- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 27, 2014

HOUSTON (AP) - Houston officials hope to construct the city’s first protected bicycle lane, connecting cyclists to Buffalo Bayou trails and Discovery Green, this fall.

A downtown lane will be converted into a nearly three-quarter-mile path, which will be painted green and separated from traffic lanes by a two-foot barrier, the Houston Chronicle (https://bit.ly/1q5IU1x ) reported. Signals will also be added to direct cyclists through intersections.

“This park connector was a perfect example of a really significant connection that was missing between two very popular and well-traveled off-street bike trails,” said Laura Spanjian, the city’s sustainability director. “Needing a safe connection for bicyclists downtown was something that was seen as very important.”

Michael Payne, executive director of Bike Houston, says the bike lane will not only help keep cyclists safe, it will also encourage more people to consider alternative transportation.

“The key here is that physical separation, which makes cyclists feel more comfortable, that their space is defined,” Payne said. “When you’re on a bike route you’re right out there with the traffic. The whole objective here for Houston is to develop infrastructure that makes people feel comfortable, safe and encourages them to get out of their houses and out of their cars and use their bicycles both for recreation and for transportation.”

Payne said the protected lane is a big move for Houston because its cycling infrastructure is behind many other major cities. Michael Skelly, a Bike Houston board member, agreed.

“Most major cities in the U.S. have learned that this sort of transportation infrastructure is very much appreciated by folks,” Skelly said, “and then, once you build it, they show up.”

City officials hope to begin work in September and open the bike lane a month later.

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Information from: Houston Chronicle, https://www.houstonchronicle.com


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