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wilcal

New bikeway to connect Downtown, Midtown and the Museum District on La Branch and Austin

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First of all, there is a public meeting on this tonight at 6:30 PM. I'm planning on attending, so if anyone has any questions that they want me to ask I'll be more than happy to do so.

 

 

You can see how this fits into the Houston Bike Plan here, on the greater 3rd Ward section http://houstonbikeplan.org/implementation/infrastructure/third-ward/

I was initially upset that nothing was planned to connect all of the way to Hermann Park, so it's welcome to see that extension. HOWEVER, it appears they are not going to utilize both La Branch and Austin with a dogleg on Alabama? Hard to understand how we can't find a single street to continuously run a straight bike lane on. 

 

Based on the flyer stating partnership between CoH and Prct 1, have to think that this will be funded by part of the $10 mil from Ellis. 

 

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I thought Caroline was being rebuilt with a bike lane?  I guess I was conflating this project and the Caroline rebuild

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51 minutes ago, wilcal said:

First of all, there is a public meeting on this tonight at 6:30 PM. I'm planning on attending, so if anyone has any questions that they want me to ask I'll be more than happy to do so.

 

 

You can see how this fits into the Houston Bike Plan here, on the greater 3rd Ward section http://houstonbikeplan.org/implementation/infrastructure/third-ward/

I was initially upset that nothing was planned to connect all of the way to Hermann Park, so it's welcome to see that extension. HOWEVER, it appears they are not going to utilize both La Branch and Austin with a dogleg on Alabama? Hard to understand how we can't find a single street to continuously run a straight bike lane on. 

 

Based on the flyer stating partnership between CoH and Prct 1, have to think that this will be funded by part of the $10 mil from Ellis. 

 

 

I think the dogleg runs on Holman, not Alabama.

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47 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

 

I think the dogleg runs on Holman, not Alabama.

 

Yep, you're right. And that makes much more sense. 

1 hour ago, cspwal said:

I thought Caroline was being rebuilt with a bike lane?  I guess I was conflating this project and the Caroline rebuild

 

From what I understand, they are both going to have them. Each being a one-way. 

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22 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

 

I think the dogleg runs on Holman, not Alabama.

 

I asked last night, and the dogleg is going to be on HCC's campus (at Winbern). About to do a writeup. 

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Report from last night: first of all, it was surprisingly packed. Every seat full plus 30-40 SRO, so maybe around 100 people?

 

PDF of the presentation not available online yet, so my phone photos will have to suffice.

Timeline: 50% design early Feb. 90% design late Feb, 100% design mid-March, Construction begins late March.

 

Here is the proposed system as a whole. They are thinking that construction on all 4 of these will be mostly done by the end of the summer! 

 

pXE9VPW.jpg

 

The detailed #2 segment:

 

Ngyj4Hx.jpg

 

The route will extend from a soon to be built plaza at Austin street on the north end of downtown, where the parks board will be joining the westbound and eastbound bike trails together. 

 

They originally were going to split the north and southbound bike trails to Caroline and Austin, but due to Caroline being a clusterf*ck with construction for the next 2 years, they are going to go 2-way just on Austin.

 

YC5x54J.jpg

 

So a reduction of one lane and parked cars between the street and the protected bike lane. Big thumbs up for this solution. This will run from the north side of downtown all of the way to McGowan.

 

Next section:

 

5yNmqrN.jpg

 

This is where the only negative comments came from. Several townhome owners from the Anita/Tuam area were there and mildly perturbed that there would be a parking reduction.

 

Peter Eccles actually handled this pretty well. Total loss of parking spots would be 37 spaces. One homeowner, who identified himself as a bicyclists, was unconvinced that it made sense to eliminate the parking and had they studied it. He said that it had been studied, and that the parking in the area never topped out above 45% utilized, and that was actually during the day when it was likely that construction workers were parking. At night, it varied from 30-35% utilized. The 37 spaces were equivalent to 7% of the parking. (Ed. comment by me: rekttttttt)

 

One homeowner said that although his parking would be affected, the bike lane was so so much more important (raucous applause followed).

 

All intersections with lights would have the bike traffic lights added to give bikers a few extra seconds to enter the intersection.

 

NmhWbgE.jpg

 

At HCC, the project would dogleg over one block, and that dogleg would occur in HCC's campus at Winbern. Everything south from there would be sharrows, so shared on-street with cars and bicycle arrows painted on the street.

