Anyone have experience dealing with the city? Houston area issues.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Anyone have experience dealing with the city? Houston area issues.

    Does anyone have experience with working with the city and/or parks&rec to get them to be more MTB friendly? I live in a suburb of Houston (Sugar Land) and we have about 35 miles of rogue trails. The city is threatening to start cracking down on trail builders, but they're also afraid to destroy the MTB trails because they've become immensely popular.

    The city of Houston and surrounding areas are very unfriendly to local MTB, as they have just opted to flood one of the oldest trails in the area (The Anthills) for a useless retention pond. Meanwhile, the roadie trail on the other side of the bayou will remain unflooded.

    Granted, the "leadership" and "city lieson" for Sugar Land MTB are a bit of a joke (basically just a facebook group) and GHORBA isn't useful either. I'm wondering if there's anything other Texas MTB groups have done in the past to organize and petition the city to recognize rogue trails. The trails we are building are fantastic and are basically turning flood-plain land along the Brazos into usable recreation space that's unfit for city park space. If anything, the city should be thanking us for doing their job for them. Instead, now they're threatening us. Sugar Land's definition of a "hike and bike" trail is a concrete path with a few trees. Sorry, but someone has to put a stop to that kind of nonsense. Any constructive input would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by tsl3; 09-19-2018 at 07:38 AM. Reason: typo

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    Interesting post.....I'll see if I cant help ya out.


    Have you attempted to reach out to either Ghorba or the Sugarland MTB, Trail captains?



    Up here we (WMBC) deal directly with the City Council, City Parks and recreation, and City planning and zoning. We have built a very good relationship with them and have contributed input from our members as well as the public in regards to growth of multiuse trails in our area. Luckly our city is a huge supporter in regard to MTB trails and cycling in general.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaleinTexas View Post
    Interesting post.....I'll see if I cant help ya out.


    Have you attempted to reach out to either Ghorba or the Sugarland MTB, Trail captains?



    Up here we (WMBC) deal directly with the City Council, City Parks and recreation, and City planning and zoning. We have built a very good relationship with them and have contributed input from our members as well as the public in regards to growth of multiuse trails in our area. Luckly our city is a huge supporter in regard to MTB trails and cycling in general.
    GHORBA has proven to be a gridlocked political body of do-nothings. Out of the 35+miles in SL, GHORBA has gotten 2 miles approved.. TWO MILES. And the guys in SL leadership are not so great at working with others. As far as trail captains go, I'm one of them (hence my advocacy) and ride with pretty much every other trail captain in the area. We are NOT represented by current "leadership".

    So, you think getting GHORBA on board would be the best plan of action? Currently, the self-appointed GHORBA rep and self-appointed "city lisson" is a super dishonest person, akin to a greasy used car salesman. So, unless there's a major shift in leadership, I worry that the city's attitude towards MTB is going to remain hostile and unproductive. I'm wondering if there's anything outside of GHORBA that can be done. Should the trail captains form their own group that's more productive and cooperative with the city?

  4. #4
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    I have found to affect change in a organization you have to get directly involved for that push for change. Are you a Ghorba member? Ever thought of going for a leadership spot or volunteering to take over duties that are somehow lacking.

    One thing to consider, a city spending money on a multiuse trail is a very lenghty process and will not happen overnight or even a year if you are lucky.

    One other thing that help is the Cities planning commission partners being well versed in the council of local governments (Houston falls into Region 16), there is grant money out there that can be applied for by cities to use to promote, build and maintain multiuse trails.

    Being your a Trail Captain have you spoken to Jason about your concerns?
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaleinTexas View Post
    I have found to affect change in a organization you have to get directly involved for that push for change. Are you a Ghorba member? Ever thought of going for a leadership spot or volunteering to take over duties that are somehow lacking.

    One thing to consider, a city spending money on a multiuse trail is a very lenghty process and will not happen overnight or even a year if you are lucky.

