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Dream Light Rail Service


IronTiger

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While prowling around on Google Maps, I thought of an excellent fantasy plan for Houston...another light rail line paralleling I-45 from The Woodlands to Galveston. Some of this would take the place of the HOV lane in I-45, because of the "no way out" path and very limited access. Stations would be set up along the freeway, and so on. What do you think?

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While prowling around on Google Maps, I thought of an excellent fantasy plan for Houston...another light rail line paralleling I-45 from The Woodlands to Galveston. Some of this would take the place of the HOV lane in I-45, because of the "no way out" path and very limited access. Stations would be set up along the freeway, and so on. What do you think?

Light rail is not ideal for P&R replacement. It costs more, not only in massive capital outlays but in terms of operating costs, travels at the same speed, displaces multi-occupant vehicles into the general lanes and removes the incentive to carpool, cannot serve multiple urban destinations without requiring transfers along indirect routes, and is inflexible to the constantly-changing geography of employment in our metropolitan area.

It would be far more advisable to spend the funds on light rail projects elsewhere or implement a more efficient technology that allows travel at higher speeds along the same route or (preferably) one that is parallel and doesn't eliminate HOV capacity.

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A better plan would be for TxDOT and Metro to follow through and extend the HOV lane to just outside of Conroe. They have expanded the freeway with a future HOV lane, or lanes in mind. Once the widening project is complete to the Walker Co. line, they can do that, maybe before.

Perhaps heavy rail down the Union Pacific Line that runs down Hardy would be better than light rail. It would tie into the proposed Intermodal Center. They could put a stop for IAH at Greens Rd., which would be connected to IAH via a shuttle bus, or a short light rail line. Then, they could place a stop in Old Town Spring, The Woodlands, and perhaps Conroe. I doubt it will happen, but it would likely be more feasible than light rail.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Light rail is not ideal for P&R replacement. It costs more, not only in massive capital outlays but in terms of operating costs, travels at the same speed, displaces multi-occupant vehicles into the general lanes and removes the incentive to carpool, cannot serve multiple urban destinations without requiring transfers along indirect routes, and is inflexible to the constantly-changing geography of employment in our metropolitan area.

It would be far more advisable to spend the funds on light rail projects elsewhere or implement a more efficient technology that allows travel at higher speeds along the same route or (preferably) one that is parallel and doesn't eliminate HOV capacity.

removing teh HOV lane would be best..........having rail down the middle would allow usage 7 days a week in both directions, and also lets those who choose not to carpool, the option of riding the train, thus continuing to eliminate vehicles, which will in turn ease congestion on 45.

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removing teh HOV lane would be best..........having rail down the middle would allow usage 7 days a week in both directions, and also lets those who choose not to carpool, the option of riding the train, thus continuing to eliminate vehicles, which will in turn ease congestion on 45.

No, a light rail on any freeway would not work. The buses work just fine, also sharing the lanes has its benefits... if rail should be built, it should have it's own route, perhaps away from the freeways, and closer to the population centers... of course stops along important places (malls, airports, etc.), which usually are next to the freeways. But Metro doesn't serve out too far, and the light rail should only serve the urban areas. Once you get past the loop (excluding Uptown), it should be served with commuter/heavy rail... like to both airports, out to conroe, katy, pasadena, galveston, cy-fair, la porte, cleveland, victoria, etc. The commuter rail should connect to a transit center downtown, and from there using light rail or bus routes to go else where.

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No, a light rail on any freeway would not work. The buses work just fine, also sharing the lanes has its benefits... if rail should be built, it should have it's own route, perhaps away from the freeways, and closer to the population centers... of course stops along important places (malls, airports, etc.), which usually are next to the freeways. But Metro doesn't serve out too far, and the light rail should only serve the urban areas. Once you get past the loop (excluding Uptown), it should be served with commuter/heavy rail... like to both airports, out to conroe, katy, pasadena, galveston, cy-fair, la porte, cleveland, victoria, etc. The commuter rail should connect to a transit center downtown, and from there using light rail or bus routes to go else where.

