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Posts under ‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’

Profiling the high speed rail opponents

City Lab takes a look at the people who are resisting the proposed Texas Central Railway. Turns out you don’t need to rely on public money to be hated as a U.S. high-speed rail project. That much is becoming clear from the battering being given to a big Texas bullet train plan that’s privately funded. […]

B-Cycle’s future

There’s some trouble in San Antonio. San Antonio B-Cycle could be on the verge of following rideshare and disappearing from the San Antonio landscape, multiple sources have told the Rivard Report, unless it can win the local government, corporate and philanthropic financial support that bikeshare enjoys in cities like Boston, Philadelphia, Denver, Houston, and Austin. […]

TxDOT reveals its I-45 plan

Wow. Just, wow. A massive reconstruction of Interstate 45 through most of Houston would topple one of downtown’s most frustrating barriers – the Pierce Elevated – and move the freeway east of the central business district. That’s just one of the major changes Texas Department of Transportation officials included in the $6 billion-plus plan to […]

Lone Star Rail District update

Haven’t heard from these guys in awhile. According to [Lone Star Rail District], the [proposed rail line] will provide essential relief from the I-35 highway congestion. The express trip from downtown Austin to downtown San Antonio would take 75 minutes. Completing the project, however, crawls slowly forward as the approval for the train involves several […]

The alternate approach to statewide regulations for Uber and Lyft

That’s one way to do it. Another round of sparring between Texas cities and car service companies like Lyft and Uber played out on Tuesday before a panel of Texas lawmakers. The proposal that was debated — which would let cities regulate Lyft and Uber the same way they regulate traditional taxi companies — would […]

High speed rail opponents go to Congress

Here’s a press release from Texans Against High Speed Rail: Lawmakers in Austin who represent thousands of Texans along the proposed Dallas Houston high-speed rail project being promoted by Texas Central Railway (TCR) have officially requested opposition to the project from the Texas delegation in Washington, DC. With an application to the federal level Surface […]

Widening I-10 to San Antonio

Like, all the way. The roughly 200-mile stretch of Interstate 10 from San Antonio to Houston could become more spacious, as the Texas Department of Transportation has raised the idea of adding a third lane to the highway in each direction. An expansion of I-10 between San Antonio and Houston would be the latest effort […]

Pothole progress

Hooray. Two months after Mayor Annise Parker called Houston’s pockmarked streets a “crisis situation” and pledged to clear a mounting pothole repair backlog, the city has reduced open work requests by about 1,000 despite a steep increase in calls for repairs. The welcome news for Houston drivers tired of dodging pesky potholes is tempered by […]

More Uber safety debating

It’s a topic that’s not going away. With the new, smartphone-based services, drivers and passengers said, the relationship between the person behind the wheel and the person paying for the trip is unique: “It’s just you and them,” one driver said, asking not to be identified. “That’s a big level of trust.” Accommodating the model […]

Uber and background checks

Uber is back in the news again, and as has often been the case it’s not in a good way. Houston officials discovered crimes ranging from aggravated robbery to driving on a suspended license when they checked the backgrounds of prospective Uber drivers who had been cleared by the company’s review, according to a new […]

Senate bill to kill high speed rail advances

Didn’t know there was one of these. The Senate Transportation Committee voted 5-4 to pass out Senate Bill 1601, from state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, which would strip firms developing high-speed rail projects from eminent domain authority. Texas Central High-Speed Railway is developing a privately financed bullet train to carry passengers between Houston and Dallas […]

Do we need a statewide solution for Uber and Lyft?

Bill Hammond of the Texas Association of Business thinks so. Fans of apps like Uber and Lyft may find that the rules governing their operations in one city differ dramatically from those in a community down the street or across the state. That not only creates unnecessary confusion for consumers and drivers who use the […]

Texas Central Railway to hold “informational” meetings

I hope this effort isn’t too little, too late for them. Backers of a high-speed rail line plan a series of meetings this month in rural areas where the proposed Houston-to-Dallas tracks could cross, setting up discussions with some of the project’s biggest skeptics. “What we were surprised at is the amount of misinformation out […]

News flash: Traffic is getting worse

I know, I’m as shocked as you are. It’s a common dilemma for Houston motorists. Congestion in Houston increased sharply from 2013 to 2014, according to a report released Tuesday by TomTom, developer of the mapping and traffic data fed to phones and other GPS devices. Analysts said trips in the region on average last […]

Uber officially departs San Antonio

As expected. Uber’s ride in the Alamo City ended Wednesday as the ride-share company has stopped operating within San Antonio city limits. The decision to end all operations in San Antonio stems from the city council’s vote to approve a series of proposed changes to policies that regulate the local ride-share industry. Those rules went […]

One way to lower speed limits

Purple City makes an interesting observation. One of the quieter actions of the late Parker administration has been to slowly alter speed limits from 35 or 40mph to 30mph. These reductions aren’t based on an engineering study or field measurements, but on a creative interpretation of state law. Texas sets the default urban speed limit […]

Metro writes off old light rail studies

What might have been. Houston transit officials Thursday wrote off $104 million wasted on multiple studies related to the controversial University and Uptown light rail projects that ultimately stalled due to a lack of funding and fierce opposition from the neighborhoods they would impact. The studies for the two lines, which were approved by voters […]

