City staffers are finalizing a plan to add protected bike lanes along 11th Street in the Heights and reduce the number of driving lanes, despite pushback from some residents in the area.
Crews will begin work rehabilitating 11th Street this month, with plans to start construction on the bikeway part of the project in October, said Erin Jones, spokesperson for the city’s public works department.
“The bikeway design is still being finalized to include METRO bus stop improvements/relocations,” she said.
“When Mayor Turner announced the 11th Street project would move forward after that short pause, he said something that struck me,” said Joe Cutrufo, the director of BikeHouston. “He said that, ‘we’re not building the city for where we are now, but building the city for where we are going.’ And I thought that was really well-phrased.”
Bike lanes will be added on both sides of 11th between North Shepherd Drive and Michaux Street, where there will be one vehicular lane in each direction with a center, left-turn lane along the stretch between Yale and Studewood streets. The plan also calls for bike lanes along Michaux between 11th and Stude Park to the south as well as protected crossings for pedestrians and cyclists at intersections such as 11th and Nicholson Street, where the Heights Hike-and-Bike Trail crosses 11th, and Michaux and White Oak Drive.
There now are two vehicle lanes in each direction on 11th between Shepherd and Michaux, and no center turn lanes.
The project will cost about $600,000, with funding coming from capital improvement dollars for bikeways, according to the city.
See here, here, and here for some background. I fully support this and I am excited to see what the finished project looks like. I also recognize that the construction will be inconvenient, and it will directly affect me. Like most people in this neighborhood, I regularly drive all of those named streets. The carpool we have for getting Daughter #2 to and from high school also involves taking on kid home north of Garden Oaks, for which I take Shepherd already under construction) via 11th. It’s going to suck for awhile, no two ways around it. But hey, I’ve survived more highway renovations than I can count. I will survive this, too. And in the end, the neighborhood will be a better place. Let’s do this.