I agree, commuter rail is what is needed to go out far. But what I want to know is Why The F**K are they waiting on? If any of METROs commuter rails ever gets built we will all probably be to old to enjoy it all. I can go to articles from over 5 years ago that say stuff like "commuter rail could be up and running on old tracks near 290 in two years," OK well that was 2004, this is 2009 and we haven't seen or heard anything yet? whats the hold up? Make stuff happen? And nobody reply and say "it doesn't work like that" Well then Why The F**k not?

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I agree, commuter rail is what is needed to go out far. But what I want to know is Why The F**K are they waiting on? If any of METROs commuter rails ever gets built we will all probably be to old to enjoy it all. I can go to articles from over 5 years ago that say stuff like "commuter rail could be up and running on old tracks near 290 in two years," OK well that was 2004, this is 2009 and we haven't seen or heard anything yet? whats the hold up? Make stuff happen? And nobody reply and say "it doesn't work like that" Well then Why The F**k not?

In about 2005, I had one of METRO's executives emphatically exclaim to me (in person) how much progress was being made on commuter rail down US 90A to Rosenberg; he claimed that there was just no doubt at all that it was going to happen and very soon. I'm pretty sure that this was before they had bothered to contact the owner of the tracks or figured out that this was one of the most critical freight rail routes in the metropolitan area. METRO has a really bad track record on external communications and due diligence; they do not play well with others.

I agree with you that it is very frustrating how they've handled it, and this all goes back to one of my core beliefs about METRO, that it does not have adequate accountability to the public that it taxes or serves.

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removing teh HOV lane would be best..........having rail down the middle would allow usage 7 days a week in both directions, and also lets those who choose not to carpool, the option of riding the train, thus continuing to eliminate vehicles, which will in turn ease congestion on 45.

Most people in the suburbs don't live or work right up along a freeway, much less within walking distance of where stops would be located. Even if they do live or work right next to the freeway, frankly there aren't very many less pedestrian-friendly environments than that. And don't forget that commuter rail stops are much fewer and further in between than are light rail stops. You'd end up with the same pattern of use as a Park & Ride except that the rail would only go one place (downtown) instead of allowing for one P&R lot to directly service multiple urban destinations. For transit users, trips would be longer because there'd be more stops and more transfers, and the rail right-of-way would eliminate the incentive to carpooling, thus actually adding to the number of vehicles on the interstate. And then, whenever the freeway was rebuilt (and sooner or later it will be) we would end up having to tear out and replace expensive rail infrastructure.

There's really not any way that commuter rail on a freeway is appealing for any type of commuter, and given that freeways aren't congested 7 days a week, it's not clear to me why METRO would run commuter trains 7 days a week if they aren't already running P&R service that frequently. And bi-directional commuter rail service doesn't really make any sense because...well...how many people would actually want commute to a suburban P&R lot if they're trying to get to work? Not many.

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What amazes me is that Chicago's blue line seems to work quite well down the center of the Kennedy Expressway from O'Hare to almost downtown where it dips underground. No reason on earth Metro could not put light rail down all freeways and stations with bus service connected to the rail.

Didn't TxDOT and Williams Brothers agree to pour extra concrete and install extra steel in the expanded Katy for rail? Metro gave money for it. And HCTRA agreed in X timeframe to give the HOT/HOV lanes over to Metro for rail. Of course by the time HCTRA decides how much to rip folks off for tolls on a federally funded highway folks will forget about the rail deal.

Here's a fairly simple plan for rail service serving Houston.

Light rail serves locations inside a circle with a radius equal to Hwy 6/1960 on West/SW/NW/North. Concentric circles connected by spokes of the freeways and major arterries.

Commuter rail serves locations to a radius approximating Victoria/Brenham/College Station/Huntsville/Cleveland/Galveston/Beaumont (although on Beaumont I am not sure the best eastern termination). Follow the major freeways.

The entire system based on concentric circles and hub/spoke system.

