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  1. March 27, 2005, 10:12PM BUS STOP Medical Center transit center to get escalators Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle Bus riders transferring to trains at the Texas Medical Center Transit Center will no longer have to walk up and down stairs to make the connection. ADVERTISEMENT The Metropolitan Transit Authority Board of Directors approved a contract Thursday with Satterfield & Pontikes Construction to install escalators at the transit center's skybridge, which connects bus loading areas with the rail station in the center of Fannin. Metro had planned to modify the skybridge in future years but said heavy ridership through the medical center justifies moving the escalator installation to this year. The $2.6 million project, 80 percent of which will be reimbursed by the federal government, is scheduled for completion in October. This contract also includes modifying the rail station to accommodate three-car trains. The Main Street line was built to handle only two-car trains because the short block lengths downtown will not accommodate anything longer. Bryan Pennington, Metro's vice president of planning, engineering and construction, said it makes sense to modify the rail platforms now rather than having to do another retrofit should three-car shuttle trains ever be considered. Metro bus passes available through online RideStore No more need to stand in line at the grocery store to buy your Metro bus pass. The transit authority has opened an online RideStore at www.ridemetro.org. Riders may purchase monthly and yearly passes plus Stored Value Cards. Payment is by Visa, MasterCard or Discover, and passes are mailed out within one business day. There is a $1 surcharge to cover shipping costs and processing. Monthly and yearly passes are valid on light rail trains, but customers who only ride the train should not buy them online because they must first be validated on a bus. Metro's new fare-payment system
  2. http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/m...politan/2915259 Nov. 23, 2004, 1:23AM Uprooted tree severs MetroRail power line By MIKE GLENN Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle Heavy rainstorms uprooted a tree at Hermann Park tonight, severing a MetroRail power line when the tree fell across the southbound tracks. The tree snapped the cable about 8:45 p.m. near the Hermann Park/Rice University station along Fannin near Sunset. No one was injured. Metro Police Sgt. Herbert Darby said the tree would have to be removed from the tracks before the line can be repaired and power restored to the system. "It's a pretty good-sized tree," Darby said. Kerry Vick of Victoria and about 10 other MetroRail passengers were stranded for about 90 minutes when their southbound train suddenly lost power. Vick, who is scheduled to fly to South Carolina Tuesday to begin Army basic training, wasn't upset about about the delay. "Stuff happens. You can never be too safe when you're messing with electricity," he said. "I'd much rather be stalled than for them to let somebody come off and be hurt." A Metro bus was later called to ferry Vick and the other passengers to their final destinations. The line is expected to be repaired early this morning, officials said.
  3. Noticed this on instagram this week. Do we have a thread on this?
  4. Guest

    METRORail Green Line

    Public Meeting Date: Thursday, April 27, 2006 Time: 6 - 8 p.m. Location: Magnolia Multi Service Center Address: 7037 Capitol Purpose This is a follow-up from the previous meeting held on Wednesday, March 29, 2006 at the same location. In this meeting METRO staff and consulting team will discuss preliminary findings, contruction concerns, alignment/right-of-way details, and ridership projections. The meeting is being held in a wheelchair-accessible location. Any persons requiring translation or other special communication accommodations should contact METRO Community Outreach at 713-739-4018 at least 72 hours prior to the meeting. Every reasonable effort will be made to accommodate these needs. I can't make it, unfortunately. If anyone attends this, please let us know what corridor looks the most likely, as this Harrisburg line might be the most influential in terms of development in the entire city, as the area is so fertile for redevelopment with little opposition. I would love to see a bold move and run it down Navigation and help to speed up the conversion of that Ninfa's area into a great residential/retail/recreation zone. Harrisburg Blvd. is fine too, but there are better tracts of real estate in that zone towards the bayou and I'm thinking that all trains crossing Navigation pass over or under the street. Navigation is a cool name for a neighborhood too.
  5. https://www.ridemetro.org/Pages/TC-FanninSouth.aspx Notice of Variance Request spotted today.
  6. 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."
