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  1. Metro unveiled their Preliminary Long Term Vision for Projects through 2040 on Thursday July, 2018 at the MetroNext Board Workshop. Perliminary Long Term Vision (discussed at the 17:30 mark) - Pretty much a pipe dream and estimated to Cost $35 Billion - 100 miles of Light Rail (to both IAH and Hobby, Inner Katy Line to High Speed Rail Station at Northwest Mall) - 90 Miles of BRT Forward Plan A (discussed at the 1:03:00 mark) is the more optimistic plan with the Metro receiving higher funding levels - 12 miles of Light Rail (Red & Purple Extensions to Hobby; Red line extension to Tidwell) - 34 miles of BRT (University Line, Inner Katy, Uptown Extension) Forward Plan B (discussed at the 1:22:00 mark) is the pessimistic plan with Metro receiving lower funding levels - 1 mile of Light Rail (Red line extension to Tidwell) - 11 miles of BRT (Inner Katy, Uptown Extension) Video http://ridemetro.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=5&clip_id=1651
  2. Noticed this on instagram this week. Do we have a thread on this?
  3. I was looking through Metro's website for updates on MetroNext, and found this powerpoint from a meeting that apparently happened about a week ago. According to the presentation, the whole project is already funded through the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s Transportation Improvement Program (and as I understand it, the root of much of that money is TXDOT), and the first public meeting is happening by the end of February. We've already seen preliminary designs for the two middle stations, and the whole thing seems pretty straightforward. It's the only major project from MetroNext that's under the "in progress" category . . . anyone think we'll see ground breaking this year?
  4. https://www.ridemetro.org/Pages/TC-FanninSouth.aspx Notice of Variance Request spotted today.
  5. EXCLUSIVE REPORTS From the January 28, 2005 print edition First effort calls for mixed-use project over transit center Jennifer Dawson Houston Business Journal The Metropolitan Transit Authority's first venture into stimulating real estate development along light rail is geared toward putting a mixed-use project on an existing transit center. Todd Mason's initial mission as a recently appointed Metro vice president is to identify private developers who might be interested in constructing a high-rise project for possible retail, restaurant, condo or medical office tenants over the TMC Transit Center at Fannin and Pressler. The Texas Medical Center site doubles as a combination light rail stop and terminal where buses pick up and drop off passengers. Mason plans on sending a request for qualifications to hundreds of developers within the next two months. His goal is to find a list of prospects with the capability and experience to handle such a significant project on the 4.5-acre site. Metro gained full-time access to Mason's services by signing a five-year, $2 million contract with McDade Smith Gould Johnston Mason + Co. The real estate firm's name principal and chief financial officer occupies an office in Metro's new downtown headquarters, where his duties include promoting commercial development on or near Metro properties and handling all of Metro's real estate holdings. Mason's description of his job would apply more to a for-hire contractor than a full-time employee. "Metro has outsourced their real estate department to me," Mason says. "The primary goal is to take their transit centers and park-and-ride lots that have real estate value beyond a parking lot, and get them into the private sector for joint venture-type deals." Open for ideas The inaugural effort to put a mixed-use project on a Medical Center transit hub could determine the feasibility and direction of future Metro real estate development. While hundreds will receive requests for qualifications, Mason expects to be dealing with a select few. "What I hope is we can narrow it down to six or less truly qualified developers," he says. Metro would then conduct one-on-one negotiations to see what sort of deals could be structured with various developers. Mason hopes to make a final selection for the project by June. The TMC Transit Center project is wide open for development ideas at this point. Metro may do a ground lease or sell air rights to a developer, Mason says. Or the transit agency could enter into a joint venture with a developer on the project. One likely prospect is the Morgan Group Inc., a Houston-based apartment builder with experience in developing transit-related projects in California. Company CEO Michael Morgan says the Metro project sounds interesting, but unless incentives are offered it might be difficult to turn a profit. "The Med Center is a good market, but everything is rent-sensitive," Morgan explains. "Land prices have gotten so high that it's very hard to make apartment numbers work any more." Mason points out that Metro may be able to help make the numbers work because the transit authority has other revenue potential from the deal. In addition to receiving lease payments, the development would funnel money to Metro through increased ridership and an expanded tax base, Mason says. "I don't have to get nearly as high of a return on real estate as a traditional land owner," Mason says. "In many ways, it could save on what the cost of land is." Rising demand in one of the city's hottest sub-markets also could affect financial arrangements. Paul Layne of Trizec