Heights Association looks to city to improve bike trail safety

Aug. 30, 2013Heights Leader

The Houston Heights Association has reached out to city officials regarding safety improvements on the bicycle trail through the Heights.

Councilwoman Ellen Cohen said her office will address the issue in a meeting with public works and neighborhood leaders in October.

“Our office has been looking into it — questions (about the bike path) arise frequently,” Cohen said. “Safety is the No. 1 issue.”

If the city is limited in what it can do, Cohen said exploring the option of utilizing private entities to improve safety is a possibility.

Safety, in terms of signage at the path’s intersections with major thoroughfares, is the primary issue at this time.

“Crime is always a concern,” Cohen said. “There are instances. I don’t believe we have seen any significant increase in crime on the trail.”

Donna Bennett, an HHA board member, said the installation of HAWK lights (user-activated beacons that operate similarly to a stop light) at the trail’s intersections would help the situation.

Those intersections are White Oak Street, Heights Boulevard, Yale Street, West 11th Street, West 19th Street and West 20th Street would make the trail safer.

“These trails are a tremendous asset for our community and every day hundreds of us use them,” Bennett said. “Further, signage and pavement marking should be enhanced at all six crossings…existing signage and pavement markings are poorly seen by motorists…We believe these upgrades will enhance the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians without significant delays to motorists. The HHA is committed to cooperating with the city to resolve the issues at these six crossings.”