 

QbiJvUz.jpg

 

At either Prospect or Calumet, the sharrows would dogleg over to Crawford. Crawford at Hermann will likely be turned into a four-way stop. 

 

They received feedback from the children's museum that they didn't want to have the bike lane going through when they have so many buses parked along the street there. 

 

Let me know if y'all have any questions. 

 

Edit: presentation looks to be up now http://houstonbikeplan.org/implementation/infrastructure/austin-corridor/

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by wilcal
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A little disappointing that they are going with Sharrows for the last segment (did they say why?) but overall it looks good

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3 hours ago, cspwal said:

A little disappointing that they are going with Sharrows for the last segment (did they say why?) but overall it looks good

 

It's a big disappointment.

 

They did talk a little bit about it. I think the leading reason was that they've decided with certain low traffic thresholds it's not worth upsetting people by removing street parking. 

 

 

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So cool, this has pretty much been my weekend trike route to get downtown from Rice for years! I welcome the influx.

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On 1/11/2019 at 11:07 AM, cspwal said:

A little disappointing that they are going with Sharrows for the last segment (did they say why?) but overall it looks good

 

I'm disappointed that they chose to jog over from Austin to La Branch and Crawford, rather than just going the other way at Alabama to get to Caroline. they'd only need 3 blocks of sharrows at that point. after that, it becomes wide enough to handle different configurations.

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1 hour ago, samagon said:

 

I'm disappointed that they chose to jog over from Austin to La Branch and Crawford, rather than just going the other way at Alabama to get to Caroline. they'd only need 3 blocks of sharrows at that point. after that, it becomes wide enough to handle different configurations.

 

Please email Peter Eccles and tell him that! 

 

I'm still bummed out we won't have protected lanes all the way through. 

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On 1/18/2019 at 1:53 PM, BeerNut said:

The grumblings about loss of on street parking have started on Nextdoor...

 

Has Houston bikeways given up on Houston redoing West Alabama with dedicated bike lanes?  I wonder how much of this was affected because of the issues with with Montrose TIRZ.

People are always going to complain. But yeah what’s up with West Alabama? From what I know the funds for Houston Bikeways is separate from what Rebuild Houston has planned for West Alabama. Two different things. The Rebuild Houston map has been down for a while now so I assume they’re updating where funding is at now with current projects. 

Edited by j_cuevas713
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They diverted W. Alabama  Rebuild Houston funds to 2021 or 2022 to do storm drainage stuff now. 

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Quote

 

BikeHouston 
This might be our last chance to make sure the bike lane on Austin/La Branch and Crawford happens. This project is a piece to a larger "spine" that connects multiple neighborhoods to universities, healthcare facilities, transit,and parks.

The first half of the meeting will be about the bike lane, the second half will be for the Super Neighborhood to discuss other matters.

6:30pm at Crime Stoppers on Thursday April 11.

If you are not able to attend the meeting please send your support for this connection by emailing your District and At-Large Council Person(s) telling them:
1. Where you live
2. Why this connection is important to you
3. Thanks for prioritizing safety for vulnerable road users

districtd@houstontx.gov (Council Member Dwight Boykins), atlarge1@houstontx.gov, atlarge2@houstontx.gov, atlarge3@houstontx.gov, atlarge4@houstontx.gov, atlarge5@houstontx.gov, mayor@houstontx.gov, bikeways@houstontx.gov

More Questions? http://houstonbikeplan.org/…/infrastructure/austin-corridor/

or email advocacy@bikehouston.org

 

 

 

r1XXRa6.jpg

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Anyone heard anything about this? Wasn't this part of the 50 miles of bike lanes they were supposed to have started on by now? I rode Austin the other day and didn't see anything except signs for a bike route, but those have been there...

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Saw this on the twitter the other day and forgot to post it. Seems like the work will start soon (probably?). If a bike can get some protection at least from some part of Midtown into downtown, directly to the protected lane on Lamar, that would be earthshatteringly cool. From HHC to the park, the traffic is not bad, and you can definitely manage with a sharrow. But HCC to downtown, especially once you cross into downtown, is a bit more risky and a protected lane would make it easier for: HCC/Rice students, all the new residents moving into midtown, people in Museum district, people wanting to go from Hermann Park to downtown, etc. Minimal effort for maximum effectiveness. 