Properties says he is not familiar with Metro's plan, but suggests a high-rise project makes sense because the Med Center area has nowhere to go but up. "I think the idea of going vertical in the Texas Medical Center has proven to be a logical element of life because of the incredible density they have there," Layne says. "That's smart business." Fee sharing Commercial developer David Wolff came up with the idea of retaining private real estate professionals following his appointment as Metro board chairman in 2004. Wolff and Metro President Frank Wilson interviewed several firms before hiring McDade Smith, Mason says. "We'll make Metro a very business-friendly, forward-thinking entity," says Mason. "I think I can create value for them." For $400,000 a year, Metro gets Mason on a full-time basis, as well as McDade Smith broker Jeff Lindenberger and an administrative person. "We had to have the base fee if I was going to devote all of my time to the account," Mason says. "We worked out a compensation package that incentified me." As Metro properties are bought and sold, McDade Smith will attach regular brokerage fees to the transactions. Metro will receive 75 percent of the commission revenue until the agency's $400,000 investment is recovered in any given year. If brisk real estate activity pushes the amount past the $400,000 mark, the brokerage fee revenue will be split 50-50 between Metro and the real estate firm, Mason says. The transit authority also gains access to the experienced McDade Smith team as part of the contract. "Two heads are better than one. Fifteen heads are better than two," Mason says. Estimating income from development deals along rail lines may be difficult at this point, but Mason's status as Metro's real estate czar provides access to other revenue streams. A big share of the brokerage team's earnings could come in divesting Metro properties, an activity that has received little attention in the past. Metro owns some 1,500 sites around Houston, and it's Mason's job to help determine the worth of each one. Looking ahead Market demand and Metro's ownership of the property made the TMC Transit Center a logical place to test the real estate development waters. But existing design factors also attracted Mason. The center consists of a series of bus platforms and stairs that climb to a skybridge and link to the light rail stop on Fannin. The skybridge one day will connect to a University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center building scheduled for construction. Instead of building upon an existing base structure, a developer would have to design a project that could be constructed above the platforms and moored to the ground. "It's already designed to be able to build a high-rise on that site with the transit center below it," explains Mason. "They put the footings into the ground to be able to build a high-rise above the transit center." Mason envisions more than one tower being constructed, possibly a high-rise and a midrise. With the wheels set in motion, Mason already is looking at a second possible development site -- the 6.7-acre Wheeler-Blodgett station. Mason says he won't move forward until the Federal Transportation Administration makes a recommendation as to whether another rail line could eventually intersect and increase the site's value. Somewhere down the road, other development possibilities may include strip retail centers at various park-and-ride lots or multifamily developments on or near them, he says. Switching to his sales agent hat, Mason says one site that may soon be declared surplus Metro property could attract quite a bit of attention from buyers. The 12-acre tract occupied by an underutilized park-and-ride is located next to a Wal-Mart north of Interstate 10 and west of the Beltway. Mason's goals over the next five years are to maximize Metro's real estate holdings and capitalize on transit center land values. "It's an opportunity to do something really neat for the city of Houston," Mason says. "If we're successful, I think we can put some things on the map."
  6. Tory Gattis has a couple of posts on his blog about shortsighted political opposition to the University rail line allignment. http://houstonstrategies.blogspot.com/ Christof Spieler, who has a great blog about transportation, has some great comments, along with some good maps to make his point. http://www.ctchouston.org/blogs/christof/2006/02/09/23/ There are apparently some people hoping to derail the University Line before it even gets started. I'm posting their blogs here since there are 1500 members on this forum, and some thoughtful voices on mass transit. I also think they like the publicity. What are your thoughts? I think this line is critical to LRT's success in Houston. I also think it will be a blockbuster success for businesses and residents in the Richmond corridor. I am at a complete loss as to why a business owner on Richmond would not support years of transit riders being dropped on his doorstep, as well as the massive upgrade of Richmond Avenue that the rail would bring. The intelligent approach would be to express concerns about construction to METRO, while supporting the line, so that construction disruption can be minimized, similar to the Southwest Freeway construction was done. Political agendas dictate otherwise. I'd also like to get some ideas to let METRO know that the future USERS of this line prefer this allignment (or whatever other allignment is preferred). Speak up.
