May 09, 2013
Houston Passes Ordinance to Protect Cyclists,
Mayor Annise Parker and Houston City Council this week unanimously approved an ordinance to protect Houston's cyclists and other vulnerable road users by requiring cars and other motor vehicles to keep a separation of more than three feet while passing, and trucks or commercial vehicles to keep a separation of more than six feet. The ordinance is effective immediately.
Vulnerable road users are defined as a walkers or runners; the physically disabled, such as someone in a wheelchair; a stranded motorist or passengers; highway construction, utility or maintenance workers; tow truck operators; cyclists; moped, motor-driven cycle and scooter drivers; or horseback riders.
In addition to requiring safe passing and trailing distances from vulnerable road users, this ordinance prohibits any motor vehicle occupant from throwing or projecting any object or substance at or against them.
BikeHouston, several state and local leaders and other groups advocated and/or voiced support for this ordinance, including: Senator Rodney Ellis, BikeTexas, AARP, Better Houston, Bikin' Babes, Citizen Transportation Coalition, Houston Access to Urban Sustainability Project, Houston Tomorrow, Northwest Cycling Club and Richmond Rail.
Similar ordinances have already been enacted by Austin, Fort Worth and San Antonio.
The Safe Passing ordinance is another initiative, led and/or supported by Mayor Parker, to encourage more cycling in Houston. Others include the launch of Houston Bike Share last month, closing gaps in Houston's bike trail system; the voter-approved Bayou Greenways initiative; and approval of HB200, which will allow Houston's utility easements to be used for hike and bike trails.
For more information on cycling in Houston visit http://bikeways.publicworks.houstontx.gov/.
Amendments Adopted to Increase Minority/Women-Owned/
The City of Houston implemented its MWSBE program in 1984. It remained largely unchanged until 2009 when a lawsuit required the removal and replacement of women owned businesses with small Business Enterprises until a comprehensive construction industry disparity study could be performed. The results of the study completed in April 2012 indicated a need for doubling of the citywide MWSBE construction contracts goal.
In addition to the reinstatement of women owned firms and the higher goal for construction contracts, OBO is implementing the following procedures to enhance the program's effectiveness.
Only certified MWSBE firms are eligible to fulfill goal requirements on city contracts. City of Houston Certification is also accepted by the following agencies:
Visit http://www.houstontx.gov/obo/certification.html for more information on certification.