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Posts Tagged ‘Metro’

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 […]

I got those reverse commuting blues

The Woodlands is growing as en employment center, which means it is also seeing a lot more traffic in what used to be the reverse commute direction. There is no longer a simple drive to this onetime bedroom community, which has turned into an economic powerhouse and upended the flow of traffic in the process. […]

Uptown BRT construction begins

I’m really rooting for this to succeed. Dignitaries will gather Monday to symbolically start construction of wider sidewalks and dedicated bus lanes meant to enhance Post Oak Boulevard and offer improved transit service, even as some residents and business owners continue fighting to block a project they consider a huge mistake. Though it has passed […]

How would you get from Houston to Galveston without a car?

It’s both easier and harder than you might think. Raj Mankad tells the story. I reached the sea without getting in a car. Over the course of my journey, which began at Rice University and ended at Stewart Beach, I took one light rail train, four buses, and walked about three miles. Every three or […]

System reimagining is going to be hard

Because change is hard. It always is. Transit officials might have reimaginged bus service in the Houston area, but the riders who rely on it for daily trips are asking them to rethink it again. Since the redesigned bus system was approved in February, concerned riders have appeared at every Metropolitan Transit Authority board meeting […]

Let’s wait for a normal week before we judge ridership numbers

From The Highwayman: Two new light rail lines have gotten off to slow start, according to early ridership figures from the Metropolitan Transit Authority, but officials and riders still hope the Green and Purple Line will meet expectations. The two lines, connecting downtown with the East End along Harrisburg and with the Third Ward and […]

You can still ask Metro to make changes to their new bus routes

Chris Andrews highlights a little Metro-related activism going on in my neighborhood. Residents in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston have initiated a petition to modify the proposed 30 bus route. Currently, the neighborhood is serviced by the 40 Pecore route. When METRO’s System Reimagining was proposed in early 2015, the 30 Clinton / Ella […]

How the East End got its rail line

A great overview of how we got here with the Harrisburg and Southeast lines, the genesis of which go back a lot farther than the 2003 Metro Solutions referendum. The working- and middle-class Mexican-American residents of the East End lacked political power in Houston prior to the 1960s and 1970s and their communities received little […]

The Chron on how Metro and Culberson came to an accord

Read all about it. Houston’s buses don’t run at 2 a.m., but that’s when Metro and U.S. Rep. John Culberson began to see real movement toward a deal to improve area transit service. “We got really intense one night and literally worked line-by-line,” Metropolitan Transit Authority chairman Gilbert Garcia said last week, explaining how months […]

Still debating where to put the Houston high speed rail terminal

While people in the rural counties are trying to kill the proposed high speed rail line between Houston and Dallas, some other people here in Houston are thinking about where a station should be. [Lynn] Hardwin was among a few dozen people attending an open house held by Texas Central Partners on April 23 at […]

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 […]

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‚Äôs 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 […]

Montgomery and Fort Bend

The Houston Area Survey covered a bigger area than usual this year. One is mostly white and mostly Republican. It hasn’t backed a Democratic presidential candidate since native Texan Lyndon Johnson a half-century ago. The other is as racially and ethnically diverse as any place in the country, swelling with black, Asian and Hispanic residents […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

System reimagining will be mostly better for most

But not quite all better for all. Metro staff analyzed 452 hypothetical trips along the new [bus] network, most in low-income and minority areas. The standard for disproportionately affecting a trip is that trip taking 15 minutes longer than under current conditions. By the standard, 8 percent of the trips involving minorities and 6 percent […]

Metro writes off old light rail studies

What might have been. Houston transit officials Thursday wrote off $104 million wasted on multiple studies related to the controversial University and Uptown light rail projects that ultimately stalled due to a lack of funding and fierce opposition from the neighborhoods they would impact. The studies for the two lines, which were approved by voters […]

Metro board seeks to expand

It’s change that has been anticipated since the 2010 Census data was released. With all indications pointing to more people in the Metropolitan Transit Authority service area living outside Houston than inside the city, Metro officials are asking to accelerate a state-mandated expansion of the transit agency’s board. The change would mean more members appointed […]

Overpass groundbreaking

Progress. After years of conflict among community members and leaders, construction of Metro’s new Harrisburg overpass is officially underway in Houston’s East End. “It’s not just a bridge; it’s going to be a landmark in the city,” Metropolitan Transit Authority board member Diann Lewter said at a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday. […] City Council member Robert […]

An Uptown BRT skeptic

Here’s one guy who doesn’t like the idea. Ridership models developed by the Uptown TIRZ board project that the new bus route will carry 10,000 riders per day in 2018. This estimate is outrageously inflated, given that the more than 30-year-old Park & Ride system only carries 16,000 riders per day, most of whom are […]

System reimagining is hard work

Jarrett Walker, who consulted with Metro on bus system reimagining, wants you to know that it was harder than it looked. These no-new-resources restructurings always involve cutting some low-ridership services to add higher-ridership ones, and these can be incredibly painful decisions for boards, civic leaders, and transit managements. Civic officials can come out looking better […]

Transportation Commission approves funds for Uptown BRT

Finally. Dedicated bus lanes along Loop 610 remain a part of planned transit service in the Uptown area after state officials kept $25 million allocated to an upcoming project. After months of discussions about the project’s purpose and agreements between the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the Texas Department of Transportation, state transportation commissioners Thursday approved […]

Metro’s new rail station

Houston Central Station is finally open, though in a much less impressive form than it might have been. Houston’s first new rail station in nearly 14 months [opened] Wednesday, but it won’t serve its main purpose – connecting riders on multiple lines – until Metro overcomes persistent delays in expanding its service. Central Station Main, […]

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 […]

2015 Mayoral manifesto: Public safety

Preliminaries Transportation When I first started thinking about this series a couple of months ago, this section was all going to be about the budget. We’ve covered this ground before – public safety is about 65% of the total city budget, yet it’s always “off limits” for consideration when there are shortfalls. It’s always the […]

2015 Mayoral manifesto: Transportation

Preliminaries Please note that I have called this part of my manifesto “Transportation” and not “Traffic”. I agree that traffic sucks and that the Mayoral candidates ought to have some ideas for how to deal with it. It’s my opinion that the best answers involve providing as many viable alternatives to getting into the car […]