Catching up from the weekend, this story is a longer version of a ThisWeek piece I blogged about before. It notes that despite an argument over where the Southeast Corridor rail line should go, there’s been relatively little rancor during the debate.
The Southeast line, which would run through the Third Ward from downtown to Palm Center, has generated relatively little controversy compared with the ongoing debate over a route for the planned University light rail line.
That’s surprising, considering that building the Southeast line on Scott, Wheeler, Martin Luther King Boulevard and Griggs – the least intrusive and most popular choice – would require buying or condemning at least 50 entire properties, 29 of them residential, and relocating 19 businesses.
An additional 108 properties, 37 of them residential, would lose part of their land to the project, Metropolitan Transit Authority consultants say.
By comparison, Metro says its proposed University light rail line on Richmond Avenue would require taking just eight whole properties, plus strips 8 feet or less in depth from 82 others.
Responses gathered during the Southeast line’s public comment period, which ends Sept. 11, have leaned toward the MLK alternative. But during a public hearing last week at the Third Ward Multi-Purpose Center, speakers were split about evenly between the two routes.
The crowd agreed on one thing, though, voicing its approval when speaker Kelvin Williams urged Metro officials, “Will you all please build something!”
Pretty much the same attitude as the North Corridor folks.
This bit intrigued me:
When the Metro board heard a presentation on the route last month, chairman David Wolff noted that the Scott alignment has the benefit of passing closer to the Texas Medical Center than the MLK option does.
But [State Rep. Garnet] Coleman said Metro can fix that by building a future transit line running from Griggs to the Medical Center via Old Spanish Trail and Holcombe.
Although such a line is not in Metro’s plans, Coleman noted that the current version of the Southeast line is “truncated,” compared with what was described in the 2003 transit resolution passed by voters, so the addition would be appropriate.
I’m fascinated by the possibilities here. Does this mean running a line down OST west of SH288 where it can connect up to the Main Street line at Greenbriar (and then presumably continue a few stops into the Medical Center)? OST is pretty wide there – three lanes for each direction, with a median, and newly-poured sidewalks on both sides of the street. Taking a lane each way would be doable, though you’d have to watch the traffic light cycles, especially at Almeda, to make sure that things don’t back up. The connection at Greenbriar would be dicey, too. But what the heck, look at it and see if it’s feasible. And with the new MD Anderson construction at OST and Fannin, the area could use some more transit options. I hope something comes of this.