  7. The goal of this thread is collect and house everyone's recommendations, tweaks, alternations, alternatives, etc... that they would like to see to Metro Next. The current draft which was exhibited this past summer is below: http://ridemetro.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=5&clip_id=1651 Metro's call for further input on the draft prior to an upcoming referendum in 2019: https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/2018/11/23/312741/metro-moves-to-the-next-phase-in-developing-a-regional-transit-plan/ Whether planned or in response to the recent political shift (or both). The winds are changing and with that is a chance to broaden and enrich Metro's vision for their overall goals (2040 vision) and what could be achievable in the upcoming referendum (2019 referendum vision). I'm curious what the community here thinks is possible. This is without thinking about budgets or costs since we don't know what that could be. Assume for right now you can get what you want (within logical reason of course). What are your ideas or proposals? Light rail? regional rail? BRT? Links to HSR? Connections to Airports? Do you have an idea for an entire system and how it would work or do you just have idea for a small portion? Is this for the upcoming referendum or for what you want in Houston by 2040? Its open forum. Lets try to not stomp on any ideas. Later, if this is a successful thread we can have a thread where we get more critical. I'm partly doing this to get more engagement on this forum, tbh, lately its felt a bit stagnant (with the disappearance of the reaction buttons, etc...).
  8. Metro Survey for those that want to have input.
  9. For a short period of time there was a small airport on Old Galveston Rd, across from Ellington Field. They ran commuter flights to Houston Intercontinental only, as I recall. Ring any bells?
  10. http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Metro-tries-to-smooth-mass-transit-woes-for-11058074.php#photo-12684803
  11. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/car-centric-texas-cities-reap-economic-boon-light-rail/
  12. METRO is increasing the number of spaces at the Grand Parkway P&R starting next Monday Oct. 26th. Capacity to radically increase again by next fall with a 1,650 space garage. http://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/TXMETRO/bulletins/1205601
  13. Renderings finally posted in another topic. Very exciting. http://s.lnimg.com/attachments/A55B766C-A6A3-49E0-8EF2-BCB5680D4D1E.pdf
  14. I take the 36 to Northline and ride the train all the way to Midtown every morning for work. Well I know service ends in this city at 12am... so my gf and I went downtown... had some coffee... walked around, etc... and we decide to head back around 10:30, caught the next northbound train to Northline TC. Well once we got to Northline TC we learned that the 36 West ran its last route at 10:30... Now I was pretty upset but all I could do was call an Uber to get home. Is this city every going to offer 24 hr service? I find it crazy how the trains run till midnite or that Metro will force riders to get off at Burnett TC because of the rodeo and take the next train north. I find that crap very inconsiderate for the riders trying to get to their neighborhood. And all for a few extra crowds at the rodeo that never use public transportation other then once a year. Just very frustrating how my 36 bus stops running on a Saturday at 10:30. Seriously!? C'mon Metro!
  15. The numbers are in.. https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/2016/04/06/144320/houston-metro-ridership-numbers-for-2016-ncaa-final-four-are-in/
  16. The draft plan has been released for public input! http://transitsystemreimagining.com/
  17. http://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/TXMETRO/bulletins/1076f8d I'm sort of surprised that the lanes will be open inbound only on the weekends. I remember when the old Katy Freeway HOV was open outbound on Saturdays and inbound on Sundays.
