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Posts under ‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’

Meet your Harrisburg overpass

Looks nice enough. Going to be painful getting to the finished product, though. Metropolitan Transit Authority board members are set to approve a $30.66 million construction contract on the half-mile overpass next week. The overpass is needed to complete the Green Line rail along Harrisburg to the Magnolia Park Transit Center, near Gus Wortham Golf […]

USAA to offer “rideshare” insurance

Noted for future reference. USAA has launched a pilot program in Colorado that gives rideshare drivers the opportunity to sign up for a policy that extends their existing USAA coverage and deductibles and provides enhanced coverage the moment rideshare application is turned on until to the moment they are hired to pick up a customer. […]

Hyperloops

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a hyperloop! Entrepreneur Elon Musk announced Thursday that he wants to build a “test track” for his idea for a futuristic high-speed transportation system called the Hyperloop, adding that Texas is “the leading candidate” to host the track. Musk’s Hyperloop concept involves transporting […]

Say goodbye to some specialty license plates

Nothing lasts forever. Dr. Pepper, the National Wild Turkey Foundation and the Fort Worth Zoo are among 56 groups that will no longer grace the bumpers of Texas cars and trucks unless sales pick up. Under new rules set between the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles and My Plates, the company that sells specialty license […]

Safe passing law update

The city of Houston has an ordinance requiring vehicles to give bikes a three-foot buffer on the streets. How much of an effect has it had so far? A law authorizing police to ticket drivers for encroaching on bicyclists and pedestrians has yielded fewer than a dozen citations in the 20 months it has been […]

How does a 25 MPH speed limit for downtown Houston grab you?

Christopher Andrews makes the case in Gray Matters: Does anyone know the speed limit in downtown Houston? Probably not. Casual observation shows speeds there normally range anywhere from gridlock to Gran Prix. I don’t believe there are any speed-limit signs. But there is a speed limit. And no, it’s not “however fast you can drive […]

How about high speed rail plus light rail?

Now here‘s an interesting idea. More than 200 people turned out Thursday to voice their concerns over the proposed track of the High-Speed Rail (HSR) train that would take travelers from Houston to Dallas in 90 minutes. “I think that the HSR is a great solution for inter city travel but I believe it doesn’t […]

A very brief I-45 update

Way at the bottom of this overview of transit projects and milestones for 2015 are these three paragraphs: The freeway project likely to attract the most attention in the Houston area – widening Interstate 45 from the Sam Houston Tollway to the central business district – is years away from construction but will also have […]

Neighborhood Greenways

I really like this idea. Complete Streets means that our local governments prioritize the safety and comfort of all a street’s users regardless of age, ability, or mode of transport. Fixing our streets will be a long-term project, but if we head in the right direction, we will have neighborhoods for our grandchildren to live […]

Still tweaking the reimagining

An updated version of Metro’s reimagined bus network will be out soon. The so-called reimagining plan, which the Metropolitan Transit Authority began studying more than a year ago, touches every bus route in the sprawling Houston-area system. Changes will take effect in June, with Metro planning some early testing of new services and a massive […]

On streetcars and BRT

Offcite considers some alternatives to light rail. Two new light rail lines set to start service early next year will drastically expand Houston’s rail network, but our city will remain dreadfully underserved by the system. Many neighborhoods seeing a greater density of midrise and townhouse developments will not be reached by rail. The bus system […]

Creating a bike plan for the city

Moving forward. It would be hard to argue that bicycling in Houston is not on the upswing, with many millions of dollars approved and numerous policies passed in recent years, all aimed at welcoming and protecting riders. City planners and cycling advocates see significant gaps in this progress, however, from uncertainty about the kind of […]

Is this the end of the two-car household?

From Streetsblog: While predicting continued global growth in car sales as countries like India and China become more affluent, KPMG’s recent white paper about trends affecting the car industry [PDF] sees different forces at work in the United States. In the U.S., says KPMG, car sharing companies like Zipcar, on-demand car services like Uber, and […]

Speed limits and pedestrian fatalities

Here’s a topic that won’t be the least bit controversial, I’m sure. The New York City Vision Zero goal is simple and precise: to end traffic deaths and injuries on city streets. This is not a mere sound bite in New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio launched his Vision Zero initiative before he took […]

Montgomery County really wants an I-45 option for the high speed rail line

They’re not fooling around. Montgomery County commissioners have unanimously adopted a strongly worded resolution criticizing any effort to run a high-speed train between Houston and Dallas through the western side of the fast-growing county. Instead, commissioners believe the right track for such a bullet train to take would be down the Interstate 45 corridor, where […]

Metro gets some new rail cars online

Finally. Eight of the long-delayed railcars needed to expand light rail service in Houston are expected to start ferrying passengers in the first week of 2015, promising some relief from rush-hour crowding, transit officials said Thursday. The cars, the first of 39 from CAF U.S.A. to clear their testing, are ready to roll, according to […]

Treating all fares the same

Good idea. A six-month test starting in February will gauge the effects of letting cash-paying rail riders switch to buses for free. The vast majority of riders use a Q card, day pass or some other form of Metro payment. Transfers with those items are free, provided subsequent trips are along the system and not […]

