White Oak Bike Trail extension: Look! Concrete!

A few days after the Fourth of July, I saw this on the White Oak Bike Trail extension:


See here for the previous update. That’s the view from where the current trail had ended. I actually saw this bit of progress from above on Studewood, but wanted to get a closer picture to put it into some context. Since then, there’s been quite a bit more progress, as you can see from the Studewood perspective:


You can also see where the next batch of concrete will be poured on the west side of the culvert, up against the retaining wall. Turns out that the project plan diagram was pretty accurate and this path will be mostly straight, with the curve happening on the west side. Here’s a closer view of the coming attraction:


I’m keeping an eager eye on this because they’re clearly moving along, and the last word was that they should be finishing up about now. I’m thinking it’ll be more like late July or early August, but at this point you can see it from here. And I can’t wait to take a picture on this new piece of the trail from my bike. Stay tuned!

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18 Responses to White Oak Bike Trail extension: Look! Concrete!

  1. Given all our essential “needs” throughout Harris County, spending millions of taxpayer dollars to build more “nice to have” bike paths sure seems like a failure to prioritize. My thoughts:


  2. Joel says:

    Has anyone informed the Harris County Republicans that there is a typo in their domain name?

  3. Alex Bunin says:

    Greg, you are a great guy, but as someone who has commuted by bike from Lindale Park to my office at the courthouse for almost 12 years, I am saving our roads and air, and I am not the only one. That construction will protect many cyclists from the danger of crossing the busy intersection at Sawyer and Spring. I saw a fatality being removed there a few years ago. Some good investments are not readily obvious.

  4. Ross says:

    Greg, why do you hate cyclists? The bike path on White Oak near me is used by a great number of cyclists.

  5. Alex, you peddle to/from work in all this Houston heat/humidity? Wow. Well, that explains things. I thought you were really working hard during all those criminal justice meetings. As it turns out, that was just bicycle sweat (ha, ha). In my retirement, I’ve developed a sense of humor. Anyway, I understand the safety concern. Of course, incidents involving bicycles make up an extremely small percentage of the overall traffic accidents that occur every day in Houston/Harris County.

    For clarity, I’m not against cyclists – it’s just a matter of funding prioritization. Most people don’t own a bicycle and those that do mainly just use it for exercise/recreation, not as their primary mode of transportation. In addition, Houston weather can often be an impediment to cycling, with it currently being way too hot/humid for most people to peddle very far. Also, you can’t haul groceries, pick up kids from daycare, etc. on a bicycle.

    Anyway, I assume we can all agree that Harris County residents primarily travel by car, truck, SUV, motorcycle, or metro bus, not bicycle. Rather than spending tens of millions of dollars on more bicycle paths, I think we should instead use that money to add vehicular lanes in strategic areas to relieve our traffic congestion, update our public transportation bus fleet to EV, re-surface our old/deteriorating roads and bridges, fix potholes, improve drainage to prevent street flooding, add more street lighting, enhance enforcement of existing traffic laws, etc. Let’s take care of our core transportation needs first before spending tens of millions of dollars on mostly recreational bicycle paths.

  6. Ross says:

    OK Greg, you want to ignore everyone who rides a bike for work, recreation, exercise, whatever, and spend money in places the County probably can’t legally spend money? That seems shortsighted.

    A real, livable, metropolitan area has all sorts of ways to get around, and all sorts of amenities for residents. Spending a few million on bike(and walking too) paths seems reasonable given the billions spent on freeways and main streets.

    As the official spelling pedant, the word you wanted is pedal. Peddle is something entirely different.

    I agree with Joel. You sound far more like a Republican than a Democrat.

  7. Alex Bunin says:

    Greg, think of it this way, the average taxpayer would not see the utility of putting large windows allowing natural light into creating the Joint Processing Center, but you did. Some investments have far more value than is obvious. Bike travel has exponentially increased in Houston in the last decade because of the development of safe bike trails. It means less car travel and cleaner air.

  8. Alex, true, most people wouldn’t understand the calming effect those windows, and the abundance of natural light, can have on people under stress (being booked into the county jail). Anyway, I do acknowledge bike and walking paths have value – I just don’t see them as one of our higher priorities.

    Ross, our local officials aren’t talking about just spending “a few million” dollars. The initial outlay was $53 million, with the total cost to eventually reach $600 million or more. Now, given all our other needs, that’s an awful lot of money to spend on bicycle/walking paths- for details, see the link below:


    As far as politics, I’m not right-wing or left-wing, liberal or conservative. I’m a moderate Democrat who was proud to support and vote for Clinton and Obama, who are also moderate Democrats. Now, it’s true liberals and progressives have moved the Democratic Party to the left over the years while, at the same time, the Republican Party has moved hard to the right. That’s what makes capturing voters in the middle, the moderates, so important. The Party that can appeal to the moderate/centralist voters will win elections.

