Mayor's Office Press Release
City-County Leaders Announce Plans to Improve Bike and Pedestrian Safety
Mayor Turner Thanks Commissioner Ellis for Partnership and Financial Commitment
April 16, 2018 -- Mayor Sylvester Turner, Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis and other local leaders Monday announced a new city-county partnership that will create new bike lanes and improve bike and pedestrian safety. Commissioner Ellis has pledged $10 million from Harris County Precinct One funds, which will be combined with $5.5 million from the city to build 50-miles of high comfort bike lanes added to the city’s bike network. The plan also includes new sidewalks and/or several improved intersections to protect the safety of both cyclists and pedestrians.
“There is no better way to celebrate the first anniversary of Houston’s updated bike plan than to announce over $15 million on new and improved bike lanes and safer streets,” Mayor Turner said. “I want to thank Commissioner Rodney Ellis for his commitment of $10 million toward bicycle and pedestrian facilities in and around his precinct and inside the city of Houston.”
Once the bike plan projects are complete, more than 80 percent of people and jobs will be within half a mile of a high-comfort bikeway, according to the mayor.
“This is a cooperative effort,” said Commissioner Ellis, who rode his bike to the news conference next to dedicated bike lanes on Lamar between Bagby and Brazos. “Working together, we can better leverage scarce resources from governmental entities and the private sector and share our collective expertise to benefit the people who we serve in this region.”
The announcement was made on the same day BikeHouston held the annual Houston Bike Summit. The 2018 theme was “A Celebration of Cycling in Houston,” and Mayor Turner was honored for his leadership for passing the Houston Bike Plan.
“More and more people will be riding (bikes) when they believe that it is safe to do so,” said John Long, executive director of BikeHouston. “The construction of these projects over the next 12 months will make visible progress and improve that network and bring more and more people out.”
In announcing the partnership to make Houston more bike-friendly, the commissioner said his offer is contingent on the city moving forward on the projects within the next 12, or he will withdraw the offer.
Mayor Turner challenged city staff to begin work immediately on implementing the plan. “Too much is at stake – we can’t afford any more fatalities and injuries for people who ride bicycles,” Mayor Turner said. “We must act quickly to make Houston a safer, more bicycle-friendly city.” In the last twelve months, Houston has accomplished several goals implemented in the city’s Bike Plan.
- 14 linear miles of new/restriped on-street bicycle facilities
- 23 linear miles of new on-street bicycle facilities programmed under Year 1 CIP Bikeway Fund
- Creation of a 20-member Bicycle Advisory Committee, which held its first meeting April 5, 2018.
- Extension of the Lamar Cycle Track connector to East End
- Expansion of Bcycle network: 18 bike stations added in downtown, Heights, Third Ward, Greater East End, Near Northside, Montrose, Museum District, Hermann Park, HCC Central, Rice University – now at 51 stations
Earlier this year, Commissioner Ellis also pledged $30 million to improve streets near Texas Southern University and the University of Houston. Mayor Turner noted he is incredibly grateful for the partnership and work to improve the lives of every Houston citizen.