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METRORail Green Line


Guest danax

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I cannot help but speculate that someone or another did not want the stop in front of BG Place... perhaps someone who's also been known to throw hissy fits about sidewalk newspaper racks (back in the day) and street parking adjacent to his pretty pretty new building.  IDK, but perhaps my opinion is formed by the large posters in the lobby of that building giving the tender souls inside some "Tips For Dealing With Panhandlers."  That same block of Capitol has a building a-buildin' from that same developer.  As a practical matter, there's a parking garage entrance/exit in the block of Rusk immediately west, which takes it out of play.  So, long, perhaps hot, perhaps wet, perhaps cold walk - but mass transit's for icky people anyway, so who cares?

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How else would they connect if they can't go underground...you don't want ground wastewater going through pipes in contaminated soil because when that soil breaks through and starts leaking into the sewage pipes now you have contaminated water going through treatment plants and into your home...

Yeah, they found a lot more dissolved gasoline plumes than expected, and current environmental laws would require cleaning that up before it's disturbed (like, say, with an underpass). Makes you wonder how polluted the rest of the area actually is...  :ph34r:

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The blocks between Main and Fannin have turnouts for the track connections to Main Street. A train on the diverging route will overhang to the outside, hitting the platform edge if one were built. ADA specifies very tight tolerances for gaps between the train and the platform so moving the platform edge away from the track wouldn't be possible.

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The blocks between Main and Fannin have turnouts for the track connections to Main Street. A train on the diverging route will overhang to the outside, hitting the platform edge if one were built. ADA specifies very tight tolerances for gaps between the train and the platform so moving the platform edge away from the track wouldn't be possible.

Thanks JamesL

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The new lines won't be opening this year after all....

 

Riders will wait a while longer for two new light rail lines, Houston transit officials acknowledged Wednesday, as unexpected repair work and ongoing problems have made a 2014 opening impossible.

Less than two months ago, Metropolitan Transit Authority officials said the agency's two new lines would open in December - just under the wire of the 2014 opening they pledged when work started in 2011.

Since then, however, continuing problems with axle counters along the route - the counters are part of the system that tracks trains along the line - and a downtown construction error that severed a chilled water line have made it impossible to open the lines this year.

The line break occurred under Metro's new section of track south of Minute Maid Park. As a result, an entire section of the roadway, rails and communications system along the new rail lines had to be replaced.

The segment serves both the Green Line that runs from downtown along Harrisburg and the Purple Line which connects downtown to the Palm Center Transit Center south of the University of Houston. The replacement will delay testing of the lines - a requirement before service can start.

"We're working to get a firm idea of what timeline we're on," Metro CEO Tom Lambert said Wednesday.

He said officials plan to present a revised schedule to Metro's board Sept. 25.

 

 

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The blocks between Main and Fannin have turnouts for the track connections to Main Street. A train on the diverging route will overhang to the outside, hitting the platform edge if one were built. ADA specifies very tight tolerances for gaps between the train and the platform so moving the platform edge away from the track wouldn't be possible.

 

Darn.  Another conspiracy theory bites the dust.  :ph34r:

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The block of Rusk west of Central Station has the parking garage entrance/exit and loading dock for 801 Travis on the side that's got the tracks.  The design of the building is such that they aren't really amenable to being relocated (at least, not without moving the elevators).  It also has the JW Marriott's service entrance, but that's probably more easily worked around.

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I saw METRO had a 2-car train on the SE line at Palm Center for testing on the 24th. It was pretty cool to see. One thing I noticed is that the rail line has eliminated all cross-street movements on Griggs between MLK and the Mykawa/Griggs/Longer intersection. During construction when the crossovers were initially eliminated, I would leave Palm Center by going east down Griggs and making a u-turn at that wretched intersection of Mykawa/Griggs/Long that's crisscrossed by three busy freight lines to head back west toward MLK. I thought that the absence of crossovers would be temporary and at least one signalized crossover would be built in the final incarnation, but it looks like I was wrong. From what I've read in this document from METRO HERE from 2006 on page 14, a signalized crossover was proposed at Griggs and Beekman to allow cross-street movements on that stretch, but for some reason, it wasn't built. Not far away, cross street movements were retained on the line on MLK between OST and Griggs so there is still crossover access to and from Stuyvesant, Courtelyou, and Ablemarle streets, so I'm not sure why they omitted this one crossover at Beekman.

