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Posts Tagged ‘light rail’

Feds rescind Universities line funding

Not a surprise at this point. A proposal for a light rail line along Richmond Avenue, long left for dead because of strong opposition and years of languishing, has lost its shot now for funding from the Federal Transit Administration. In a letter released Friday by U.S. Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston, FTA associate administrator Lucy […]

Turner reiterates the need to rethink transportation

New audience, same theme. Houston’s transportation future – and perhaps its economic vitality – relies on more options than new freeway lanes to make room for more cars, Mayor Sylvester Turner said Tuesday. “The solution is to increasingly take advantage of other modes of travel,” Turner told business and elected leaders at a lunch event […]

Patman shares her vision for Metro

I like what I’m hearing from new Metro Board Chair Carrin Patman. A regional transportation plan is critical, Patman said, because it allows everyone to establish what transit and transportation officials should be doing. Everyone, including counties and cities not part of Metro today, needs to be part of the dialogue and outline needs from […]

Want to buy a big piece of land near the Medical Center?

Here’s your chance. A single tract of land large enough to hold multiple office towers, high-rise residential buildings and a hotel doesn’t often come available inside Loop 610. One near the Texas Medical Center is even more uncommon. After 45 years, Shell Oil Co. is selling 21 acres it owns at the southwest corner of […]

The dry run for the Super Bowl

It went pretty well. In less than a year, the Super Bowl is expected to draw almost twice as many as the 70,000 out-of-towners who flocked here for the Final Four. More than 1 million are expected to come downtown and to NRG Park from the Houston region, presenting even greater logistical and security challenges […]

Take transit to the game

If you can, you should. The transformation of downtown from a work place that empties after dark to a true community is finally underway in earnest, with residents, retail shops, and restaurants that remain open long after the lunch rush. The building boom is everywhere, and that includes the area around Minute Maid, which had […]

Lots of people took the train to the games

Nice. After handling more than a quarter-million rail trips over the four-day NCAA Final Four period, Metro is calling it a slam dunk. “These are numbers are fantastic for us,” spokesman Jerome Gray said. Metro said 255,700 rail boardings occurred from Friday until Monday. That’s roughly 87,000 more for the four days than the system […]

What do you do with a problem like I-10?

From a conversation that Cite Editor Raj Mankad conducted with Andrew Albers and Ernesto Alfaro, who co-teach a survey of landscape architecture at the Rice School of Architecture. Mankad: Let’s come back to I-10 and the failure of its… Alfaro: … hubris … Mankad: … its massive expansion. We talked about designers finding opportunities in […]

The Purple City plan for I-45

Check it out. Should a major freeway plan consider the needs of cyclists? Of transit riders? And if we’re going to tear down and reconstruct the entire downtown freeway network of the fourth-largest city in America, shouldn’t the final result have better geometry than the mid-century structures it replaces? The PDFs below contain an analysis […]

Metro smartphone payment system debuts

Progress marches onward. Metro riders will be able to board a bus or train without a fare card or cash within a few days, just in time for some of the transit agency’s heaviest use during the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Metropolitan Transit Authority officials on Wednesday said they had completed testing and preparation […]

Turner wants to rethink transportation

I like the way he’s thinking. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, in less than a month on the job, has hit the streets at full speed. First he tackled potholes. Last week he tackled a state transportation department that’s spent the past half-century developing a highway network that is increasingly getting farther from Houston’s core and, […]

Harrisburg line overpass delayed again

Ugh. Just, ugh. A rail overpass vital to completion of the East End light rail line that has divided neighbors and eroded public confidence will be delayed another four months, Metro officials confirmed Monday. “It has been the project from hell from the beginning,” Metropolitan Transit Authority board member Cindy Siegel said. “It needs to […]

More on the Gulf Coast Rail District and the high speed rail line

The Chron reports on the story. Officials with the Gulf Coast Rail District, Houston-Galveston Area Council, Texas Department of Transportation and Metropolitan Transit Authority are involved in a comprehensive planning study of rail, generally in the Washington Avenue and Interstate 10 area. The study, building off numerous previous reports and research by the agencies, is […]

Metro posts solid ridership increase

Nice. METRO’s chosen path to increase ridership by delivering improved routes, with improved connections, is producing solid, steady and most impressively significant, numbers – across the board. Ridership on all fixed routes grew to nearly 7 million in November 2015. That is an 11 percent jump from November 2014. Local bus ridership numbers for November […]

Paxton opines on Uptown BRT

AG Ken Paxton was asked for an opinion on whether or not Metro could work with the Uptown Management District on its proposed BRT line. The opinion has been given, though it doesn’t really settle anything. In the ruling, Paxton said the issue centered on the $640 million in bonds voters approved in 2003, part […]

More rail options being studied

This caught my eye last week. The Gulf Coast Rail District says to make the system viable the train needs to come into downtown, or there has to be some sort of commuter rail option that would link downtown with the high-speed line. The Rail District now wants to study the possibility of a rail […]