Right now we have a Metro board run by developers. Why is Ed Wulfe on it? It is nothing but self-serving business men. Shirley Delibrio had her fault but she was a transportation person with experience. Who the heck is that person now?

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What amazes me is that Chicago's blue line seems to work quite well down the center of the Kennedy Expressway from O'Hare to almost downtown where it dips underground. No reason on earth Metro could not put light rail down all freeways and stations with bus service connected to the rail.

It dips underground for nearly half the route, giving way to HOV lanes as you get closer in. Where it is above-ground, it is in the middle of freeways without feeder roads that aren't nearly as wide as ours are (or should be), and their route hugs up against medium-density suburbs with a broken grid pattern instead of our low-density suburban environment with a 300-foot typical setback of parking lot between the freeway and the retail center (and with subdivisions with cul-de-sacs and few sidewalks) behind those. This isn't a good apples-to-apples comparison. I also seem to recall Editor, who lives in Chicago, complaining that Chicago's Blue Line isn't fast or reliable enough in a previous post.

Didn't TxDOT and Williams Brothers agree to pour extra concrete and install extra steel in the expanded Katy for rail? Metro gave money for it. And HCTRA agreed in X timeframe to give the HOT/HOV lanes over to Metro for rail. Of course by the time HCTRA decides how much to rip folks off for tolls on a federally funded highway folks will forget about the rail deal.

I recall that special engineering was supposed to have been done to allow future commuter rail, but I don't think it was down the middle. I want to say that it was along one of the sides of the freeway, though I'm unclear how that would work in concert with onramps or offramps. But then, I only ever heard about that during the very first part of construction, and then never again. I sort of doubt that that was actually done, though I'd be interested in seeing details if you're aware of something I'm not.

Here's a fairly simple plan for rail service serving Houston.

Light rail serves locations inside a circle with a radius equal to Hwy 6/1960 on West/SW/NW/North. Concentric circles connected by spokes of the freeways and major arterries.

Commuter rail serves locations to a radius approximating Victoria/Brenham/College Station/Huntsville/Cleveland/Galveston/Beaumont (although on Beaumont I am not sure the best eastern termination). Follow the major freeways.

The entire system based on concentric circles and hub/spoke system.

There's no such thing as a simple rail plan and the scope of your ideas is way beyond METRO's service area.

Right now we have a Metro board run by developers. Why is Ed Wulfe on it? It is nothing but self-serving business men. Shirley Delibrio had her fault but she was a transportation person with experience. Who the heck is that person now?

What other developers are on the board? Who appointed them that might be culpable? This goes right back to the accountability issue I raised earlier.

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What reasons would Ed Wulfe have to be against rail? Is he republican? I could see if he was the CEO of an Airline, or Oil Company, but he is a developer.

He is a developer and manager of inner-city retail properties only. He was trying to establish street cred...and get light rail extended through both the 3rd Ward and the East End to terminate at Gulfgate, which he owns. I'm not sure what party affiliation he is--affiliations don't matter when you're only getting appointed--but he contributes heavily to the Democrat Party.

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He is a developer and manager of inner-city retail properties only. He was trying to establish street cred...and get light rail extended through both the 3rd Ward and the East End to terminate at Gulfgate, which he owns. I'm not sure what party affiliation he is--affiliations don't matter when you're only getting appointed--but he contributes heavily to the Democrat Party.

Ed Wulfe is not on the METRO board.

David Wolff chairs the METRO board.

they are both developers however.

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Ed Wulfe is not on the METRO board.

David Wolff chairs the METRO board.

they are both developers however.

I think that Ed Wulfe was on the board at one time. He certainly had a lot of sway over the original implementation process for the Red Line. I didn't realize that METRO's David Wolff was the same one from Wolff Cos.

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Here's a fairly simple plan for rail service serving Houston.

Light rail serves locations inside a circle with a radius equal to Hwy 6/1960 on West/SW/NW/North. Concentric circles connected by spokes of the freeways and major arterries.