Edited by JLWM8609
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IDK about some of METRO's design decisions.  Looking back at the green/purple stations a full block away from the Main Street transfer station, I get it that clearances for the turnouts wouldn't allow them to be built in the block immediately east of Main, and that the block immediately west had other things that got in the way of putting the stations there... but I can't think of a good reason for why they couldn't have had the turnouts point west instead of east.  

 

Same thing with having the Great Wall of Rail LIne blocking a bunch of crossing streets.  Yes, signals cost more than just running it through, but sooner or later people will get used to having rail on the streets again and the level of mayhem should abate.  :mellow:

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I saw METRO had a 2-car train on the SE line at Palm Center for testing on the 24th. It was pretty cool to see.

 

Funny, I saw the same train the same afternoon.  Were you also bypassing whatever it was that had the South Loop shut down?  

 

Anyhow, it's the first train I've seen them testing on the SE line, and I drive along the line somewhat regularly (at least once a week).  I don't know if they've been testing the line before that day, but I certainly haven't seen it.  Interesting coincidence that we both saw it.

 

I didn't have my son with me but I know he'll flip his lid when he finally sees a train on those tracks.  He's been watching them build the lines for the last few years.  I was hoping we'd be able to take the train to a UH game this season, but that's not to be.

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Funny, I saw the same train the same afternoon.  Were you also bypassing whatever it was that had the South Loop shut down?  

 

 

Nope. I was on the way to NAPA on Long Rd. to pick up some motor oil they had on sale, but I did see the traffic on the South Loop at a standstill.

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but I can't think of a good reason for why they couldn't have had the turnouts point west instead of east.  

 

The same thing occurred to me. The answer, I think, is that at the time the lines were planned trains from the East End line were supposed to turn up Main Street to the intermodal terminal. So we're stuck with this as a legacy of poor planning past.

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Any chance the turnouts could be used for route flexibility?

 

I mean if they find after several years that a large percentage of say North Line passengers transfer to the East End line and vice versa, why not just change the green line to the East End connecting with the North Line? End the Red Line at the Central Station if such were the case.

 

They should have had them directed south instead of north so either the purple line or the green line could have continued south all the way to the Fannin Park and Ride to provide multiple service options to the areas that surely will be highest in demand (Downtown, Midtown, TMC, and NRG Park).

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

I'm sure money is the main reason, but why design this line without extending it to Hobby? Harrisburg turns into Broadway, which leads to the airport.

 

The Green line doesn't seem to go anywhere compared to the Purple and proposed Richmond/Uptown lines.

 

A light rail connection to Hobby is in the long range plans for the Green line.The old 2035 plan that was released in 2007 showed extensions of both the Green and Purple lines to Hobby. You can see that on a map on page 16 of this document: http://www.h-gac.com/taq/plan/documents/2035_final/2035%20RTP%20Main%202007-10-26%20REVISED.pdf

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Sadly, I'd be surprised if either airport gets rail service within the next 30-40 years or so, METRO seems to be abandoning their rail plans.  Or they've kept quiet about any long range plans at least.  

 

I doubt that 2007 master plan is still in play. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

And that, friends, is about the most basic stop possible - no ticket machine, no canopy, no benches, nada.

 

Which makes sense when one realizes that it is at the end of that particular line, and is on the wrong side of the street to double up with busses. 

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My guess is that it's a temporary stop until the line extends westward.

 

Or perhaps just temporarily barren 'til then.  On the next block of Rusk, across from the Federal Building, is a full fledged, canopied, benched, ticket machined stop.  

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This turn won't be made often once daily service starts, no? I would assume only to move trains from one line to another.

