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Posts under ‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’

Houston’s transit deserts

From the Kinder Institute’s Urban Edge blog: A new study suggests that despite METRO’s launch of several highly-touted and publicized improvements, the agency is still struggling to address the needs of some communities that depend heavily on transit. With operations beginning on METRO’s two new light rail lines and the reimagined bus system set to […]

Your input for the Bike Plan requested

I’ve written before about the Bike Plan the city is currently working on, to improve all facets of bike travel in Houston. This effort, now in Phase 2 of 6, depends heavily on input from the public, and the time to give that input is now. Phase 2 is about defining the goals of the […]

More hyperloops

Gonna be the future soon. Not content with simply sending men to Mars and conquering the automotive industry, billionaire Elon Musk has plans for a tubular transportation system that would dominate the globe. The Hyperloop has been considered closer to science fiction since the idea’s introduction, but a new plan from the UCLA Architecture and […]

Lawsuit filed over Uptown line

All things considered, I suppose this was inevitable. A homeowner’s association is suing Metro over its involvement in plans to run bus lanes along Post Oak Boulevard, saying the project puts the agency at odds with a 2003 referendum that included adding a rail line along the corridor. The lawsuit was filed Monday just minutes […]

I got those reverse commuting blues

The Woodlands is growing as en employment center, which means it is also seeing a lot more traffic in what used to be the reverse commute direction. There is no longer a simple drive to this onetime bedroom community, which has turned into an economic powerhouse and upended the flow of traffic in the process. […]

Uptown BRT construction begins

I’m really rooting for this to succeed. Dignitaries will gather Monday to symbolically start construction of wider sidewalks and dedicated bus lanes meant to enhance Post Oak Boulevard and offer improved transit service, even as some residents and business owners continue fighting to block a project they consider a huge mistake. Though it has passed […]

How would you get from Houston to Galveston without a car?

It’s both easier and harder than you might think. Raj Mankad tells the story. I reached the sea without getting in a car. Over the course of my journey, which began at Rice University and ended at Stewart Beach, I took one light rail train, four buses, and walked about three miles. Every three or […]

System reimagining is going to be hard

Because change is hard. It always is. Transit officials might have reimaginged bus service in the Houston area, but the riders who rely on it for daily trips are asking them to rethink it again. Since the redesigned bus system was approved in February, concerned riders have appeared at every Metropolitan Transit Authority board meeting […]

More on the proposed I-45 changes

Offcite reads the documents and provides some bullet points. 1. I-45 Would Rival I-10 in Width The plan would dramatically widen I-45 to more than 30 lanes in certain sections. North of 610, I-45 would rival the Katy Freeway in its expanse. Though the west side of I-45 at Crosstimbers is largely vacant, TxDOT plans […]

Let’s wait for a normal week before we judge ridership numbers

From The Highwayman: Two new light rail lines have gotten off to slow start, according to early ridership figures from the Metropolitan Transit Authority, but officials and riders still hope the Green and Purple Line will meet expectations. The two lines, connecting downtown with the East End along Harrisburg and with the Third Ward and […]

The latest Uptown fuss

I suppose I need to say something about this. Two members of an economic development board pushing a plan to run a center bus lane along Uptown’s Post Oak Boulevard have financial ties to companies that will be paid for land in the project’s right of way. Earlier this year, Uptown Chairman Martin Debrovner and […]

You can still ask Metro to make changes to their new bus routes

Chris Andrews highlights a little Metro-related activism going on in my neighborhood. Residents in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston have initiated a petition to modify the proposed 30 bus route. Currently, the neighborhood is serviced by the 40 Pecore route. When METRO’s System Reimagining was proposed in early 2015, the 30 Clinton / Ella […]

I-45 Coalition gives its feedback to TxDOT

Jim Weston of the I-45 Coalition sent the following feedback to TxDOT regarding their plans for remaking I-45 in and around downtown. Through-out all Segments: 1.1 – All existing sound barrier walls must be replaced. Past agreements to install sound barrier walls, must be installed as part of this project. 1.2 – Sound Mitigation – […]

How the East End got its rail line

A great overview of how we got here with the Harrisburg and Southeast lines, the genesis of which go back a lot farther than the 2003 Metro Solutions referendum. The working- and middle-class Mexican-American residents of the East End lacked political power in Houston prior to the 1960s and 1970s and their communities received little […]

Can you make a living as an Uber driver?

Not a very good one, it would seem. Last year, Uber claimed its full-time New York City UberX drivers were making a median wage of about $90,000 a year. Drivers responded by telling Business Insider’s Maya Kosoff that they were often making less than minimum wage, with yearly earnings in the range of $10,000 to […]

The Chron on how Metro and Culberson came to an accord

Read all about it. Houston’s buses don’t run at 2 a.m., but that’s when Metro and U.S. Rep. John Culberson began to see real movement toward a deal to improve area transit service. “We got really intense one night and literally worked line-by-line,” Metropolitan Transit Authority chairman Gilbert Garcia said last week, explaining how months […]

Now how much would you pay to drive on that toll road?

How about ten bucks each way at peak times, beginning on May 30? Toll rates on the I-10 lanes, also known as the Katy Managed Lanes, will increase as officials seek to ease congestion by reducing use of the lanes during peak hours through a process called congestion pricing. The rates will go up by […]

Still debating where to put the Houston high speed rail terminal

While people in the rural counties are trying to kill the proposed high speed rail line between Houston and Dallas, some other people here in Houston are thinking about where a station should be. [Lynn] Hardwin was among a few dozen people attending an open house held by Texas Central Partners on April 23 at […]

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. […]