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Posts Tagged ‘Metro’

Improving Metro service for disabled riders

It’s a work in progress. Many elderly and disabled people in the region rely on the bus, and a 6-foot stretch of missing sidewalk can cut off their access completely. Advocates expect better from the city with the world’s largest medical center, home to the former president, George H.W. Bush, who signed the Americans With […]

Metro still fixing rail car issues

Someday this will all be over. Houston’s light rail system is fully open, but closing out a complicated rail car purchase that nearly derailed the new lines remains a challenge for transit officials. Metropolitan Transit Authority officials continue withholding $12.9 million from CAF U.S.A. – the builder of the vehicles – as they debate the […]

The long-term future of public transit

By “long-term” I mean by 2050 or so. For an agency that’s spent decades guiding freeway expansion, it was a stark admission for members of the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s transportation policy council. “Future growth and the resulting travel is expected to surpass our ability to meet regional mobility needs by relying solely on increased roadway […]

Metro preps regional transit plan

This could be on our November ballot as well. A pending long-term regional transit plan, and likely voter referendum as early as November, will determine where Metro goes. More importantly, they will show what level of support people in the Houston region have for more buses, longer train routes and commuter service to increasingly urbanizing […]

Another point about Metro and marketing

Metro receives a good report in its quadrennial audit, and also a good suggestion. The public perception of vagrancy, loitering and even crime remains a challenge for Houston transit officials that has made its way into Metro’s new performance audit. The audit, which Metropolitan Transit Authority’s board accepted Wednesday- a largely perfunctory approval – gave […]

Ready for driverless cars, Houston?

Well, they’re coming, ready or not. Researchers, business leaders and elected officials are about to turn Texas into the biggest laboratory for connected cars in the nation, with the likeliest place to spot a self-driving car in Houston along the high occupancy vehicle and toll lanes along some of the region’s busiest freeways. Officials are […]

Here comes the fully extended Green Line

Hallelujah. Oh what a rocky ride it’s been. Political opposition. A Buy America violation. Construction delays. Contaminated soil that sank an underpass. Overweight and badly-manufactured railcars. More construction delays. When trains finally start rolling along the new Green Line into neighborhoods east of downtown on Wednesday, the last leg in Metro’s controversial multi-billion dollar project […]

A look ahead to Houston’s 2017 elections

I want to return to something in that story about Mayor Turner’s 2017 agenda, which was near the bottom but which is a very big deal for the coming year: A lawsuit over the ballot language used last year to extend terms to a maximum of two four-year terms, from three two-year terms, hovers in […]

What’s going on with Metro’s ridership numbers?

I have no idea what to make of this. Houston’s heralded bus system redesign – garnering kudos from local riders and transit supporters around the country – is running into the reality that nothing can boost transit when fewer people are riding to work. When the Metropolitan Transit Authority revamped its bus system in August […]

The Complete Transportation Guide To Super Bowl LI

For which the tl;dr version is don’t drive in or near downtown if you can at all help it. More than 1 million people are expected to converge on downtown Houston during the week leading up to Super Bowl LI on Feb. 5, officials emphasized Tuesday as a transportation guide for the festivities was unveiled […]

As go gas prices, so goes interest in transit

It is what it is. Cheap gasoline has Texans driving more, indicating that efforts to promote mass transit or bicycle commuting are falling short, a new statewide poll suggests. As folks hit the road, though, they are increasingly supportive of investment in transit and bike safety, even if perhaps they’d rather see others try it […]

The State of Metro

Metro Chair Carrin Patman gave a “State of Metro” speech at the Greater Houston Partnership this week, and among other things she said that another referendum is in the works to finish some tasks from the 2003 vote and to address the issues we see today. One of the projects that remains unfunded is the […]

Coming back to the US90A rail extension

Lots of talk, and a case for action sooner rather than later. A Metro rail extension from southern Houston to Missouri City is gaining momentum, fueled by rare near-unanimous support from local, state and federal officials who represent the area. The hope is one day whisking commuters from Fort Bend County into the Texas Medical […]

Metro celebrates ridership increase one year after new bus network rollout

Leah Binkovitz reports. From September 2015 (the first full month after the switch was implemented) to July 2016 (the most recent complete month), METRO saw its ridership on local bus and light-rail add an additional 4.5 million boardings — a 6.8 percent increase. The numbers are more modest when looking at local bus ridership alone, […]

Harrisburg overpass nearing completion

Hallelujah. Six months ago, Harrisburg Boulevard looked almost exactly as it has for more than five years, dotted by construction equipment. East of downtown Houston, the thoroughfare was more exposed dirt than street, and showed little sign of the rail overpass transit officials promised eastside residents. With no span in sight, residents – not to […]

More on commuter rail to Fort Bend

The Chron picks up the ball. In a blog post for Off the Kuff, a local progressive politics blog, former Fort Bend Democratic Party chairman Steve Brown said now is the time for local officials to form a commuter rail district. Under state law, the district, if formed, could work with Metro to develop the […]

