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Same phony attack, new location

This is ridiculous.

As supporters of Metro’s planned North Bus Rapid Transit line told reporters Tuesday that the community strongly favors the project, 30 opponents made a long march in blustery winds and said the line will infringe on their property.

[…]

When the opposition marchers reached City Hall, one of the leaders, Mario Umanzor, said that many who voted for the line were misled by the Metropolitan Transit Authority about where it would go.

Umanzor, who owns Poppa Burger on North Main, said many expected the line to be along the Hardy Toll Road because the corridor was designated “North Hardy” on the 2003 transit referendum ballot.

The name North Hardy originated with a joint corridor study by the Texas Department of Transportation and Metro that focused on a broad area, including both the Hardy Toll Road and the North Freeway.

Metro contends that corridor names on the 2003 ballot did not designate specific streets, since details of routes depend on studies that consider cost, ridership and neighborhood impact.

The matter also has come up in the opposition to a light rail line proposed for Richmond, where residents argue that ballot language referred to a “Westpark” plan.

Yes, it has. It’s BS there and it’s BS here. Where were these people when Metro was holding public meetings back in August about the North Corridor route? The options presented there were between Fulton and Irvington, with the Fulton forces prevailing. The Hardy Toll Road, which was never an option because nobody lives along the Hardy and so no one would ever use such a line, was never mentioned. As Christof points out, there is no “North Hardy” street, and the actual ballot language specifies that the line will go to Northline Mall, which is nowhere near the Hardy Toll Road. Indeed, the basic alignment of this route has been known since before we voted in 2003. Why is this particular and familiarly-framed “concern” just coming up now, and why are the naysayers suddenly adopting the language of the anti-Richmond forces?

There are several possible answers to that question, and I’ll leave the theorizing to you. In the meantime, one more thing:

Umanzor and Ron Robles, who organized Tuesday’s protest march, told the marchers at City Hall that Metro intends to condemn nearly 250 properties to build the line.

Although that number is in the line’s federally required environmental impact statement, Metro now says it will acquire 33 entire properties and 71 partial ones.

As I said, there’s a serious disconnect here. I can’t say why Metro listed all those properties in its document if it had so many fewer actual takings planned, but they need to deal with this. In the absence of clear information from them, the troublemakers will flourish.

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3 Comments

  1. Charles Hixon says:

    This is ridiculous.

    I don’t think so. Metro needs to listen to everybody at all stages of evolution all the time. There is no cutoff point, formal or informal.

    nobody lives along the Hardy and so no one would ever use such a line

    Nobody lives along the Hardy Toll Road alright. The Hardy Toll Road saw to that. How does rail differ? Not a whole lot. Residential values next to other rail lines tend to be lower, few people like to reside next to a Metro bus stop, and rail doesn’t bring in business along the track if the train doesn’t stop there: furthermore, the track tends to impede other business activity.

    Metro needs to do the right thing. The first step is to listen to the citizen whenever they have something to say, to the citizens schedule, in the citizens format.

  2. Erik says:

    I actually do hope these people keep using this language (“METRO said Hardy”). 1. They won’t win any new converts to their side, 2. the North line will progress anyway because it has overwhelming support in this area, and 3. it will shed light on the absolute ridiculuousness of the “METRO said ‘Westpark'” argument.

  3. […] a referendum didn’t say what it said but did say what they say it said. Yep, I was right, I have heard this before. That means the next step will be to demand a re-vote, and another re-vote after that if the result […]