Dedicated Bike Lanes May Be Coming to W. Alabama

By | August 11, 2015
W Alabama Reconstruction

For bicyclists tired of dodging traffic on W. Alabama St., a solution may be on the way. The City of Houston recently unveiled a plan to add bike lanes in both directions on the crowded roadway, in part by eliminating W. Alabama’s reversible center lane. At a public hearing on July 30 covered by the Examiner, city representatives sought feedback on the two options under consideration. One option would add dedicated bike lanes on the north and south sides of the street; the other would widen the sidewalks on both sides to allow for use by both pedestrians and bicyclists. Construction is scheduled to begin in late 2016. To learn more about the plans and to submit a comment, visit rebuildhouston.org.

20 responses to “Dedicated Bike Lanes May Be Coming to W. Alabama”

  1. Roger Moore

    I am very much in favor of this proposal as both a cyclist and a Montrose resident. We need at least one safe east-west corridor for bikes in the neighborhood.

  2. Julia McGowen

    Another example of ReBuild Houston funds being used for, what I consider to be, a low priority project. I live off of West Alabama & drive down it multiple times, every single day. Not only do I rarely see bicyclists riding down this road, but feel that funds should instead be used to fix the potholes and raised manholes in the road first! Everyday during my commute, I myself have to dodge said road hazards and see numerous cars having to do the same. I also think removing the reverse lane that doubles as a contraflow lane during rush hours to create this bike lane would GREATLY increase traffic buildup in the area and is not something I want to see in my neighborhood.

    • You know what helps traffic?… Less cars. Go use another road if you don’t like it, u can literally chose ANY other one… Bikers need a safe way to commute… More people will bike if we make it safer.

  3. This is ludicrous. Traffic isn’t already bad enough, with all the added residents? How bout you use this money to fix the streets for the almost complete majority of road users – drivers – so my suspension doesn’t get beat to hell, and so we don’t sit stagnant at every light with even the slightest bit of traffic.

    Plan new roads for bikes, great. But shoving them down a broken, congested road isn’t helping.

  4. Haha, come on guys! Rarely see cyclists? Well, add bike lanes and you will! Traffic’s bad enough already? Well, add some bike lanes and people will bike instead of driving! Way to solve the traffic problem, albeit slowly.

    Support any small amount of pro-cycling modifications. That is, if you are anti-traffic.

    The safer it is for bikes the more endless car traffic will be a thing of the past!

  5. We really need more bike lanes! Please don’t force us into the sidewalk.

  6. Devin Robinson

    Ohhh man! This is too ridiculous. I live in First Monteose Commons and have lived in Westmoreland over the past 17 years… This is right at the beginning of where trouble on West Alabama starts. Remove center lane, traffic doubles. Create bike lane and people WILL get killed. I say this as a resident and small business Owner who travels this road MULTIPLE times a day…

    I say this as a citizen; FIX THIS DAMN ROAD! I just replace the shocks and bushings I my F150. Parts = $600, labor = free because my brother an I did it… Cost at at a shop = $1800+/-.

    Now as an Architect and Urban Planner, the City of Houston and its ‘officials’ need to take a bold step and stand up and address the infrastructure catastrophe that awaits this City if they just keep putting on band aids!

    Sheesh H-town, I love you and and all but you are getting hard to defend….

  7. Ray Hankamer

    I say separate cars and bikes wherever possible. It is too dangerous to mix them. We need dedicated “roadways” for bikes…so I support nice wide hike + bike paved paths on both sides of W. Alabama, and leave the middle turn lane there. At the same time the bike paths are built, repave W. Alabama, because the motorists’ complaints are justified as well. Let the City budget to remake the entire corridor for cars and bikes.

  8. Poorly thought out! First, take a look at W Alabama during evening rush hour…..The East bound lanes back up over 1/2 mile from Montrose in the afternoon, due to only having one lane. Traffic also backs up when someone stops to turn left, as there is no way to pass. Rush hour traffic going west is also heavy, but luckily there are two lanes with the reversable lane. And as others have said, there are bad spots all along the road that vehicles regularly swerve around to avoid damaging their car. Move the bike lane/route to a side streets, such as Harold or Kipling. City of Houston needs to quit wasting time on small things and take care of the major items, such as fixing the streets properly!

