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Posts under ‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’

Where the forest and the trees collide

Headline atop Tuesday’s Chronicle: Spike in Metrorail crashes prompts a second look at safety measures. Metro recorded a record 17 accidents on its rail system in June, and most of them involved the kind of action Marchetti narrowly avoided: people or cars moving into the train’s path or, in one case, a bicyclist riding into […]

Got questions about the new bus routes?

You can get answers, in person, from a Metro staffer. From the inbox: METRO makes it easy for riders to learn more about the New Bus Network through a series of customer information sessions being held across the METRO service area: On-hand staff can provide trip planning assistance and answer specific rider questions on the […]

Allen Parkway 2.0

Changes are a-comin’. Lane closings are scheduled to start soon along Allen Parkway – slowing traffic – so workers can complete a redesign of the road – meant to slow traffic. The long-planned overhaul, which will add parking along Buffalo Bayou’s popular trail system and improve connections between the parkway and intersecting streets, starts next […]

Texas Central Railway gets some initial funding

They’ll need more than this, but it’s a start. Texas Central Partners, which aims to build a bullet train between Texas’ two biggest cities, announced Wednesday they had raised $75 million in private investments in the company’s first round of fundraising. That funds are intended to allow the ambitious $10 billion project to move forward […]

The conservative case for more rail transit

Noted for the record. As conservatives, we find it odd that many people expect us to oppose public transportation, especially rail. In fact, high-quality transit, which usually means rail, benefits conservatives in a number of important ways. It spurs development, something conservatives generally favor, especially in Texas. It saves people, including conservatives, precious time, because […]

Montgomery County hasn’t given up the fight against the high-speed rail line

Keep hope alive, I guess. A newly formed regional planning commission will enable Montgomery County and the city of Magnolia to monitor and work against any high speed rail projects that may cut through western Montgomery County, said County Judge Craig Doyal. The county and area communities have expressed concerns about Texas Central Rail’s proposal […]

The future of Fort Bend transit

Public transportation in Fort Bend County has grown quite a bit since its inception, and there’s a lot of potential for future growth if the pieces can be put into place. On Tuesday, county leaders, staff and transit partners gathered in Richmond to celebrate the rapid evolution of the Fort Bend Public Transportation Department since […]

Preview your bus route change

From Write On Metro: The New Bus Network is designed to make our service better and more convenient for you. Before it debuts on Aug. 16, you can get a preview of exactly how your new route will be changed. Simply go to the Dual Trip Planner. Type in your starting and ending addresses. There […]

More on Houston’s transit deserts

James Llamas writes a guest post at the Kinder Institute blog about their earlier article on transit deserts in Houston. As a planner at Traffic Engineers, Inc. I had the privilege of working with METRO staff and industry experts on the reimagining plan. The project has received quite a bit of attention around the country, […]

Yes, the new rail lines are off to a slower-than-hoped start

Let’s not panic. Our own history shows that early rail ridership numbers are often highly variable. Slightly more than a month after the Metropolitan Transit Authority christened two new rail lines – built at a cost of $1.4 billion and seen by critics as little more than an unnecessary and expensive replacement for buses – […]

Driverless car testing in Austin

Be on the lookout. After years of experimenting with its groundbreaking autonomous vehicle technology almost exclusively in California, Google confirmed Monday that it has begun testing one of its self-driving vehicles in Austin. A white Lexus RX 450h SUV outfitted with the company’s sensors and software began making trips without the aid of a driver […]

Deja vu all over again in San Antonio

Are you ready for some more municipal wrangling over Uber and Lyft? Of course you are. A post-election push to craft city policies to allow ride-hailing firms Uber and Lyft to operate in San Antonio has also prompted the taxi industry lobby to strengthen its efforts to shoot down whatever is ultimately proposed. Since Mayor […]

Pushing for Vision Zero

Jay Crossley opines in the Chron for a lower speed limit in Houston. Texas law requires a 30 mph speed limit in the city of Houston on local residential streets unless a different speed limit is posted. If you are walking and are hit by a car traveling 30 mph, you have a 60 percent […]

Metro and your smartphone

Nice. As Metropolitan Transit Authority officials planned for the new system – which will affect practically every bus ride in the region – they have also focused on offering new services. One of those, a system that allows bus riders to text a code listed at each bus stop and receive a reply with the […]

San Antonio wants a do-over on Uber and Lyft

Maybe the third time will be the charm. Mayor Ivy Taylor said Friday that there’s a demand for transportation-network companies in San Antonio and signaled that she wants to work a new deal that would allow Uber and Lyft to restart operations here. Taylor told the City Council during an all-day retreat that she has […]

Harris County road bond

Harris County voters may be asked to vote on a bond issue this fall. Rapid population expansion and development in unincorporated areas of Harris County have strained roads, facilities and infrastructure so much that for the first time in eight years the county is considering a major bond referendum for the November ballot. Harris County […]

Houston’s transit deserts

From the Kinder Institute’s Urban Edge blog: A new study suggests that despite METRO’s launch of several highly-touted and publicized improvements, the agency is still struggling to address the needs of some communities that depend heavily on transit. With operations beginning on METRO’s two new light rail lines and the reimagined bus system set to […]

