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.