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Bike Plan vote 3/7/17!


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  • 3 weeks later...

It passed earlier today. 

 

http://www.chron.com/news/transportation/article/Bike-plan-approved-though-uncertainties-remain-11019994.php

 

Quote

Though there's no clear plan to pay for it and ongoing concerns with exactly where the planned trails and lanes will be located, City Council approved the bike plan on Wednesday morning.

 

Edited by samagon
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While I am glad to see this, since the routes are not clearly defined in all cases and the funding is not committed in any way (as I understand it), this is little more than a "well, golly gee, we need to be 'green' so, lets approve a bike plan that isn't really a plan and commits the city to nothing........"

 

I applaud the city (and other institutions) for the hard work that has gone into FUNDING and BUILDING real bike lanes/trails all over the city.  The city, rightly, deserves a hearty "great job".  What is needed is a comprehensive plan with defined lanes and costs and timelines and potential funding mechanisms (that would be optionally triggered in the future by the city in separate votes).  

 

From what i read, this plan is not that.

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2 hours ago, UtterlyUrban said:

While I am glad to see this, since the routes are not clearly defined in all cases and the funding is not committed in any way (as I understand it), this is little more than a "well, golly gee, we need to be 'green' so, lets approve a bike plan that isn't really a plan and commits the city to nothing........"

 

I applaud the city (and other institutions) for the hard work that has gone into FUNDING and BUILDING real bike lanes/trails all over the city.  The city, rightly, deserves a hearty "great job".  What is needed is a comprehensive plan with defined lanes and costs and timelines and potential funding mechanisms (that would be optionally triggered in the future by the city in separate votes).  

 

From what i read, this plan is not that.

Then I'll politely say that you're wrong. If you think the bike plan is somehow nothing more than a glorified pep rally, then you are sadly mistaken. Every city needs a bike plan to guide future street improvements. Without the bike plan you give cyclists no say in how the city grows. NOW you have something the city must consider every time changes to our infrastructure are made. Just like every other person who doubts a very good thing, the city will find a way to fund some of these new bike lanes and get the ball rolling. Houston is already promoting a bike culture with numerous trails and a very popular bike share program. Along with the new bike lane on Holman and the other on Lamar, the city is trying to transition slowly. This plan just pushed the issue to the forefront.

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7 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

Then I'll politely say that you're wrong. If you think the bike plan is somehow nothing more than a glorified pep rally, then you are sadly mistaken. Every city needs a bike plan to guide future street improvements. Without the bike plan you give cyclists no say in how the city grows. NOW you have something the city must consider every time changes to our infrastructure are made. Just like every other person who doubts a very good thing, the city will find a way to fund some of these new bike lanes and get the ball rolling. Houston is already promoting a bike culture with numerous trails and a very popular bike share program. Along with the new bike lane on Holman and the other on Lamar, the city is trying to transition slowly. This plan just pushed the issue to the forefront.

I completely agree that the city needs a comprehensive bike plan.  I said as much.  What I also said was that this plan may not be it.  From what I have read, this plan has been reported as "incomplete" and lacking all of the elements that a "robust" plan should have (as I outlined above).

 

having a robust and polished , multi-decade plan is great.  As I understand it, this plan is not that.  It has been reported to have significant holes (like where some of the proposed paths would actually run).  I have not read the plan.  I have only read what has been reported about the plan.  If it is true that the plan does not fully touch on all the items that I describe above then I continue to believe that it is not an especially viable or useful document.

 

your link above supports my point.  Is the city saying this?

" According to the city, the plan will also add over 600 miles to the current 270 mile bike-way network. The city says it will put more than 80 percent of people and jobs within half a mile of a "comfort bikeway."

 

Because, if it is, it is untrue.  The plan will  NOT "add over 600 miles"....... there is zero commitment from the city to add any of the miles.  There is no funding mechanisms in place, no timelines, etc.  The city is not committed, as I understand it, to do ANYTHING  with this plan.  Except, of course, tell the news how green the city is by approving a "plan"........

