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Houston Utility Easements used for 'Greenways'


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This is up again, state deciding whether local utility easements can be used with limited liability for 'greenways' (bike paths).

 

http://www.chron.com/opinion/editorials/article/Houston-can-tranform-utility-easements-into-4321983.php

 

I suggest everyone (those looking for more options to safely ride, and car drivers who don't want to be bothered by cyclists) contact their representative to request this get passed!

 

I hope at some point they do the same for rail easements (or is that considered part of the utility easement?).

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They already have this in Sugarland at Oyster Creek Park.  I wonder if the city of Sugarland picks up the additional liability under the current law.  As for rail easements there are probably some more serious liability issues than there would be with power transmission easments.  Most railroads don't want anyone going near the tracks except for designated areas (stations).

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They already have this in Sugarland at Oyster Creek Park.  I wonder if the city of Sugarland picks up the additional liability under the current law.  As for rail easements there are probably some more serious liability issues than there would be with power transmission easments.  Most railroads don't want anyone going near the tracks except for designated areas (stations).

 

Works fine in Minneapolis. Just need to create some separation between the track and the trail. https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Minneapolis,+MN&hl=en&ll=44.945909,-93.327404&spn=0.001146,0.002064&sll=31.168934,-100.076842&sspn=16.023013,33.815918&oq=minnea&hnear=Minneapolis,+Hennepin,+Minnesota&t=h&z=20&lci=bike

 

Zoom that out a bit and see the best bike network in the country. Amazing what Minneapolis has done.

Edited by kylejack
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Works fine in Minneapolis. Just need to create some separation between the track and the trail. https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Minneapolis,+MN&hl=en&ll=44.945909,-93.327404&spn=0.001146,0.002064&sll=31.168934,-100.076842&sspn=16.023013,33.815918&oq=minnea&hnear=Minneapolis,+Hennepin,+Minnesota&t=h&z=20&lci=bike

 

Zoom that out a bit and see the best bike network in the country. Amazing what Minneapolis has done.

Judging from what I can see about the state of the ties, it looks like that is a little used spur. Not that that's a bad thing but it certainly mitigates some problems you might have separating a trail and a heavily used main line. The railroad may do what switching it needs to do there after dark (does the trail close at a particular time each night, I wonder?)

It's not a bad idea, but if it's in the hands of lawyers and actuaries then the liability issues of having heavy rail equipment rolling next to pedestrian and bike trails is going to lead to opposition from the railroad. The potential liability in the power transmission corridors is much less as you don't have any moving parts to worry about (except maybe for a biker hitting one of the towers..."Honest, the tower just jumped right in my path.")

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In some locations there, they have a simple wooden fence, I'd assume all they'd 'need' would be some 6' chain link or something between the path and the more traveled rail to help deter people from sticking their arms in between a track and a rail car. 

 

I don't get why there's more concern for the railroad's liability from stupid people, than from sensible cyclists safety from stupid drivers.

 

I get that it's their property, but most of that property was gotten in the same way as utility easements or freeway alignments, through cities, counties and states forcing people to sell their land (or a portion of it) for the right of way.

 

Not that there have been extensive studies, but I'd bet the number of accidents between cyclists and motorists would be much higher than between cyclists and rail car, and this should be the number 1 priority, especially since the rail lines get loans from the government...

 

Anyway, I think the current proposal is a step, and if you're a cyclist or not, requesting your representative to make this happen either to give you more places to cycle, or just seeing less cyclists on the same roads as you, please contact your representative! :)

 

here's the HB:

http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/83R/billtext/pdf/HB00200I.pdf

 

here's the SB:

http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/83R/billtext/pdf/SB00633I.pdf

 

it's encouraging that there's a bill on both House and Senate that contain the same text...

Edited by samagon
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  • 1 month later...

Works fine in Minneapolis. Just need to create some separation between the track and the trail. https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Minneapolis,+MN&hl=en&ll=44.945909,-93.327404&spn=0.001146,0.002064&sll=31.168934,-100.076842&sspn=16.023013,33.815918&oq=minnea&hnear=Minneapolis,+Hennepin,+Minnesota&t=h&z=20&lci=bike

Zoom that out a bit and see the best bike network in the country. Amazing what Minneapolis has done.

It looks like there formerly were two sets of tracks along there. I doubt there is sufficient excess space in most railroad rights of way to allow for the insertion of a bike path sufficiently separated from the railroad tracks.

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This is terrific news!!!

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I'd guess that Perry will sign it, given that it reduces liabilities for businesses.

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That is my hope, however he is very hostile to anything that helps cyclists.

He may be hostile to cyclists, but he's very much in favor of anything that reduces liabilities or regulation for businesses and/or campaign donors. See the tort reform of 2003.

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