Open Letter on Bike Path Diversion

Mayor Sylvester Turner
sylvester.turner@houstontx.gov
@SylvesterTurner

Council Member Ellen Cohen
districtc@houstontx.gov
@EllenCohen1

Dear Mayor Turner and Council Member Cohen,

When I read the Chronicle article attached below, I understood the need for a detour around the often used route, and appreciated the thought put into it. It seemed like a good solution.

The article states “The detours will not be continuous, but periodic throughout the construction project when construction nearby could create unsafe conditions along the original bike trails” as well as “the detour and reroute are expected to begin between April and May and will last through the third quarter of 2017.”

However there seems to be either,

  1. a miscommunication,
  2. a failure to execute, or
  3. deception by someone

going on in this situation.

There are already signs up along the path redirecting users to use the detours. They have been up for over 10 days. There is also signage that appears to indicate that cyclists should use the sidewalk on the west side of Houston Avenue as the detour.

This is neither safe, nor acceptable.

I would like to know if the original decision has been changed or if there is a timing and communication failure occurring. Please remedy the situation.

Your Constituent,
Bill Shirley

Heights Area Bike Trails to be Rerouted to Houston Avenue“, Tara White, Houston Chronicle,  Wed Mar 9 2016

CC:
Council Member Karla Cisneros (as the detour is in your district)
districth@houstontx.gov
@Karla4Houston

Deidrea George, TxDOT Houston Public Information Office (quoted in the article)
Email via web-form
@TxDOTHoustonPIO

Tara White, freelance writer for Chronicle (author of the article)
viewpoints@chron.com
@houstonchron

Continue reading Open Letter on Bike Path Diversion

Who ever thought … not, Scalia

The United States Supreme Court today affirmed the right of marriage for all people in a 5-4 judgement in Obergefell v. Hodges.

Justice Antonin Scalia dissented. Among other things he wrote:

Who ever thought that intimacy and spirituality … were freedoms?

In his heavy-handed need to disparage his associates, he seems to have forgotten some of our basic roots. If not a legal basis, a sounding on where the framers (Thomas Jefferson, et al) stood:

heading of Declaration of Independence… all men are created equal, … with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are … the pursuit of Happiness.

If intimacy and spirituality are not among some of the basic pursuits of happiness of anyone, then nothing is.

I also think the irony of the invective that he throws earlier in his dissent is lost on him.

It is one thing for separate concurring or dissenting opinions to contain extravagances, even silly extravagances, of thought and expression; …

Yes, it is “one thing”, Mr. Justice.

Mobility Study of The Heights and Surrounding Areas

City of Houston“Pedestrian facilities along Studewood Street are in great condition north of White Oak Drive, but virtually nonexistent along the 4-lane segment of the roadway south of White Oak Drive which includes a 4-lane bridge. However, the use of this segment by pedestrians is evident by foot paths flanking both sides of the corridor. The contra-flow lane confuses drivers who are not familiar with its function, and additional signage could help mitigate this issue. The contra-flow lane also causes problems at major intersection due to the lack of protected lefts. At its northern boundary, the corridor terminates into a 6-legged intersection with E 20th/N Main Street/W Cavalcade Street. The current intersection configuration creates confusion, particularly for the pedestrians and bicyclists to navigate.”

This is the “Identified Needs” of Studewood in the recently completed Heights-North Side Sub-regional Mobility Study. It’s quite comprehensive. See Chapter VI for a listing of many of the streets. What does is say about the ones you care about?

The Michigan U-turn was a new one to me. An alternative to a left turn. See Chp 5, pg 60 for an explanation.

Also, Chp 5, pg 61 has a diagram of a roundabout next to an arial photo of the 20th/Main/Studewood intersection. To this I say YES, YES, YES!

The report is nicely and simply designed and written. Whether it address what you wanted it to is another question.

Voting is a Right

Everyone in Texas that thinks our new Voter ID law is a good one, should read the Kuff’s digest of a recent article from MSNBC.

voter registration cardThe telltale numbers: The “free” Election Identification Certificates written into the law were provided as an option for the estimated 600,000 to 750,000 citizens who didn’t have the needed documentation.  371 had been issued by the Thursday before the election.

The current Voter ID law is going to cost the state money defending in court, whether it prevails or not.  (I would love for there to be an organization that tracks legal defense costs of legislation.  If you know of one, let me know.)

I would love for there to be an organization that aids those in need of a Texas ID, whether an EIC or other.  (If you know of one, let me know.)

I would challenge those who thing the Voter ID law is a good thing to assist one of the 100s of thousands of disenfranchised voters to obtain the necessary identification.  If it’s so easy to do, it should take much work on your part.