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Houston Metro Light Rail East Side/Green Line (formerly Brown Line)


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They will almost certainly open in stages. My bet is on the East End Line (minus Magnolia TC because of the bridge/tunnel issue) and the Downtown portion of Southeast to open first, followed by the rest of Southeast and North. At this point the University Line is the biggest laggard and the Uptown line can't open until after that. I'm more skeptical every day that it will all happen by 2012, though I'm told construction on the Main Street Line only took 3 years, so i guess time will tell.

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Great, thanks for the reply. If anyone has any inside info on the timeline for each stage in opening the rail lines I would love to know. Maybe someone can ask during the meto online chat if they get a chance...

METRO had planned to pay out of pocket for the East End and Uptown lines. However, since the Uptown line cannot function without the University line, which is government funded, construction on the line cannot be started. The East End line ties in directly with the existing system ("Red Line"), so that is one reason why construction on the line has already started. If government funding for the other lines somehow falls through, the East End line will function properly.

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Excellent. Although, it looks like the east end line can't tie into the red line until the southeast line is built too... Is that right? Do you know if the southeast line has started construction yet too? Hopefully we get another line up and running by late 2009 or the beginning of 2010.

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Excellent. Although, it looks like the east end line can't tie into the red line until the southeast line is built too... Is that right? Do you know if the southeast line has started construction yet too? Hopefully we get another line up and running by late 2009 or the beginning of 2010.

i haven't seen any activity on the southern end.

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Metro may be nearing deal on next 4 light rail lines

After two years of negotiations with two firms, the Metropolitan Transit Authority may be close to reaching a deal with a contractor to build and operate its next four light rail lines.

"We

Edited by musicman
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The only work done so far has been utility work. So there is not really much to see. I drive down Harrisburg almost daily and all there is too see is some big orange drums on the side of the road, a few segments of new asphalt, and a big display sign reading "Rail construction ahead". The actual construction of the line (repaving road, laying tracks, adding stations, etc) hasn't started because they have yet to sign the contract with Parsons.

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Metro may be nearing deal on next 4 light rail lines

After two years of negotiations with two firms, the Metropolitan Transit Authority may be close to reaching a deal with a contractor to build and operate its next four light rail lines.

"We're in final negotiations," said George Smalley, a Metro spokesman. "In a negotiation, though, you never know until it's really over."

The pending breakthrough with Parsons Transportation Group comes three years before Metro has said all five of its additional rail lines will be complete. The fifth rail line, the University line, remains in preliminary stages of development; another agreement will have to reached on that line.

Despite the tight time frame for the new lines, Metro officials say they are sticking to the 2012 target date.

Metro's Red Line, which runs along Main Street, has been operational since 2004.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority's board has to approve the contract, which will likely appear on this week's agenda, Smalley said.

full article

This a great find! Thanks for the update. I think the rail lines will really change Houston and put it closer to Chicago, NY, and LA... The lines will spur more development at a faster pace I'm sure.

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This a great find! Thanks for the update. I think the rail lines will really change Houston and put it closer to Chicago, NY, and LA... The lines will spur more development at a faster pace I'm sure.

Personally, I think that once we have light rail, we'll be more like Dallas.

:shrug:

Edited by TheNiche
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No, not definitely. I don't ride light rail. I drive. Light rail gets in my way and doesn't go anywhere that I want to be.

So you don't want to be downtown, midtown, museum district, hermann park, rice u, med center, reliant park, UH, TSU, greenway, uptown and the countless other areas the rail will connect? Why are you even commenting on a Houston forum if you don't want to visit any of the places that make Houston 'Houston'?

This rail isn't only for you Niche, its also for the future generations of Houstonians who will find it a value as the areas I just mentioned develop around them.

Edited by shasta
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So you don't want to be downtown, midtown, museum district, hermann park, rice u, med center, reliant park, UH, TSU, greenway, uptown and the countless other areas the rail will connect?

Not especially. Sometimes I have to go to those places, but not because I want to. That includes my own place of residence for the last six and a half years, and it also includes the TMC because I only go there when I feel like crap, Downtown/Midtown/Montrose because I don't like paying ridiculous restaurant prices for mediocre food that leaves me feeling empty after only a couple hours much less hanging out in swanky bars drinking $8 wells and trying to hit on vapid materialistic chicks, Greenway Plaza because I have no business there, Uptown because the Galleria doesn't sell anything I like at a price that is acceptable, and Rice/UH/TSU because I'm not a college student.

