While Houston has become more bicycle friendly through various city and regional initiatives, there has not been an updated comprehensive bicycle plan since 1993. The Houston Bike Plan presents a transformative opportunity for the City and region to greatly improve mobility and access, health and safety, equity and access to opportunity, and economic development.
The Houston Bike Plan supports increased active transportation through a community-driven vision that aims to remove barriers to biking and walking.
In order to develop a vision and goals for the Houston Bike Plan, the team conducted a series of community conversations, meetings, online forums and public surveys, and developed a Bicycle Advisory Committee to directly advise the creation of the plan. The plan sets an aspirational vision for Houston to become a Gold-level Bicycle Friendly City by 2027, ten years from the development of the plan.
To support the growing number of people seeking healthy, active lifestyles, the plan seeks to remove barriers to bicycling by recommending high-comfort, low-stress bikeway facilities that serve people of all biking abilities, ages, and experiences. Removing barriers to bicycling supports healthy lifestyles by incorporating leisure physical activity into more facets of life, whether it is riding for a work commute or riding for recreation.
Whether walking, biking, or rolling, active transportation is a growing mode share. This plan supports mobility through creating increased connectivity of safe, high-comfort facilities across the City, which in turn encourages more people to bike and walk.
To develop the guiding goals of the plan, the team focused on building a broad consensus with both cyclists and non-cyclists to ensure that the Bike Plan reflects regional ambitions, as implementation has the potential to affect not only the mobility of residents, but also their quality of life.
Through extensive community engagement strategies, including public meetings, stakeholder meetings, community events, and online tools like a project website, over 3,000 people provided feedback on the plan. In addition, a Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) was developed that consisted of representatives from various stakeholder groups in order to help provide feedback throughout the Bike Plan development. The public and stakeholder input ultimately reflected four main goal areas: improving safety, increasing access, increasing ridership, and developing and maintaining facilities.
Additionally, a Bike Toolbox of recommendations for the City of Houston was developed to move forward with the implementation of the visions and goals. Through detailed bikeway project elements, potential policy changes, and programmatic approaches, the Toolbox will serve as a guide for the city to leverage best practices.