Aug 24, 2023 - News

Widow, advocates pitch the Pat Walsh Bikeway

Pat Walsh, wearing a black suit with a blue shirt, poses for a photo next to a series of red BCycle bicycles

Pat Walsh. Photo: Courtesy of Lindsey Aldrich Walsh

Houston's late planning director and champion of the city's sprawling bike plan could soon have a route named after him, a prospect years in the making.

Catch up quick: Pat Walsh headed Houston's Planning and Development Department from 2013 until his death in 2018 after a brief bout with brain cancer. He was 45.

Driving the news: Walsh's widow and community advocates are now pushing the city to create a nine-mile memorial route after years of dead ends in finding ways to commemorate his life.

What's happening: The group is proposing to retrofit nine miles of roads and trails from North Loop 610 and Nicholson Street south to Texas Medical Center with sharrows and signage denoting the route as the Pat Walsh Bikeway.

The intrigue: Turner posted in 2018 that Walsh ought to have a trail named after him.

  • "He was a strong advocate for the biking community," Turner wrote. "As we build more bike lanes, it is important that we name one after him."

Yes, but: Lindsey Aldrich Walsh, Walsh's widow, said city officials kept offering proposals to commemorate Walsh's service, but none of them came to fruition.

  • "[The city] kept promising something else," Aldrich Walsh tells Axios. "Every time they would do something, it would fall through because it was named for somebody else."

What's next: The subcommittee yesterday recommended the project move forward to the main Bicycle Advisory Committee, which will eventually vote on sending the project to the mayor's office for consideration.

  • "I'm always very upfront about all this stuff. It's not short," Houston's chief transportation planner, David Fields, said during yesterday's meeting. "It takes a little bit of time."

The bottom line: "It looks like something that is really interesting and meaningful and not infrastructure-intensive," Aldrich Walsh said. "It's something that looks like it could actually get done."


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