Why are you even commenting on a Houston forum if you don't want to visit any of the places that make Houston 'Houston'?

This rail isn't only for you Niche, its also for the future generations of Houstonians who will find it a value as the areas I just mentioned develop around them.

I'm one of the <1% of Houstonians that live within a half-mile of the Red Line, yet I do not commute to any of those areas on any kind of a regular basis. On the rare (and often unpleasant) occasion that I make a trip to somewhere else along the Red Line, I drive. Driving is twice as fast (especially accounting for that I can take a more direct route), I don't have to wait for another vehicle to show up, and if the weather turns bad (meaning that it is too hot or too cold or too wet or too humid) I don't have to stand in it, much less walk around in it.

I've used the Red Line twice. The first time it was to see what it was like. It was painfully slow, it stopped frequently at intersections where it was supposed to have signal priority, and the fare quite frankly seemed high enough for so short a trip that gasoline costs would've probably been lower. The second time, I used it to park for free at Hermann Park so as to avoid expensive paid parking for a big event at MFAH. I netted out a few bucks of savings but the light rail wasn't efficient enough to entice me to do it again.

I attended UH for four years, but I always worked while going to school, and have never even worked inside the loop, much less within any kind of reasonable proximity to existing or proposed light rail lines. Even if light rail miraculously served one of my previous places of work, my place of schooling, and my place of residence, I wouldn't have used it. It was too slow to begin with, and when you add in that it isn't a direct point-to-point route and that I'd have to transfer once or twice to get where I was going, that would've just been miserably slow. As a wage slave, the lost time would've translated to fewer hours worked, lower income, and probably more student debt. Having said that, it also would've driven me nuts as a driver to have to put up with light rail's signal priority every fourth time I tried to drive across it.

As it so happens, I own properties to the north and south of both sides of where the Brown Line will be. I won't use the Brown Line to travel between them, however, because the total north/south walking distance between them is too far to justify using the east/west transit. I am seeking to acquire more, but I haven't seriously considered buying anything along Harrisburg--in spite of the fact that there are some awesome buildings along there--because METRO cannot tell me who will and will not have the ability to make left hand turns across Harrisburg, much less what the eminent domain takings are going to be. I myself am young enough that you could think of mine as Houston's newest generation entering the workforce; I buy properties and transform them into something useful for future generations of Houstonians; light rail gets in my way and it gets in the way of what I do for Houston.

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Downtown/Midtown/Montrose because I don't like paying ridiculous restaurant prices for mediocre food that leaves me feeling empty after only a couple hours much less hanging out in swanky bars drinking $8 wells and trying to hit on vapid materialistic chicks

Wow, you're checking out the wrong places.

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Not especially. Sometimes I have to go to those places, but not because I want to. That includes my own place of residence for the last six and a half years, and it also includes the TMC because I only go there when I feel like crap, Downtown/Midtown/Montrose because I don't like paying ridiculous restaurant prices for mediocre food that leaves me feeling empty after only a couple hours much less hanging out in swanky bars drinking $8 wells and trying to hit on vapid materialistic chicks, Greenway Plaza because I have no business there, Uptown because the Galleria doesn't sell anything I like at a price that is acceptable, and Rice/UH/TSU because I'm not a college student.

I'm one of the <1% of Houstonians that live within a half-mile of the Red Line, yet I do not commute to any of those areas on any kind of a regular basis. On the rare (and often unpleasant) occasion that I make a trip to somewhere else along the Red Line, I drive. Driving is twice as fast (especially accounting for that I can take a more direct route), I don't have to wait for another vehicle to show up, and if the weather turns bad (meaning that it is too hot or too cold or too wet or too humid) I don't have to stand in it, much less walk around in it.

I've used the Red Line twice. The first time it was to see what it was like. It was painfully slow, it stopped frequently at intersections where it was supposed to have signal priority, and the fare quite frankly seemed high enough for so short a trip that gasoline costs would've probably been lower. The second time, I used it to park for free at Hermann Park so as to avoid expensive paid parking for a big event at MFAH. I netted out a few bucks of savings but the light rail wasn't efficient enough to entice me to do it again.