Metro rider satisfaction

Not too bad. The recently released study by advocacy organization TransitCenter, which details attitudes about public transit nationwide, generally offers good news for METRO Houston. The Urban Edge requested Houston-specific data from the TransitCenter’s national survey of transit passengers. Roughly 76 percent of Houston respondents were somewhat or very satisfied with the frequency of METRO’s service, including bus and […]

Steve Brown: Why we need the US90A rail line

(Note: From time to time I solicit guest posts on various topics, from people who have a particular interest or expertise in a particular topic. Today’s post is by Steve Brown, on the newly revived US90A commuter rail line.) In May 2015, Metro began operating two light rail lines serving the East End and Southeast […]

Metro revives US90A commuter rail line

The possibility of it, anyway. No promises or commitments at this time. Metropolitan Transit Authority board members on Thursday approved a resolution authorizing transit officials to “place” the project in the “Federal Transit Administration process” and look for ways to pay for it. When officials essentially placed the project on inactive status in September 2012 […]

Main Street Line having on-time issues

Not good. Poor on-time trends for Metro trains are costing riders time along the city’s most heavily-used transit route, and potentially leading some to consider other options for trips, a transit agency board member said Wednesday. “I think we are losing ridership to this,” said Christof Spieler, during a Metropolitan Transit Authority committee meeting. While […]

What makes transit successful?

It’s pretty basic, as this report lays out. A new report released [Tuesday] by TransitCenter, a foundation dedicated to improving urban mobility, finds that developing transit in walkable areas and offering frequent, fast bus and rail service is the key to increasing urban transit ridership. The report, “Who’s on Board 2016: What Today’s Riders Teach […]

Harrisburg overpass update

Progress. Right now the East End light rail line stops a few blocks short of the Magnolia Transit Center on Harrisburg. Metro was going to build an underpass at the Hughes Street railroad crossing, but cancelled those plans because of worries over contaminated soil. The agency is now putting the finishing touches on a new overpass that […]

Uptown BRT will be ready in 2019

A little later than originally expected. Construction might be set to start soon on dedicated bus lanes down Post Oak through the Uptown area, but the latest projections don’t have riders on the lanes for nearly three years. Despite earlier estimates to open the lanes in 2018, which Uptown Management District President John Breeding said […]

The latest attempt to kill the Uptown BRT line

Whatever. “See this right turn lane filled up?” asked consultant Wayne Dolcefino to about a dozen angry Uptown residents, standing along Post Oak Boulevard near the intersection with San Felipe Street on Monday morning. “That’s going away. The right lane at Westheimer? That’s going away too.” A woman’s jaw dropped, as though what Docefino said […]

Uptown BRT construction officially begins

Here we go. Crews are relocating trees in preparation for two years of construction, starting in July. The Uptown Dedicated Bus Lanes Project will unfold in three phases, moving from north to south and starting with the West Loop to San Felipe segment. Designed to solve the area’s crushing mobility problem, the $121.5 million boulevard […]

Carrin Patman’s vision for Metro

I commend you to read Christopher Andrews’ report of a recent meeting between Metro Board Chair Carrin Patman and group of local transportation-interested bloggers. I quote here from his recap of what Patman has in mind for Metro while she is Chair: 1. A Regional Transportation / Transit Plan The last plan dates back to […]

Reimagining Lower Westheimer

This ought to be interesting. Lower Westheimer is one of Houston’s most well-known streets, but on some fronts its reputation isn’t a positive one. Narrow and bumpy, the street is both a hub of retail and recreation activity and also a harrowing bike or automobile trip from time to time. Everyone has a story or […]

My vision for Metro: Expansion

Part 1: Buses Part 2: Marketing itself One of the things that new Metro Chair Carrin Patman has been talking about is a regional transportation plan, to get everyone – including cities and counties not currently involved with Metro – to agree on what transit is and how we best go about doing it in […]

My vision for Metro: Marketing itself

Part 1: Buses Metro Board member Christoph Spieler has said that Metro turns over 20 percent of its ridership each year, just due to the natural comings and goings of life. As such, Metro doesn’t have to expend effort to persuade current non-users to give it a try in order to build ridership. It just […]

My vision for Metro: Buses

I’ve said before that I would have some suggestions for new Metro Board Chair Carrin Patman and her team as they take their places. This post is where I start sharing those suggestions. The idea is to focus on proposals that I believe are doable in the current political and economic climate, in the short […]

One year of the Green and Purple light rail lines

Ridership keeps trending up, but it’s hard to get a handle on the details from this story. Monday marks one-year of Metropolitan Transit Authority’s two newest rail lines. Well, most of Metro’s two newest rail lines. The last mile or so to the Magnolia Park Transit Center will not open until after a long-delayed overpass […]

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 […]