Heights bike trail connection update

Good news from Swamplot: OVER THANKSGIVING weekend city workers opened a portion of the proposed hike-and-hike trail that will one day link downtown and Acres Homes. Work began last October on this new section, one that heads west from the MKT hike-and-bike trail’s former official western terminus at Lawrence Park, under the N. Shepherd Dr. […]

San Antonio City Council passes vehicles for hire revision

Unlike Dallas, it’s the cab companies that are happy about it. After nearly three hours of debate Thursday, the San Antonio City Council voted 7-2 to approve new rules for ride-share companies Uber and Lyft that provide service in the city. Only council members Ron Nirenberg and Rey Saldana opposed the motion. Councilman Roberto Trevino, […]

Dallas City Council approves vehicles for hire revisions

It was smooth sailing, relatively speaking. Starting in late April, ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft will be able to operate legally in the city of Dallas. The City Council on Wednesday voted 13-2 to overhaul the city’s ordinance for taxicabs, limos and those app-based companies. In doing so, they introduced more competition and brought […]

Will the TNCs leave San Antonio?

The upcoming Council vote in San Antonio over vehicles for hire could have some repercussions. City Council will meet Thursday to vote on proposed rules that would allow rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber to operate legally in San Antonio. But the new regulations and requirements are so onerous, say rideshare company representatives and advocates, […]

San Antonio City Council to vote on vehicles for hire this week

As we know, the San Antonio City Council is set to update its vehicles for hire ordinances, which is to say it’s getting ready to approve rules that would allow Uber and Lyft to operate legally there. The Express News story on the Council meeting to review the proposed ordinance updates is here, but this […]

More concerns about the high speed rail route

Some people who live not far from me are not very happy about the high speed rail line possibly running through their neighborhood. The prospect of a high-speed train crossing through First Ward into downtown Houston has residents scrambling to weigh in on the proposal. “I’m completely opposed to this project. I believe we can […]

Rural counties skeptical of high speed rail plan

This is a bit concerning. Steve Drake regularly makes the nearly four-hour drive from this city to Houston to visit his fiancée’s family. So he was excited about the news that a private company intended to build a bullet train that would cut that trip to 90 minutes. “I’m passionate about this. I hope it […]

Dallas gets set to tackle vehicles for hire

Good luck. Sticking points remain on Dallas’ proposed car-for-hire rules, as the City Council prepares to vote next month on a new ordinance to regulate taxicabs, limos and app-based companies such as Uber and Lyft. Several council members raised questions Monday at a transportation committee meeting over insurance requirements. And others expressed concerns about nuances, […]

From the “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life” department

Every dark cloud has a silver lining, y’all. You just have to know where to look for it. Metro’s four-month delay in opening two rail lines will give the agency time to obtain enough cars to prevent severe crowding when trains start rolling. Fourteen of 39 new rail cars that the Metropolitan Transit Authority ordered […]

The Woodlands wants to be on the high speed rail route

Can’t blame ‘em. The Woodlands Township is urging federal and state officials to take another look at the potential benefits of adding a high-speed rail corridor along Interstate 45. Last month, the Federal Railway Administration and the Texas Department of Transportation revealed two potential routes for a proposed bullet train that could one day connect […]

Pro-ride sharing but anti-Uber

Stop what you’re doing and read this. A big debate among the Pando staff for the past two years has been over just how morally bankrupt Uber is. Earlier this evening, a bombshell story by Buzzfeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith proves the reality is way worse than anyone on our team could have expected. And that’s […]

Vehicles for hire update moves forward in San Antonio

Back on track after a late summer hiatus. Yet another meeting has been scheduled to discuss controversial new rules that would allow rideshare companies to operate in San Antonio. The City Council’s Public Safety Committee voted Wednesday to take up the issue with the full City Council during B Session on Dec. 3 Council members […]

Connecting the high-speed rail line to Fort Worth

This is encouraging. State transportation officials this week are unveiling early plans for a high-speed train line from Dallas to Fort Worth. Like Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s plans to expand transit service in downtown, the project is an attempt to take advantage of plans for a high-speed rail line from Dallas to Houston. The Texas […]

Uptown BRT moving forward again

Good news. Tensions are easing over plans to develop dedicated bus lanes in Uptown, where community leaders want to give commuters and shoppers more transportation options and relieve worsening congestion. “We’re there and ready to make this project happen,” said John Breeding, president of the Uptown Management District, the agency leading the project to run […]

Another data point on Uber and Republicans

From Josh Barro. Republicans have hailed Uber, the smartphone-based car service, as a symbol of entrepreneurial innovation that could be strangled by misplaced government regulation. In August, the Republican National Committee urged supporters to sign a petition in support of the company, warning that “government officials are trying to block Uber from providing services simply […]

Uber to be available at Houston airports now

This was part of the original vehicle for hire ordinance overhaul, to be implemented later. “Later” has now arrived. Uber and other app-based ride service companies won coveted access to Houston’s airports Wednesday when the City Council quietly passed new regulations, a move likely to increase competition in a market that has long been a […]

Bringing the high speed rail line downtown

Building that high speed rail line from Dallas to Houston is one thing. Bringing it to a centrally-located terminal is another. Plans for a high-speed rail line between Houston and Dallas are moving relatively quickly beyond a recent initial round of public meetings. Questions about the route are dominating discussions. Though still years away – […]