I attended UH for four years, but I always worked while going to school, and have never even worked inside the loop, much less within any kind of reasonable proximity to existing or proposed light rail lines. Even if light rail miraculously served one of my previous places of work, my place of schooling, and my place of residence, I wouldn't have used it. It was too slow to begin with, and when you add in that it isn't a direct point-to-point route and that I'd have to transfer once or twice to get where I was going, that would've just been miserably slow. As a wage slave, the lost time would've translated to fewer hours worked, lower income, and probably more student debt. Having said that, it also would've driven me nuts as a driver to have to put up with light rail's signal priority every fourth time I tried to drive across it.

As it so happens, I own properties to the north and south of both sides of where the Brown Line will be. I won't use the Brown Line to travel between them, however, because the total north/south walking distance between them is too far to justify using the east/west transit. I am seeking to acquire more, but I haven't seriously considered buying anything along Harrisburg--in spite of the fact that there are some awesome buildings along there--because METRO cannot tell me who will and will not have the ability to make left hand turns across Harrisburg, much less what the eminent domain takings are going to be. I myself am young enough that you could think of mine as Houston's newest generation entering the workforce; I buy properties and transform them into something useful for future generations of Houstonians; light rail gets in my way and it gets in the way of what I do for Houston.

I live two blocks from the red line in Midtown and I use it about twice a week to check out some really nice areas of Houston. It's great to hit up bars/clubs on main street, Houston Pavilions, Discovery Green, Angelica Thearter downtown, Museums, Hermann Park, Allan's Landing when they have boat rides, Toyota Center, Minutemaid, I even walked to Rice Village from the Med Center stop (although it took about 15 minutes) etc... It's also good if you want to take some pictures and stumble along places you have never seen before while walking to/from the train line. I really can't wait for all the other lines to get started...

I aslo work outside the loop but it's still very useful to me. I think its really a great addition to the city and it just depends if you are willing to explore what you can do by foot.

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Interesting development.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/6270951.html

Makes me wonder whether they'll divert funding from the East End line, which didn't have a high enough rating to justify a federal contribution and was going to be financed entirely by METRO. I certainly hope so. It'd give the neighborhoods along Harrisburg an opportunity to organize and respond to METRO more effectively for better project implementation.

nice find.

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I live two blocks from the red line in Midtown and I use it about twice a week to check out some really nice areas of Houston. It's great to hit up bars/clubs on main street, Houston Pavilions, Discovery Green, Angelica Thearter downtown, Museums, Hermann Park, Allan's Landing when they have boat rides, Toyota Center, Minutemaid, I even walked to Rice Village from the Med Center stop (although it took about 15 minutes) etc... It's also good if you want to take some pictures and stumble along places you have never seen before while walking to/from the train line. I really can't wait for all the other lines to get started...

Do you think METRO would allow me to tote my 14' kayak aboard the light rail? If not, then LRT service to Allen's Landing is of no use to me.

As for the stadia, most everybody I've ever attended a game with has complained that I park too far away (at the courthouse). I do this because I'm cheap and don't want to have to actually pay for parking. But they'd throw a fit if we tried to walk a half mile to the light rail just to arrive downtown and have to walk another half mile.

I aslo work outside the loop but it's still very useful to me. I think its really a great addition to the city and it just depends if you are willing to explore what you can do by foot.

I'm not. And I don't mean this in any kind of insulting way or as though there's anything wrong with it, but you are abnormal.

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So you don't want to be downtown, midtown, museum district, hermann park, rice u, med center, reliant park, UH, TSU, greenway, uptown and the countless other areas the rail will connect? Why are you even commenting on a Houston forum if you don't want to visit any of the places that make Houston 'Houston'?

This rail isn't only for you Niche, its also for the future generations of Houstonians who will find it a value as the areas I just mentioned develop around them.

Agree and then some. Given the trends in diminishing oil along with the general sentiments of the younger generation, the appreciation of this system will only increase. It has been slow to get where we're at but the desire to be a cosmopalitan, world class city is increasing (meaning among other things a more efficient mass transport system including light rail or subway). When trying to be the best model yourself after the best.

Furthermore, the single line was a starting point that currently may not work well for many but once the other lines get built the system will function better for more users. If you compare the single line to most systems worlwide (built over decades or close to a century in the case of Paris and London) then it's not effecient but then you say the same about a highway to nowhere.

