Comment of the Day: A New Downtown Biking Main Lane

COMMENT OF THE DAY: A NEW DOWNTOWN BIKING MAIN LANE “. . . Metro and the City of Houston should close Main St. to vehicle traffic and make it a bike/pedestrian lane. It’s terribly confusing and extremely slow compared to the lanes next to it and causes more harm than good. People love to hate on bike lanes, but I bet all the haters avoid driving on Main like the plague already.” [HeyHeyHouston, commenting on Council Cuts a Break on Harvey Water Bills; Metro Cracking Down on Illegal Turns Across Tracks; Latest Timeline on the San Jacinto Waste Pits Cleanup] Photo of Main St. at Franklin St.: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

20 Comment

  • Or, you know, tear up the rail and turn it into a BRT.

  • Love this idea!
    Who thinks abandoning Main was always in the works? The way it’s constricted. I know I hate to drive it

  • How in the world is Main Street “terribly confusing”?

  • I agree that driving on Main Street is no fun.
    .
    Think it’s still needed for local vehicle and delivery access to some of the businesses on Main Street.

  • yeah, i would be in for just tearing up the rail.

  • Wow two idiots proposing tearing up a rail line carrying 60k riders for BRT that couldnt carry half the capacity. Plus BRT would need even wider lanes than rail. And vehicles have less capacity vs LRT.

  • The confusing thing about Main St is the part that you can’t drive on now.
    The train is a good thing, but it seems to have a lot of accidents. People drive into, or walk in front of it. Too bad it doesn’t go to the airport.

  • If cars must maintain 3 feet distance from bikes, what space should bikes allow when passing joggers and walkers?

  • didn’t say i wanted BRT, idiot, just said i’d be ok with tearing up the rail on main street. rail should always have been elevated in houston.

  • @Mr Peebody: Walkers and joggers should be on the sidewalk. Bikes should be on the road.

  • @memebag, you presume the availability/walkability of the sidewalk. When that is lacking pedestrians have the right of way in the street and should walk against the direction of vehicular traffic unless conditions prevent doing so.

  • Reason78 – I’m not sure if you realize it or not, but most of the people who ride the light rail every day only do so because Metro stopped running busses down Main Street. There used to be 10+ bus lines than ran from outside the city and all converged down Main Street. After building the light rail, Metro redrew many of the bus routes into the city forcing riders to transfer to the train to finish their commute.

    Also, the daily rider count is more like 50,000, which equals 25,000 each direction. Anyone with a working pair off eyeballs can see that Main Street is drastically underused in its current configuration.

  • @TimP: The sidewalks on Main street are available and walkable. Walking in the roadway on Main street is a very bad idea regardless of which direction you face.

  • On the multi use jogging / bike trails some bikes come within inches (at a high speed) of joggers. Should they allow 3 feet?

  • How about driverless BRT, and allow bikes to have priority in that lane?

  • Yes, Bernard. People are being “forced” to ride in vehicles that are faster, quieter, and more comfortable than busses. And everyone is being deprived of 10+ noisy, diesel fume spewing, traffic-snarling bus lines intruding into downtown. Some riders even bear the indignity of avoiding downtown altogether by transferring at transit hubs.
    Some people may or may not realize that.

  • @Mr. Peebody: The multi-use paths along the bayous have signs posted. Pedestrians have the right of way. They are also supposed to keep left. Texas law requires cyclists to audibly announce before they pass pedestrians. There is no 3 foot requirement, though, and the paths are wide enough to support that.

  • My last post should end “aren’t wide enough to support that.”

  • Unfortunately some bike riders do not follow these rules for multi use trails. I have a side mirror on my baby stroller and I thank riders who announce their presence, but many bikes dangerously weave in and out of the pedestrians on the trail.

  • Bernard,

    Looking at Light Rail ridership from Metro’s website for July 2017, avg weekday light rail ridership for 3 lines is 60,145. https://www.ridemetro.org/Pages/RidershipReport-072017.aspx

    For all local buses ridership is 175,239 which is for about 86 bus lines. So the 3 light rail lines handle almost 1/3 of the total local bus ridership (Most ridership from the Main St line as the other lines have been under performing). There’s no way local buses down main street handled this many riders before. Its more likely they handled a few thousand at the most. Light Rail vehicles can handle way more passengers than a BRT bus. And labor costs will be lower as you can have one train operator run 2-3 trains vs a BRT Bus that needs one driver per bus. Plus BRT lane is going to be wider than LRT track.

    Main St is not terribly confusing for people who use their brains. Meaning drivers who don’t try to make left turns on red or try u-turns. Really no reason to drive on main street as Fannin and Travis are 4 lanes and can easily handle the traffic. Main St is pretty much just one lane in each direction so if a car stops you get blocked without being able to get around them or if a bike is riding they have to take the full lane or risk having a driver try and pass them too closely.