  7. I was walking around yesterday and noticed that there appears to be a light rail track that goes along Holmes from the MetroRail depot for 1.7 miles. The rails are rusted, and there's bushes growing into it, so it's not used very often if at all. Any ideas what it is?
  8. If only METRO had realized the importance of a high quality rail system no matter what the type (heavy or light). Take a Look at the World Class Gold Line that LA just opened:
  9. http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/m...politan/2905358 Nov. 16, 2004, 11:23PM DeLay helps get rail line on track By RICK CASEY Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle Congressman Tom DeLay changed his mind. Back in July, a spokesman said the House majority leader had "no plans at this point to insert ourselves" into a raging controversy regarding a proposed new rail line that would carry hazardous materials near the homes of DeLay's suburban Clear Lake constituents. The line was being pushed by petrochemical companies who said they were tired of paying high monopoly-level prices for low monopoly-level service to Union Pacific Railroad. Four shipping companies joined with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway to propose a 12.8-mile "San Jacinto" line to break the monopoly. But three weeks ago at City Hall, DeLay joined Mayor Bill White, County Judge Robert Eckels and U.S. Rep. Gene Green for a session with the CEOs of both Union Pacific and Burlington Northern. The message: Our constituents don't want another rail line in their back yards. Solve the problem. DeLay gets credit for adding starch to the message by getting the two executives to commit to a Nov. 15 deadline. Cautious hope For good measure, the chairman of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Surface Transportation Board, Roger Nober, with whom White had discussed railroad problems for months, lined up with the elected officials at the meeting. As of yesterday, the day after the deadline, spokesmen for both railroads declined to characterize the state of the negotiations. But political and chemical industry sources said they were very close. "We're extremely hopeful it will greatly reduce the need to build the new line," said Frank Michel, spokesman for White. But he offered a caution: "We can't say 100 percent this will be accomplished." DeLay's office issued a joint statement with the mayor saying, "It is our hope that in a very short time, after the shippers in the Bayport Loop review the proposed deal, Burlington Northern will be able to use the existing Union Pacific rail line that serves the Bayport Loop." David Harpole is a spokesman for Lyondell Chemical, one of the companies partnering with Burlington Northern to build the new line. Harpole said he understood the railroad companies were close, but that Burlington Northern would have to present the proposal to the four partners for approval. 'True competition' He said he understood the proposal falls short of what his company really wants
  10. Spotted some of the light rail trains sporting a new paint job - a red and blue line down the length of the train.
  11. https://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Metro-on-lookout-for-illegal-lefts-on-light-rail-12536460.php Careless is an understatement when it comes to drivers in this city.
  12. I've now read the entire thread and Tory Gattis's linked article. A few thoughts about the Astrodome as HQ2. First, to cut to the chase, it's not going to happen. Rodeo and NFL/Texans would veto in a nanosecond. The only way Amazon would get that building is if they purchase both RODEOHOUSTON and the Houston Texans. Then there's the complicating factor that the property is owned by Harris County, so the city can't actually submit a proposal to Amazon without full county partnership. City and county are getting along well, but I would be stunned to see that happening by October 19, two weeks from now. There's also another stakeholder now, the Texas Historical Commission, which has to issue a permit for any modification to the Astrodome. While my reading of the tea leaves leads me to believe THC is going to be very forgiving in their approval of modifications, I would guess that the scope and scale of modifications required to enable HQ2 are outside THC's red lines. For several years now Astrodome Tomorrow has been advocating the building of new, multilevel structures inside the Dome, around the perimeter of the main floor. Such vertical construction is NOT part of the $105 M project now in the design stage, but we believe (partly by reading tea leaves) that the FOUNDATION PIERS and other structures needed to support such development in the future ARE being designed into the current project. We have appealed to all the decision makers and the Kirksey architects to do so. It would be tragically short-sighted if they don't, because that additional floor footage is needed if the Dome is to produce floor-lease revenue sufficient to pay for its upkeep over the long term. The old Astroworld property would be a better fit in some ways. Plusses are access to transit (red line terminus and park/ride across the street, straight shot down Bellfort to Hobby), property size and near-core location, adjacent expansion property. But there are issues. First there's no existing campus of buildings to occupy by 2018, and also there is some occasional street flooding in that immediate neighborhood. Having Amazon across the freeway would be a great assist to success of the kind of Astrodome/NRG Stadium Park redevelopment we have proposed. -- Chris Alexander for Astrodome Tomorrow