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Posted (edited)
On 7/22/2019 at 6:24 PM, X.R. said:

 

 

Saw this on the twitter the other day and forgot to post it. Seems like the work will start soon (probably?). If a bike can get some protection at least from some part of Midtown into downtown, directly to the protected lane on Lamar, that would be earthshatteringly cool. From HHC to the park, the traffic is not bad, and you can definitely manage with a sharrow. But HCC to downtown, especially once you cross into downtown, is a bit more risky and a protected lane would make it easier for: HCC/Rice students, all the new residents moving into midtown, people in Museum district, people wanting to go from Hermann Park to downtown, etc. Minimal effort for maximum effectiveness. 

 

Hey, that's my blog's twitter account :)

 

I have a little more info I've gotten since then. Part of the delay was getting Hardy/Elysian finished evidently. Hardy needed the parking standoffs installed, and that took awhile.

 

This isn't set in stone, but this is the general order of completion for remaining projects:

 

La Branch (sharrows/signage only. Edit: and repaving), Polk, Austin, and Gray. Unknown about Cleburne. Hopefully, that's not up in the air. 

 

There is some equipment related to signal work that takes a while to be delivered and most of that is going on Austin and Gray. 

 

Polk is a big project and they'll be adding some cool 'floating bus stops' a la something like this:

 

floatingbusstop.jpg?itok=7vs9gtIh

Edited by wilcal
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2 hours ago, wilcal said:

 

Hey, that's my blog's twitter account :)

 

I have a little more info I've gotten since then. Part of the delay was getting Hardy/Elysian finished evidently. Hardy needed the parking standoffs installed, and that took awhile.

 

This isn't set in stone, but this is the general order of completion for remaining projects:

 

La Branch (sharrows/signage only. Edit: and repaving), Polk, Austin, and Gray. Unknown about Cleburne. Hopefully, that's not up in the air. 

 

There is some equipment related to signal work that takes a while to be delivered and most of that is going on Austin and Gray. 

 

Polk is a big project and they'll be adding some cool 'floating bus stops' a la something like this:

 

floatingbusstop.jpg?itok=7vs9gtIh

 

Great update and great info. Authorities need to understand that adding bikelanes or bikeways isn't just a street applied solution, but instead it should be seen a ROW solution. I'm actually not a fan of "road diets" because its to focus on one part of the ROW. Instead we should be talking about "ROW diets" that utilize or maximize what is in public ROW. The image you posted above is one where the entire ROW is considered and sculpted rather than just fixating all attention on the roadway itself.

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Just now, Luminare said:

 

Great update and great info. Authorities need to understand that adding bikelanes or bikeways isn't just a street applied solution, but instead it should be seen a ROW solution. I'm actually not a fan of "road diets" because its to focus on one part of the ROW. Instead we should be talking about "ROW diets" that utilize or maximize what is in public ROW. The image you posted above is one where the entire ROW is considered and sculpted rather than just fixating all attention on the roadway itself.

 

Agreed, and they are really only getting the best bang for the buck for ROW when they have to have every inch, like at Polk. 

 

Tuam west of Bagby was recently completely redone and instead of utilizing the ROW they just threw all of the extra width into lane width, which just causes people to drive faster.

 

They didn't even put in any crosswalks. That car on the left parked and barely taking up half of the lane is a 6.5' wide Cadillac SUV. This road and this section was on the Houston bike plan and really doesn't need this crazy lane width.

 

CKjcnxk.jpg

 

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@wilcal  Thanks for the information!

 

Sorta disappointed they haven't really started construction on Austin since I thought it was part of the bunch that needed to be done by this summer to fully utilize the 10 million that had been set aside.

 

And is the improvement on Polk the one they have been talking about since 2017-2018? The one extending into East Downtown? Because I can't find it on the BikePlan website. That would be pretty massive. IF you could get HCC to downtown, and downtown to East downtown done, I think your weekend bikers would double. I actually had a couple on the street last Friday stop me and ask where the nearest Bcycle station was (I was on my bike on lamar). Its changing. 

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21 hours ago, wilcal said:

 

Agreed, and they are really only getting the best bang for the buck for ROW when they have to have every inch, like at Polk. 

 

Tuam west of Bagby was recently completely redone and instead of utilizing the ROW they just threw all of the extra width into lane width, which just causes people to drive faster.