  9. I don’t think the article makes this clear: the city isn’t just adding bike lanes by getting rid of the reversible lane, THEY ARE REDOING THE ENTIRE STREET from Weslayan to Chenevert. The potholes and bumps will be gone! The reversible traffic lane is to be replaced with a dedicated turn lane (and the bike lanes will be in addition to the turn lane, not replacing the lane). I’ve been nearly killed several times by drivers who don’t understand how the reversible lane works, and when this idea was brought up by the Planning Dept at the public hearing, the whole room started cheering. So I suspect a large majority of neighbors are in favor of this.

    Why not add the infrastructure for bikes and pedestrians at the same time they are tearing up and replacing the road? Seems pretty efficient (not wasteful!) to me.

    • Can you tell me where the extra width is going to come from to create the bike lanes if the middle lane remains for turns? Sounds like the lanes will get narrower….. Are they going to tear the street out completely and rebuild, or just another cheap overlay that deteriorates quickly? Don’t get me wrong, I am all for bike lanes/routes, but all the ones I have seen have taken width from adjacent traffic lanes, plus are usually in the worst part of the road, near the curb where all the broken glass and rocks lay….

      • Agreed…I’m not in favor of the short-term fixes either!

        The project will reconstruct the street and is not just an overlay. They are also going to address storm drainage, replace water and sewer lines as needed, realign poorly planned intersections and add pedestrian crossings.

        All of the proposed dimensions are on the Rebuild Houston site under “Alabama Street Reconstruction.” They have some diagrams showing the two options for layouts. In total, the corridor requires 60 feet (as measured from the outside edge of northern sidewalk to southern sidewalk). All driving lanes (east, west and center turn) will be 11 feet wide no matter the layout. The bike lanes and sidewalks change dimensions depending on the final layout (bike lanes on the street vs. a shared bike/pedestrian path off-street). IMO, both have pros and cons. They are currently taking public comments about which layout is preferred. If you have one that you like better, you can let them know.

  10. Why don’t bicycles use the side streets , a lot less traffic….

  11. I work in a building that is adjacent to the green lane for bicycle users in downtown…..TOTAL WASTE OF $$$….there is usually 4-5 users from 7am-6pm. I think there are more bicyclist on the road that on their lane. Houston will NEVER become a bicyclist city.

  12. I’ve lived one block off W Alabama for the past 11 years and in the neighborhood for 25 years. I can hear the honking horns and squealing brakes during the contra-flow hours. I’ve seen many wrecks over the years since this bad idea was instituted. The contra-flow was promised to area residents by the City as temporary and would be removed when the rebuild of the spur was complete. The City went back on their word and refused to remove the contra-flow. Glad to see the City is finally keeping its word. I think either one of these plans would be a huge improvement. You don’t see many bikers because the contra-flow drivers speed way too fast and it’s too dangerous. Drivers will figure out where to go when Alabama is 2 lanes again. They should really use 4 lane Westheimer or Richmond anyway. Or how about using the spur that started this dangerous situation to begin with? We also desperately need the new storm sewers.

  13. A bike lane is great, but you know what would be better? I frickin rail line to connect Midtown to the Galleria….but that’ll never happen

  14. I’m in favor of widening the sidewalk and placing dedicated bike lanes inside them. I’ve seen this done in Paris and it works very, very well. Check out #totalstreets on Instagram.

  15. Elizabeth Marshall

    The contra-flow lane has been a god-send! You will be adding to the pollution of car exhaust by slowing down the vehicle commute to and from downtown. Cyclists and all of us need clean air. I support the concept of bikes usage, but it has not worked to increase commuter bike riding – the Lamar Cycle is empty during all commuter hours and is mere lip service to the concept of supporting cycling. A time day long camera showed not a single cyclist – except the same messenger cyclists that were already at work. Keep and widen sidewalks. The evening bike clubs don’t and can’t use these dinky bike lanes.

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