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Posts under ‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’

New rail lines officially open

At long last. Two new light rail lines might have been the ones debuting Saturday, but for many riders it was the East End, Third Ward and MacGregor Park neighborhoods themselves that were on display. After years of construction and months of testing, riders began boarding Green Line trains headed from downtown east along Harrisburg […]

Bike plan meetings

From CM Ed Gonzalez: Our city has made great strides in improving people’s ability to bike to more destinations. New trails are being built along our bayous, new protected bikeways have been installed, and more people are riding all over town. Now, we’re kicking off the Houston Bike Plan Project, a 12-month planning effort to […]

Save Uptown from what?

From Swamplot: The Uptown Property and Business Owners Coalition is out today with a new website (portrayed here) meant to drum up opposition to the Uptown District and Metro’s plans to install dedicated bus lanes down Post Oak Blvd. The lanes, the last vestige of what was once a plan for an Uptown light rail […]

Anti-high speed rail budget rider removed

Good. A proposed bullet train between Dallas and Houston has survived a budgeting measure that could’ve derailed the push in Texas to have the nation’s first high-speed rail line. Budget writers on Thursday removed a Senate-inserted rider in the spending plan that said the Texas Department of Transportation couldn’t spend any state money on “subsidizing […]

Bullet train budget rider battle continues

The budget rider to derail the high speed train is still under contention as the conference committee completes its work. Tucked in Page 682 of the budget passed by the Senate in April is Rider 48, a provision that would bar the Texas Department of Transportation from spending any state funds toward “subsidizing or assisting […]

What next for Metro now that peace with Culberson has broken out?

We’ve all had a chance to read over and digest the agreement Metro struck with Rep. John Culberson now. It looked good to me up front (though not to everyone – more on that in a bit), but as always with something this involved, there are many questions. What do some of these items mean, […]

Metro and Culberson announce the terms of their agreement

Gotta say, this all sounds pretty good. First, Congressman Culberson supports METRO’s proposed legislation pending in the State Legislature that expands the size of the METRO Board, increases the eligible length of Board member service and allows the existing board to elect a chairman in October with an odd initial term. These changes will help […]

New rail lines set to officially open

I’m so ready. The Metropolitan Transit Authority, after numerous delays, will christen the Green and Purple lines Saturday with free rides and community celebrations, just in time for Memorial Day. The openings signify the end of a long, sometimes painful journey that tested nerves and frustrated supporters and opponents alike. Officials are encouraged the process […]

Bikes now allowed on light rail all day

Some good news from the inbox: METRORail is opening its doors to bikes during all regular service hours just in time for Houston’s Bike to Work Day observance, Friday, May 15, 2015. The new hours are made possible with the introduction of a new fleet of rail cars for METRORail’s Green/East End and Purple/Southeast Lines […]

Metro reaches detente with Culberson

Holy cow! Metro and U.S. Rep. John Culberson have called a truce in their war over a planned light rail line on Richmond Avenue, suggesting an end to an impasse that has stymied local transit development. Culberson, a Republican from Houston, has stood in the way of the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s federal funding efforts for […]

One hundred days till the new bus network

And counting down. Metro on Friday began the 100-day countdown to sweeping changes in local bus service, conceding that months of work ultimately will be judged by the level of confusion – small or large – that happens Aug. 16, and its effects on riders left with longer trips. “We cannot miss this mark, and […]

Will the high speed rail opponents get a bill passed?

Seems unlikely at this point, but I wouldn’t count them out. “The vast majority of the folks between Dallas and Houston are against it,” said Kyle Workman, president of the recently formed Texans Against High-Speed Rail. “They don’t want their land to be taken. They don’t want a train going through their quiet country landscape.” […]

Senate passes Metro board expansion bill

From the inbox: The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) today applauded the unanimous approval of transit legislation by the Texas State Senate, that is designed to enhance Board stability, provide for an orderly transition of Board members and initiate continuity from year to year. Currently, the Texas Transportation Code provides for the appointment, […]

More I-45 stuff

From The Highwayman: Public meetings meant to debut the massive plan to remake Houston’s downtown freeway system might be coming to an end, but it’s hardly the last chance residents will have to poke and prod the plans. Years of work remain on the $6 billion-plus project that shifts Interstate 45 to the east side […]

System reimagining will be mostly better for most

But not quite all better for all. Metro staff analyzed 452 hypothetical trips along the new [bus] network, most in low-income and minority areas. The standard for disproportionately affecting a trip is that trip taking 15 minutes longer than under current conditions. By the standard, 8 percent of the trips involving minorities and 6 percent […]

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 […]