The chron comments, from people that don't even live in the city and/or metro area (you can tell by their profile or even profile names), complaining about something that's not in their area are amussing at best.

Edited by JJVilla
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Do you think METRO would allow me to tote my 14' kayak aboard the light rail? If not, then LRT service to Allen's Landing is of no use to me.

As for the stadia, most everybody I've ever attended a game with has complained that I park too far away (at the courthouse). I do this because I'm cheap and don't want to have to actually pay for parking. But they'd throw a fit if we tried to walk a half mile to the light rail just to arrive downtown and have to walk another half mile.

I'm not. And I don't mean this in any kind of insulting way or as though there's anything wrong with it, but you are abnormal.

haha i guess but I desire a more walkable city so I walk when I can... I think Houstonians are so use to driving everywhere that walking just seems abnormal as stated by you.

I don't think people from any other major city in the US would think a walk from the rail to the Toyota center is far.

Last, you got me on the Kayak, Metro won't allow it. You should try it for everything else though...

Edited by DrLan34
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Agree and then some. Given the trends in diminishing oil along with the general sentiments of the younger generation, the appreciation of this system will only increase. It has been slow to get where we're at but the desire to be a cosmopalitan, world class city is increasing (meaning among other things a more efficient mass transport system including light rail or subway). When trying to be the best model yourself after the best.

Furthermore, the single line was a starting point that currently may not work well for many but once the other lines get built the system will function better for more users. If you compare the single line to most systems worlwide (built over decades or close to a century in the case of Paris and London) then it's not effecient but then you say the same about a highway to nowhere.

Why would public appreciation for light rail (as implemented) increase on account of diminishing oil reserves? I would think that it would have more to do with fuel prices, which are related to but are not even remotely the same thing as oil reserves, be they proven, probable or possible. And as a driver, if fuel prices increase then I especially do not like light rail (as implemented) because it gets in my way and causes congestion by disrupting traffic flow. Congestion not only wastes the time of people whose jobs are so often to increase the availability of fuels, but it also lowers their fuel efficiency.

If we want to try to be a world class city or cosmopolitan, then I would submit to you that we need to stop worrying about keeping pace with whatever is the latest fad that other cities are into and that we just do what makes sense for our own unique circumstances. Grade-level light rail doesn't make sense precisely because it is not efficient mass transit. It is not practical now. It will not be practical as proposed.

The chron comments, from people that don't even live in the city and/or metro area (you can tell by their profile or even profile names), complaining about something that's not in their area are amussing at best.

People who live in Fairfield, way out on 290, are within the METRO service area. They're constituents and should get a say. People who live in Wharton County but that come into the city to do major shopping are paying the one cent METRO sales tax. That gives them a say, too, as far as I'm concerned. People who visit family in Houston a few times a year, pay into the sales tax, and use our roads also are stakeholders. They get a voice.

This does highlight an often overlooked problem with METRO. They aren't directly accountable to any kind of voter constituency.

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Why would public appreciation for light rail (as implemented) increase on account of diminishing oil reserves? I would think that it would have more to do with fuel prices, which are related to but are not even remotely the same thing as oil reserves, be they proven, probable or possible. And as a driver, if fuel prices increase then I especially do not like light rail (as implemented) because it gets in my way and causes congestion by disrupting traffic flow. Congestion not only wastes the time of people whose jobs are so often to increase the availability of fuels, but it also lowers their fuel efficiency.

If we want to try to be a world class city or cosmopolitan, then I would submit to you that we need to stop worrying about keeping pace with whatever is the latest fad that other cities are into and that we just do what makes sense for our own unique circumstances. Grade-level light rail doesn't make sense precisely because it is not efficient mass transit. It is not practical now. It will not be practical as proposed.

People who live in Fairfield, way out on 290, are within the METRO service area. They're constituents and should get a say. People who live in Wharton County but that come into the city to do major shopping are paying the one cent METRO sales tax. That gives them a say, too, as far as I'm concerned. People who visit family in Houston a few times a year, pay into the sales tax, and use our roads also are stakeholders. They get a voice.

This does highlight an often overlooked problem with METRO. They aren't directly accountable to any kind of voter constituency.

haha you got an answer for everything

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haha i guess but I desire a more walkable city so I walk when I can... I think Houstonians are so use to driving everywhere that walking just seems abnormal as stated by you.