Commuter rail serves locations to a radius approximating Victoria/Brenham/College Station/Huntsville/Cleveland/Galveston/Beaumont (although on Beaumont I am not sure the best eastern termination). Follow the major freeways.

The entire system based on concentric circles and hub/spoke system.

I don't think an exact spoke system would work. Light Rail should only serve to connect the very "urban" neighborhoods in the loop, downtown, tmc, uptown, greenway, east end, west end, memorial, and so on (westchase is debatable). Light Rail out to 1960 would take far too long. And it wouldn't fit anywhere, there are neighborhoods, retail, apartments, and office parks right off of 1960, and there is no reason to take off lanes or disrupt traffic.

Commuter rail could "spoke" out, also eliminating some LR lines. Like north, stops at Greenspoint, IAH, Spring, the Woodlands, and maybe Conroe. Or west, stops at Uptown, Westchase, snake up to Memorial, and out west to Katy. The line could also branch at Westchase, one going completely west/south west, and the other up to Memorial and either branch one from there to Katy, and another going northwest.

It's a shame Metro can't jump on the boat quick enough.

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The rail we do have was long over due, Its 2009 houston needs to move into the future. We cant just keep expanding the freeways. Houston area might have over 6 million in the next 3 years and defenitly over 6 mil in 5 years and the freeway system will never grow as fast as the population. Our Airports need to be conneted to the rail, and cause Houston has no zoning, we have all the little business centers and parks that should be connected. We should have had rail to and from the Galveston area already. I still dont understand why Uptown was not apart of the original line. Downtown, the Med Center, Reliant park area and METRO just left out Uptown/Galleria. I dont think Houston has been aggressive enough to expand its rail system. I think people are reluctant to expand it because theres a lack in confidence that Metro could do it right, but thats just my opinion.

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The rail we do have was long over due, Its 2009 houston needs to move into the future. We cant just keep expanding the freeways. Houston area might have over 6 million in the next 3 years and defenitly over 6 mil in 5 years and the freeway system will never grow as fast as the population. Our Airports need to be conneted to the rail, and cause Houston has no zoning, we have all the little business centers and parks that should be connected. We should have had rail to and from the Galveston area already. I still dont understand why Uptown was not apart of the original line. Downtown, the Med Center, Reliant park area and METRO just left out Uptown/Galleria. I dont think Houston has been aggressive enough to expand its rail system. I think people are reluctant to expand it because theres a lack in confidence that Metro could do it right, but thats just my opinion.

Altogether, METRO needs a make over. The whole look is so generic and there buses and rail plans are lack luster. Whats with the red white and blue logo (Well it seems like that's all Houston businesses ever use). But any ways, come up with a whole new look and name and not just the generic METRO and Red, White and Blue.

Here is a thought: Houston Area Rapid Transit (HART)

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But any ways, come up with a whole new look and name and not just the generic METRO and Red, White and Blue.

Here is a thought: Houston Area Rapid Transit (HART)

Call me conservative, but I like Metro's look. Better then the colors they use in Austin.

I think the buses & LR should take up advertising. It could be a way to generate some income, so maybe we could get on track (pun intended), with rail.

HART? I like the idea, but it's just like every other city's rapid transit.

I for one, don't have faith METRO can do anything right with rail. Even though our Red Line has been sucessful, and I hope the other lines are too, it just seems like their heads could be screwed on a little tighter.

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All advertising was removed from the buses in the early 80's when the guy (name?) from Atlanta was appointed to head the organization. This was a period of architectural and asthetic growth. It was around the same time buildings downtown were restricted from signage and attempts first started to remove all the billboards.

Many attempts have been made to establish rail here since that period, but they were always shot down by public vote.

Back in the days of McConn, I remember the heat wave of '79 or '80. Metro's solution was to cut out or remove the windows because the A/C on those old GM buses could not keep up. I think we've come a long way, but have many miles to go.

I just saw one of our Metro buses on some TV show last week. I guess they look modern enough for current TV.

What is wrong with Red-White-Blue? Those are our nation's colors. Let's paint them like in Dallas - Godaweful yellow (Barf!).