    One other thing that help is the Cities planning commission partners being well versed in the council of local governments, there is grant money out there that can be applied for by cities to use to promote, build and maintain multiuse trails.

    Being your a Trail Captain have you spoken to Jason about your concerns?
    Yes I'm a Ghorba member, and yes I've spoken to Jason. I already am volunteering several hours per week on trail building and maintenance.

    What type of grants are you referring to?

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    Just a quick search and this is some a 10 yr proposal in your area und COGAnyone have experience dealing with the city? Houston area issues.-screenshot-18-.jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaleinTexas View Post
    Just a quick search and this is some a 10 yr proposal in your area und COGClick image for larger version. 

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    These all appear to be sidewalk-related grants. Even the "multi-use trail" is most likely a crushed granite track around a campus. Have you seen any success getting one of these for a singletrack "multi-use" trail?

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    that's not actual grants, that is projects that are already paid for and in planning stages. Multiuse Single track is where it gets sticky, they will not fund the money to build it but you stand a great chance at getting the city to supply Signage for safety and directional traffic.

    What will help get direct city involvement is trail use for hiking, running, cycling. Be able to show that it can be used as a connector for cycling commuters that are cutting down of traffic and emissions, be able to show real numbers of use and what the trails can bring in to the local economy .
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaleinTexas View Post
    that's not actual grants, that is projects that are already paid for and in planning stages. Multiuse Single track is where it gets sticky, they will not fund the money to build it but you stand a great chance at getting the city to supply Signage for safety and directional traffic.

    What will help get direct city involvement is trail use for hiking, running, cycling. Be able to show that it can be used as a connector for cycling commuters that are cutting down of traffic and emissions, be able to show real numbers of use and what the trails can bring in to the local economy .
    Well, I don't think any of our trails CAN be used for commuting haha. Nobody is going to mtb through the forest to get to work. But helping the local economy, now that's an option.

  10. #10
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    Contacting the Assistant Director of Parks & Recreation for the City of Sugar Land might be your best bet on getting anything done.

    The Sugar Land P&R Department is at 2120 Austin Parkway, Sugar Land TX 77479

    I'll not post his contact info on a public forum however with a little bit of "Googling" you can easily get his name and contact info...

    You are correct that GHORBA is absolutely useless and will only make things worse.

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    Ghorba just underwent a paradigm shift as far as the type of organization they are goes. I hope it actually does some good! Too early to tell, for sure.


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    Quote Originally Posted by FeedTheWolf View Post
    Ghorba just underwent a paradigm shift as far as the type of organization they are goes. I hope it actually does some good! Too early to tell, for sure.


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    Meh, I won't be holding my breath.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl3 View Post
    Does anyone have experience with working with the city and/or parks&rec to get them to be more MTB friendly? I live in a suburb of Houston (Sugar Land) and we have about 35 miles of rogue trails. The city is threatening to start cracking down on trail builders, but they're also afraid to destroy the MTB trails because they've become immensely popular.

    The city of Houston and surrounding areas are very unfriendly to local MTB, as they have just opted to flood one of the oldest trails in the area (The Anthills) for a useless retention pond. Meanwhile, the roadie trail on the other side of the bayou will remain unflooded.

    Granted, the "leadership" and "city lieson" for Sugar Land MTB are a bit of a joke (basically just a facebook group) and GHORBA isn't useful either. I'm wondering if there's anything other Texas MTB groups have done in the past to organize and petition the city to recognize rogue trails. The trails we are building are fantastic and are basically turning flood-plain land along the Brazos into usable recreation space that's unfit for city park space. If anything, the city should be thanking us for doing their job for them. Instead, now they're threatening us. Sugar Land's definition of a "hike and bike" trail is a concrete path with a few trees. Sorry, but someone has to put a stop to that kind of nonsense. Any constructive input would be greatly appreciated.
    Where did you hear about the city threatening the crack down on trail builders?

