Houston embraces multi-modal transportation solution
America's 4th largest city invests in its bicyclists and pedestrians
What does it mean to be multi-modal? For Houston, it means economic opportunity and new construction now...and 7 miles of paths, 10 miles of on-street bikeways, 11 miles of sidewalks, and 6 miles of pedestrian enhancements in the future.
That's thanks to the city's "Regional Bike/Pedestrian Connections to Transit" project, which broke ground today. I was in Houston for the event and had the pleasure of joining U.S. Representatives Gene Green and Sheila Jackson Lee, Mayor Annise Parker, and other local officials to celebrate this terrific step forward.
Once it’s finished in January 2015, Houston's "Connections" project will improve mobility and provide residents, workers, and college students in the downtown area with safer shared-use paths, sidewalks, and walkways. Together, they will eliminate major gaps on primary off-street bicycle/pedestrian transportation routes; connect residential areas and employment centers to bus and rail transportation; and complete a portion of Houston's planned inner-city bikeway.
And there’s more to come. The project also includes new directional signs; improved pedestrian amenities with benches, bike racks, waste receptacles, lighting, trees, and landscaping; and a new electric shuttle path between two campuses of the University of Houston.
The enitre project will cost about $29 million and is partially funded by a $15 million TIGER grant. Under all five rounds combined, the TIGER program has provided more than $3.6 billion to 270 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Many of these projects support a multi-modal approach--like Houston's--that makes roadways safer for everyone who uses them.
At the Federal Highway Administration, we’re pleased to be part of such a pivotal effort.
Victor Mendez is Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration.