Houston City Council OKs Sweeping Bike Plan

A massive biking blueprint for Houston just got City Council’s approval, paving the way for the city to unroll millions of dollars in improvements for cyclists over the next 10 to 20 years.

The city’s biking infrastructure hasn’t been updated since the 1990s, and in the meantime incidents of cyclists being hit by cars has increased. Unveiled over a year ago, the Houston Bike Plan seeks to make cycling safer for residents by implementing 1,700 miles of new bike lanes and trails.

The plan includes more than 600 miles of “high-comfort lanes,” which are wider or include physical barriers.

Implementing the plan is expected to cost between $300 million and $550 million. It isn’t certain where the city will pull much of the funding for the project, but some projects may be covered under the ReBuild Houston plan. Other possible sources of funding include private donors or voter-approved bonds, which would mean drivers would be in part deciding the fate of the plan. But as John Long, Executive Director of the nonprofit BikeHouston said in the Houston Press, better bike lanes is a win-win situation for cyclists and motorists alike:

“[The plan] creates predictability both for cyclists and drivers, who know to look for cyclists because there are designated areas for bikes on the streets. The other thing that's a little less obvious is by creating more and better bikeways, that will encourage more and more riders to be out there on the streets, both for transportation and recreation.”

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