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    Quote Originally Posted by k1ng View Post
    Where did you hear about the city threatening the crack down on trail builders?
    From Parks & Rec. They sent an email to one of the guys that is supposedly the lieson between the facebook group and the city.

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    My name is Jason Wipf and I am a GHORBA Trail Stewart for Sugarland Texas. There is a gross amount of inaccuracies and pure ignorance on this thread.

    1. There are not over 35 miles of rogue trail in Sugarland. Itís closer to 20.
    2. GHORBA trail stewards are not self-appointed. They are usually nominated first, then vetted and voted on by the GHORBA board of directors. A board of directors that is voted on by the GHORBA members.
    3. GHORBA has done a lot in Houston. They have 16 different trails, fought numerous political battles, including difficult ones at Sam Houston, Memorial park and Jack Brooks, maintain relationships with numerous landowners and have a network of Trail Stewards that work with volunteers to maintain each trail network. Then, theyíve also insured several hundred thousand dollars worth of grant money over the years, this last year was particularly successful.
    4. As for the local GHORBA Sugarland trail Stewartís, between myself and Trey, we have attended dozens of meetings with city officials, land owners, LID Meetings, HOA meetings, news media, law enforcement, fire/EMS, planning dinners & lunches, fund raisers, conservancy meetings, work parties and city officials on site to review upcoming trail modifications.
    5. Our advocacy, organization and promotion has aided Sugarland in becoming one of Houstonís most popular trails in less than 2yrs. We worked with Cullinan director and board members to prevent active banning of bikes at Cullinan Park, and gave cover for much of the rogue activity at Brazsos river and oyster Creek Trail when it came to the city. The city can only take so much illegal cutting.

    We donít advertise much of this because it is viewed as drama by some and we would prefer people just blissfully enjoy riding their bikes on the trails. Thatís our goal and mission. If you think youíd like to carry this torch, I certainly donít plan on doing this forever. I would much rather be riding my bike. Till then get more informed or just ride your bike.

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    Every place is different, of course, but dorba in DFW has done a pretty remarkable job interfacing with a number of city governments and landowners to get trails built on all kinds of properties. Might try to talk to someone there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Wipf View Post
    We donít advertise much of this because it is viewed as drama by some and we would prefer people just blissfully enjoy riding their bikes on the trails. Thatís our goal and mission. If you think youíd like to carry this torch, I certainly donít plan on doing this forever. I would much rather be riding my bike. Till then get more informed or just ride your bike.
    Looks like not sharing this type of info is a mistake, since apparently there are people that care about this stuff. Based on my relatively short tenure on a board of directors for a bike club in Texas (not Houston), the cliques that form inside bike can hurt just as much as help. To be more blunt, if the clique that runs the mtb club doesn't care about certain issues then it won't get done--no matter how much the membership makes their voice heard.

    As someone who now lives a barren MTB community/location, I'd cherish the trails and areas you have and absolutely take any opportunity you can to improve on what you have and what you can get.

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    I tend to believe Jason's post. As an Austin Ridge Rider and former TMBRA racer, I realize how time consuming it is for ARR, DHORBA, and GHORBA folks to deal with all the city stuff and faceslappers as (and lets not forget) volunteers. This state has tons of trails due to their efforts all over Texas. It's just that govt can be a quagmire. I've seen it. OP should contact GHORBA guy and discuss ways to make things happen, or accept realities. To answer another question Brushy Creek in Austin started out as rouge and then got legit under Williamson county so they may be able to answer some questions for you.
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    Just wondering....I ride those trails all the time. There are some jumps and ramps built in a bowl area. Iím sure the city is told about those and can be viewed as a liability. Someoneís kid or adult will try it out, bust arse, and here comes a lawsuit. Really curious why officials are threatening to close it down. Crazy how a city like Houston canít create a green belt trail like Austin.

