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Posts Tagged ‘Southeast line’

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 – […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

From the “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life” department

Every dark cloud has a silver lining, y’all. You just have to know where to look for it. Metro’s four-month delay in opening two rail lines will give the agency time to obtain enough cars to prevent severe crowding when trains start rolling. Fourteen of 39 new rail cars that the Metropolitan Transit Authority ordered […]

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 […]

Southeast and Harrisburg line openings delayed again

sigh Metro acknowledged Wednesday that it will be unable to open its two new light rail lines this year as promised, the latest in a series of delays and controversies associated with the rail system. Less than two months ago, Metropolitan Transit Authority officials said the agency’s Green and Purple lines would open in December […]

The downside to downtown’s boom

More traffic, less parking, and lots of construction. Where have we heard those complaints before? Construction crews are clearing city blocks once dedicated to surface parking, readying the sites for multistory office buildings, hotels and residential towers. Adjacent sidewalks and traffic lanes are cordoned off, and two major downtown cross-streets are tied up with light […]

On beautifying the city for the Super Bowl

Chris Andrews has some thoughts about what Houston should and shouldn’t do in preparation for Super Bowl LI in 2017. Things More Important Than Beautification Projects to a Super Bowl Visitor As a sports fan, and through my own experience, I would have to guess that a visitor’s experience in a host city will be […]

Please watch out for the trains

Seriously, people. Three MetroRail collisions this week highlight persistent safety concerns that arise when trains share the road with cars – a problem that Metro officials hope to control as they prepare to open two new rail lines. The Metropolitan Transit Authority has experienced a relatively high number of accidents in its decade running light […]

Southeast and Harrisburg rail line openings pushed back

Well, at least it’s still in 2014. THERE’S STILL “some uncertainty” over the exact schedule, but all the pieces needed to allow Metro to open Houston’s second and third light-rail lines won’t be in place until late December, according to reports delivered to a committee of the transportation organization’s board of directors last Friday. Previously, […]

When are we getting those trains again?

The Metro board has some doubts about railcar manufacturer CAF’s ability to keep its promises. Houston transit officials, worried that the light rail system might run short of trains for months after two new lines open, are not satisfied with a new schedule for delivery of delayed rail cars. Metropolitan Transit Authority officials expressed deep […]

We’ll get our new trains in January

We have a deadline. The company building Metro’s new trains will deliver the final car to Houston five months late, according to a revised schedule submitted to the transit agency. The Metropolitan Transit Authority is reviewing the schedule, spokesman Jerome Gray said, and hasn’t agreed to the new timeline. The revision was one of the  […]

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 […]

I got those “can’t get my rail cars built on time” blues

Actually, I don’t, but Metro does. The company building 39 new Metro railcars has yet to deliver an acceptable vehicle almost six months after the original due date, potentially delaying full service for rail lines scheduled to open later this year. The first car hasn’t passed a required water leak test and exceeds the maximum […]

End of year B-Cycle report

B-Cycle has been in Houston for nine months, having launched in early April. So far, it’s done pretty well. The B-Cycle system’s 29th station was christened earlier this month in front of Clayton Homes. Officials said they hoped to provide new customers for bike-sharing and new opportunities for low-income families. “The more you use the […]

On riding the North Line

Can we wait until we’ve had at least one non-holiday work week before we start talking about North Line ridership numbers? Thanks. The changes brought by the rail line, an extension of the Main Street Line now known as the Red Line, might develop more gradually than some residents and businesses hope. Early signs are […]

What can we do to get the Universities Line going?

This story is about the opening of the North Line, but it’s also about where Metro goes from here. The opening of the lines won’t spell the end of the construction. To complete the final mile of the East Line, Metro must build an underpass at Harrisburg and 66th Street at the Houston Belt & […]

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 […]

Metro gets more money

Good news. Congress has appropriated $189 million for two of our light-rail lines – the North/Red Line extension and the Southeast/Purple Line. Each line will receive $94.5 million. The funds are part of the $900 million Full Funding Grant Agreements signed by federal officials in November 2011. METRO Board Chairman Gilbert Garcia called this appropriation vital. “This […]

Please try to avoid getting hit by the new light rail trains

Seriously, watch where you’re driving when you drive along or past the new rail lines. The train is bigger than you and your car, and if you pick a fight with it you will lose. Metro is working to make sure drivers and pedestrians get that message. Starting next year, Houston will have 15 new […]

Fare enforcement for Metro

Dodging the fare on the light rail lines could become more difficult to do. Provided a key piece of state legislation comes through, Metro officials said the plan is to have new monitors in place when the new North, East and Southeast lines start ferrying passengers along the city’s rail system. “It is growing a […]

A streetcar for the East End?

It could happen. As the once solidly industrial East End transforms with a 4-month-old soccer stadium, a light rail line under construction and the imminent sale of a 136-acre plot that could signal coming lofts and boutiques, boosters are studying the possibility of reviving the streetcar in Houston after an absence of more than 70 […]

What would you do with 136 acres near downtown?

Something urban, mixed-use, and transit-oriented, one hopes. A rare opportunity lies in 136 acres just east of downtown Houston. The Buffalo Bayou-front parcel, a longtime industrial and office complex, went on the market earlier this summer – a move bayou enthusiasts, East End residents and real estate developers had been anticipating for years. Some of […]

FTA writes another check for light rail construction

Keep ’em coming. The expansion of Houston Metro got another boost from the federal government with the allocation of $188 million in additional construction funding for the North and Southeast light rail lines. Congressman Gene Green, the Houston Democrat who is dean of the metropolitan area’s House delegation, said the money is part of Houston […]

Metro and UH make nice

Good. Construction of a light-rail line that would cross University of Houston property can continue now that UH and Metro officials settled differences that threatened to delay the project. UH announced in a statement Tuesday that university officials have agreed to allow the Metropolitan Transit Authority to start the next phase of construction of the […]

UH prof writes letter in support of resolution with Metro

After I published about UH holding up construction on the Southeast Line over concerns about the route, I was forwarded a letter sent by UH English professor Irving Rothman to UH President Renu Khator asking her to get this issue resolved. Here’s the letter. When I first arrived in Houston with my family in 1967, […]