Uber and Lyft for the San Antonio suburbs

If the rules in the big city aren’t amenable, maybe the rules in the smaller nearby cities will be. San Antonio’s new rules for rideshare companies go into effect April 1 and controversy over the regulation of transportation network companies (TNCs) continues as Uber and Lyft prepare to leave San Antonio. Company representatives say the […]

Metro board seeks to expand

It’s change that has been anticipated since the 2010 Census data was released. With all indications pointing to more people in the Metropolitan Transit Authority service area living outside Houston than inside the city, Metro officials are asking to accelerate a state-mandated expansion of the transit agency’s board. The change would mean more members appointed […]

On Uber and DWI

This was from a few weeks ago, and I just hadn’t gotten around to finishing the draft post I’d started till now. The entrance of app-based transportation companies in American cities decreases the likelihood that people living there drive drunk, according to a survey commissioned by car-for-hire firm Uber and Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The […]

Overpass groundbreaking

Progress. After years of conflict among community members and leaders, construction of Metro’s new Harrisburg overpass is officially underway in Houston’s East End. “It’s not just a bridge; it’s going to be a landmark in the city,” Metropolitan Transit Authority board member Diann Lewter said at a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday. […] City Council member Robert […]

Taxi companies federal lawsuit against Uber and Lyft can proceed

Part of it, anyway. Taxi companies in Houston and San Antonio that took their turf war with two online companies to federal court by accusing Uber and Lyft of operating illegally and skimming money from cab firms can continue pursuing their lawsuit, a U.S. district court judge in Houston ruled this week. U.S. District Judge […]

Vehicle registration renewal error notice

The following is a public service announcement. From the inbox: 320,000 Texas Drivers Receive Error in Renewal Notice Mike Sullivan wants to ensure Harris County drivers are aware of issue Tax Assessor-Collector Mike Sullivan wants to ensure Harris County drivers are aware of the issue concerning their vehicle registration notice. According to the Texas Department […]

Uber’s lobbying efforts

Cry havoc, and let slip the lobbyists of, um, lobbying! After spending months securing a spot on Houston’s roadways, Uber is stepping on the gas in Austin: hiring at least 23 lobbyists and paying them as much as $700,000 to make sure its on-demand ride service gets favorable treatment in the Legislature, according to records […]

An Uptown BRT skeptic

Here’s one guy who doesn’t like the idea. Ridership models developed by the Uptown TIRZ board project that the new bus route will carry 10,000 riders per day in 2018. This estimate is outrageously inflated, given that the more than 30-year-old Park & Ride system only carries 16,000 riders per day, most of whom are […]

Revised SA vehicles for hire ordinance not good enough for Uber

That would be a nope. With an impending council decision, efforts by the city to revise its vehicles-for-hire ordinance to convince the ride-hailing companies Lyft and Uber to remain in San Antonio appear to have only left both sides in the fight dissatisfied. The San Antonio City Council is scheduled to vote [today] on city […]

One sticker for all has begun

Hope it wasn’t too confusing for you if you had to deal with it this week. On Monday – the first full day under the new system for registering cars, trucks, trailers and motorcycles in Texas – drivers trying to abide by the new law faced frustration as misunderstandings and a computer glitch led to […]

System reimagining is hard work

Jarrett Walker, who consulted with Metro on bus system reimagining, wants you to know that it was harder than it looked. These no-new-resources restructurings always involve cutting some low-ridership services to add higher-ridership ones, and these can be incredibly painful decisions for boards, civic leaders, and transit managements. Civic officials can come out looking better […]

Transportation Commission approves funds for Uptown BRT

Finally. Dedicated bus lanes along Loop 610 remain a part of planned transit service in the Uptown area after state officials kept $25 million allocated to an upcoming project. After months of discussions about the project’s purpose and agreements between the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the Texas Department of Transportation, state transportation commissioners Thursday approved […]

Bill filed to kill high speed rail line

Given all that’s been going on lately, I suppose this was inevitable. A lawmaker whose district sits near the proposed route for a planned bullet train connecting Houston and Dallas filed a bill Wednesday that could stop the project in its tracks. House Bill 1889 from state Rep. Will Metcalf, R-Conroe, a persistent critic of […]

More on San Antonio’s vehicles for hire re-try

There are multiple issues to be resolved. Uber and Lyft representatives are cautiously optimistic about what will come out of the small group of City officials that continue to work on a rideshare ordinance that softens the regulatory blow to rideshare companies and their drivers. The revised ordinance is expected to be discussed in a […]

Uptown needs bikes

So says this op-ed. Always susceptible to gridlock, especially at Christmastime, the traffic jams now happen year-round and last longer each day. Clearly, Uptown badly needs convenient, reliable alternatives to cars for the tens of thousands of workers and residents who live, work and shop in the area, the largest business district in the nation […]

Metro’s new rail station

Houston Central Station is finally open, though in a much less impressive form than it might have been. Houston’s first new rail station in nearly 14 months [opened] Wednesday, but it won’t serve its main purpose – connecting riders on multiple lines – until Metro overcomes persistent delays in expanding its service. Central Station Main, […]

San Antonio may try again on vehicles for hire

Very interesting. Key players at City Hall are crafting an eleventh-hour amended ordinance to stop Uber from leaving San Antonio, 10 days after the rideshare company announced plans to end service here if one of the nation’s most restrictive ordinances goes into effect on March 1. The ordinance passed by Council in December, say supporters […]