The City of Houston and its region have made great strides in supporting the growing number of people bicycling, but without some organization and a coordinating framework the efforts risk being disconnected or missing opportunities to complement each other in ways that maximize the return on the investments. 1993 was the last time the City adopted a Comprehensive Bicycle Plan and the City and region have changed significantly in the twenty-three years since.
The 2015-2016 Houston Bike Plan is a year-long planning effort developed with the Houston community and many partners. The plan sets out a clear Vision to be a Gold-level Bicycle Friendly City by 2026. This is supported by goals that identify the transformative opportunity the plan represents for the City of Houston and establishes a framework for how to achieve that vision by building on the many successful efforts underway.
A Bicycle Toolbox was developed detailing bikeway project elements, potential policy changes, and programmatic approaches to help make Houston a more bicycle-friendly city. The plan includes Implementation Strategies to move from plan to action and a Bikeway Network Map was developed with opportunities for short-term improvements and to achieve the ultimate vision.
To achieve these goals, the Plan sets out a comprehensive plan to improve the environment for biking in Houston, and to make it inclusive to people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. It also sets out a set of performance metrics to assess how the City is performing against its goals.
To grow ridership, the plan focuses on improving opportunities for both people currently riding and also the 50-60% of the population that is “Interested but Concerned” about bicycling. This involves getting the right policies and programs in place to support access to bicycles, education of how to ride safely, end of trip facilities, and enforcement of regulations. The expansion of the high comfort bikeway network is critical to reach many more people and jobs across the city.