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Posts under ‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’

Yale Street Bridge to be closed for construction

Three words: Find alternate routes. There’s about to be a lot of yelling about Yale Street, as the historic span makes way for a modern replacement. Crews will close the bridge carrying the road over White Oak bayou on April 18 to prepare for demolition. For the next 20 months, drivers in the area will […]

Lots of people took the train to the games

Nice. After handling more than a quarter-million rail trips over the four-day NCAA Final Four period, Metro is calling it a slam dunk. “These are numbers are fantastic for us,” spokesman Jerome Gray said. Metro said 255,700 rail boardings occurred from Friday until Monday. That’s roughly 87,000 more for the four days than the system […]

Reimagining public transportation is hard work

Noted for the record. Four years ago, Helsinki launched an innovative bus service as part of a long-term plan to make cars irrelevant. It was called Kutsuplus—Finnish for “call plus.” And it was one of the world’s first attempts to reinvent carpooling for the algorithm age. The service matched passengers who were headed roughly in […]

Japan rules, please

The people behind the proposed high-speed rail line in Texas would like for it to be built under the same rules as existing Japanese high-speed rail lines. Railway operator JR Tokai and an American partner will petition federal regulators to set new rules allowing an ultrahigh-speed line here to be built to Japanese bullet train […]

Gilbert Garcia will be a tough act to follow at Metro

Let me bid an early and fond farewell to outgoing Metro Board Chair Gilbert Garcia. With only weeks to go as chairman of Metro, Gilbert Garcia bounds down the hallway to his transit agency office greeting workers, talking about how much he’ll miss the place. He’s not shy in expressing pride about what he’s leaving […]

Lubbock to consider rideshare ordinance

You know what that means. Uber drivers may soon be required to have background checks and operational permits in the city of Lubbock, a move that in the past has prompted the company to pull out of some Texas cities. Uber is a technology company that provides a mobile phone app connecting riders with drivers. […]

What do you do with a problem like I-10?

From a conversation that Cite Editor Raj Mankad conducted with Andrew Albers and Ernesto Alfaro, who co-teach a survey of landscape architecture at the Rice School of Architecture. Mankad: Let’s come back to I-10 and the failure of its… Alfaro: … hubris … Mankad: … its massive expansion. We talked about designers finding opportunities in […]

More speed bumps coming

Like ’em or not. Houston officials are speeding up the process of slowing down residential street traffic. A laborious process to improve traffic and safety by installing traffic calming devices such as speed humps is radically streamlined in a new method by the city’s public works department, unveiled Monday at a City Council committee meeting. […]

The Purple City plan for I-45

Check it out. Should a major freeway plan consider the needs of cyclists? Of transit riders? And if we’re going to tear down and reconstruct the entire downtown freeway network of the fourth-largest city in America, shouldn’t the final result have better geometry than the mid-century structures it replaces? The PDFs below contain an analysis […]

More Metro appointments for Mayor Turner

The Chron editorial board gets its wish. Mayor Sylvester Turner on Friday named two new Metro board members and reappointed two others – taking a more moderate course than his predecessor, who replaced all five of the city’s appointees. Disability rights advocate Lex Frieden and construction oversight manager Troi Taylor will join the board, presumably […]

Plane sharing

Sure, why not? Ken Haney has flown in the cockpit of military and commercial planes for more than 35 years. His business partner Steve Geldmacher has logged more than 4 million miles as a traveler. Both say they have watched too many fliers lose valuable time to crowded airports, security lines and flight delays. “We […]

Electric bikes

I don’t know. Hundreds of local residents over the weekend strapped on helmets to ride motorized bikes as a way to showcase yet another way for Houstonians to traverse the city’s often congested streets. The free promotional rides at Rice University Stadium were part of the first Electric Bike Expo in Houston. “A lot of […]

Will driverless cars fix Houston’s traffic problems?

Tory Gattis thinks they might. The second step is understanding the ramifications of coming new technologies — specifically self-driving cars. While the general vehicle fleet will take decades to turn over as people slowly replace their cars, we can expect extremely rapid adoption among taxi services as soon as these vehicles are available in the […]

Supreme Court declines to intervene in Austin Uber referendum

Who knew they could do that? The Texas Supreme Court on Monday declined to order the Austin City Council to rewrite the ballot language on the proposed ride-hailing ordinance that will go before voters May 7. Austin music manager Samantha Phelps, working in conjunction with Uber, last week filed a petition for a writ of […]

Uber to abandon Corpus Christi

Another one bites the dust. In what has become a familiar move for Uber, the vehicle-for-hire company announced Wednesday it will cease operations in Corpus Christi, pointing to “unnecessary” regulations recently adopted by the city. Corpus Christi’s City Council approved new regulations this week that would require app-based vehicle-for-hire drivers to undergo a fingerprint background […]

Supreme Court asked to weigh in on Austin rideshare referendum

Of course it is. The Texas Supreme Court has been pulled into the ongoing battle between Uber and the City of Austin. An Austin resident, supported by Uber, has asked the Supreme Court to weigh in on the ballot language for a new measure regulating vehicle-for-hire companies within the city, scheduled to come before voters […]

