H-GAC’s First Bikeway Workshop a Success
The Houston-Galveston Area Council’s Making Connections: Realizing a Regional Bikeway Network luncheon and expo, held September 23, 2009, attracted more than 100 elected officials, community planners, engineers, bike advocates and bike enthusiasts. Attendees met for an afternoon of learning and networking with others working to promote bicycle connectivity in the region.
The workshop, the first of its kind in the region, featured local and national success stories, public and private partnerships, and strategies for improving mobility for cyclists.
“I’m very pleased with the turnout both in terms of the number of people who attended as well as the diversity of interests represented,” said Gina Mitteco, H-GAC Pedestrian-Bicyclist Coordinator. “We had all of the right people participating in the discussion today including local government staff, citizen advocates, developers, elected officials and consultant experts. These are the people that need to be at the table if we are going to create a connected bikeway network in this region.”
Harris County Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack offered the welcome and opening remarks. Commissioner Radack has focused on enhancing the quality of life in Precinct 3 through aggressive development of parks and hike-and-bike trails. Jeff Taebel, Director of Community and Environmental Planning with H-GAC, provided an overview of the region’s bikeways and how plans for the future can include more bike-oriented development projects that use access to trails as a strategy to attract owners and tenants.
W. Preston Tyree, Director of Education for the League of American Bicyclists, provided the keynote address and reminded those in attendance that safety, comfort and convenience for cyclists should be considered when incorporating bikeways into transportation plans. He said although existing roadways currently provide a bicycle network, methods of ensuring usability by commuters and recreational riders should be included, such as wide lanes, separate bike/pedestrian trails and clear markings to delineate bikeways and shared-use paths.
Breakout sessions included Approaches to Bikeway Planning and Implementation, Building Bikeways through the Development Process, Safety and Mobility Lessons from Europe: Results of the International Scan, and Sharing the Road: Safety Education for Cyclists and Drivers.
H-GAC debuted its best practices guide, Building Better Bikeways, during the expo and ice cream social that rounded out the afternoon.
The luncheon was generously sponsored by Edminster Hinshaw Russ and Associates. Additional sponsors included Michael Baker Jr. Inc., Clark Condon Associates, Wilbur Smith Associates, REI-Houston, and Bike Barn.
For more information about the H-GAC Pedestrian-Bicyclist Transportation Program, please contact Gina Mitteco at 713-993-4583 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.h-gac.com/go/pedbike.
Houston-Galveston Area Council
The Houston-Galveston Area Council (www.h-gac.com) is a voluntary association of local governments in the 13-county Gulf Coast Planning Region—an area of 12,500 square miles and more than 5.7 million people. H-GAC works to promote efficient and accountable use of local, state, and federal tax dollars and serves as a problem-solving and information forum for local government needs.