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14 www.ChangeMediaOnline.com  ACTIVISM | her ground Outdoor Enthusiasts  UNITE By Holly Beretto A group of Clear Lake area residents recently joined forces with the City of Houston on a ride to discover ways to make bicycle routes safer. Bikeways and walkways encourage quality of lif e in the Bay Area R esidents of—and visitors to—the Bay Area don’t need anyone to tell them there’s a huge outdoor life component to the water-bordered lands south of Houston’s concrete canyons. It’s not unusual to see kayakers on the water and families enjoying the parks. It is, however, a trie more difcult to cycle along the area’s roadways, or walk from home to shops. Now, the City of Houston is looking to change that.  A proposed study is in the works to take into consideration the safety and mobility needs for cyclists and pedestrians in the Clear Lake area. It’s a collaborative effort between the City of Houston Department of Public Works and Engineering and the Houston-Galveston Area Council, each of which is providing $50,000. “This study is part of Houston’s continued effort to connect centers of great cultural, economic and educational signicance, as well as wonderfully diverse residential neighborhoods,” says Dan Raine, the bicyclist-pedestrian coordinator in Houston’s public works and engineering department. “The city of Houston nominated this segment of Clear Lake for study in order to develop potential improvement projects to enhance the feasibility and functionality of walking and biking trips between the various commercial and residential land uses, with an emphasis on providing connections to major employer centers.”  The initial goals of the project focus on providing opportunities for bikers and walkers of all levels, so that any bikeways or walkways built ensure the safety of area residents, and providing greater connectivity for bikers and walkers between destinations. Raine says that while Clear Lake has beneted from several transportation improvements, few of those enhancements have been for pedestrians and cyclists. He concedes that even though most of the area’s roadways have sidewalks, several

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  • 8/6/2019 Clear Lake Story in Change Magazine

    1/3

    14 www.ChangeMediaOnline.com

    ACTIVISM | her ground

    OutdoorEnthusiastsUNITE

    By Holly Beretto

    A group of Clear Lake area residents recently joined forces with the City of Houston on a

    ride to discover ways to make bicycle routes safer.

    Bikeways and walkways encourage quality of lif

    e in the Bay Area

    Residents ofand visitors tothe Bay Area dont

    need anyone to tell them theres a huge outdoor life

    component to the water-bordered lands south of

    Houstons concrete canyons. Its not unusual to see kayakers

    on the water and families enjoying the parks.

    It is, however, a trie more difcult to cycle along the

    areas roadways, or walk from home to shops. Now, the City

    of Houston is looking to change that.

    A proposed study is in the works to take into

    consideration the safety and mobility needs for cyclists and

    pedestrians in the Clear Lake area. Its a collaborative effort

    between the City of Houston Department of Public Worksand Engineering and the Houston-Galveston Area Council,

    each of which is providing $50,000.

    This study is part of Houstons continued effort to

    connect centers of great cultural, economic and educational

    signicance, as well as wonderfully diverse residential

    neighborhoods, says Dan Raine, the bicyclist-pedestrian

    coordinator in Houstons public works and engineering

    department. The city of Houston nominated this segment

    of Clear Lake for study in order to develop potential

    improvement projects to enhance the feasibility and

    functionality of walking and biking trips between the various

    commercial and residential land uses, with an emphasis on

    providing connections to major employer centers.

    The initial goals of the project focus on providing

    opportunities for bikers and walkers of all levels, so that

    any bikeways or walkways built ensure the safety of area

    residents, and providing greater connectivity for bikers andwalkers between destinations.

    Raine says that while Clear Lake has beneted from several

    transportation improvements, few of those enhancements

    have been for pedestrians and cyclists. He concedes that even

    though most of the areas roadways have sidewalks, several

  • 8/6/2019 Clear Lake Story in Change Magazine

    2/3

    15August 2011

    factors limit where walkers can safely cross streets, which

    discourages walking.

    If these deterrents to walking and bicycling can be

    identied and addressed, the resulting projects would

    contribute signicantly to public health and quality of life.

    Quality of life issues have long been important to the

    Houston metro areas residents, and mobility factors

    89% of respondents of a recent project survey indicated that they would bike

    10 minutes to a destination if they felt they could do so safely; however, only

    11% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they currently feel safe

    biking in Clear Lake. Many of the places to which people would like to walk

    and bikesuch as schools, stores, and jobsare located along the busiest,

    fastest roads in the area.