Your input for the Bike Plan requested

I’ve written before about the Bike Plan the city is currently working on, to improve all facets of bike travel in Houston. This effort, now in Phase 2 of 6, depends heavily on input from the public, and the time to give that input is now. Phase 2 is about defining the goals of the […]

More hyperloops

Gonna be the future soon. Not content with simply sending men to Mars and conquering the automotive industry, billionaire Elon Musk has plans for a tubular transportation system that would dominate the globe. The Hyperloop has been considered closer to science fiction since the idea’s introduction, but a new plan from the UCLA Architecture and […]

Lawsuit filed over Uptown line

All things considered, I suppose this was inevitable. A homeowner’s association is suing Metro over its involvement in plans to run bus lanes along Post Oak Boulevard, saying the project puts the agency at odds with a 2003 referendum that included adding a rail line along the corridor. The lawsuit was filed Monday just minutes […]

I got those reverse commuting blues

The Woodlands is growing as en employment center, which means it is also seeing a lot more traffic in what used to be the reverse commute direction. There is no longer a simple drive to this onetime bedroom community, which has turned into an economic powerhouse and upended the flow of traffic in the process. […]

Uptown BRT construction begins

I’m really rooting for this to succeed. Dignitaries will gather Monday to symbolically start construction of wider sidewalks and dedicated bus lanes meant to enhance Post Oak Boulevard and offer improved transit service, even as some residents and business owners continue fighting to block a project they consider a huge mistake. Though it has passed […]

How would you get from Houston to Galveston without a car?

It’s both easier and harder than you might think. Raj Mankad tells the story. I reached the sea without getting in a car. Over the course of my journey, which began at Rice University and ended at Stewart Beach, I took one light rail train, four buses, and walked about three miles. Every three or […]

System reimagining is going to be hard

Because change is hard. It always is. Transit officials might have reimaginged bus service in the Houston area, but the riders who rely on it for daily trips are asking them to rethink it again. Since the redesigned bus system was approved in February, concerned riders have appeared at every Metropolitan Transit Authority board meeting […]

More on the proposed I-45 changes

Offcite reads the documents and provides some bullet points. 1. I-45 Would Rival I-10 in Width The plan would dramatically widen I-45 to more than 30 lanes in certain sections. North of 610, I-45 would rival the Katy Freeway in its expanse. Though the west side of I-45 at Crosstimbers is largely vacant, TxDOT plans […]

Let’s wait for a normal week before we judge ridership numbers

From The Highwayman: Two new light rail lines have gotten off to slow start, according to early ridership figures from the Metropolitan Transit Authority, but officials and riders still hope the Green and Purple Line will meet expectations. The two lines, connecting downtown with the East End along Harrisburg and with the Third Ward and […]

The latest Uptown fuss

I suppose I need to say something about this. Two members of an economic development board pushing a plan to run a center bus lane along Uptown’s Post Oak Boulevard have financial ties to companies that will be paid for land in the project’s right of way. Earlier this year, Uptown Chairman Martin Debrovner and […]

You can still ask Metro to make changes to their new bus routes

Chris Andrews highlights a little Metro-related activism going on in my neighborhood. Residents in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston have initiated a petition to modify the proposed 30 bus route. Currently, the neighborhood is serviced by the 40 Pecore route. When METRO’s System Reimagining was proposed in early 2015, the 30 Clinton / Ella […]

I-45 Coalition gives its feedback to TxDOT

Jim Weston of the I-45 Coalition sent the following feedback to TxDOT regarding their plans for remaking I-45 in and around downtown. Through-out all Segments: 1.1 – All existing sound barrier walls must be replaced. Past agreements to install sound barrier walls, must be installed as part of this project. 1.2 – Sound Mitigation – […]

How the East End got its rail line

A great overview of how we got here with the Harrisburg and Southeast lines, the genesis of which go back a lot farther than the 2003 Metro Solutions referendum. The working- and middle-class Mexican-American residents of the East End lacked political power in Houston prior to the 1960s and 1970s and their communities received little […]

Can you make a living as an Uber driver?

Not a very good one, it would seem. Last year, Uber claimed its full-time New York City UberX drivers were making a median wage of about $90,000 a year. Drivers responded by telling Business Insider’s Maya Kosoff that they were often making less than minimum wage, with yearly earnings in the range of $10,000 to […]

The Chron on how Metro and Culberson came to an accord

Read all about it. Houston’s buses don’t run at 2 a.m., but that’s when Metro and U.S. Rep. John Culberson began to see real movement toward a deal to improve area transit service. “We got really intense one night and literally worked line-by-line,” Metropolitan Transit Authority chairman Gilbert Garcia said last week, explaining how months […]

Now how much would you pay to drive on that toll road?

How about ten bucks each way at peak times, beginning on May 30? Toll rates on the I-10 lanes, also known as the Katy Managed Lanes, will increase as officials seek to ease congestion by reducing use of the lanes during peak hours through a process called congestion pricing. The rates will go up by […]

Still debating where to put the Houston high speed rail terminal

While people in the rural counties are trying to kill the proposed high speed rail line between Houston and Dallas, some other people here in Houston are thinking about where a station should be. [Lynn] Hardwin was among a few dozen people attending an open house held by Texas Central Partners on April 23 at […]