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Let’s kill fewer pedestrians and bicyclists

Crazy idea, right?

Houston officials will find the 10 most dangerous intersections in the city and make safety adjustments where possible following a series of fatal bicycle crashes in 2018.

Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the initiative on Bike to Work Day, noting that streets need to be safer for bicyclists if the city expects to promote cycling.


The program will come as a citywide expansion of Houston’s Safer Streets initiative, a pilot project that was implemented last year in five Houston communities to make streets more friendly for bicyclists and pedestrians, Turner said.

The city’s public works and planning and development departments will work with the city’s Bicycle Advocacy Committee and bike safety nonprofit BikeHouston to identify the 10 intersections that will be adjusted.

Narrowing that list down to ten may be a challenge. Here’s a map showing the major incidents over the past two years. Most of them, anyway – as Swamplot notes, locations for about fifteen percent of crashes weren’t identified, so add another hundred dots to that map. Like I said, sure would be nice if we could reduce that number.

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  1. Jason Hochman says:

    TLDR. I bike to work from the Heights to Med Center, and Houston is poorly designed all around, so much needs to be done.

    First, let’s just say that bicyclists need to make sure their bikes are in good working order, and follow the laws. I’ve almost been hit by other bicycles that sail through stop signs, and I get irritated when I stop at the signs, and another bike passes me, then, I have to pass that bike, only for it to roll past me at the stop sign, and so on. On the mixed use trails, the fair weather carbon riders who come out on their race machines get enraged at pedestrians and dog walkers, and whiz by to the right of slower bikes, coming up quickly without a signal. These are the same people who race around in their BMW on the road, and don’t understand that it is not your right to pass every slower vehicle immediately, without regard for safety, just because it’s there. Go the Velodrome if you are training for the Olympics. As well, bicyclists should practice and know their route, if possible, ride to your work on a weekend or at a time when their is less traffic and you can learn the route at a leisurely pace.

    Second, as the post says, narrowing the list of intersections down to ten may be a challenge. Houston is terribly designed, and ignores conventions that other cities use. I don’t know how visitors drive around town. The Med Center is a ball of rage and traffic, where I have nearly been hit while walking many times, and had drivers honk and throw the finger. For example, crossing Main Street at John Freeman Blvd, and the cars coming out from underneath the Methodist Outpatient Clinic, when they turn left, to go south on Main, you had better not be in the crosswalk. I’ve had many confrontations there. You would think since that crosswalk comes right from the end of the Rice campus walking and biking path, that the university would want something done about it. And the TMC privately owned streets aren’t that safe, either. Maybe some accident victim will find an enterprising lawyer and sue the TMC one day.

    Commuting by bicycle is faster than taking the bus, but it is slower than it needs to be. Bike lanes on the streets are about 3′ wide, and full of debris. The construction sites have staples, nails, and screws there, and the tow trucks, which are privileged and special in Houston, sweep the fragments of downed cars to the side of the street, while their buddies the police stand around jawing. (This has caused my cars to get flat tires as well). Then, the potholes. Woodhead is a marked bike route, but that must be a joke. Woodhead makes the surface of the moon look smooth. Try riding on it with skinny 80 psi road bike tires. You need to take it slow, and stop to pick up the parts that fall off your bike. Having to stop every 50 feet makes the ride cumbersome. I will get up to 15, 20 mph, immediately start braking, stop, and start over again for the next block.

    Our rulers are out of touch. My city councilman, Mrs. Cohen, remarked how the new HEB on Shepherd will enhance the walkability and biking of our neighborhood. I’ve never seen her walking or biking around this neighborhood. I do both daily, and occasionally drive one of my cars around, too. Now, if the new HEB is going to be great for walking and biking, why is the company so concerned about building more parking spaces, and wanting to expand onto the public sidewalk for more parking? Why is the store going to be a multi level parking garage? Fiesta was there for 44 years with the tiny parking lot. Why isn’t HEB concerned with better sidewalks, more bike racks, and other amenities for walking and biking? No, my city councilman is out of touch. And the mayor, as well, I am sure that when he rides in the Tour de Houston and rides to work on Bike to Work day, they go and patch his route, and sweep it, and have a convoy of police around him. Or even more likely, he straddles a bike, takes a photo, a press release goes out, and he gets into his BMW. I would love for him to commute with me for a couple of weeks.

    Finally, if I am elected, I will turn Shepherd Drive into a regular street, instead of having Shepherd and Durham as super speedways, I would make Shepherd one lane southbound and one lane northbound, with wide sidewalks, and NO PARKING on the sidewalks, like there is now. I would restore Nashua Street, and Durham, I will make into a bicycle and pedestrian highway. The cross streets will have stop signs, so that bikes on Durham won’t have to stop, but there will be ample lanes so that you can take a leisurely ride, or get into a faster lane if you prefer. There will also be a sidewalk for walking and soft sidewalk for jogging. Also, I will get rid of Metro Rail, and sell it to C&D for two dollar bills. I will have a free “downtowner” zone for buses, so that riders can ride for free downtown, and I will have the libraries open until 9 PM, which they were until Parker cut their hours, and then “restored” them, but only until 8 PM. I will find a business that can take over the spot in the Jesse Jones Library which used to belong to Inversion.

  2. Joel says:

    Jason, the original post was a single paragraph. You responded with “TLDR” followed by five thick blocks of text.

    And you’re running for office? Are you running on the tonedeaf blowhard ticket?

  3. C.L. says:

    Jason, sounds like you need to move closer to the Med Ctr. Two benefits – one, you’re closer to work, and two, you’ll be closer to Med Ctr therapists.

  4. Bill Daniels says:


    I laughed out loud. When he gets run over, he will be close to the hospital.


    I give you credit where credit is due. Biking to and from work in the Houston heat, taking your life in your hands each time you get on the road? My hat’s off to you. That’s walking the walk, no pun intended. May I ask roughly how long your commute by bike is, vs. driving or taking a bus? Do you bring a change of clothes with you, or have shower facilities at your workplace? Seems like anyone would be sopping wet biking in Houston’s Summers.

  5. Jason Hochman says:

    @Bill Daniels: Joel is not the one who bikes to work, I do. Joel has nothing to add to the discussion, using his dumb “tonedeaf blowhard” comment. TLDR, by the way, is in reference to my own long rambling comment.

    My commute by bike is about 8.6 miles each way, and is a little faster than taking the bus. I don’t have a shower at work. What I’ve been doing is carrying my shirt and riding in my undershirt. I carry a small towel and dry off, and throw on my shirt. I love the heat but also rode the day after MLK day, when the buses were all cancelled due to ice.

    @Joel, the term “blowhard” is thrown around here all the time to stop debate, it is almost like “hater” and “bigot” which are also used to end all debate without debate. I’m not sure what is your disagreement–do you think that the minimum should be done by the city to make walking and biking safer? That fixing ten intersections is all that’s necessary? Or do you disagree that bike riders need to follow laws? For instance, Thursday morning, I came to the red light at John Freeman and Fannin. I stopped at the light, and another bike did, too. But that bike then went ahead and crossed the intersection with the red light. If a train would’ve come up and crashed into the bike, that’s not the fault of the intersection, that is red light running.

  6. Jules says:

    Jason, I knew that TLDR was about your own post.

  7. Bill Daniels says:


    Sorry, my mistake on the names.