  13. houstonmacbro has added a photo to the pool: Click here to view this photo at the HAIF Photo Pool on Flickr
  14. Metro Rail Ridership is now at 60,600 a day. Who says rail doesn't work in Houston. I believe rail ridership can be over 100,000 thousand if the University line, Uptown line, and Inner Katy line was built, maybe even more than that. Plus I definitely see opportunity for smaller extensions of light rail for instance : North Shepherd to Heights, Oak Forest, and Garden Oaks. Market Street East to Denver Harbor and Jacinto City, Galena Park. Up Hirsch Street to Fifth Ward, Kashmere Gardens, Trinity Gardens. Inner Katy can extend into Spring Branch/Kempwood & Blalock. Extend down Scott Street to Sunnyside and South Acres. Southwest side from Hillcroft Transit Center to Westbury. Extend to Hobby Airport too. Mobility can work in Houston. We are going to have to do something because all of our freeways are congested and we can't keep expanding them. We need another option to get around the city and that is RAIL !
  15. Received this press release today: Central Station Main to Open for METRORail Passengers Another plus for commuters as a new station is about to open on the METRORail Red Line. METRO Board members, staff, and special guests, including representatives of the Downtown Management District, will be on hand at METRORail’s Downtown Construction office, 712 Main Street, at 6:30 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 18. Shortly after their arrival a ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place on the Central Station Main platform signaling the beginning of passenger service at that station. The station, located in the 700 block of Main between Rusk and Capitol, will also become a transfer point when the new East End/Green and Southeast/Purple Lines open in April. METRORail passengers will have a new station from which to access transit service beginning Wednesday, Feb. 18. The station will provide a transfer point for riders from the soon-to-open East End/Green and Southeast/Purple Lines. Central Station Main features works from artist John Runnels whose paving stones showcase time. Using language as art Runnels seeks to establish a positive transit experience by creating a "psychological space" where time is optimized.
  16. So I got this link in an email today: http://www.gometrora...tm_medium=email Thought you guys might be interested in it. While exciting for me personally, I am surprised they are building a dedicated transfer station only 2 blocks away from Main Street Square or Preston.
  17. elnina999 has added a photo to the pool: Click here to view this photo at the HAIF Photo Pool on Flickr
  18. Afton Oaks Not Allowed . More Here Article Link: KHOU METRO Rail Expansion When will it go out to IAH.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Just a topic on any good ideas you guys might have on how Houston should design their metro rail. For one I'd love to see grass instead of concrete where the rail is installed like this one from Spain. Let's go Green.
  22. Link Tragic accident. You really need to be aware around the tracks.
  23. What will come after METRO Light Rail is finished with construction? The light rail was meant to be a way for people to get around the city once they got to the city, but it will need heavy or medium capacity rail lines to feed into the light rail. If METRO had have built its light rail as DART built theirs, then this would not be as nessesary,because it would already be a commuter like system (METRO built its rail for the most part as street cars). With the Houston Metro Area doubling in size over the next few decades, METRO Light Rail can not be the be all and end all. If METRO feels that the city is not ready for a full on heavy rail, they could look into a medium capacity rail system that could upgrade to a Heavy rail sytem in the future when the population increase more. Here is a link to more info on medium capacity rail: http://en.wikipedia....ransport_system Here is a video of the medium capacity system in Torino:
  24. Since the Uptown line is going to be BRT and not rail, it would be nice if they built the stations first and then started running the line on the street while the dedicated lanes are being built. Then as a segment of guideway is finished, it could move over to use it. That would allow the service to start early, help build ridership and awareness, and as Post Oak is being worked on maybe help to take a few cars off the road. Who knows, maybe after a year of building ridership they may find that there is no need to cover the rails and can justify making it LRT.
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