  18. This will show you what buses to take on the existing system and on the System Reimagining system (starting August 16th). http://ebtwebservices.cloudapp.net/D/External/ServiceChangeTripPlanner
  19. This came in the e-mail this morning. -------------------- METRO RIDERSHIP CONTINUES TO RISE AGENCY POSTS SIXTH STRAIGHT MONTH OF GROWTH More people are riding METRO buses and rail more often. METRO ridership is on the rise for a sixth consecutive month, recording a 5.2 percent increase to 6,357,131 boardings in January 2012 compared to 6,043,280 in January 2011. “Thanks to our focus on smart service and service changes to improve the system, we have been able to take advantage of the improving economy to deliver first-class transit to our community,” said METRO President & CEO George Greanias. Upward METRO Ridership Trend Continues for Sixth Consecutive Month Local bus and Park & Ride - January, 2011: 5,277,229 Local bus and Park & Ride - January, 2012: 5,455,106 MetroRAIL - January, 2011: 766,051 MetroRAIL - January, 2012: 902,025 METRORail ridership posted a 17.7 percent increase to 902,025 boardings compared to the 766,051 recorded in the same month last year. Park & Ride and local bus service jumped to 5,455,106 boardings versus 5,277,229 in January 2011. The continued growth is due in large part to increased employment in the area and METRO’s ongoing system adjustments to improve efficiency. Though there is currently no link between the agency’s growth in ridership and rising gas prices, METRO offers many alternatives to move about the city, and welcomes new riders and returning patrons. The latest transit savings report from the American Public Transportation Association shows that riding public transit saves about $9,914 a year. About METRO The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) is the region’s largest public transit provider, offering safe, reliable and affordable transportation services about 370,000 times per day. Besides operating more than 1,200 buses, METRO is currently expanding its 7.5-mile light-rail line (Red Line), with three new lines under construction. METRO’s services also include:Star Vanpool, METROLift, HOV lanes, HOT lanes, Bikes-on-Buses/Trains program, Park & Ride and road improvement projects.
  20. http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Pearland-takes-lead-on-proposed-288-park-and-ride-5979111.php This is big news. The same bus service that is used for league city to Galveston will provide pearland to medical center (downtown?). Once the HOT lanes are built it will be a quick way for residents to get in the city.
  21. http://blog.chron.com/thehighwayman/2014/10/despite-complaints-houston-best-texas-city-for-transit-access/
  22. Got this press release from Metro the other day. Interesting. But I wonder what the numbers will look like when it's summer. More Riders Combining Bicycles and METROBuses for Their Transit Needs The number of people using bikes to extend their bus trips (or vice versa) increased more than 47 percent jumping from 12,111 bike bus boardings in January 2013 to 17,859 in January this year, That's according to METRO figures which do not account for bikes taken onto light-rail trains. At the METRO Downtown Transit Center you'll find a bustling bike-share station, and at bus stops and train stations bikes ready to be loaded onto bike racks. Cyclists converge on the downtown area on a recent Bike to Work Day. "We are preparing for and trying to cultivate, these folks as repeat customers. We're doing that with bike racks on buses and at bike stands at bus stops. We've installed racks on our new trains and are working with the city to provide better infrastructure with bike lid storage at Park&Ride lots and B-Cycle facilities at our Downtown Transit Center," says METRO's Interim President & CEO Tom Lambert. Riders cross the Jackie Freeman hike and bike bridge at METRO's Kingsland Park & Ride. "The upward trend is gratifying. It's good exercise, gets cars off the road, relieves congestion and certainly cuts emissions that impact our air quality. We work with bus drivers to be more aware of cyclist needs and the rights of the road," Lambert continued. In October of 2013 METRO recorded, for the first time ever, more than 22,000 bike boardings on buses. That was 44 percent more than the previous year. METRO has encouraged bike ridership through collaboration with area agencies - advancing what was a grant for a three-station bike share start-up program to the 29 stations and 227 bikes it has today. Houston B-Cycle has registered more than 55,650 checkouts since opening - which comes to about 1,200 per week since the program expanded in March 2013. One of the most popular bike rental stations is located at METRO headquarters at 1900 Main St. METRO is also working on a Transit-Bike Connection study as well as partnering with Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) on a Bike and Ride Access Implementation plan. Meanwhile Rice University engineering students turned to METRO to work on their first project — the design of a rack to transport three bicycles at a time via bus. Their METRO-based project won this year’s Texas Department of Transportation’s College Challenge. That team was one of three finalists asked to develop concepts to help Texas mobility, connectivity and transportation safety issues. Students were motivated by a recent H-GAC study anticipating growth. The three-rack solution is one of several by Houston Action Research Team (HART) undergrads.