 

They didn't even put in any crosswalks. That car on the left parked and barely taking up half of the lane is a 6.5' wide Cadillac SUV. This road and this section was on the Houston bike plan and really doesn't need this crazy lane width.

 

CKjcnxk.jpg

 

That street looks huge.  Does it even fill up ever?

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Tuam is on the bike plan - I wonder if funding and design work were too far on when the bike plan was finalized to do anything at the time, but the City plans to come back in and add lanes within the newly rebuilt road bed. 

 

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7 hours ago, cspwal said:

That street looks huge.  Does it even fill up ever?

 

Probably not. I used to live near Roseland St in First Montrose Commons, and that street is absurdly big as well for just being neighborhood road. Do we really think that COH is critically analyzing and game planing futures of these streets? Probably not. Its just easier to to leave it to legacy or what has always been there. Not to mention the city puts way to much faith in public comments. There is a great utility to comments, but it has to be take with a grain of salt. So if you want to reduce it prepare for backlash. So not only do you need the ability to look far into the future, be innovative, but also have one strong political backbone, and iron will. Try to find that in bureaucracy. Complete Streets is making a difference, but has ways to go to be a full force in this city. I want more of it, but know its a long term thing.

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On 7/24/2019 at 1:23 PM, X.R. said:

@wilcal  Thanks for the information!

 

Sorta disappointed they haven't really started construction on Austin since I thought it was part of the bunch that needed to be done by this summer to fully utilize the 10 million that had been set aside.

 

And is the improvement on Polk the one they have been talking about since 2017-2018? The one extending into East Downtown? Because I can't find it on the BikePlan website. That would be pretty massive. IF you could get HCC to downtown, and downtown to East downtown done, I think your weekend bikers would double. I actually had a couple on the street last Friday stop me and ask where the nearest Bcycle station was (I was on my bike on lamar). Its changing. 

 

Well, from what I understand, that date was somewhat flexible and really construction just needs to have started, not be finished. 

 

Yes, the Polk deal is a big one, although it kills me that there are a few blocks in EaDo around Emancipation that will not have connectivity due to road construction that is supposed to last for awhile. 

 

On 7/25/2019 at 10:20 AM, cspwal said:

That street looks huge.  Does it even fill up ever?

 

No, it's ridiculous. And it's only this wide for fourish blocks. 

 

On 7/25/2019 at 10:47 AM, Texasota said:

Tuam is on the bike plan - I wonder if funding and design work were too far on when the bike plan was finalized to do anything at the time, but the City plans to come back in and add lanes within the newly rebuilt road bed. 

 

 

I'm still outside the industry at this point, but we're talking about paint with the implementations they are doing currently. Planning has been really cautious and getting lots of community feedback and I think that it basically wasn't worth their effort for a four block section that doesn't go anywhere (right now). 

 

On 7/25/2019 at 5:47 PM, Luminare said:

 

Probably not. I used to live near Roseland St in First Montrose Commons, and that street is absurdly big as well for just being neighborhood road. Do we really think that COH is critically analyzing and game planing futures of these streets? Probably not. Its just easier to to leave it to legacy or what has always been there. Not to mention the city puts way to much faith in public comments. There is a great utility to comments, but it has to be take with a grain of salt. So if you want to reduce it prepare for backlash. So not only do you need the ability to look far into the future, be innovative, but also have one strong political backbone, and iron will. Try to find that in bureaucracy. Complete Streets is making a difference, but has ways to go to be a full force in this city. I want more of it, but know its a long term thing.

 

I think things are changing for the better, but the change is way too slow. I think that they were hamstrung by City Council and the council is finally coming around and realizing shit has gotta change. Even the most basic changes draws massive gnashing of teeth. Stuff like Zipcar wanting to add more cars in dedicated on-street parking (which they pay for parking for) was met with chagrin from some far-flung city councilmembers ("we need somewhere to park when we visit downtown"). 

 

But yeah, we're getting there!

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, wilcal said:

 

Well, from what I understand, that date was somewhat flexible and really construction just needs to have started, not be finished. 

 

Yes, the Polk deal is a big one, although it kills me that there are a few blocks in EaDo around Emancipation that will not have connectivity due to road construction that is supposed to last for awhile. 

 

 

No, it's ridiculous. And it's only this wide for fourish blocks. 

