those intersections would be a great idea. Families wanting to walk or bike after work/school would have safe passage for the full length of the bike path.

When it comes to public health and safety, I absolutely disagree that expenditure should be proportionate with the tax base of a neighborhood. It should be proportionate with the geographic distribution of the city's population...REGARDLESS OF AFFLUENCE! That anonymous little brown kid that can barely speak English in the 2nd Ward is at least as deserving of safe parks and recreation as any kid of yours, but I don't hear you advocating for any capital expenditure toward their interests.

Heights residents want special attention? Go advocate for a management district so that you can be taxed for it directly. The City's capital improvement budget is extremely limited and should be shared.

Would love to see a pie chart on the past 10 years of roadway spending vs all other transportation spending for texas and federal. There would be no sense in carving a sliver out for hike\bike because it couldn't be detected using the unaided eye, so might as well lump it with rail and others. For graft you should look at the woodlands water taxi funding.

http://www.yourhoust...d6f652d517.html

This isn't about roadway spending versus other spending. I agree that the Woodlands Waterway was a horrible expenditure; one mistake does not justify another. Lets stay on topic.

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I probably use these trails more than the average person in the neighborhood, and I've never once felt any form of danger for myself. I have seen a few teens and dumb adults barrel through these intersections without even looking though. I agree with Niche, I dont think we should receive a disproportionate amount of funding to make this happen. If the petition included a section for the neighborhood to raise funding necessary to make these changes I would gladly sign it. If the city approves of the desired changes the group could organize one of those websites to raise the money in a certain timeframe. I'd gladly throw a little bit of money to help make it happen (even though I don't think I personally need the changes whatsoever).

I'd love to see the residents get more active in paying for improvements, I think enough people are willing to throw their own coin at some projects to get them done and stop waiting for the city to pay for it.

agreed entirely.

Best as I can tell, the current mechanism to see something like this happen is TIRZ, and the closest one is City Park? Maybe it's time that there's organization to get a TIRZ for the Heights (of course you'd want to include the cash cow that is Walmart in that TIRZ map!).

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This isn't about roadway spending versus other spending.

So you are equally outraged at all the spending on the Yale speedway and highway feeder roads and exits going in the heights?

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So you are equally outraged at all the spending on the Yale speedway and highway feeder roads and exits going in the heights?

No. Those expenditures are unrelated to public health or safety. And wasn't it TXDoT that funded the feeder roads?

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No it is one of those "shovel ready" stimulus funded projects.

http://www.chron.com...rea-1719073.php

Great, so the State of Texas administered federal funding to improve an interstate highway and you're comparing to unrelated neighborhood-level health & safety projects funded by the City of Houston. Articulate a cogent point or get back on topic.

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Great, so the State of Texas administered federal funding to improve an interstate highway and you're comparing to unrelated neighborhood-level health & safety projects funded by the City of Houston. Articulate a cogent point or get back on topic.

Sidewalks and bike trails are transportation for me.

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Sidewalks and bike trails are transportation for me.

Why not designate White Oak Bayou itself as a transportation corridor? <_< People could kayak it if they wanted to. It'd be an additional option. And I know how much cyclists like to tout options, no matter how impractical.

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Kayaking to work adds additional headache over a bicycle.

You have to portage the kayak from the bayou to the office, and then when you get there, there's no kayak racks to lock up to (plus, I don't know of any companies that make kayak locks).

Bicycles are to kayaks and cars are the metro, as far as convenience goes.

Either way, I have a buddy who just started doing a 4 mile commute on a bicycle to get to his office, it's very practical, no matter whether you want to say it or not.

Edited by samagon

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Bicycles are to kayaks [as] cars are the metro, as far as convenience goes.

Yeah, sure. But its another option. J00b wants options. While we're at it, J00b really ought to set up a petition to compel the FAA and TXDoT to accommodate ultralight aircraft like the Mosquito ultralight helicopter as a commute solution. And why not!? It's another option, and very practical compared to METRO.

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Yeah, sure. But its another option. J00b wants options. While we're at it, J00b really ought to set up a petition to compel the FAA and TXDoT to accommodate ultralight aircraft like the Mosquito ultralight helicopter as a commute solution. And why not!? It's another option, and very practical compared to METRO.

sweet jesus. hands down you are the most annoying poster on this entire board. sad part is you don't even live in the heights.

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sweet jesus. hands down you are the most annoying poster on this entire board. sad part is you don't even live in the heights.

I drive through it, though. Makes me feel entitled.

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Kayaking to work adds additional headache over a bicycle.

You have to portage the kayak from the bayou to the office, and then when you get there, there's no kayak racks to lock up to (plus, I don't know of any companies that make kayak locks).

Seems to me that we should ask the City to provide these things. Families wanting to walk or bike kayak after work/school would have safe passage for the full length of the bike path bayou.

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While I realize that most people don't really take cycling seriously, some of us actually do commute by bike, and the combination of the existing MKT trail and the Heritage trail will create a nice, safe and direct bike trail from the Heights into downtown. I *wish* we had something similar in Montrose. It's much cheaper to build a bike trail than a road, and it's a great way to get people who aren't comfortable riding in city streets on a bike.