  23. With all the drama around the university line and uptown line I would seriously think metro would try to allocate funds toward the Inner Katy line instead. I know it is part of future phase 3 projects but thats something that could go alot smoother then the others. To me, that would be a less difficult project to undertake because of location. Think about the route the line would take : It would connect at the downtown line, move north along Houston Ave and turn west at the railroad where amtrak is on. Metro could construct a line alone side the already existing freight rail that runs parallel to Washington Ave, Center St., and Allen St. It may have to use Allen St. as a route but noboby uses that street anyway. Then it could run across I-10, just like the railroad, run behind the TXDOT building, go across washington ave. and ride along old katy road to Antoine Rd. The perfect finish stop would be the IKEA and the Edwards theater. I think this way very few streets would have to be torn up, if so only a few sections. Maybe some businesses would have to move for space but not that much. Don't believe any houses would be effected. And for this most part, how could you object to a rail in your backyard, HELLO, there is a big one there already ! I really hope metro considers maybe putting the more difficult univeristy and uptown lines on the back burner for now. Lets start the Inner Katy line now !
  24. I went to the rodeo three times in the last seven days on the rail and noticed it's running very frequently in the late evenings, seems like every 2-3 minutes. Even then it's not enough for the demand but it's nice to see Metro made adjustments. It's been interesting to talk to people riding it, many for the first time, many are saying this is cool but why don't we have more like other cities, why isn't it faster, etc. It's good to see that kind of talk from the people that live here because it will help us move forward.
  25. Just got this press release. East and Southeast Tracks Tested with Trains This giant diesel-powered tow truck can operate on tracks, or on pavement. It is used when electrical current is not available to power a train. METRORail’s new East End (Green) Line tracks have been undergoing tests performed while dragging a light-rail vehicle up and down the track with a diesel-powered-shuttle. The test covers 2.3 miles of the 3.3 mile tracks. Crews are also performing live wire testing. The Southeast Line is also expecting visits from the train and its crews beginning Wednesday, Feb. 5. The train will be towed by the big, red shuttle wagon from an area near EaDo/Stadium Station (Texas at Bastrop in front of the BBVA Compass Stadium), to the Palm Center Transit Center to inspect curb height and other elements such as sign placement. The light-rail vehicle is transported much like a barge being led by a pilot boat, since electric power remains to be activated on these two evolving lines. Large sections of Styrofoam are often attached to provide a buffer in tight corners and places where obstructions are observed. Measurements are then taken and corrective action initiated. Public safety, particularly at intersections, is a top concern. Trains are being towed with assistance from METRO Police, and drivers and pedestrians are urged to take extra precaution in the area. The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) is wrapping up major light-rail expansion - adding 15.3 miles and 24 stations to its existing Main Street (Red) Line. The North (Red) extension opened in December 2013, and the East End (Green) and Southeast (Purple) lines will start service later this year. About the East End (Green) Line The 3.3-mile East End Line (Green Line) travels along Harrisburg through the historic East End to a variety of downtown entertainment and business destinations. Track that is closest to downtown will be shared with the Southeast (Purple) Line. From EaDo/Stadium station, passengers will be able to transfer to the Southeast Line and travel to the UH Central campus and Texas Southern University as well as Palm Center Transit Center. East End Line riders may board at Central Station Main for travel up or down the Main Street (Red) Line. About the Southeast (Purple) Line The Southeast Line (Purple Line) begins downtown and travels southeast along Capitol and Rusk to the Palm Center near MLK and Griggs. The 6.6- mile line travels through one of Houston's oldest African-American communities and connects to Texas Southern University and the University of Houston. The last portion of the track, shared with the East End Line (Green Line), will enable riders to transfer at the EaDo/Stadium station to travel through the historic East End. Riders can also continue to Central Station Main to transfer to the Red Line for travel up or down Main Street.
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