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Posts under ‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’

End of year B-Cycle report

B-Cycle has been in Houston for nine months, having launched in early April. So far, it’s done pretty well. The B-Cycle system’s 29th station was christened earlier this month in front of Clayton Homes. Officials said they hoped to provide new customers for bike-sharing and new opportunities for low-income families. “The more you use the […]

On riding the North Line

Can we wait until we’ve had at least one non-holiday work week before we start talking about North Line ridership numbers? Thanks. The changes brought by the rail line, an extension of the Main Street Line now known as the Red Line, might develop more gradually than some residents and businesses hope. Early signs are […]

What can we do to get the Universities Line going?

This story is about the opening of the North Line, but it’s also about where Metro goes from here. The opening of the lines won’t spell the end of the construction. To complete the final mile of the East Line, Metro must build an underpass at Harrisburg and 66th Street at the Houston Belt & […]

North Line opening today

From the inbox: ALL ABOARD FOR SATURDAY RAIL ROLL-OUT METRO is inviting the public to get on board for the Saturday, Dec. 21 grand opening of the new 5.3-mile North/Red Line! Riding the train will be free all day as part of the grand opening celebration taking place at Moody Park. Festivities at the park include acts like A.B.Quintanilla III y Los Kumbia […]

North Line opens this Saturday

Exciting times. Two major transportation projects scheduled to open in Houston this week – perhaps on the same day – represent distinct and sometimes warring visions of regional mobility and growth. On Saturday, the Metropolitan Transit Authority will open its Red Line light rail extension from downtown to just north of Loop 610. And state […]

We still need to do more to protect bike riders

The story of Chelsea Norman just breaks my heart. They call it the “ghost bike.” It is painted completely white, even the tires, and chained to a street post in Montrose. The shrine near West Gray and Waugh marks where cyclist Chelsea Norman was hit 10 days ago by a motorist and later died of […]

Austin B-Cycle coming

Took ‘em long enough. Service will launch Dec. 21 with 110 bikes and 11 stations, including one sponsored by the Chronicle. The full project will be completed by March 1, 2014, with expanded stations planned to service the UT-Austin campus, Riverside Drive, Zilker Park, and East Austin. These first locations were whittled down from the […]

The lost canopy

Very disappointing. Metro officials on Thursday scaled back plans for an iconic downtown Houston transit hub where three rail lines will cross after board members grew frustrated with what they called inexcusable delays and cost overruns. “This has been mismanaged from the get-go, and there cannot be situations where things are not budgeted fully,” Metropolitan […]

More riders, fewer routes

Metro keeps moving towards its re-imagined bus service, which is aimed at increasing ridership. Currently, Metro operates on a philosophy that half its resources should go toward high-performing routes and half to making sure everyone has convenient access to a bus stop. By re-directing most of those resources, the same number of buses can provide […]

Reminder: I-45 public meeting tonight

From The Highwayman: As officials take another step in the process of widening Interstate 45 from downtown north to the Sam Houston Tollway, one option to essentially make the teardrop-shaped inner loop created by I-45 and U.S. 59 an odd confluence of I-45 running along both sides of the business district remains a possibility, according […]

Maybe there’s a problem with building roads where there are no drivers

The high speed toll road keeps having problems relating to not having enough paying customers. SH 130 has not been the immediate success story its backers had hoped. Last week, lower-than-expected traffic revenue prompted credit ratings firm Moody’s Investors Service to severely downgrade the SH 130 Concession Company’s debt and warned that a default may […]

No, Texans!

If you regularly see Metro buses around town, you might have noticed that during the football season they will sometimes display “GO TEXANS!” on their marquees, rotating with their route information. They display similar messages for other local teams during their seasons as well. Harris County Treasurer Orlando Sanchez wants them to stop doing that. […]

Third public meeting for I-45 widening

From the I-45 Coalition, via the inbox: TxDOT is starting to roll again on the I-45 project!   TxDOT has just scheduled the 3rd round of public meetings to be held Thursday, Nov 14 at Aldine Ninth Grade School, 10650 North Freeway & Tuesday, Nov 19 at Jeff Davis High School, 1101 Quitman. Both meetings will […]

Let’s not get the private high speed rail line bogged down in politics

I’m always interested in stories about the Texas high speed rail line. The company, Texas Central High-Speed Railway, drew attention last year when it announced plans to develop a high-speed rail line without public subsidies. Texas transportation officials took the project seriously, noting the pedigree of the investors: Japanese financiers behind a profitable bullet train […]

Complete Streets coming

This is good to see. Houston, long ruled by the automobile, will give more consideration to the needs of pedestrians and cyclists in designing its streets and neighborhoods. Mayor Annise Parker on Thursday said she is drafting, with public works and planning officials, an executive order stating that the city will adhere to “complete streets” […]

Southwest breaks ground at Hobby

Get ready to dodge construction at Hobby Airport. The 280,000-square-foot expansion is scheduled for completion before the end of 2015, with short-hop international flights to cities in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America to begin by 2016. This will increase Hobby’s physical footprint by more than 40 percent. “It’s on time. It’s on […]

Improving bike-to-transit

I wish them luck. A group of Rice University students is working with various community groups and Metropolitan Transit Authority officials to better integrate cycling and public transit, as the city’s bike-sharing system prepares for another expansion. Make no mistake: Biking and transit will continue to be specks in the rear-view mirror of the automobile […]

Uber and insurance

Fascinating. Shortly before midnight on a Tuesday night in March, a black Lincoln Town Car was heading south on Divisadero Street in San Francisco at the same time a Dodge Charger was approaching from the opposite direction. The accident that occurred next is a fairly common one: the Town Car was preparing for a left-hand […]

So what is the capacity of the Katy Freeway these days?