 

 

 

Edited by UtterlyUrban
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21 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

Where are you getting your sources? I'm basing my off the article. Whether true or not, I'm basing them off of that. How confident are you the city isn't committed to anything? 

Here is one of serveral articles that I have read which clearly indicate that there is zero funding commitment.  Here is one quote from that article:

 

Quote:

Among other reasons, Travis opposed the project because the city hasn’t designated specific funding sources.

“If we’re going to do this, let’s just say: ‘Folks, we are going to set aside 10 million or 20 million and this is where it’s coming from’. Let’s do that, let’s be upfront and honest with people today and if we are not going to do that, then we don’t have a plan,” Travis said during the council’s debate about the project..........

......Turner said the project doesn’t commit any city revenue, but noted that the federal government, the Texas Department of Transportation and the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) are some potential sources of funding, as well as the City’s Management Districts and Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones, better known by the acronym TIRZ.

end quote

https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/2017/03/23/192923/houston-city-council-approves-bike-plan-but-not-every-member-is-sold-on-the-project/

I believe that the truth of this plan is that itdoes not describe specific routes in some cases, does not address a significant number of issues, is unfunded and does not address future funding sources, does not commit the city to do anything, and does not commit to any timeline.  It is therefore, more of a political document than a tactical one in my opinion:   the city doesn't have to do anything, the politicians can make everybody feel good, and the press wraps it all up in stories like the one you quoted (which is factually wrong).  This plan is the perfect political document for politicians to "prove" they are green without having to fund anything.  And, from their view, that is a win-win, I would guess.

Edited by UtterlyUrban
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*Even* without funding this is a tactical document. Streets get rebuilt regularly; having a document to point to prior to a street planned for bike lanes being rebuilt matters. Having a coherent plan of where the city believes bike facilities go is a necessary first step *before* locking down funding sources. That's what this is: a first step. 

 

Now if, the city doesn't follow up on any of this, that's a obviously a problem. At this point though, the fact that the plan doesn't specify funding sources doesn't change the fact that it provides direction and signals intent. 

 

Have you actually looked at any other city's bike plans? This is what they look like, even in cities that devote more funding to cycling infrastructure than Houston does. In fact, Houston's plan is in some ways *more* specific and detailed than most other cities' plans. The focus on "high comfort," as long as it is maintained, matters.

 

Houston has a bike plan. It is, in fact, a good one. Now we all just need to keep the pressure on so the plan comes to fruition in the best way possible.

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right, but if Westpark (listed as a "Long-Term Houston Bikeway Vision) is rebuilt, it's all well and good that it is listed by the Houston bike plan to have an off street path added for cyclists, but if the money isn't there it won't be done.

 

If you go here (it has the city seal, so it should be an official COH site):

https://www.houstonbikeways.org/

 

it has a link to learn more about the Houston bike plan:

http://houstonbikeplan.org/

 

I don't want to say that the site is nothing, but it's nothing. like literally.

 

so the question is, where does money come from? The words plan and vision are both very mobile words, and if in my example above, westpark does get rebuilt, unless there is funding, the plan and vision will change to not have that incorporated as part of the network.

 

Not to be all bleak, because Obama signed into law in 2015 the FAST act

https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/fastact/

 

which, if I understood it right, it was considered to be a 'complete streets' kind of deal that would make federal funds available for state and local projects that included added safety for peds and bikes.

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http://houstonbikeplan.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/General_FAQ.pdf

 

"The plan is only a guide"

"routes may not be built"

 

what bothers me about this whole whole process is that this "guide" is just that...... a guide....... BUT a number of our leaders at the City decided to talk to the media..... and then the media reports that Houston WILL BUILD 600 miles of bike paths (or whatever bullS**t  that political crapthey want to say.  Everybody feels good.  Maybe something gets done.  Maybe not.  This is far more about politics than actually committing to build bike trails and at least a few of our elected officials went on record to say as much.  Unfortunately, I don't believe that the mayor was one of them.

 

so, now they City has a "guide" with no funding sources, no commitments, no timelines, and........   ok, great. We have a plan.  Terrific.  We can now all feel good.  We have a guide that will guide us for some number of years into the future.  Yeah!

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