You demonstrated by walking between Rice Village and the Red Line that Houston is already walkable. Mission accomplished. Now let's please shift our focus to transportation that actually is efficient.

Walking more than a quarter mile between transit and an origin/destination point is generally considered by urban planners to be the furthest realistic distance that people will walk. I've heard people willing to walk further referred to as 'urban guerrillas', and that was from the mouth of a rabid supporter of light rail and all this other urbanist tripe. They really are on that third standard deviation.

I don't think people from any other major city in the US would think a walk from the rail to the Toyota center is far.

You'd be wrong. My dad was born and raised in south Austin. He complained incessantly about the walk when I took him to a ballgame at MMP...and that was at the same time that he was living in downtown Galveston and on a block adjacent to a streetcar system that he never used!

haha you got an answer for everything

It's because I'm right.

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I believe it's not our transportation system holding us back from being walkable, it's the form of our city. A LRT system doesn't make any place walkable if everything is spread out. I'm not sure a good transportation system is absolutely necessary for Houston to be walkable, but I'm sure it's helpful. If Houston was just more dense, a bus system would be more than enough unless you're going distances further than 10/15 miles or so. If it was so walkable, a bus system would be good enough for the places you didn't/don't feel like walking.

Hopefully if these lines get built, it will spur density, and then we'll just create a better bus system...but I guess that's doubtful.

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Nice, Niche!

As an example to prove your point about walking distances, you choose your Dad from South Austin?

As of tmrw. morning, I will officially be a Houstonian again. I purposefully chose a residence that was within easy walking/riding distance to a MetroRail stop. I plan to use it whenever I can.

Of course, I am used to walking all over Boston in all types of weather to get to work, dinner, a movie, a RedSox game (about a 25 minute walk), the River, the Pru Center, etc...). Over the course of the last two weeks, I've come to remember just how nice our winter weather can be for a walk.

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this is starting to sounds like a post in the stuff white people like book.

Public Transportation That Is Not a Bus

White people all support the idea of public transportation and will be happy to tell you about how the subways and streetcars/trams have helped to energize cities like Chicago and Portland. They will tell you all about the energy and cost savigns of having people abandon their cars for public transportation and how they hope that one day they can live in a city where they will be car-free.

At this point, you are probably thinking about the massive number of buses that serve your city and how you have never seen a white person riding them. To a white person a bus is essentially a giant minivan that continually stops to pick up progressively smellier people. You should never, ever point this out to a white person. It will make them recognize that they might not love public transportation as much as they thought, and then they will feel sad.

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this is starting to sounds like a post in the stuff white people like book.

Public Transportation That Is Not a Bus

White people all support the idea of public transportation and will be happy to tell you about how the subways and streetcars/trams have helped to energize cities like Chicago and Portland. They will tell you all about the energy and cost savigns of having people abandon their cars for public transportation and how they hope that one day they can live in a city where they will be car-free.

At this point, you are probably thinking about the massive number of buses that serve your city and how you have never seen a white person riding them. To a white person a bus is essentially a giant minivan that continually stops to pick up progressively smellier people. You should never, ever point this out to a white person. It will make them recognize that they might not love public transportation as much as they thought, and then they will feel sad.

This is why white people love monorails. No smelly people, and they get you to the E ticket rides faster!!

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Nice, Niche!

As an example to prove your point about walking distances, you choose your Dad from South Austin?

As of tmrw. morning, I will officially be a Houstonian again. I purposefully chose a residence that was within easy walking/riding distance to a MetroRail stop. I plan to use it whenever I can.

Of course, I am used to walking all over Boston in all types of weather to get to work, dinner, a movie, a RedSox game (about a 25 minute walk), the River, the Pru Center, etc...). Over the course of the last two weeks, I've come to remember just how nice our winter weather can be for a walk.