  9. Jason Hochman says:

    Hi Greg, just a few comments here, I do ride a bicycle to work, I love the heat and sunshine, I ride about 8 miles each way, so perhaps 15, 16, 17 miles total on a typical work day. I’ve bicycled over 2300 miles so far this year. Sometimes I will ride a motorcycle instead of the bicycle, but in summer that might be hotter, due to wearing a jacket and the heat from the motor.

    More to it, I use a bicycle to get groceries, and other shopping errands. I also have a cargo bicycle that can carry perhaps 250 lbs, in addition to me. I can also carry a passenger on that bicycle. Don’t use it much though, because it is bigger and more cumbersome than the touring style bikes that I typically use. Again, I can also use a motorcycle for these errands. I am trying to get Greta Thunberg to come to the city council–my city councilman, Mrs. Kamin drives a gas blowing SUV and the mayor drove his Gas UV to Earth Day. When Greta’s sailing schooner arrives at the Port of Houston, I will pick her up on my foot powered cargo bicycle and bring her to the council meeting, to give the mayor and my council man her patented glower, and a snarling “how dare you,” and let them know how they’ve stolen her childhood and her dreams.

    Just a geography question. If your commute is from Lindale to Downtown, aren’t you going west of downtown to get to the Spring/Sawyer intersection? Basically Lindale is just north of downtown.

    I have some criticisms of the trails, and, for commuting, they have some challenges, but they are great to have. A lot of the bicycles on the trails though are the lycra guys with expensive carbon bikes, who should go to the Velodrome if they want to race. My commute is probably close to two miles on a trail and 6 miles on streets.

    Most drivers inside the loop are fairly friendly to bikes. Not all of course.

  10. Jason, thanks for sharing. Still, based on the statistics, you (and Alex) are the rare exceptions. Only a tiny fraction of Houston commuters (0.5%) actually bicycle to work – see link below.


    Anyway, I guess we will just have to agree to disagree. As a Harris County taxpayer, I am frustrated that Commissioners Court is about to ask voters for $1.2 billion dollars (bond election) to fund “high priority projects” when they just recently voted to spend $53 million (and possibly up to $600 million) to build more bicycle paths. Geez.

  11. Ross says:

    Greg, if these projects do not start now, they will never get done, and Houston/Harris County will remain a cesspit of anti-pedestrian and anti-cyclist crap. If that’s your goal, say so, and start voting Republican, because you are sounding an awful lot like a Republican, not a Democrat.

    These trails will improve life not just for cyclists, but for people who do not own cars, or those who need to walk to get to school, a bus stop, etc.

    The plan is here https://www.houston.org/sites/default/files/2022-05/Tollways-to-Trailways-Draft-Plan-4.pdf and it is going to take some time to implement. Or until Republicans take control of Commissioners Court, at which time poor people will once again be screwed to benefit the rich White folks that have received most of the benefits from Harris County for the last 50 years.

  12. Fritz Kraut says:

    The Bikeable City Back Then and Now

    It’s amazing to see this becoming a thing now (in Houston), not to mention the low-uptake and dollar-pinching criticism in resistance.

    I say it’s a good investment and improves the quality of life. And it’s about time.

    My college town in Kakania, which has since become a celebrated cultural component of the European Union, closed the central city to cars in the 1970s, turned it into pedestrian and bike zone only (except for loading/delivery hours for shops and other establishments). In the warm season the restaurants, bars, and coffee & pastry shops expand into the square and what used to be streets used and polluted by motor vehicles.

    To get to the city center and back a network of bike lanes was built. Even before that, I would go to and from the Uni on my bike, even in snow and ice with gloves and 2-meter long shawl wrapped around my head cobra-style, though that was admittedly a bit reckless. Helmets weren’t a thing yet for bicycle riders then, only for Vespas and Mopeds which you ride once you had reached the sweet age of 16.

    It’s been a very foots-on city ever since. There are even ped&bike-only bridges over the river that bisects the city. The throngs of tourists love it too. And there has long been public transport as well if you are not into self-propulsion: electric streetcars not named Desire – nowadays modern low-loading ones that can also accommodate wheelchairs, prams, strollers, and bikes, though not during rush hours. The next-arrival times are shown by minute-countdown on digital displays at the tram stops, so you know when the next one is about to arrive, and the progress on your line is also shown on overhead flat screens inside the cars (and buses that serve the routes to the outskirts), with names of stops and connection announcements via loudspeakers in the local language as well as in English for the lingua-franca population.

