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Old 07-27-08, 07:17 AM   #1
kf5nd
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Thumbs up Pro-road cycling candidate for Harris County Commissioner Precinct 3

I was at the Citizens' Transportation Committee (CTC) Board meeting tonight, and I ran in Lt. Colonel (USAF retired) Dexter Handy who is running against incumbent Steve Radack for Harris County Commissioner Precinct 3.

Dexter is an avid cyclist and marathoner (don't know if he swims... I didn't ask). We started talking about Harris County's written policy against building any type of on-road infrastructure for bicycling (I have copies on file if you want to read, but be forewarned, these emails induce vomiting), and he said that if he is elected as Commissioner this policy will definitely end in Precinct 3, words which were honey to my ears. I reached into my wallet, pulled out some twenties, and threw them across the table at him.

FYI, Commissioner Radack just voted in Commissioner's Court this week to authorize $10 million to start building the Grand Parkway Segment E, so get ready for the bulldozers to start tearing land up from I-10 to 290 somewhere around the Katy-Hockley Road longitude, consigning the last bits of prairie in Harris County to crap development; nail salons, oil change places, shirt laundries, then the strip malls will be abandoned in a few years after the businesses fail when gasoline hits $8, and the Southwest Cholos and MS13 will take those properties over. But at least those troublesome Canada geese will be gone. Thank you Commissioner Radack.

www.dexterhandy.org
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Old 07-27-08, 07:19 AM   #2
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Harris County's current anti-road cycling policy

Mr. Wang:

Thank you for your continued interest regarding your desire for bike lanes or accommodations on North Eldridge Parkway from FM 529 to West Little York Road. We appreciate your affording Precinct 4 an opportunity to re-address the matter of bicycle traffic on Precinct 4 roadways.

North Eldridge Parkway is depicted on the City of Houstonís Major Freeway and Thoroughfare Plan and both the City of Houston and Harris County are responsible for maintaining the integrity of the MTP. The MTP serves as notice to the public of future road development and addresses the requirements for developing corridors identified on the MTP. The MTP also provides transportation planners a mechanism for insuring homes and businesses are not built within the proposed road right of way of a major or principal thoroughfare; however, the MTP does not require the development community to set aside the additional right of way needed for the accommodations you seek.

Costs associated with providing wider outside lanes accommodating a potential bicyclist along a major thoroughfare includes; however, is not limited to the need to acquire additional road right of way for the placement of additional pavement, drainage mitigation due to the elimination of back of curb swales currently designed to capture overland storm water flows and relocation of utilities located within a 100-foot wide road right of way.

As previously advised, Precinct 4 does not maintain any major roadway with officially designated bike lanes. Providing additional lane widths would not offer bicyclists the safety benefit needed and would only provide a false sense of security. Bike lanes on roadways designed to accommodate the safe movement of passenger vehicles and trucks is not the appropriate location for the majority of bicyclists. Harris Countyís position regarding the installation and or maintenance of bike lanes has not changed since our previous response(s) of August 21, 2002, June 30, 2004, November 23, 2004, and November 6, 2007.

Again, thank you for affording us an opportunity to re-address this matter. Please contact our Community Assistance Department, at (281) 353-8424, or visit our website, should you have any questions regarding other Precinct 4 Road and Bridge matters.


Ron Layton
Harris County Precinct 4
Capital Improvement Projects Division
281-353-8100
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Old 07-29-08, 05:07 PM   #3
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I like this part of Dexter's website:

Quote:
I will strive for new and diverse transportation solutions available to our citizens. New toll roads are not enough when we expect growth of over one million new residents in the county over the next decade. We need to find and exploit options which reduce the carbon footprint in our city. We need to look at light rail, commuter rail, and dedicated two wheeled vehicle lanes. We need to find ways to put these options in place without affecting our progressive communities.


Two wheeled vehicle lanes. Almost seems like he's afraid to say "bicycle". Could it be he means to put bicycles and motorcycles in the same lane together? What about the tricycle and unicycle vote?



I know Houston and Harris county seriously need an overhaul in it's attitudes. We need good politicians that really will stand up for human powered transportation, that will make sure that the infrastructure already in place will stay in place, and new projects will include bike use be it extra wide outer lanes so Bikes can safely share the rode with "normal" traffic or dedicated bike path along major road ways. I'm just skeptical about politicians that don't clearly say what they mean.
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Old 07-29-08, 06:37 PM   #4
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Perhaps "two-wheeled vehicle" means that skateboards and skates will be excluded from the lanes? Now, THAT would be a positive result! IMHO, a bicycle lane only works well if it is truly for bicycles only. If I have to swerve around skateboarders, skaters, dog-walkers, and joggers/pedestrians moving abreast, I might as well just stay in the regular traffic lanes. Moreover, if the unincorporated parts of the county follow the example of the city of Houston (mostly within Harris County) and allow cars to be parked in the designated bicycle lanes, nothing positive will have been accomplished for cyclists.
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Old 07-30-08, 09:47 AM   #5
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I could appreciate Precinct 4's claim that bike lanes in the road are not safe if they were willing to offer an alternative. Anchorage, Alaska is a great example where they made a bike path all the way from out in the suburbs to downtown and it is grade separated from the road at highway and road crossings. If Precinct 4 were willing to do something like that, I could accept their objection to putting bike lanes on roads. But if the "safety" concern is just an excuse not to accomodate cyclists, then they need to be called out on it.
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Old 07-30-08, 01:00 PM   #6
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What would be truly amazing is if the cagers had a mentality that we were supposed to be on the road too. I actually got honked at on the part of my commute this morning that is through a neighborhood. The education for drivers definetly needs some attention in Harris County.
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Old 07-30-08, 05:27 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by texaggs View Post
What would be truly amazing is if the cagers had a mentality that we were supposed to be on the road too. I actually got honked at on the part of my commute this morning that is through a neighborhood. The education for drivers definetly needs some attention in Harris County.
Keep in mind that a short, brief beep on the horn when passing was a traditional courtesy that was common a few decades ago in the area. Some will still do it, especially when passing cyclists, skaters, dog walkers, etc. If I am about to pass a cyclist who is drifting and/or not maintaining a defined course, I will may still give a gentle beep of the horn, just as I will use a bell on a bike, or clear my throat or announce my presence verbally if without a bell. The era of hermetically sealed vehicles and blasting stereos has largely killed the practice. When everyone drove with open windows, a brief beep was just a way of letting someone know not top turn left or change lanes, because then, as now, virtually nobody signals turns.

Of course, MOST horn honking is indeed hostile.
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