This story was about the increase in the toll on the managed lanes of the Katy Freeway, but there was a tidbit at the end that caught my eye. When officials started widening the freeway in 2003, at an eventual cost of $2.8 billion, their goal was to ease congestion in one of the area’s […]

Yes, but why is traffic so bad at these places?

Two things that aren’t mentioned in this story but need to be. Two adjoining stretches of U.S. 59 in downtown and west Houston fared the worst regionally on an annual list of the 100-most congested freeways in the state, compiled by Texas Department of Transportation and Texas A&M Transportation Institute officials. [David] Schrank, a co-author […]

Six new B-Cycle locations announced

From the B-Cycle monthly newsletter: 6 NEW B-stations coming this month! We are happy to announce our new locations! When we launched our pilot program in May of 2012 we were anxious and excited to see how Houston would respond to a bike share program. As you are probably aware, the reaction has been incredibly […]

More on Metro’s bus strategy

The anticipated “re-imagining” of Metro’s bus service is underway. The “new” Metro is still prioritizing things in an old way, splitting its priorities evenly between ridership growth and coverage to areas where officials know the bus provides the only viable option for many residents. Metro strives to serve anyone who needs a bus, which takes […]

Uber in Dallas

A possible preview of things to come, courtesy of our neighbors to the north. Uber pulled into Dallas in one year ago, offering residents a ride with a few taps of an app. Drunk or stuck or just not sure where you are? Fine by Uber, which uses your smartphone’s GPS to track you down, […]

The Uber debate

In case you missed it over the weekend, the Chron’s op-ed pages featured a point/counterpoint on Uber and its push to enter the Houston market, which would require changes to various city ordinances. Here’s the pro-Uber piece: Imagine it’s Friday night – date night. You pick up your phone, click a button, and within seconds […]

Heights-area bike trails to be linked

Excellent news. Houston’s expanding trail system will soon gain a new leg in the greater Heights area. The addition will be part of Bayou Greenways 2020, a $215 million project aimed at creating a continuous network of hike-and-bike trails and parks along the city’s 10 major bayous. “This is just one critical piece that will […]

Metro gets more money

Good news. Congress has appropriated $189 million for two of our light-rail lines – the North/Red Line extension and the Southeast/Purple Line. Each line will receive $94.5 million. The funds are part of the $900 million Full Funding Grant Agreements signed by federal officials in November 2011. METRO Board Chairman Gilbert Garcia called this appropriation vital. “This […]

Chron for Uber

The Chron editorializes in favor of Council approving a change to city ordinances that would allow Uber to set up shop here. Uber, a car service software company, wants to start operating in Houston so that folks can reserve Town Cars via their smart phones. Unfortunately, city ordinances place strict prohibitions on how taxi, Town […]

On closing Main Street to cars downtown

Houston Tomorrow runs a post by Kyle Nielsen that he originally published in May advocating for more of Main Street downtown to be like Main Street Square, that is, closed to automotive traffic. What if we were to close Main Street to motor vehicle traffic and make it an exclusively pedestrian and bicycle corridor? It […]

More on Rep. Poe and the University line

Here’s the Chron story on Rep. Ted Poe’s surprising-to-me support of building the University Line. Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble, whose district shifted earlier this year to include portions of the area where the planned University Line would run along Richmond Avenue, said door-to-door canvassing by his staffers as well as phone and online responses demonstrate […]

Rep. Poe supports rail on Richmond

He supports something, anyway, and that’s a step forward. After seeking input from Houstonians, Congressman Ted Poe has spoken out in favor of building “something” in the University transit corridor. A statement outlining his position was released on Facebook yesterday: “On Monday, I asked for your opinion on whether or not federal funds should be […]

Parking Panda

Interesting Parking Panda, an online parking reservation system, launches Tuesday in Houston and Dallas. The site’s already up and running, taking reservations for lots around many area venues, including Minute Maid Park, Reliant Stadium and the Toyota Center. The concept is pretty simple: Go online, find the parking lot you want, based on price and […]

Uber writes to the city about its taxi demand study

You can see the letter here. They make two basic points: One, the $70 minimum fare for private car trips “serves neither the driver community nor the riding public, and should be eliminated as a matter of public interest regardless of any study”. I agree that this is an excessive level and that it doesn’t […]

Uber

Mark me in favor of this. A smartphone app could be the subject of the year’s most spirited regulatory battle at City Hall, as lobbyists line up for a fight that pits taxicab companies against a car-service technology company called Uber. The firm’s entry into more than 20 U.S. cities has sparked lawsuits and cease-and-desist […]

The University Corridor

Sorry for the late notice about this. Every year Houston combs its plan for future road building and improvements and makes changes. Generally, it’s relatively minor stuff that reflects putting on paper something that is going to happen anyway. [...] Other times, even though everybody knows the writing on the wall, the changes are worth […]