Potential $100 fine for parking in Houston’s bike lanes hits roadblocks

bicycle Houston
Houston City Council is in the process of approving a ban on parking in bike lanes, set to be accompanied by a potential $100 fee. (Courtesy Pexels)

Houston City Council is in the process of approving a ban on parking in bike lanes, set to be accompanied by a potential $100 fee. (Courtesy Pexels)

An effort to ban parking in Houston’s bike lanes stalled before Houston City Council for the second week in a row Oct. 7.

Council members voted a second time to delay a vote on the new ordinance after failing to agree on the penalties and enforcement measures that come along with it.

As proposed, the new city ordinance would ban drivers from parking in Houston’s bike lanes. Violators could be subject to a $100 fine; however, the enforcement of the fine is still up for debate among council members.

As first written, the ordinance would give first-time violators a warning during the first 90 days it is in effect after council approval. After the first 90 days, first-time violators would receive a $100 fine, Houston Administration Affairs Direct Tina Paez said.

Council Member Letitia Plummer offered an amendment to the proposed ordinance Oct. 7 that would give first time violators a chance to take a bicycle safety education course instead of paying the fine. Her amendment, however, would eliminate the 90-day warning period.

“Our goal is to educate and also look at enforcement in a different manner,” Plummer said.

Council Member Carolyn Evans-Shabazz and Vice Mayor Pro Tem Martha Castex-Tatum, however, said they preferred to keep the warning period for first-time offenses indefinitely. Paez said Bike Houston, Houston’s primary bicycle advocacy group, was only in favor of an ordinance with a warning period that expires after 90 days.

Council Member Greg Travis raised concerns about how towing would be enforced, and Council Members Michael Kubosh and Robert Gallegos asked for more information about how the warnings would apply to new bike lanes that will be added after the warning period’s potential 90-day expiration date.

Council members agreed to delay the vote by one week to further discuss penalties and enforcement.
By Emma Whalen
Emma is Community Impact Newspaper's Houston City Hall reporter. Previously, she covered public health, education and features for several Austin-area publications. A Boston native, she is a former student athlete and alumna of The University of Texas at Austin.


The Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market is returning in person for its spring iteration. (Courtesy Jennifer Greene/HoustonBallet)
Houston Nutcracker Market to make in-person return this spring

Of the 150 merchants on the roster, nearly 50 will be making their spring debut in 2021.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced March 2 that mask mandates and business capacity restrictions will be lifted in Texas. (Courtesy Office of the Texas Governor)
Gov. Greg Abbott lifts statewide mask mandate, business restrictions in Texas

With vaccine distribution increasing, Gov. Greg Abbott said "people and businesses don't need the state telling them how to operate." Some local officials are pushing back, saying the relaxed restrictions are coming too early.

Most of the electric grid in Texas is managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which is not linked to other interconnected national electrical systems. (Courtesy Electric Reliability Council of Texas)
Leaving the Texas power grid 'not likely to be an option' for Harris County, official says

Just two weeks after severe winter weather dropped Harris County temperatures below freezing for three consecutive days, which led to widespread power outages, loss of water and the deaths of at least 50 county residents, Harris County Commissioners Court called for major reform at the state level regarding the Texas power grid and related energy policies.

Mayor sylvester turner
Houston expanding vaccine supply as 6,000 Johnson & Johnson doses arrive March 2

The first shipment will be sent to the mass-vaccination site run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency at NRG Stadium. The site vaccinates individuals who sign up for doses though the Houston Health Department’s vaccine waitlist.

Hamilton Middle School
Some Houston ISD campuses remain closed for winter storm repairs

Almost 20 Houston ISD schools could not reopen March 1 due to ongoing repairs.

Hank's Crab Shack gets and sells several hundred pounds of crawfish daily, especially during the peak of crawfish season. (Morgan Theophil/Community Impact Newspaper)
Hank's Crab Shack serving Katy; 16 Spring-Klein business updates and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

The 32 annual Walk to End HIV will have a virtual format this year encouraging donations. (Courtesy Morris Malakoff/AIDS Foundation Houston)
Registration opens for virtual Walk to End HIV in Houston

Participants can choose any kind of activity, from walking and running to dancing and singing, to raise money toward fighting HIV in Houston.

key in door lock
Evictions continue in Houston as new measures aim to stem tide

Over 32,000 eviction cases were filed in Harris County courts in 2020.

Houston City Hall in rainbow lighting
Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce celebrates five years of service

The organization is open to all and serves members throughout the Greater Houston area.

Landmark's River Oaks Theatre is at risk of closing if it cannot come to an agreement over unpaid rent with Weingarten Realty, the owner of the retail center. (Community Impact Newspaper file photo)
Iconic River Oaks Theatre at risk of closing

The theater has not paid rent since the COVID-19 outbreak hit Houston.