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While I realize that most people don't really take cycling seriously.....

It's the costumes they wear that make it difficult, and then when they group-up and all dress in the same costume, it's hard to drive over the laughter. These guys make the Shriners look like IBM salesmen.

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so much hate for cyclists :(

Texasota, I REALLY wish there was a safe/viable option for me to ride my bike along highway 3 to get to work, it's 13 miles one way, and I would not mind the commute by bike, but damn, there's no way in hell I would ride my bike down highway 3 without a bicycle path running along the railway.

Anyway, I would sign the petition (even though online petitions are completely useless) if it were more towards doing real improvements for bicycle safety around the city, not just centered on the Heights, I mean, looky here:

http://maps.google.c...119.62,,0,11.15

this bicycle path crosses a feeder road for 45 where the speed limit is 40mph, which means people realistically drive between 45 and 50. This path is not used as heavily as the one in the Heights, but it is a exceedingly less safe crossing location for cyclists, or families that have babies in strollers.

Edited by samagon

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At least you aren't a kayaker.

I had to give it up because people would honk and try to run me off the road :(

that and kayaks are very unstable on a street.

Edited by samagon

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That reminds me of the urban kayaking segment from Jackass.

I'm going to make up a statistic that perhaps will have value here:

Total trips made by car/truck/bus/etc = A

Total trips made on bicycles = B

Total cost spent for roads for car/truck/bus/etc = C

Total cost spent for bicycle paths = D

does B/A = D/C ? Obviously not. It seems like a disproportionate amount of money is being spent for car/truck/bus/etc. to me, but then again I'm just making this formula up. (no references)

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can we add kayaks to your equation? I am willing to bet there is proportionally less money spent on roads designed for kayaking than total trips by kayak. :P

anyway, I think it'd be impossible to determine since bicycles travel on roads, but cars do not travel on bicycle paths.

I did a lot of searching yesterday for cost/mile of bicycle path and only found one site that said it was between $5000 and $50000 per mile (which is hugely disparate). I'm guessing that $5000 is when they paint lines on the road designating it as a cycling path. how much is each mile of road? what are the potential volumes of each vs the actual volumes of each? etc.

I'd tend to think you're correct on cost vs use, but that's got nothing behind it to back it up.

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There are other factors as well though.

Example: long term maintenance. Dedicated bike paths dont get the constant pounding that roads do so they dont cost as much to maintain.

I know when I lived in Minneapolis they had a better bike path system, but I don't think they spent more than 15% of their transportation budget on it (I think thats right- I knew the exact number at one point but id have to look it up to be sure. To give you an idea of what they have there: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=minneapolis,+mn&hl=en&sll=29.700579,-95.40184&sspn=0.540967,1.128845&gl=us&hnear=Minneapolis,+Hennepin,+Minnesota&t=m&z=12&lci=bike

They've been doing it longer than Houston has though- honestly I'm impressed by the new trails and work on the bayou trails over the last decade. Plus our trails are rarely covered in ice and snow.

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Good points, but I've also noticed that bike paths aren't engineered to the same exacting standards and often have washover during moderate rainfall that results in the path being muddy. French drains and culverts could solve many of those problems, but don't. It's one reason that I tend to stay away from the Buffalo Bayou trails, in particular. So there is definitely a maintenance requirement, and it is often underfunded.

Looking at the Google Maps bike trails for Minneapolis as compared to Houston, I notice some things. One is that Minneapolis proper isn't especially impressive. Some of Minneapolis' suburban municipalities are very impressive, others are not at all. (Makes you wonder whether some are simply more tech-savvy than others.)

In the City of Houston, it seems that the officially designated bike paths are indicated, as are many of those in the well-known public parks, and that the larger master planned communities do a good job. However, the paths in certain municipalities, parks, and master planned communities are completely unaccounted for. So, whereas every single sidewalk in Discovery Green is indicated as a dedicated bike path, there is nary a path to be found at F.M. Law Park...even though there are paths. And whereas every sidewalk at UH and also its gravel running track along Spur 5 are indicated as dedicated bike paths...which is ridiculous, poor neglected TSU doesn't even have the old Wheeler Street ROW indicated as one...even though its certainly appropriate as one and is very pleasant.)

The take-away is that Google Maps bike trails aren't perfect. Also, it's probably a valid criticism about Houstonians that we're less technically savvy and less self-important than most populations. We aren't show ponies, we're only work horses.

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Well, don't forget that there's an enrmous difference in scale: Minneapolis is all of 50 square miles so it might be more meaningful to compare Houston to the Twin Cities as a whole. Additionally, Google Maps doesn't really show the difference in quality. Our best trail is probably the MKT trail, which, while great, does not even remotely compare to the Midtown Greenway. In terms of connectivity, the Greenway runs through Uptown and Midtown, but connects to the Grand Rounds trails to the West, the Mississippi River trails to the east, and the Hiawatha trail which squirts you to the UofM campus and downtown. There's a bike store that fronts directly onto the Greenway. Most of the Greenway is below grade, so it feels incredibly safe and separate from traffic.

