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Posts under ‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’

The post-Uber Austin rideshare experience

Texas Monthly notes the issues that some people faced during SxSW hailing a ride, and considers the rideshare landscape in Austin post-Uber and Lyft. But the thesis that Austin is experiencing a crisis around ride-hailing apps is an old one, and it’s incomplete. RideAustin, which as a non-profit makes all of its numbers public, gave […]

A little skepticism about hyperloops

Streetsblog isn’t having the hyperloop hype. There are no functional, real-world examples of a Hyperloop, Tesla founder Elon Musk’s long-distance transport concept that involves shooting people through vacuum-sealed tubes in pods that travel at up to 760 mph. Anyone who believes it’s a viable endeavor is basically taking it on faith. “Hyperloop One” — the $130 million startup promoting […]

Improving Metro service for disabled riders

It’s a work in progress. Many elderly and disabled people in the region rely on the bus, and a 6-foot stretch of missing sidewalk can cut off their access completely. Advocates expect better from the city with the world’s largest medical center, home to the former president, George H.W. Bush, who signed the Americans With […]

Houston hyperlooping

How soon can this be built? A Texas plan using the Hyperloop concept envisioned by Tesla founder Elon Musk is one of 35 proposals from around the globe competing this week in Washington for bragging rights as the best initial project for the technology. Hyperloop One, the company currently testing the idea, sponsored the contest. […]

Get ready for lots of road construction

Because a lot of money is fixing to be spent on it. A sweeping revision of state highway plans adds nearly $9 billion in new funds for improving Texas roadways, including a $1.32 billion infusion in the Houston area for a major overhaul of Interstate 45 and nine other projects. Projects along Texas 36 in […]

Metro still fixing rail car issues

Someday this will all be over. Houston’s light rail system is fully open, but closing out a complicated rail car purchase that nearly derailed the new lines remains a challenge for transit officials. Metropolitan Transit Authority officials continue withholding $12.9 million from CAF U.S.A. – the builder of the vehicles – as they debate the […]

Bike plan finally gets approved

Long time coming. Houston has a bike plan. Though there’s no clear plan to pay for it and ongoing concerns with exactly where the planned trails and lanes will be located, City Council approved the bike plan on Wednesday morning. Council members Mike Knox, Steve Le, Michael Kubosh and Greg Travis voted against the plan, […]

A really dumb “Trump and the train” article

Ugh. Texas is closer than ever to building the first high-speed train in the United States, thanks to President Donald Trump’s fascination with these transportation projects and a well-timed pitch to his administration. Now developers nationwide are looking to the privately owned Texas Central Railway as a test case of what can get done with […]

Bike plan vote delayed

What’s another two weeks? Houston’s long-term plan for improving bicycle routes around town will wait a couple more weeks after a handful of elected officials voiced various concerns. City Council members Greg Travis, Michael Kubosh, Steve Le, Mike Knox and Dave Martin tagged the proposed Houston Bike Plan on Wednesday morning, delaying its approval for […]

The long-term future of public transit

By “long-term” I mean by 2050 or so. For an agency that’s spent decades guiding freeway expansion, it was a stark admission for members of the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s transportation policy council. “Future growth and the resulting travel is expected to surpass our ability to meet regional mobility needs by relying solely on increased roadway […]

Get ready for more I-45 chaos

Lord have mercy on our souls. Relieving one of Houston’s worst bottlenecks will come with some lengthy complications for northbound drivers on Interstate 45 headed into Houston’s central business district, starting Friday night. After years of delay, work is starting on a modification to Spur 5, the ramp that connects northbound I-45 traffic to downtown […]

Interview with Holly Reed of Texas Central Railway

As you know, I’ve been following the ins and outs of Texas Central Railway and its efforts to build a high-speed rail line between Houston and Dallas since it was first proposed several years ago. Along the way, the proposal has picked up some dedicated opposition, mostly in rural counties where the line would pass […]

TxDOT accelerates I-45 construction timeline

Gird your loins. For many long-suffering Houston drivers, a solution to the infuriating bottleneck on Interstate 45 through downtown is likely something they thought they wouldn’t live to see. More than a decade ago, a plan pitched to solve the problem – moving the interstate to the east side of downtown and demolishing the Pierce […]

The Trib and the DMN on the train

The Texas Tribune and the Dallas Morning News are teaming up on a deep dive into the Texas Central Railway’s high-speed rail proposal. This story, the third in their set, explains where the money to build this thing may come from. But, really, how does a private company go about lining up the billions of […]

Here come the anti-Texas Central bills

From the inbox: [Tuesday], a group of key state lawmakers filed a slate of legislation to push back against Texas Central Railway’s controversial proposal to construct a high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston. Senators Birdwell (R-Granbury), Creighton (R-Conroe), Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), Perry (R-Lubbock), and Schwertner (R-Georgetown) joined with Representatives Ashby (R-Lufkin), Bell (R-Magnolia), Cook (R-Corsicana), […]

Metro preps regional transit plan

This could be on our November ballot as well. A pending long-term regional transit plan, and likely voter referendum as early as November, will determine where Metro goes. More importantly, they will show what level of support people in the Houston region have for more buses, longer train routes and commuter service to increasingly urbanizing […]

Texas Central withdraws its land access lawsuits

Interesting. The private developer of a planned bullet train between Dallas and Houston has withdrawn more than a dozen lawsuits against Texas landowners that sought court orders allowing the company access to private property to survey land for the 240-mile project. Texas Central Partners officials said they are instead going to try and have an […]

