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Posts Tagged ‘Christof Spieler’

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 […]

Metro board approves reimagining

On to implementation. Metro’s board gave unanimous, final approval to the so-called reimagining plan, authorizing agency staff to plan public meetings to explain the changes. Between now and August, Metro must replace every sign at every bus stop, revise every bus schedule and prepare a massive educational campaign. “This will be the biggest outreach effort […]

System reimagining time

Big day today, hopefully. A once-in-a-generation change to Houston bus service – shifting from a downtown-focused, hub-and-spoke design to a broader network reflecting new ways people move around – could receive final approval by Metro’s board Wednesday. Officials say the “reimagining” may represent a make-or-break moment in the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s efforts to boost lagging […]

First test for flex zones

This is worth watching. Though many Acres Homes dwellings and shops are in disrepair, a community still thrives here. Churches and some well-kept homes anchor corners and dot small, residential streets, all of which dead-end or loop back to Sweetwater. Bus service in Acres Homes has been lackluster for years, some riders said, and the […]

From the “Good problems to have” department

Metro will have a few million dollars left over when it is done building the remaining light rail lines. After more than three years of construction, Metro officials estimate $39.9 million of the $900 million awarded by the Federal Transit Administration is left over and unlikely to be spent as work wraps up. Contingencies for […]

Still tweaking the reimagining

An updated version of Metro’s reimagined bus network will be out soon. The so-called reimagining plan, which the Metropolitan Transit Authority began studying more than a year ago, touches every bus route in the sprawling Houston-area system. Changes will take effect in June, with Metro planning some early testing of new services and a massive […]

Metro gets some new rail cars online

Finally. Eight of the long-delayed railcars needed to expand light rail service in Houston are expected to start ferrying passengers in the first week of 2015, promising some relief from rush-hour crowding, transit officials said Thursday. The cars, the first of 39 from CAF U.S.A. to clear their testing, are ready to roll, according to […]

Treating all fares the same

Good idea. A six-month test starting in February will gauge the effects of letting cash-paying rail riders switch to buses for free. The vast majority of riders use a Q card, day pass or some other form of Metro payment. Transfers with those items are free, provided subsequent trips are along the system and not […]

Uptown BRT moving forward again

Good news. Tensions are easing over plans to develop dedicated bus lanes in Uptown, where community leaders want to give commuters and shoppers more transportation options and relieve worsening congestion. “We’re there and ready to make this project happen,” said John Breeding, president of the Uptown Management District, the agency leading the project to run […]

Who needs managed lanes?

Not TxDOT, and not on 290. State transportation officials have changed plans for widening U.S. 290, increasing capacity for people driving alone but reducing opportunities for alternatives to solo driving. After initially planning four or five general use lanes in each direction and three reversible managed (toll and carpool) lanes in the center, Texas Department […]

Metro board approves updated bus reimagining plan

With some provisos. Despite vocal opposition, Metropolitan Transit Authority board members tentatively approved sweeping changes to the bus route system that restructure routes and change daily habits for nearly everyone who uses a bus today. The approval authorizes staff to move forward with scheduling and other features, but it doesn’t close off public comment. “We […]

Metro still tweaking its reimagined bus plan

Still a work in progress. Sweeping changes to Houston’s bus system are on pace for approval later this month, though some features of the new routes and schedules will be a work in progress. Five so-called “flex zones” planned in areas where ridership is low but service is crucial will undergo further study and another […]

Christof Spieler: On reimagining the bus network

Note: From time to time, I solicit guest posts from various individuals on different topics. While I like to think I know a little something about a lot of things, I’m fortunate to be acquainted with a number of people who know a whole lot about certain topics, and who are willing to share some […]

Metro unveils draft bus re-imagining

Here’s your proposed new bus system. Transit planners kicked off a major shift in Houston bus service Thursday, betting that the benefit of faster service on key routes will outweigh riders’ concerns about adjusting to new schedules and service patterns. The Metropolitan Transit Authority on Thursday released a draft of its “reimagining” plan, intended as […]

Riding that crowded train

Metro ponders its options for dealing with potential delays in the delivery of new railcars. Metro officials said Wednesday that the best solution to an expected shortage of railcars might be to limit trains on the main light rail line to one car rather than two, freeing up cars from the current fleet to serve […]

The lost canopy

Very disappointing. Metro officials on Thursday scaled back plans for an iconic downtown Houston transit hub where three rail lines will cross after board members grew frustrated with what they called inexcusable delays and cost overruns. “This has been mismanaged from the get-go, and there cannot be situations where things are not budgeted fully,” Metropolitan […]

More riders, fewer routes

Metro keeps moving towards its re-imagined bus service, which is aimed at increasing ridership. Currently, Metro operates on a philosophy that half its resources should go toward high-performing routes and half to making sure everyone has convenient access to a bus stop. By re-directing most of those resources, the same number of buses can provide […]