More on the draft bike plan

From the Chron. The Houston Bike Plan identifies $300 million to $500 million in improvements aimed at encouraging cycling and bringing more accessibility to every corner of the city via paths, off-street trails and safer lanes where cyclists share the road with drivers. A key goal of the plan is to generate discussion about how […]

Year 2 for “One Sticker”

Surely this year will go more smoothly. Texas dropped its familiar green safety inspection sticker a year ago, creating confusion for millions of vehicle and trailer owners in the state. Though inspections didn’t change – but might soon, as some lawmakers want to scrap them – the stickers went away as the Texas Department of […]

Mayor Turner appoints new Metro board chair

Good choice. Former Metro board member Carrin Patman will return to the transit agency as chairwoman, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced Friday. Patman, 59, is a partner at Houston-based law firm Bracewell, where she has represented major corporate clients in fraud and breach of contract claims. She served on the Metropolitan Transit Authority board from April […]

High speed rail opponents sue TxDOT and AG’s office

They seek information that they say they have been denied so far. A group opposed to a private firm’s plans to build a bullet train stretching from Dallas to Houston has filed a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Transportation and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in an effort to obtain communications between the firm […]

SH 130 operator files for bankruptcy

Boom. A private company that operates part of the Texas toll road with the highest speed limit in the country filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, fewer than three years after the section of the road it oversees first opened. The SH 130 Concession Company, a partnership between Spain-based Cintra and San Antonio-based Zachry American Infrastructure, opened […]

Metro smartphone payment system debuts

Progress marches onward. Metro riders will be able to board a bus or train without a fare card or cash within a few days, just in time for some of the transit agency’s heaviest use during the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Metropolitan Transit Authority officials on Wednesday said they had completed testing and preparation […]

The draft bike plan is out

Here it is, in all its glory. I encourage you to look at the draft plan and play with the interactive map. Then, when you start to feel overwhelmed and wish someone would explain it all to you, go read Raj Mankad’s story in Offcite, which does exactly that. The last time Houston made a […]

New parking meters coming

No more paper receipts to clutter up your dashboard. Some things about street parking in downtown Houston are unlikely to change: It will always require a keen eye for available spots and the courage and skill to wedge your car between large trucks. A paper receipt, however, is becoming unnecessary as the city replaces its […]

Lone Star Rail setback

Bummer. Union Pacific dealt a major blow to a proposal to connect San Antonio and Austin with passenger rail by pulling one of its tracks from a possible plan. UP ended its agreement with the Lone Star Rail District to study the feasibility of running passenger trains on a freight line that parallels Interstate 35. […]

Turner wants to rethink transportation

I like the way he’s thinking. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, in less than a month on the job, has hit the streets at full speed. First he tackled potholes. Last week he tackled a state transportation department that’s spent the past half-century developing a highway network that is increasingly getting farther from Houston’s core and, […]

Austin will vote on rideshare ordinance revision

The month of May just got a lot more interesting. Let the people choose how to regulate Uber and Lyft, a divided Austin City Council decided late Thursday. The council, on a 2-8-1 vote, declined to adopt an ordinance underlying a petition drive that organizers said gathered more than 65,000 signatures. Under city rules about […]

Driverless car technology update

I have a personal stake in this story. James Kuffner, the head of Google’s robotics division and one of the original team of ten who started its self-driving car work, has left the company for a job at Toyota’s $1 billion research institute in Silicon Valley. His departure will come as a blow to the […]

Harrisburg line overpass delayed again

Ugh. Just, ugh. A rail overpass vital to completion of the East End light rail line that has divided neighbors and eroded public confidence will be delayed another four months, Metro officials confirmed Monday. “It has been the project from hell from the beginning,” Metropolitan Transit Authority board member Cindy Siegel said. “It needs to […]

Still more hyperloops

They had a hyperloop design contest at Texas A&M: In the end, Elon Musk couldn’t resist showing up to the competition he helped inspire. The billionaire SpaceX CEO made a surprise appearance at the end of the Hyperloop pod design competition at Texas A&M University Saturday, eliciting a rapturous reaction from the thousand-plus audience of […]

Two more places that Uber won’t operate

Goodbye, Galveston. Just days after the City Council passed an ordinance designed to regulate transportation networks, Uber has shut down its service in Galveston. Monday evening, people in Galveston who tried to use the phone app to order a ride received a message that Uber is no longer available in Galveston “Due to new regulations […]

Can you ever truly “fix” the 59/610 interchange?

I kind of think the answer is “No”, but they’re going to try anyway. With Houston choking on traffic congestion from Clear Lake to Jersey Village, an infusion of $447 million in state funds promises relief sooner than expected at three notorious freeway bottlenecks. That sum amounts to more than one-third of $1.3 billion allocated […]

Chron story on the bus map tweaks

A few bits of interest here. Metro leaders hope more frequent service on popular routes will build on the ridership gains the system is experiencing. “I think as you get higher frequency and people know it is going to come, we are going to see higher ridership,” Metro CEO Tom Lambert told board members Wednesday. […]

Maybe the state should regulate Uber and Lyft after all

Texas Monthly reviews the current state of affairs with transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft and their fight against mandatory fingerprinting as part of the background checks that new drivers must ondergo, all of which is playing out in Austin right now. The argument in favor of the [fingerptint] provision is simple: Lyft and […]