I realize much of this is not directly transferable to Houston (a trail below grade would quickly just become another bayou) but I do think it shows that safety and connectivity are extremely important to increasing cycling. MKT connecting to the Heritage trails is a great start, but it is just a start. A direct connection through Downtown to the Columbia Tap would be great and would make commuting from greater Heights to UH more appealing. My personal biggest pet peeve as a cyclist is the lack of north-south routes through Montrose. There are a few areas where traffic can get really dicey, and Waugh, the most logical street by which to cross Allen Parkway, seems to get worse on a weekly basis. I would argue for restriping Waugh from Gray to Washington so that its 2 lanes of traffic in each direction, a consistent center turn lane, and nice wide well marked bike lanes.

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Okay, so we both agree that the bike trails depicted on Google Maps are not representative of anything in particular. And here's a thought. Lets do bike lanes on uncongested streets. Not Waugh.

Edited by TheNiche

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so much hate for cyclists :(

Texasota, I REALLY wish there was a safe/viable option for me to ride my bike along highway 3 to get to work, it's 13 miles one way, and I would not mind the commute by bike, but damn, there's no way in hell I would ride my bike down highway 3 without a bicycle path running along the railway.

Anyway, I would sign the petition (even though online petitions are completely useless) if it were more towards doing real improvements for bicycle safety around the city, not just centered on the Heights, I mean, looky here:

http://maps.google.c...119.62,,0,11.15

this bicycle path crosses a feeder road for 45 where the speed limit is 40mph, which means people realistically drive between 45 and 50. This path is not used as heavily as the one in the Heights, but it is a exceedingly less safe crossing location for cyclists, or families that have babies in strollers.

The Heights has had a woman killed jogging and a biker hit by a car in the last few months. From the discussion leading up to the petition, I can say that it's based in the Heights because it was started by people who live in the Heights. The more serious bikers, some of whom are parents and some of whom are not, hope that this can just help be a stepping stone for other areas. If all the neighborhoods the bike path goes through put out similar petitions, organizations like Bike Houston could make an even stronger case for the whole city. The idea is that this petition may not/will noy get anything done on it's own, but it backs up what some other orgs (like Bike Houston, CTC, etc) are trying to do. Eventually, some of the people who organized the petition will go down in front of City Hall and show an additional group, albeit smaller, than the others who have been lobbying for this already.

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I probably use these trails more than the average person in the neighborhood, and I've never once felt any form of danger for myself. I have seen a few teens and dumb adults barrel through these intersections without even looking though. I agree with Niche, I dont think we should receive a disproportionate amount of funding to make this happen. If the petition included a section for the neighborhood to raise funding necessary to make these changes I would gladly sign it. If the city approves of the desired changes the group could organize one of those websites to raise the money in a certain timeframe. I'd gladly throw a little bit of money to help make it happen (even though I don't think I personally need the changes whatsoever).

I'd love to see the residents get more active in paying for improvements, I think enough people are willing to throw their own coin at some projects to get them done and stop waiting for the city to pay for it.

Actually, finding funds on their own is part of what the group has in mind. The petition is just a way to gauge/show support. After all, even if we (the neighborhood) can raise the funds, the City still has to want us to do it and let us do it.

While the petition is about pedestrian controlled lights at these intersections, it's really about not starting at a point of compromise. This is the ideal for some people, but there are other acceptable options. While I am very careful on my bike, the fact that I have 2 small passengers towed behind me makes me take a little longer to get through intersections. On Nicholson, I think the rise in the road helps slow people down. However, on White Oak, you'll see a car doing 40 get passed on the left by a car doing 50 and they don't even realize there is a bike path there because it's not clearly marked.

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On Nicholson, I think the rise in the road helps slow people down. However, on White Oak, you'll see a car doing 40 get passed on the left by a car doing 50 and they don't even realize there is a bike path there because it's not clearly marked.

I can't speak for any other young invincible males with sporty vehicles, but the rise in the road at Nicholson is the kind of thing that I accelerate for. It's fun. White Oak itself isn't as fun; only the bars on White Oak are at all fun.

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I'm on the trails on a longboard. Not exactly the fastest accelerating or stopping vehicle. My wife and I (Young invincible DINKS) haven't really had any issues crossing streets. The only issue I could see is people being impatient. This I've seen several times People pulling into the street and waiting in the near lane for the car in the far lane to pass, but that car is actually turning on nicholson so they get stuck in the road with cars coming from both sides. moo.

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The take-away is that Google Maps bike trails aren't perfect. Also, it's probably a valid criticism about Houstonians that we're less technically savvy and less self-important than most populations. We aren't show ponies, we're only work horses.

lol. look at this: http://maps.google.com/?ll=29.765688,-95.396855&spn=0.001177,0.001635&hnear=Houston,+Texas+77002&t=h&z=20&lci=bike

yeah, I've ridden that on my bike. I know it looks like a really tight switchback, and well it is. I'd say that isn't exactly a 'bike path' just to prove out your point that GM isn't perfect...

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