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Posts Tagged ‘Houston’

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 […]

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 […]

No expedited appeal for HERO opponents

From HOUEquality, on May 13: Today the 14th Court of Appeals denied HERO opponents’ request to force a trial in less than 30 days. The trial will proceed, but at a regular pace. This is another setback for opponents, but the case will still be heard by the Court of Appeals. HERO opponents filed their […]

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 […]

The Mayoral candidates and public transportation

It’s a start. When it comes to traffic, Houstonians and their mayoral candidates agree: The city is gridlocked and only getting worse. Judging by the candidates’ fledgling campaign platforms, many of which mention traffic as a top concern, road improvements are the answer. Houston-area residents, however, beg to differ. So says the Kinder Institute’s recent […]

HISD mostly declines to rezone its schools

Lots of noise, not nearly as much action. A divided Houston school board on Thursday rejected most of the rezoning proposals designed to reduce class sizes after dozens of parents expressed concerns about families having to send their children to different campuses. Only two of the six proposals passed, with parents and board members in […]

Fighting illegal dumping

Illegal dumping of trash is a huge problem in some Houston neighborhoods. Enforcement is especially tricky because unless you catch someone in the act, there’s little to no evidence to go on. One way to help catch dumpers in the act is with cameras at locations where dumping frequently occurs. Council Member Jerry Davis has […]

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 […]

It’s hard out here on a recycler, part 2

As if they didn’t have enough to deal with. As low commodity prices have left recyclers short on cash to invest in technological upgrades, product manufacturers are coming out with new types of packaging that make business even tougher. These products include lighter-weight plastic bottles, resealable pouch containers and other items that are popular with […]

Statewide Uber bill appears dead

Close, but no cigar. A bill to establish statewide rules for “transportation network companies” like Uber and Lyft has apparently run out of road. Rep. Chris Paddie, who authored the measure, said on Tuesday that looming legislative deadlines had rendered the idea all but dead. He said he would look for other avenues for the […]

Mayor Parker’s last budget

Here it is. Despite sounding the alarm for months that a multimillion dollar deficit could force service cuts, new fees and employee layoffs, Mayor Annise Parker rolled out a $5.1 billion city budget on Tuesday that largely preserves spending levels by drawing on one-time funding sources and higher-than-expected revenues to plug the gap. Parker warned […]

Who you calling lame duck?

“Not me”, says Mayor Parker. City Council has voted down or delayed several items put forward by Mayor Annise Parker in recent weeks, events that some City Hall observers interpret as a sign of the term-limited mayor being afflicted with lame-duck syndrome as the race to succeed her heats up. Parker and her allies dismiss […]

Downtown post office set to close

The end of an era approaches. Thousands gathered at 401 Franklin Street in downtown Houston to celebrate the opening of a new facility trumpeted as an “ultra-modern” marvel, the hub for the mail that would flow in and out of one of America’s fastest growing cities. Inside the rugged Brutalist building, a lattice-like grid of […]

Turner prepares his exit from the Lege

Looks like we’ll have at least one more legislative special election this year. In 2003, state Rep. Sylvester Turner of Houston made the most definitive decision of his political career. Turner had arrived in the Texas House 14 years earlier, when he and his fellow Democrats outnumbered Republicans 91 to 59, Gib Lewis was speaker […]

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 […]

It’s hard out here on a recycler

Whole lot of not so good in there. When Waste Management bought the plant in 2010 and converted it to handle single-bin recycling, commodity prices were high, the city was on board and Houstonians were eager to recycle. As the company introduced single-bin recycling, residents became ever more vigilant about keeping bottles, cans and newspapers […]

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, […]

The Euro-Dome

What can the Germans teach us about saving the Astrodome? For years, Ed Emmett has been trying to figure out what to do with the Astrodome, one of the world’s grandest and wackiest-looking civic arenas. This week, he is on an expedition to see another of the world’s wacky wonders, a massive blimp hangar at […]

Fletcher will run for Sheriff in 2016

Not unexpected. The day after Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia announced he is running for mayor of Houston, Republican state Rep. Allen Fletcher of Cypress said he would abandon his House seat for a bid to replace Garcia. “I will not be filing for re-election. I will be filing to run for sheriff of Harris […]

Gay acceptance in Harris County

Not too shabby. Harris County, once known as reliably conservative, has become increasingly progressive on social issues such as same-sex marriage and the death penalty, according to a new poll by Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research. The shifting cultural consensus reflects changes in public attitudes across the country but stands apart from Republican-led […]

Adrian is in

Speculation time is over. Ending months of speculation, Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia has declared his candidacy for mayor of Houston Wednesday. Garcia, whose strong name recognition and deep law enforcement experience make him a likely frontrunner, will make his formal announcement at 2 p.m. at the Lindale Park Civic Association, in north Houston. His […]

Dan Wallach: 2015 Electric Power Usage Update

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 […]

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 […]

Dallas writes a letter to the Lege about Lyft and Uber

They would like for the Lege to not overrule them on regulating these transportation network companies. Dallas city leaders, writing to House Speaker Joe Straus, have underlined their opposition to a bill that would create statewide rules for “transportation network companies” like Uber and Lyft. Mayor Mike Rawlings and two City Council members wrote Tuesday […]

Karbach’s new brewery

As we know, Houston has a lot of craft breweries, with the venerable Saint Arnold being the biggest, oldest, and best known. With the forthcoming opening of their new facility, I’d say Karbach is making a strong case to be next in the pecking order. Karbach, founded four years ago by a pair of longtime […]

Three bad bills

Bad bill #1: State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, has been trying for months to pass legislation that would make it tougher for local entities to bring in more tax revenue by taking advantage of rising property values. On Thursday, he managed to add language to a bill from state Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, that could […]

Transgender activists rally at the Capitol

They’re working for understanding and playing defense. Elder was one of two dozen transgender Texans and their advocates who rallied outside the Texas Capitol early Monday, just three days after gold medal decathlon winner Bruce Jenner declared, “I am a woman” in an interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC News. The Austin gathering came amid […]

Changing pothole procedures

Mayor Parker seeks to reduce the number of campaign issues for this fall by half. City officials are hoping to replace more concrete segments of streets in lieu of simply patching over Houston’s many potholes, part of an emergency response that Mayor Annise Parker called for earlier this year when she branded the onslaught of […]

Here come the HERO appeals

So many appeals. Andy Taylor, attorney for the plaintiffs, said he will continue an appeal he has pending at the Texas Supreme Court, which has made no decision on whether it will hear the case. He has a response due in two weeks but plans to file sooner than that. Taylor will also file two […]

Uber sues Houston

It’s all about the secrecy. Uber is once again suing to keep its secrets. The ride-hailing service filed suit in Houston last week to block the release of public records that would reveal how many drivers it has licensed in the city, who they are and how the company operates in Texas, according to court […]