 

 

I'm still outside the industry at this point, but we're talking about paint with the implementations they are doing currently. Planning has been really cautious and getting lots of community feedback and I think that it basically wasn't worth their effort for a four block section that doesn't go anywhere (right now). 

 

 

I think things are changing for the better, but the change is way too slow. I think that they were hamstrung by City Council and the council is finally coming around and realizing shit has gotta change. Even the most basic changes draws massive gnashing of teeth. Stuff like Zipcar wanting to add more cars in dedicated on-street parking (which they pay for parking for) was met with chagrin from some far-flung city councilmembers ("we need somewhere to park when we visit downtown"). 

 

But yeah, we're getting there!

 

Its slow because complete streets and the city don't have full authority to take the reigns and just do what they need to do. They have zero power and authority to truly implement complete streets. I would be perfectly fine if they came to the public for a vote that asked whether the citizens of the city would invest authority and power into the city to take complete control on manners of infrastructure and just go with it. A trade I would image is the elimination of min parking requirements or the elimination of most setback requirements. So basically we give the city more power to define, plan, and implement how they use ROW, and we as citizens that build on our lots get more power and authority on how that is used. An even trade in my estimation. I don't believe we need some massive all powerful planning authority, but at least some manner of central planning authority with teeth is the only way complete streets can ever truly be implemented.

Edited by Luminare

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1 hour ago, Luminare said:

 

Its slow because complete streets and the city don't have full authority to take the reigns and just do what they need to do. They have zero power and authority to truly implement complete streets. I would be perfectly fine if they came to the public for a vote that asked whether the citizens of the city would invest authority and power into the city to take complete control on manners of infrastructure and just go with it. A trade I would image is the elimination of min parking requirements or the elimination of most setback requirements. So basically we give the city more power to define, plan, and implement how they use ROW, and we as citizens that build on our lots get more power and authority on how that is used. An even trade in my estimation. I don't believe we need some massive all powerful planning authority, but at least some manner of central planning authority with teeth is the only way complete streets can ever truly be implemented.

 

This is intriguing to me. Surely they have the legal authority to do what they want. I know that there are some state restrictions for speed limits, but things like lane width they definitely have control over. 

 

An ex Houston planner told me once that they utilize the setback requirements to help exert influence over projects. Like the thai food high rise on Montrose. Gave the minimal setbacks in exchange for less parking in the project. 

 

The elimination of min parking requirements inside BW8 was listed in the draft carbon-neutral Houston by 2050 proposal that just came out. I think it said implementation by 2030 though for that covenant. 

 

You would think that it would be easier for our planning department to do things like complete streets since we are the largest city in the US without a separate city transportation authority. 

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18 minutes ago, wilcal said:

 

This is intriguing to me. Surely they have the legal authority to do what they want. I know that there are some state restrictions for speed limits, but things like lane width they definitely have control over. 

 

An ex Houston planner told me once that they utilize the setback requirements to help exert influence over projects. Like the thai food high rise on Montrose. Gave the minimal setbacks in exchange for less parking in the project. 

 

The elimination of min parking requirements inside BW8 was listed in the draft carbon-neutral Houston by 2050 proposal that just came out. I think it said implementation by 2030 though for that covenant. 

 

You would think that it would be easier for our planning department to do things like complete streets since we are the largest city in the US without a separate city transportation authority. 

 

This certainly might be the case in theory, but with the results we have seen in practice its clear that this is not the case. One problem is actually a consequence of the democratic process + the bureaucratic process. While many things should be democratic in operation there are some things that would be handled a lot better in a slightly more authoritarian manner (and I'm someone who is a liberal libertarian, but also a realist/pragmatist). Infrastructure is one such area that needs a more streamlined and authoritative solution to fix a problem. Its possible many projects are planned with complete streets in mind, but after years of studies, public opinion, and other hands reaching into the project the original vision is lost. We simply have too many cooks in the kitchen in the current process, so not only are projects slow, but the end product also gets watered down as well. Now collaboration can be a great thing, particularly in design, but it has to be focused and opinion has to be focused in order to not completely dilute a vision. There also has to be a comprehensive approach to infrastructure, but that isn't how projects are planned or implemented. Instead its a fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants mentality / fix it as we go kind of fashion that just doesn't get the job done and in a reasonable amount of time. While we do have a planning commission, and they are the ones that approve things, they also don't plan for things at all. They simply say yes or no to projects put before them, and don't ask deeper questions about projects, and they can't because they don't have a comprehensive road map to gauge how a project works with infrastructure and the city at large. In your example about the planner, I'm sure that is done to some degree, but the overall results that we see happen across the city show that there is no plan, and there is no uniform standards or even district standards that they apply to those situations at all or in general. This whole process really needs to be heavily streamlined from top to bottom to get the work done that needs to be done, and more funding needs to be set aside so projects can be realized to their full potential.

