HOUSTON – In August, the city of Houston and Harris County began work to add bike lanes to a stretch of Gray Street between Third Ward and Midtown.
But cyclists and people who drive in the area say the layout is confusing because there's no signage or signals posted explaining the new striping and pavement markings.
What is the project about?
On the Houston Bike Plan website, the city of Houston said the goal is to "provide a safe connection between Third Ward and Midtown across SH-288, (so) a high-comfort bikeway is planned on Gray Street between the Columbia Tap Trail and Bagby Street. This east-west corridor will link these two neighborhoods to each other, as well as the larger regional network being created through the City-County partnership."
What is the white space?
The bike lane is marked by green paint with a bicycle on it and there is a broken yellow line indicating that the bike lane itself is a two-way track. Next to that is a large white space with a section marked with diagonal lines and then a rectangular section.
The city of Houston planning department says the diagonal white lines are a buffer for the bike lane and that the large rectangular spaces are for street parking.
But there's no signage indicating what they are or what to do. We saw motorists driving through the white space and even driving through the bike lane itself.
"I see people and they don't know what to do. They are confused. I went online to search to find out what those lines mean -- are they turning lanes or what? There's nothing there to explain anything," said Myrtle Jackson, who owns Not Jus' Donuts Bakery on the corner of Gray Street and Emancipation Avenue.
What does the city say?
The city says the project is a work in progress, and leaders plan to add signage and signals soon.
"Unfortunately, the way you're seeing it right now, it's not 100% complete, so we certainly understand that people are going to be confused. Within the next few weeks, you will begin to see cardboard signs that will show you how to use the new street. There will be a cross-section diagramming, everything," said Peter Eccles, with the planning department.
The full Gray Street bike plan will be complete in March 2020.