Bike/pedestrian master plan open house set for tonight

HARLINGEN — Whether it’s on bike or on foot, metro planners in Cameron County want to know how we get from Point A to Point B when we’re not driving.

The Harlingen-San Benito Metropolitan Planning Organization will hold an open house to solicit public input to help determine the direction of its Bicycle and Pedestrian master plan.

Tonight’s meeting is at the Harlingen Cultural Arts Center from 6 to 8 p.m.

A preliminary study using this public input by Halff Associates, the consultants used in the past by the City of Harlingen and others in the Valley, is expected to be finished by June 8, said J. Joel Garza Jr., director of the metro planning organization.

“We’re hoping we can get input from the public about whether they bike or whether they walk,” Garza said yesterday. “Is it recreational, or are you walking to work? And what are their destinations?”

The scope of the job is big, because the Harlingen-San Benito MPO covers 354 square miles, or approximately one-half of Cameron County.

“Their goal is to compile all these comments – there’s also a survey out there – and hopefully from there they can use those recommendations in the plan for future projects,” Garza said.

The overall bike-ped plan, as they’re called, is still in the development stage. Public comments in the two public hearings this week will be incorporated into the master plan.

Garza said his organization is seeking guidance on both near-term and long-term projects.

“We told them we wanted projects that are short-term, the first three years, and then long-term, five to 10 years,” Garza said.