    The Clear Lake area is rich with destinations, including neighborhoods,

    restaurants, malls, jobs, parkseven a space center! The Clear Lake Pedestrian

    and Bicyclist Study is envisioning ways to connect these destinations to make

    walking and biking to them fun and safe for all users.

    Map of Study Area

    Ma of pedestrian/bicycle Crash Sites

    Your feet mirror your general health. Conditionssuch as arthritis, diabetes, nerve and circulatory

    disorders can show their initial symptoms in thefeet - so foot ailments can be your first sign of

    more serious medical problems.

  • 8/6/2019 Clear Lake Story in Change Magazine

    3/3

    17August 2011

    air pollution along with relieving stress, reaping benets

    through the safe passage of people to and from work, school

    and activities.

    Raine says the areas large employers have long

    encouraged their workers to live healthy lifestyles, and he

    believes that creating opportunities for walking and biking

    would not only enhance the health of area residents, but

    would also improve air quality and bring people together to

    create a greater sense of community.

    To that end, several public meetings have been held aimed

    at making sure residents understand whats happening and

    giving them a venue to make their own thoughts heard.

    Feedback from the meetings thus far has been positive,

    and residents offered support for the study and offered their

    ideas about the communitys needs, including a desire to xthe walkways and paths already in place, better maintaining

    those pathways, and improving sidewalks and road

    shoulders.

    The next public meeting will be held Sept. 7 at the Clear

    Lake City Community Association building at 16511 Diana

    Lane. It starts at 6:00 pm and the public is encouraged

    to attend. Theres also an online survey anyone can take,

    and Raine says both the City of Houston and HGAC are

    interested in community feedback. Its accessible throughwww.walkbikeclearlake.com

    Raine is optimistic about the study and its implications.

    The results will identify pedestrian and bicyclist safety and

    mobility issues, as well as develop and prioritize a series

    of immediate, short- and long-term improvement projects

    that will be eligible for implementation with funding made

    available through future calls for projects from the HGACs

    Transportation Improvement Program.

    heavily into how area residents view it. For nearly the last 30

    years, Rice University has conducted the annual Houston

    Area Survey, a look at the attitudes and opinions of area

    residents. Throughout the surveys history, trafc and

    mobility have routinely ranked among the most important

    challenges to the region. The survey is now run under the

    auspices of the universitys Kinder Institute for Urban

    Research, and in the 2010 survey, 41% of respondents said

    theyd choose to live in a smaller house in a more urbanized

    area, within walking distance of shops and workplaces.

    Respondents always rate Houston highly as a place to live,

    and they support better land-use initiatives to improve

    quality of life.

    Raine says that in addition to the health benets, there aremultiple other enhancements to quality of life that making the

    Bay Area more pedestrian and bicycle friendly can provide.

    Using walking or biking for local trips provides a

    healthier and more aesthetically pleasing alternative to

    motorized transportation, he says. And it helps to alleviate

    if your communty were bcyce frendy, woud you

    opt for t mode of tranportaton? Attend te

    sept. 7 meetn, connect wt oter outdoor

    entuat and cyct, and ve bkn a try.

    10 REASONS TO TRAvEL bY bIKE

    Free ar condtonnt caed wnd!

    Peda power burn caore, not money

    and aone.

    No tnky, toxc emon eft bend.

    Tt ort and top are coo.

    Take your tre on te roadwtout te rae.

    Free parkn everywere.

    No car payment, car nurance or peedn

    tcket.

    Fee ke a kd aan.

    lmt exceve purcae at te rocery tore.

    Totay rpped and bun gatrocnemu

    muce.

    Attend the Sept. 7 Meeting!For more information about The Clear Lake Pedestrian

    and Bicyclist Study visit www.walkbikeclearlake.com.

    Attendees at the July

    20 meeting offeredvaluable input and ideas

    to improve walking

    and biking routes in

    the Bay Area. All are

    encouraged to attend

    the next meeting on

    Sept. 7 at the Clear

    Lake City Community

    Association building

    on Diana Ln.

    PhotoscopyrightStevePedigo2011TerranCamera

    Busy streets, poorly maintained

    bicycle paths and narrow

    sidewalks were noted and

    discussed along the ride route

    with future improvements to

    be determined by the study

    groups input.