    Of course we have those street-car amenities in Houston too for more than a decade and a half, but if never taken a ride, you might not know.

    it’s high time for H-Town to catch up on the bike component of the livable cities concept.

  13. Ross, if you go into Houston communities currently struggling with crime, poverty, underperforming schools, poor healthcare, the lack of affordable housing, etc. and tell the residents you have up to $600 million dollars to help them, I doubt they would say “spend it all on bike paths.”. For people without a car, most would ask for expanded Metro bus service, lower fares, more routes, and longer service hours. With electric buses, we could facilitate this enhanced mass transit, at a fraction of the cost, and still be climate friendly. Anyway, let’s not pretend most Harris County residents (of any race) are clamoring for Democrats to spend up to $600 million dollars on more bike paths. If given a choice, most Harris County voters would have higher priorities for that money.

    It’s obvious we are all pretty set on our views on this topic, so I’ll just move on. I did enjoy the discussion.

  14. Jason Hochman says:

    Greg, I am not so much disagreeing–you are correct, that far more people are driving cars vs. bicycles or motorcycles. Compared to pictures I see of crowded cities in Asia, where the streets are swarmed with two wheel vehicles, mostly small displacement motorcycles, bicycles, mopeds, motor scooters. With electric bikes, there are more people commuting on bicycles, but still far less than cars, and I doubt that more trails will change that. I do point out that bikes can do a lot–from commuting to grocery shopping and more.

    I tend to agree with you that there are other priorities to consider, that trails are nice to have, but not necessarily top priority. For the segment of my commute on the trail along White Oak Bayou, it can be slowed down due to pedestrians, other times, I want to go slow because I am looking at wildflowers, girls in summer clothes, turtles, birds, etc, but some spandex fair weather rider on a carbon bike comes flying by, and flips out if he has to slow down a little. For me, riding on two wheels, whether bi- or moto- cycle, is a way that I am part of the environment, I usually have a destination, and sometimes it’s fun to go fast, but it also invites me to sometimes slow down and observe–that’s part of the enjoyment for me.

    Fritz, the downtown Houston restaurants had something like this, where they expand onto the sidewalk, seemingly blocking pedestrians. The idea of pedestrian town centers seems more suited to small towns. For example, Charllotsville, VA has a pedestrian mall downtown, plus the Corner District. Houston has several “downtowns” such as Galleria, Med Center, Greenway, Westheimer.

  15. Jonathan Freeman says:

    Greg, law enforcement is rarely improved by throwing money at it, much like the military. At least with the bike trails we get something tangible to appreciate whether or not building the infrastructure itself will directly translate into greatly increasing the number of people using the trails. I have yet to meet a cop that didn’t insist the only thing holding them back from improving public safety was for the public to provide more money and to give them more authority to do as they please.

    I’m not sure why you keep insisting on using the phrase “up to $600 million dollars” other than to persuade progressives by increasing the price tag too. If we framed everything under those terms we could scare people away from any specific budget item, just increase the potential cost far beyond what is likely in the foreseeable future such as you’ve done by turning the $53 million dollars into $600 million. Focusing the argument on commuting is another red herring, the trails are used for a lot more than that and impact quality of life even if it is difficult to quantify.

    Adding a laundry list of other possible expenditures of the fictionalized $600 million dollars isn’t very persuasive either, not to this Democrat at least. Sticking to the $53 million for now and keeping in mind that state law requires the money to be spent on transportation or air quality projects, how much of a right wing approach would you need to shoehorn those funds into funding more cops, healthcare, poverty, schools, adding roads, and so forth? The marginal improvement to any of those wouldn’t help much, potentially even making things worse, but it should be noted that such funds are already used for flooding, sidewalks, roadwork, law enforcement, and more.

    As for the politics, the more you profess to be a moderate Democrat and suggest the rest of us have greatly veered to the left just as the republicans have gone to the right, the more I think you have in common with the other guys. The far left you speak of prefers to defund the police, not add money as the current county administration has done. The far left demand major reforms in many aspects of county spending but the majority of local progressives and liberals appreciate the direction of things so perhaps you’re just confused by the right wing push to go back to a golden age that never existed for people of color as your baseline.

  16. Manny says:

    That is a lot of concrete; where does that water go? Are they adding to the flooding problem?

  17. Jonathan Freeman says:

    At a community meeting, it was explained that the additional concrete was more than offset by the monies the project spent on flood measures. There was an engineer present who gave some of us his card for follow up questions but I did not take one, I’m sure they explain it on the city website.

  18. Manny says:

    JF, That may, or not be true, but I will follow up on that.


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