The Uptown plan is as much about HOV as it is BRT

Maybe more. Most discussion of the Uptown Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone’s plan, which goes before City Council this week, has been about a proposal to annex Memorial Park into the zone and spend $100 million restoring the drought-stricken park. The centerpiece of the zone’s plan, however, is a $187.5 million vision to widen and rebuild […]

Biking to transit

KUHF has an update. Metro’s Strategic Planning Committee got an update on the “Bike and Ride” Access Study. Metro says it wants to make it easier for Houstonians to combine bike and bus travel. Metro officials say between 10,000 and 15,000 people every month bring their bikes aboard when they use the bus. Every bus […]

The day pass is back

From Metro: The METRO Board of Directors [Thursday] took the first step to bring back the “day pass.” The Board voted to commit $175,000 to adapt METRO’s Q Card system so a $3.00 extended “day pass” feature can be accommodated later this year. The action allows METRO to modify an existing contract with ACS/Xerox so […]

Metro’s bus strategy

We know that the 2012 Metro referendum was intended to help Metro boost ridership by improving and expanding its bus service. Metro Board member Christof Spieler explains what that means. First, in many cases, transit doesn’t go to the right places. Over time, Houston’s population has shifted as the urban core has redeveloped, older suburbs […]

The return of the day pass

Remember the day pass? One fare, and you could ride the bus and/or light rail all day? Metro is thinking about bringing it back. After a five-year hiatus, the daypass may soon return as an option for Metro bus and train riders. The Metropolitan Transit Authority is studying what it would take to reinstitute single-day […]

Metro moving forward with advertising

This has been in the works for a long time. Depending on what Metropolitan Transit Authority officials decide regarding a new revenue plan, your light rail trip could end at the Taco Bell Station, or some similarly named stop. Officials in early 2013 are expected to receive more information on a revenue plan exploring potential […]

Buses and trains, not buses or trains

I have a lot of emotion about this, but I’m still working through how to express it. Metropolitan Transit Authority officials say the agency is on firmer financial footing than it has been in years. They plan to add shelters at 100 bus stops in the next year, replace aging buses with larger and smaller […]

All the interviews for 2012

As we begin early voting for the November election, here are all the interviews I conducted for candidates who are on the ballot as well as for the referenda. These include interviews that were done for the primary as well as the ones done after the primary. I hope you found them useful. Senate: Paul […]

Interview with Gilbert Garcia and Christof Spieler

Continuing the discussion of the Metro referendum, today’s interview is with Metro Board Chair Gilbert Garcia, and Board Member Christof Spieler. Garcia originally proposed a referendum that would continue the GMP but freeze revenues for the member entities at 2014 levels, with Metro getting all of the revenue increases above that. After an alternate measure […]

Houston Tomorrow versus Metro

David Crossley: On November 6, you will be asked to vote on whether to stop expansion of light rail transit service in Houston. If you think that’s a terrible idea, you must vote No. If you do, you will be going up against some very powerful people and institutions. But that’s what voters do, isn’t […]

Metro board passes amended GMP referendum

More consensus this time. The board voted 8-1 for a measure that, if approved by voters, would continue the so-called General Mobility Program in its current form, allocating a quarter of Metro’s 1-cent sales tax to Harris County, Houston and 14 small cities in Metro’s service area. The local governments use these funds for road […]

Keep Moving Houston Forward PAC poll on Metro and GMP

Yesterday I wrote about a poll commissioned by Houstonians for Responsible Growth on Metro and the General Mobility Program. That poll suggested that any changes to the GMP would be difficult for Metro to get, especially in the face of a negative campaign against it. Later in the day, I received the following in my […]

HRG poll data on Metro and the GMP

I mentioned on Friday that there had been a poll commissioned to measure voter attitudes towards Metro and the General Mobility Program. That poll was commissioned by Houstonians for Responsible Growth, and Joshua Sanders was kind enough to send me the polling data later in the day, which you can see here. On the key […]

Here come the GMP proposals

At Metro’s board meeting yesterday, trustees presented their proposed ballot referenda for the General Mobility Program. “I’m anxious to see the outcome just like everybody else,” said Chairman Gilbert Garcia, before anyone offered their specifics. As it turned out, city-appointee Garcia was one of only two trustees calling for a vote on capping the GMP […]

Christof Spieler: Deciding the future of Houston’s transit

The following is from a series of guest posts that I will be presenting over the next few weeks. We as a region are facing a huge decision about our future. If we don’t increase transit use by offering more people the option of high-quality transit, we will be stuck in gridlock. But among all […]

Metro sets the schedule

Metro will take some time and get some feedback before settling on the language for its November referendum. Metro Chairman Gilbert Garcia on Thursday laid out for the board what he called a “tight time frame” for a possible November 6 voter referendum on the future of General Mobility Program. According to the plan, community […]

Metro comes to a fork in the road

Which way will they go? It’s up to them, and it’s up to us. The Metropolitan Transit Authority is preparing for a referendum, likely to be on the November ballot, asking voters to decide whether to put millions more of their sales tax dollars toward transit or continue diverting part of it for road projects […]