Another point about Metro and marketing

Metro receives a good report in its quadrennial audit, and also a good suggestion. The public perception of vagrancy, loitering and even crime remains a challenge for Houston transit officials that has made its way into Metro’s new performance audit. The audit, which Metropolitan Transit Authority’s board accepted Wednesday- a largely perfunctory approval – gave […]

Trump and the train

This could be interesting. A privately-funded bullet train between Dallas and Houston and a passenger rail line connecting suburban North Texas are among a litany of transportation projects considered priorities by President Donald Trump’s administration, according to The Kansas City Star. But what that means for the projects either financially or in a regulatory sense […]

Yale Street Bridge reopens

Woo hoo! Heights area residents woke up Tuesday to a bright sunny day in more ways than one, finding that crews had opened the new Yale Bridge spanning White Oak Bayou. The opening late Monday is roughly 10 months ahead of the original schedule laid out by Texas Department of Transportation officials when the old […]

Ready for driverless cars, Houston?

Well, they’re coming, ready or not. Researchers, business leaders and elected officials are about to turn Texas into the biggest laboratory for connected cars in the nation, with the likeliest place to spot a self-driving car in Houston along the high occupancy vehicle and toll lanes along some of the region’s busiest freeways. Officials are […]

Here comes the fully extended Green Line

Hallelujah. Oh what a rocky ride it’s been. Political opposition. A Buy America violation. Construction delays. Contaminated soil that sank an underpass. Overweight and badly-manufactured railcars. More construction delays. When trains finally start rolling along the new Green Line into neighborhoods east of downtown on Wednesday, the last leg in Metro’s controversial multi-billion dollar project […]

Uber moves driverless car pilot to Arizona

This happened right before Christmas, so I’m just catching up to it now. The day after California regulators shut down Uber’s self-driving car program in San Francisco, Uber on Thursday packed up its autonomous vehicles and hauled them to Arizona, vowing to resume testing there. The move was a quick rebound by Uber after its […]

Texas Central land survey case will go to trial

This is a little complicated. A major decision standing in the way of a proposed high-speed rail project connecting Houston to Dallas has been scheduled for trial. District Judge Joseph “Tad” Halbach denied Texas Central Railroad summary judgment in a land survey case in Harris County Dec. 16, sending the case to full trial scheduled […]

Uber pulls driverless cars from San Francisco

Score one for the California DMV. Uber pulled its self-driving cars off San Francisco’s streets Wednesday after the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles revoked their registrations, effectively ending the company’s controversial pilot program after just one week. The move marked a dramatic end to Uber’s standoff with state regulators over the San Francisco-based company’s insistence […]

What’s going on with Metro’s ridership numbers?

I have no idea what to make of this. Houston’s heralded bus system redesign – garnering kudos from local riders and transit supporters around the country – is running into the reality that nothing can boost transit when fewer people are riding to work. When the Metropolitan Transit Authority revamped its bus system in August […]

Driverless Ubers arrive in San Francisco

Here they come, ready or not. Uber has always had a special relationship with this city. The ride-hailing company was founded and headquartered here. In its early days, one of the towns where Uber grew fastest was its hometown. On Wednesday, Uber again highlighted its special relationship with San Francisco. The company has started offering […]

Council approves Uber deal

I’d forgotten about this. Uber will remain operating in Houston at least through the Super Bowl, after City Council approved changes to the city’s paid ride rules ironed out between the popular ride-hailing service and Mayor Sylvester Turner. Council members, after a sometimes contentious discussion on Wednesday, approved the revised city rules for taxis, so-called […]

Yale Street bridge reopening sooner than expected

Hooray! Christmas 2017 is coming very early for Heights area commuters, now that transportation officials have confirmed that the new Yale Street bridge will open in early February – roughly 10 months ahead of the previous schedule. “They’re working fast,” TxDOT spokesman Danny Perez said Friday, acknowledging the accelerated opening day. Replacing the Yale Street […]

More bayou bike trails

Nice. Laying out the particulars for a new trail section along White Oak Bayou, Chip Place saw something out of place where the trail crossed the Heights Hike and Bike Trail near T C Jester. It was the stairs connecting the two trails. “Look at that,” Place said, pointing from the new stairs to the […]

Next B-Cycle expansion approved

Good. Expansion of Houston’s bike sharing system is pretty much in high gear after City Council on Wednesday signed off on a $4.1 million plan to roughly triple the number of bikes and kiosks. With the agreement in place, local B-Cycle operators can proceed with their plan to purchase 568 bikes and install 71 new […]

As go gas prices, so goes interest in transit

It is what it is. Cheap gasoline has Texans driving more, indicating that efforts to promote mass transit or bicycle commuting are falling short, a new statewide poll suggests. As folks hit the road, though, they are increasingly supportive of investment in transit and bike safety, even if perhaps they’d rather see others try it […]

Trump’s toll roads

Who wants more toll roads? Part of president-elect Donald Trump’s promise to create new jobs for Americans relies on a “deficit-neutral plan” to spend $1 trillion on public works projects, including hundreds of billions for roads and rail. But the strategy could result in something many Texans aren’t going to like: more toll roads. “Unfortunately […]

Plano for high speed rail

More support for Texas Central. The Plano City Council has lent it support to a 240-mile high-speed rail project that would run from Dallas to Houston. The council voted 7-1 Monday night to adopt a resolution supporting the project, with Council member Tom Harrison the lone dissenter. City spokesman, Steve Stoler, said the council supported […]