Yes, and to be clear I'm talking about the S. Lamar Corridor of South Austin, not in an area that might be considered a suburb by present-day contexts. This was a neighborhood with a layout that actually is conducive to walking, and my point was that physical environments have less to do with people's willingness to walk than do the individual differences that motivate them to live in the physical environments that they do. For instance, using my dad as an example again, he specifically wanted to be within walking distance of a few neighborhood dive bars; walking distance to him is three downtown blocks. He'd drive anywhere beyond that, for instance if he were going to Saltwater Grill (6 blocks). And neither of my parents worked in downtown Galveston--they only wanted to live there. The moral: they got specifically what they wanted, where they wanted it (in a highly walkable neighborhood), to accommodate their preferred lifestyle, all with a 750-foot limit on walking distance. I think he averaged about 175 feet, though, just enough to make it to the corner.

I figured that you were pretty well tied down to Boston, what with your business and all, but what can I say? Welcome home!

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I believe it's not our transportation system holding us back from being walkable, it's the form of our city. A LRT system doesn't make any place walkable if everything is spread out. I'm not sure a good transportation system is absolutely necessary for Houston to be walkable, but I'm sure it's helpful. If Houston was just more dense, a bus system would be more than enough unless you're going distances further than 10/15 miles or so. If it was so walkable, a bus system would be good enough for the places you didn't/don't feel like walking.

Hopefully if these lines get built, it will spur density, and then we'll just create a better bus system...but I guess that's doubtful.

Have you ever considered that the reason everything is spread out is because there is inadequate mass transit and excessive reliance on cars has made people unconcerned with driving 5 miles for groceries?

Combined with the cheap real estate effect, of course.

Edit: I see in your final line that you did consider that. :D

You'd be wrong. My dad was born and raised in south Austin. He complained incessantly about the walk when I took him to a ballgame at MMP...and that was at the same time that he was living in downtown Galveston and on a block adjacent to a streetcar system that he never used!

You guys have like this family tradition going where you live right next to mass transit and don't use it, its lovely.

Edited by kylejack
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Niche, get a bicycle. This makes Metro much more useful and relevant!

I've been wanting to get one, but strictly for the trails of Memorial Park, beach use on Galveston and Matagorda Island, and that sort of thing. Right now it's a budget thing, though. When I buy recreational equipment, I buy really good equipment.

I won't ride it around on Houston's urban streets, though. I value the functionality of my whole body and can't afford to be sent flying by cars, impaled on fences or signs, or getting limbs mangled. I don't even have health insurance right now, so there's no excuse to be crazy.

You guys have like this family tradition going where you live right next to mass transit and don't use it, its lovely.

Nope. We have a tradition of living in places that satisfy our preferences.

For instance, when I was really young we lived in the Hill Country (this was before it was a retirement mecca or considered an exurb of Austin). It wasn't very practical, but it was a cool place to grow up, and I wouldn't trade that experience for the world. The nearest school was a good 20 miles away. But that was OK. I took the bus.

Then we moved to McAllen, and this was to satisfy my dad's love for visiting the border towns. I hated it, but then I wasn't consulted. For all intents and purposes, there was no transit...but then transit never factored into the equation to begin with.

Then I moved to Houston for college. I ended up near the future Red Line because it was the nearest part of town to UH that wasn't a ghetto. Then it was installed, I was already here, and upon trying it out, I determined that it was worthless to me.

My parents moved to Galveston to be closer to me and because of my dad's preference for the island, again traceable to his youth. They happened to find what they wanted at a very reasonable price, and it happened to be adjacent to transit, but transit never figured into their equation because they had specifically the lifestyle that they wanted and got.

Every time we move, we go somewhere because it suits a broader lifestyle strategy, not because we get to ride the big shiny rail car. ...and we aren't alone. The Reliant Park station on the Red Line is one of the two least-used stations on the route even though it is the only one that services any kind of significant residential density.

Have you ever considered that the reason everything is spread out is because there is inadequate mass transit and excessive reliance on cars has made people unconcerned with driving 5 miles for groceries?

Combined with the cheap real estate effect, of course.

Ever heard of streetcar suburbs? Transit can generate suburbs too. But really, it just comes down to consumer preference. When people want and can afford cars, why waste their valuable time riding slow transit alongside all the people who can't afford cars? The vast majority of people don't. They're freed from those areas that transit serves and more effectively sort themselves based on their preferences. Mobility is a wonderful thing.

And I realize that the long-term consequences are that there aren't very many dense neighborhoods (that anybody would want to live in). That's fine, though. A world with an unsatisfied minority shaped by their peers' consumer preferences is vastly preferable to a world with an unsatisfied majority shaped by despotism.

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