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3 hours ago, wilcal said:

The elimination of min parking requirements inside BW8 was listed in the draft carbon-neutral Houston by 2050 proposal that just came out. I think it said implementation by 2030 though for that covenant. 

 

If people in the Midtown SN and Nextdoor complained even after they cut out a primarily residential section of Midtown for parking exemption I can only imagine the uproar of extending it to BW8.  I think there should be plan to incrementally increase the parking exemption area outward from downtown every 5 years.  

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15 hours ago, BeerNut said:

 

If people in the Midtown SN and Nextdoor complained even after they cut out a primarily residential section of Midtown for parking exemption I can only imagine the uproar of extending it to BW8.  I think there should be plan to incrementally increase the parking exemption area outward from downtown every 5 years.  

 

Bingo. That and potentially grandfathering. Any new legislation should take that into effect. 

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20 hours ago, Luminare said:

 

This certainly might be the case in theory, but with the results we have seen in practice its clear that this is not the case. One problem is actually a consequence of the democratic process + the bureaucratic process. While many things should be democratic in operation there are some things that would be handled a lot better in a slightly more authoritarian manner (and I'm someone who is a liberal libertarian, but also a realist/pragmatist). Infrastructure is one such area that needs a more streamlined and authoritative solution to fix a problem. Its possible many projects are planned with complete streets in mind, but after years of studies, public opinion, and other hands reaching into the project the original vision is lost. We simply have too many cooks in the kitchen in the current process, so not only are projects slow, but the end product also gets watered down as well. Now collaboration can be a great thing, particularly in design, but it has to be focused and opinion has to be focused in order to not completely dilute a vision. There also has to be a comprehensive approach to infrastructure, but that isn't how projects are planned or implemented. Instead its a fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants mentality / fix it as we go kind of fashion that just doesn't get the job done and in a reasonable amount of time. While we do have a planning commission, and they are the ones that approve things, they also don't plan for things at all. They simply say yes or no to projects put before them, and don't ask deeper questions about projects, and they can't because they don't have a comprehensive road map to gauge how a project works with infrastructure and the city at large. In your example about the planner, I'm sure that is done to some degree, but the overall results that we see happen across the city show that there is no plan, and there is no uniform standards or even district standards that they apply to those situations at all or in general. This whole process really needs to be heavily streamlined from top to bottom to get the work done that needs to be done, and more funding needs to be set aside so projects can be realized to their full potential.

 

Maybe there is some confusion here. The Planning Commission is a 26 person panel that approves what people want to do to their personal property, etc.

 

We also have the Planning & Development Department. They oversee tons of stuff like Complete Communities, the Bikeway implementation, and all sorts of other stuff.

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1 hour ago, Luminare said:

 

Bingo. That and potentially grandfathering. Any new legislation should take that into effect. 

Isn't a preexisting parking lot a grandfathering in of parking minimums? Why would it have to be written into the ordinance?

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, wilcal said:

 

Maybe there is some confusion here. The Planning Commission is a 26 person panel that approves what people want to do to their personal property, etc.

 

We also have the Planning & Development Department. They oversee tons of stuff like Complete Communities, the Bikeway implementation, and all sorts of other stuff.

 

Once again I'm sure we have all of these things. I definitely want to dive deeper into these things because I'm sure they are working hard to try to change things.

 

Lets be real though, what they plan to do just doesn't become reality for all intents and purposes. They just don't have the authority and power they need to get things done the way they should and in a timely manner. Part of that is the lack of a Comprehensive Plan. We have a "General Plan", but not a "Comprehensive Plan" one that holistically looks at all aspects and the bigger picture. Its clear that various plans end up competing with each other for attention instead of working together in most cases.