More on the high speed rail station in Houston

The Chron frets about it not being downtown. After hearing so much about how the proposed Central Texas Railway will help people commute between the central business districts of Houston and Dallas, it turns out that the Houston station will be built near the Northwest Mall at U.S. 290 and Loop 610. Unless your business […]

Red lights on the Green line

Alas. Light rail is up and running along Harrisburg on the city’s east side, but Metro’s construction continues to be a sore spot with area residents because it seems at every turn the work is taking longer than promised. The latest delays come from sluggish work to move utilities and excavate for a planned overpass […]

The FRA releases its alignment analysis for the high speed rail line

There will be no downtown Houston station, that much is for sure. The area around U.S. 290 and Loop 610, anchored by Northwest Mall, is likely to be the end of the line for a proposed Houston-to-Dallas high speed passenger train. The Federal Railroad Administration has eliminated from consideration both of the paths that would […]

Another review of Metro’s bus system reimagining

This time from the Chron: Nearly three months into what many consider the most significant operational change any American transit system has made in three decades, Houston transit officials and supporters are calling the new bus network a rousing success. Critics, however, point to broken connections and to transit-dependent riders whose service has been cut […]

Where things stand with bus ridership

Jarrett Walker, one of the consultants who helped design the new Metro bus network, looks at the most recent stats from Metro and tells us what they mean. It’s now been about two months since Houston METRO implemented their New Network, developed through a process called the System Reimagining. The first ridership numbers are in, […]

Lawsuit against Uptown line dismissed

We haven’t heard the last of this, of that you can be certain. A judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging a dedicated bus lane project in Houston’s Uptown area, but the ruling is not a final resolution of the dispute. State District Judge Brent Gamble on Thursday dismissed the lawsuit filed by Cosmopolitan Condominium Owners […]

Metro once again considers advertising

And I once again say go for it. Thursday, Metropolitan Transit Authority board members will consider researching options for putting ads inside buses and trains, as well as text-based ads for those who use the system’s next-bus texting service. Metro board member Diann Lewter said the discussion is preliminary, but she and others want to […]

B-Cycle expansion coming

Good. Houston area officials are investing hundreds of millions of dollars into widening Interstate 45, and they could be paying much more for even larger upcoming projects along the corridor. But a comparatively-paltry sum is about to boost bike sharing in Houston in a big way. The same transportation improvement plan aiming $140 million at […]

August ridership numbers for the new rail lines

Again, don’t get too excited just yet. Use of Houston’s two newest rail lines increased in August, though it took a strong late showing and free rides to finally meet the ridership expectations Metro officials outlined in May. According to ridership figures released Thursday, average boardings at the shared stations downtown where both Green and […]

Metro still dealing with CAF problems

The more things change… Metro and the maker of its newest light rail cars have had many costly and time-consuming conflicts. The latest is forcing the transit agency to spend $1 million so its mechanics can lift the vehicles. The $153 million contract with CAF U.S.A., the American wing of a Spanish firm, has been […]

New rail line numbers notch up in July

Good to see, but as before let’s maintain some perspective in these early days. Though still below initial estimates, use of two new light rail lines in Houston is increasing, based on July figures released Monday. After a rocky start, use of the Green Line along Harrisburg increased 25.9 percent from June to July, according […]

Where the forest and the trees collide

Headline atop Tuesday’s Chronicle: Spike in Metrorail crashes prompts a second look at safety measures. Metro recorded a record 17 accidents on its rail system in June, and most of them involved the kind of action Marchetti narrowly avoided: people or cars moving into the train’s path or, in one case, a bicyclist riding into […]

The conservative case for more rail transit

Noted for the record. As conservatives, we find it odd that many people expect us to oppose public transportation, especially rail. In fact, high-quality transit, which usually means rail, benefits conservatives in a number of important ways. It spurs development, something conservatives generally favor, especially in Texas. It saves people, including conservatives, precious time, because […]

More on Houston’s transit deserts

James Llamas writes a guest post at the Kinder Institute blog about their earlier article on transit deserts in Houston. As a planner at Traffic Engineers, Inc. I had the privilege of working with METRO staff and industry experts on the reimagining plan. The project has received quite a bit of attention around the country, […]

Yes, the new rail lines are off to a slower-than-hoped start

Let’s not panic. Our own history shows that early rail ridership numbers are often highly variable. Slightly more than a month after the Metropolitan Transit Authority christened two new rail lines – built at a cost of $1.4 billion and seen by critics as little more than an unnecessary and expensive replacement for buses – […]

Metro and your smartphone

Nice. As Metropolitan Transit Authority officials planned for the new system – which will affect practically every bus ride in the region – they have also focused on offering new services. One of those, a system that allows bus riders to text a code listed at each bus stop and receive a reply with the […]

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 […]

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 […]