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    The city is not threatening to close trails down. Please do not misconstrue the information presented in this post. The city of SL is talking about cracking down on rogue trail builders, not existing trails. The area you're referring to is not on city property. I couldn't agree more that Houston has the capacity to create great trails, if only the city would be more friendly towards them (Anthills, RIP). The fact is, mtb is not a priority. In Austin, being outdoors is a way of life. In Houston, it's not as important.
    As it stands I have met with Jason, our GHORBA rep, and we are working on steps to create a more mtb-friendly relationship with the city.

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    Was a member of GHORBA and IMBA. Time to rejoin and understand first hand whatís going on. Would be awesome if the Lone Star Trail would open to bikes. Great connection from Huntsville to Double Lake trail. Understand a lot of political mess there. If more voices are heard, I agree, results follow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl3 View Post
    The city is not threatening to close trails down. Please do not misconstrue the information presented in this post. The city of SL is talking about cracking down on rogue trail builders, not existing trails. The area you're referring to is not on city property. I couldn't agree more that Houston has the capacity to create great trails, if only the city would be more friendly towards them (Anthills, RIP). The fact is, mtb is not a priority. In Austin, being outdoors is a way of life. In Houston, it's not as important.
    As it stands I have met with Jason, our GHORBA rep, and we are working on steps to create a more mtb-friendly relationship with the city.
    Just curious, why is the city so adverse against trails? It's not like there are a ton of outdoor stuff to do in the houston area. There is money at the state level for this kind of stuff via grants and in the private sector (REI grants), so it's not like they'd have to pay for the trails or provide manpower to build them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by matadorCE View Post
    Just curious, why is the city so adverse against trails? It's not like there are a ton of outdoor stuff to do in the houston area. There is money at the state level for this kind of stuff via grants and in the private sector (REI grants), so it's not like they'd have to pay for the trails or provide manpower to build them.
    I guess that's a question for the city officials. Part of it is Sugar Land (not the same city as Houston) is a very suburban community. Their version of "hike and bike" trails are pavement. That's my thought, at least. Another aspect is control. Right now the trails are unrecognized and they feel like they don't have control over rogue trails that have popped up on park/conservancy land.

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    Good morning,

    Any updates on this please?

    I am working with the Willow Watering Hole behind Westbury high school in Houston now. We have started to move forward with Velosolutions and the city to get a pump track built. The land is available and the board of the park is super excited. I am looking for any help or knowledge to expedite or make the process easier please. I work with the upper elite of the city and feel I can fund the project easier than get it to built.


    Thank you for any advice or replies. I appreciate your time.

    Clark

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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl3 View Post
    Their version of "hike and bike" trails are pavement. That's my thought, at least. Another aspect is control. Right now the trails are unrecognized and they feel like they don't have control over rogue trails that have popped up on park/conservancy land.
    You have to put it into perspective where the city government is going to understand it as a means of commuting, not just a fun trail to ride, or be able to prove that its going to somehow generate revenue for the city ie. people coming out to events, and spending money in the city.


    IMBA/REI grants are not easy to get and a very limited number are awarded each year for trail maintenance and building. As crazy as it may sound our local REI stores/management/employees have been a HUGE asset to our Club in building trails and trail maintenance, and even sponsor some of our events. It all starts with talking to them.


    Council of Governments is another source of grant money for veloway construction but ANY city, regional, state money is going to be a long hard fought process...it will takes months, years to get itbut its well worth the hard work.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fertilizer View Post
    Good morning,

    Any updates on this please?

    I am working with the Willow Watering Hole behind Westbury high school in Houston now. We have started to move forward with Velosolutions and the city to get a pump track built. The land is available and the board of the park is super excited. I am looking for any help or knowledge to expedite or make the process easier please. I work with the upper elite of the city and feel I can fund the project easier than get it to built.


    Thank you for any advice or replies. I appreciate your time.

    Clark

    Clark, anything with the City and city owned land will be a slow process, you want to push the process along, get those "Elite" into cycling, get their children riding bikes..
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