 

EDIT: And I'm not even talking about development. I actually like our no zoning approach. It makes our city very flexible, but if we are going to be cavalier about zoning then at least to counter-balance we should have a very rigorous infrastructure plan to contain and control that kind of chaos.

 

10 minutes ago, cspwal said:

Isn't a preexisting parking lot a grandfathering in of parking minimums? Why would it have to be written into the ordinance?

 

Again I could be wrong about this and you could be right. Simply an idea. At this moment thats what needs to be done. Ideas simply need to be proposed to handle this going forward. Maybe some of them are redundant, and some might fix others. At this stage I'm open to anything and everything, so should everyone to fix the current situation.

Edited by Luminare
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@wilcal Wow speak of the devil, we ask about it and they build it. This is so dope, never thought I'd be excited for that stuff but I definitely am. 66 ramps, wow. That is nuts. I don't know if its the market changing or what, but you definitely see quite a few people pushing strollers on la branch between the park and almost to 59, so Im sure people will love this. And so will cyclists, haha.

 

Rode Polk yesterday to get an idea of whats to come, I did not realize/forgot the armadillos only went one street deep on the East downtown side. I can see that running the lane, at least to the Columbia tap, is going to take some work. And you are right, they are missing actual places to sit at the bus stops down there, feel bad for the people just sitting in the grass waiting for the bus. Typically when I ride Polk, the driver's are pretty friendly, but obviously the protection is waaaaay preferred. You might even be able to ride your bike at night in downtown Houston, what a thought.

 

And James clarified in that thread, which I didn't know, that a cyclist can use the sidewalk "outside of the business district" which is cool. Ramps for everyone! 

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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, X.R. said:

@wilcal Wow speak of the devil, we ask about it and they build it. This is so dope, never thought I'd be excited for that stuff but I definitely am. 66 ramps, wow. That is nuts. I don't know if its the market changing or what, but you definitely see quite a few people pushing strollers on la branch between the park and almost to 59, so Im sure people will love this. And so will cyclists, haha.

 

Rode Polk yesterday to get an idea of whats to come, I did not realize/forgot the armadillos only went one street deep on the East downtown side. I can see that running the lane, at least to the Columbia tap, is going to take some work. And you are right, they are missing actual places to sit at the bus stops down there, feel bad for the people just sitting in the grass waiting for the bus. Typically when I ride Polk, the driver's are pretty friendly, but obviously the protection is waaaaay preferred. You might even be able to ride your bike at night in downtown Houston, what a thought.

 

And James clarified in that thread, which I didn't know, that a cyclist can use the sidewalk "outside of the business district" which is cool. Ramps for everyone! 

 

The bus stops on Polk will be "floating" bus stops as well. Basically, the bike lane will be encumbered by bus passengers crossing the lane instead of being encumbered by the bus itself.

 

I've haven't seen any drawings, but think something like this (albeit much smaller)

 

glXQI4s.jpg

Edited by wilcal
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Also from a traffic and pedestrian point of view, having the bus stop after the light is so much better - it might delay you getting off the bus by a cycle, but you're less likely to be hit by someone turning around the bus

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That floating bus stop is nuts for Houston. Having grown up here, I would never have imagined something so urban being put in here.

 

I've been thinking about this: if you look at what Bike Houston and the Houston Bike Plan and stuff  theyhave done, and the Polk-type improvements, its almost like they treated (and this is a good thing) North Houston and East Downtown/3rd Ward like test sites for infrastructure improvement. Both places are desperate for infrastructure improvements, no matter what it is, because there's almost nothing there. So you can start with basically a blank slate, and do it first there because you generally have people grateful for the city doing things to improve their lives. 

 

I love it because of things like a floating bus stop, something you probably couldn't get by the Washington/Heights neighborhood organization, is free to be built and then everyone can observe how well (hopefully) it works and then they can implement these things in other areas with now verifiable proof that it works and works well. 

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1 hour ago, X.R. said:

 

 

I love it because of things like a floating bus stop, something you probably couldn't get by the Washington/Heights neighborhood organization, is free to be built and then everyone can observe how well (hopefully) it works and then they can implement these things in other areas with now verifiable proof that it works and works well. 

Few of the Heights/Washington area streets are wide enough for this. Part of the opposition to road diets on 11th were based on difficulties with buses blocking the street when an extended time is required for a wheelchair or bike load/unload. It looks like a good idea, for sure, and would improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, X.R. said:

That floating bus stop is nuts for Houston. Having grown up here, I would never have imagined something so urban being put in here.