 

That's my understanding of the current reason for the switches.  However, if there is some future need or desire for direct, no transfer service from the Northside down towards, say Hobby (when/if that extension gets built), there's no reason why we couldn't have a Magenta Line making the turn from Red to Purple there.

 

 

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Thanks for the photo updates guys. Quick question from an out-of-towner, is the lane the train is on separated from traffic at all like the Main street line, or can you drive on the tracks when the train isn't there?

Nah, you can drive all up in dem tracks.... Edited by Howard Huge
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Thanks for the photo updates guys. Quick question from an out-of-towner, is the lane the train is on separated from traffic at all like the Main street line, or can you drive on the tracks when the train isn't there?

Wide open to drive on.

As such, I think that metros biggest challenge to running the trains on time will initially be the number of car-train collisions. I expect the learning curve for houston drivers will be higher than on main (which, as I understand, had a "lot" of accidents initially).

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I haven't paid attention to the signage, but I would assume it's going to be the same as for the buses where the lanes are shared.

 

Diamond lane markers. no vehicles in lane unless turning. I would be strange if they don't do the same for the rail as they do for buses.

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While diamond lanes for the tracks would make tons of sense, there's no sign of that yet - and no reason not to already have it in place.  

 

Intuitively it seems like having the trains follow the same signals as the rest of traffic ought to integrate them a bit better.  The conflict I foresee is at the parking garage exits - some of them have pretty crummy sight lines.  

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Metro is about to award the $30m contract for the Hughes overpass to McCarthy. The company is being given 18 months to build it with incentives to finish earlier. At some point, Harrisburg (from Caylor to 66th) will need to be closed for 4 months. Traffic will be routed to Navigation.

http://blog.chron.com/thehighwayman/2015/01/harrisburg-overpass-construction-pending-along-with-painful-closures/?cmpid=houmhcat

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I disagree.  I think having the red line street level, semi separated, and juggling up the traffic light timing likely adds to the mayhem.  Without doing a study on my own, the perception I have is that the bulk of the incidents have been at intersections - either people making an already illegal left across the front of the train coming up behind them, or blowing a light.  One of the more recent was a METRO bus blowing a light approaching the bloomin' transit center, with a clear view of the train from blocks away.  I'd welcome correction or confirmation by someone who can drill down to the statistics, but my perception is that there haven't been nearly as many incidents in the Med Center, which has denser traffic (both foot and motorized) and private vehicles driving on the tracks.

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I have a feeling that even though there aren't diamonds painted on the lanes, the tracks will probably scare most drivers away from being in those lanes unless they are turning. However, I've seen no end of people who turn (for whatever reason) from the second most left lane, rather than getting in the left lane. It's obvious they don't pay attention, first, because they are turning from the wrong lane, and second, because they've cut right across me and I've had to stand on my brakes (which has the unintended consequence of standing on the horn).

 

I imagine the first accident on these lines will be a car turning left from the second most left lane, and not seeing the huge train in the left lane.

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I have a feeling that even though there aren't diamonds painted on the lanes, the tracks will probably scare most drivers away from being in those lanes unless they are turning. However, I've seen no end of people who turn (for whatever reason) from the second most left lane, rather than getting in the left lane. It's obvious they don't pay attention, first, because they are turning from the wrong lane, and second, because they've cut right across me and I've had to stand on my brakes (which has the unintended consequence of standing on the horn).

 

I imagine the first accident on these lines will be a car turning left from the second most left lane, and not seeing the huge train in the left lane.

 

Sounds about right... though that can't really be blamed on the train being there.  Such yahoos people who have neither mirrors nor heads that turn would also cut across in front of a truck or bus.

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Sounds about right... though that can't really be blamed on the train being there. Such yahoos people who have neither mirrors nor heads that turn would also cut across in front of a truck or bus.

There's a great video on YouTube called "Metro's Greatest Hits" from testing the line back in 2003. The number of people who made illegal left turns into the train is mindboggling.

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  • The title was changed to METRORail Green Line

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