President’s Report – 08.14
by Michael Norvell -
We all know that the White Oak Bayou Bike Trail is an enormous asset for our community. Its wide, paved pathways offer a great way to do some recreational biking or jogging, and commuting to other parts of town. And by now, most of us are also aware that the TxDOT has also reopened the span of trail going underneath the 610 Loop, so that people can safely use the bike trail without risking life or limb detouring on TC Jester. With the trail intact again, bikers and joggers can travel—virtually uninterrupted—from 11th Street all the way north to Little York. There and back, that makes a bike or jog a total distance of about fourteen miles long.
The most recent development you may have noticed is now taking place alongside the 11th Street Bridge. There, TxDOT is extending the White Oak trail about one mile to the south and southeast so that it will ultimately connect to the Heights Bike Trail. The extension is made possible by a bond referendum approved by Houston voters in 2012 that provided $166 million in funding for Houston parks including $100 million for the Bayou Greenways Initiative, a program intended to reduce flooding, increase accessible parkland and facilitate healthier lifestyles for Houstonians.
This development is a major value-add for our neighborhood. It will add a safe connection for bikers and pedestrians to access the shopping and dining of the Heights area, and it completes the path to bike into downtown. This kind of interconnectivity to our workplaces and nearby amenities is rare in Houston, and more and more Houstonians are expressing a desire for such a lifestyle. A 2013 Kinder Houston Area Survey found that 51% of Houstonians would prefer to live in a reasonably sized home where they could walk or bike to shopping and dining, than live in a much larger home where they were required to drive everywhere. So our community has the best of both worlds: large lots, amply sized homes, and immediate access by bike or foot to surrounding amenities. With the extension of the White Oak Bayou Bike trail, that access is getting even better.
As always, if you have questions about this topic, or any others, please email me. Otherwise, the next TMNA quarterly meeting is a good forum to ask questions or raise issues of concern. The next quarterly meeting will be held at the usual location, the Lazybrook Baptist Church on 18th street, at 6:30 PM on Thursday, October 30th.