 

I've been thinking about this: if you look at what Bike Houston and the Houston Bike Plan and stuff  theyhave done, and the Polk-type improvements, its almost like they treated (and this is a good thing) North Houston and East Downtown/3rd Ward like test sites for infrastructure improvement. Both places are desperate for infrastructure improvements, no matter what it is, because there's almost nothing there. So you can start with basically a blank slate, and do it first there because you generally have people grateful for the city doing things to improve their lives. 

 

I love it because of things like a floating bus stop, something you probably couldn't get by the Washington/Heights neighborhood organization, is free to be built and then everyone can observe how well (hopefully) it works and then they can implement these things in other areas with now verifiable proof that it works and works well. 

 

Its the same way with Light rail too. I'm really excited with the prospect of it going up Washington Ave and if you look at the development map its a prime opportunity to capture a growing market so close to downtown. While I think their initial approach to light rail hasn't been very well thought out, at least they are trying in areas where they can really experiment and figure out how it can work best in our context. Bus, however, Metro knows buses. I've been thoroughly impressed lately with how much they are invest in bus infrastructure. Nearly all bus stops on my side of town, wherever I walk, have been repaved. I now ride the network whenever I have the opportunity, and barring traffic its actually a very efficient system. Again, more options on transit will only be a good thing moving forward at this point. You initial analysis about them test/experimenting in essentially "blank slate" parts of town is definitely one I haven't even considered. Maybe its just by shear accident or its part of their plan, but it shows that they are at least trying. Now they just need to put the pedal to the metal and really run with it.

Edited by Luminare
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2 hours ago, Luminare said:

 

Its the same way with Light rail too. I'm really excited with the prospect of it going up Washington Ave and if you look at the development map its a prime opportunity to capture a growing market so close to downtown. While I think their initial approach to light rail hasn't been very well thought out, at least they are trying in areas where they can really experiment and figure out how it can work best in our context. Bus, however, Metro knows buses. I've been thoroughly impressed lately with how much they are invest in bus infrastructure. Nearly all bus stops on my side of town, wherever I walk, have been repaved. I now ride the network whenever I have the opportunity, and barring traffic its actually a very efficient system. Again, more options on transit will only be a good thing moving forward at this point. You initial analysis about them test/experimenting in essentially "blank slate" parts of town is definitely one I haven't even considered. Maybe its just by shear accident or its part of their plan, but it shows that they are at least trying. Now they just need to put the pedal to the metal and really run with it.

Not sure there's really enough room to run rail on Washington. The measurements I took show a pretty consistent 50 foot width, while light rail runs in a 30 foot  width, except at stations, where it's 40 or 50 feet, depending on whether the station is double sided or two platforms in line. There are many areas on Washington where there's no way to take any more space without taking buildings, which sort of defeats one of the purposes. There's also no room for any bike lanes if rail runs. That may be one reason we haven't seen any additional details. It might be possible to run elevated rail, a la the Bangkok sky train, which would also avoid the traffic blocking issues.

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So it seems the Nawfside got the floating bus stop first, courtesy of Metro’s twitter.

 

this is gonna be craaazy. 

BD596B62-5A44-4482-95A9-708D8DE0EE1E.jpeg

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There needs to be more green paint because I'm confused about where to:

  • bike
  • walk
  • drive

 

13 hours ago, Ross said:

It might be possible to run elevated rail, a la the Bangkok sky train, which would also avoid the traffic blocking issues.

Elevated rail along Washington, at least for sections where they couldn't feasibly put in light rail would be great!

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On 7/25/2019 at 10:20 AM, cspwal said:

That street looks huge.  Does it even fill up ever?

 

I'm sure when it rains enough it will fill up with water.

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Don't know if this was posted, but the timeline has been updated on the website for the bike lane on Austin. I can attest to them making good progress on La branch already, a number of updated sidewalk improvements have already taken place. The city seems to be making little improvements on multiple bike plans at once (which is great):

 

http://houstonbikeplan.org/implementation/infrastructure/austin-corridor/

 

The La Branch Street segment of the corridor is currently under construction. Anticipated completion date of this section is November 2019.

Austin Street two-way cycletrack is estimated to go into construction by October, will full build-out by Spring 2020.

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