Sharring experiences in urban infrastructure delivery.

Bike Lanes

December 22, 2015 By: Tom Davis Category: Amenities, Paving

The City of Houston’s Department of Public Works and Engineering converted a parking and vehicular lane to a dedicated bike lane as you see here. The lane is “isolated” from the vehicular lane by the long stripped dome shapes that we Texans–not surprisingly–call armadillos.Bike Lane on Lamar2

Note the special signage as well as the special traffic signals for bike riders. Look closely at the red lens as it shows a red bike rider.

I also noticed at one intersection it appeared the bike signal turned green ahead of the vehicular green signal by several seconds. My traffic engineering buddies would call that preemption to allow the bike rider to get into the cross street before the cars start.2015-05-01 07.39.43

You can see the lane on Dallas St. in downtown Houston.

Click here to see a one-page paper about the lane, how it fits in the street and a location map.

How well they work will be interesting to watch.


Accessibility During Construction

September 18, 2010 By: Tom Davis Category: Project Communication, Project Mngt., Recent Posts, Signage


Many of us take for granted that when sidewalks are being rebuilt, or the adjacent street is missing and part of the sidewalk is blocked, we see the sidewalk closure ahead and go to the other side or around the block. We grumble about the detour but it is not a big deal. For someone with limited or no sight, or someone in a hand-powered wheel chair, the detour is more significant.


Required Graffiti or Utility Locate Painting?

April 18, 2010 By: Tom Davis Category: Misc Urban Infrastructure, Sidewalk Features, Underground Utilities

CIMG7793.JPGState law in Texas requires someone digging in the public rights of way to call “One Call” who then notifies all utilities the area where digging may occur so the utility can mark the locations of their underground facilities. That is a good as it preserves the services expected by the utility’s customers and the utility does not have to make repairs thereby increasing the cost to the customers. It also protects the workers doing the excavation as, for example, hitting a high-voltage duct bank is not a healthy thing.

But the issue is in the application of the markings. There are published guidelines for the style and frequency of the markings as well as the color. The color indicates the business type of the utility, e.g. telecommunications, power transmission, natural¬† gas. The frequency of the marks can remove all doubt about the location as well as remove all value of the classy, upscale look paid for by the public. (more…)

Street-Name Signs: Placemaking

September 28, 2009 By: Tom Davis Category: Placemaking, Signage

SNS MainAtWalkerCloseup1.jpgDowntown Houston’s place-making strategy is clearly seen in the use of specialized street name signs.¬† The specialization is at two levels. First is the dome extension at the top-center that sets the intersection in downtown apart from other locations. Secondly, in that dome part of the sign is the name of the “district” (i.e. Theatre, Retail, Skyline, etc.) of the intersection. (more…)


Wayfinding Signage

July 25, 2009 By: Tom Davis Category: Signage


The Houston Downtown Management District installed a wayfinding signage system to help drivers and pedestrians find major destinations. The signs are large, custom designed units of several sizes that include locally created art on the back side. Some are lighted and that is helpful but it introduces a complication–providing electrical power from a metered circuit in the right of way. That also creates a long-term cost to the operational side of the managing organization. (more…)