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I don't think an exact spoke system would work. Light Rail should only serve to connect the very "urban" neighborhoods in the loop, downtown, tmc, uptown, greenway, east end, west end, memorial, and so on (westchase is debatable). Light Rail out to 1960 would take far too long. And it wouldn't fit anywhere, there are neighborhoods, retail, apartments, and office parks right off of 1960, and there is no reason to take off lanes or disrupt traffic.

Commuter rail could "spoke" out, also eliminating some LR lines. Like north, stops at Greenspoint, IAH, Spring, the Woodlands, and maybe Conroe. Or west, stops at Uptown, Westchase, snake up to Memorial, and out west to Katy. The line could also branch at Westchase, one going completely west/south west, and the other up to Memorial and either branch one from there to Katy, and another going northwest.

It's a shame Metro can't jump on the boat quick enough.

Don't know about you, but in Dallas what they do is light rail often runs between roads and stops like normal trains in downtown. In more suburban areas, they function like normal trains (RR crossings).

I think light rail/comm rail can parallel this railroad here:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source...255432&z=12

Call me conservative, but I like Metro's look. Better then the colors they use in Austin.

I think the buses & LR should take up advertising. It could be a way to generate some income, so maybe we could get on track (pun intended), with rail.

HART? I like the idea, but it's just like every other city's rapid transit.

I for one, don't have faith METRO can do anything right with rail. Even though our Red Line has been sucessful, and I hope the other lines are too, it just seems like their heads could be screwed on a little tighter.

Like BART and DART...

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Altogether, METRO needs a make over. The whole look is so generic and there buses and rail plans are lack luster. Whats with the red white and blue logo (Well it seems like that's all Houston businesses ever use). But any ways, come up with a whole new look and name and not just the generic METRO and Red, White and Blue.

Here is a thought: Houston Area Rapid Transit (HART)

What's "new" about a name that sounds like everyone else's? Isn't that the definition of generic? If Houston's transit system has to sound like someone else's, I'd rather it sound like a cosmopolitan city like Paris, than a city of $30,000 millionaires like Dallas.

Don't know about you, but in Dallas what they do is light rail often runs between roads and stops like normal trains in downtown. In more suburban areas, they function like normal trains (RR crossings).

There are actually problems with this setup. I'd much rather Houston not repeat the mistakes that Dallas made by running light rail lines all the way into the suburbs, when commuter rail would be more effective and less expensive.

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All advertising was removed from the buses in the early 80's when the guy (name?) from Atlanta was appointed to head the organization. This was a period of architectural and asthetic growth. It was around the same time buildings downtown were restricted from signage and attempts first started to remove all the billboards.

Many attempts have been made to establish rail here since that period, but they were always shot down by public vote.

Back in the days of McConn, I remember the heat wave of '79 or '80. Metro's solution was to cut out or remove the windows because the A/C on those old GM buses could not keep up. I think we've come a long way, but have many miles to go.

I just saw one of our Metro buses on some TV show last week. I guess they look modern enough for current TV.

What is wrong with Red-White-Blue? Those are our nation's colors. Let's paint them like in Dallas - Godaweful yellow (Barf!).

Being our nations color's is good and all, but those just seem like the generic American colors and that doesn't help Houston who has an image/identity problem. Why not come up with a new name, logo, and color scheme that is uniquely Houston.

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Being our nations color's is good and all, but those just seem like the generic American colors and that doesn't help Houston who has an image/identity problem. Why not come up with a new name, logo, and color scheme that is uniquely Houston.

Perhaps because those of us that live here and have seen that red and blue logo (no white) for 30 years do not have a problem with it. It should be obvious, but just because you do not like it does not mean that it is a problem. And I am unaware of any city who ever improved its image or identity as a result of changing a logo on its buses. Seriously. In fact, the only logo I even remember outside of Dallas' hideous yellow paint scheme is Houston's...and that is because I live here.

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Perhaps because those of us that live here and have seen that red and blue logo (no white) for 30 years do not have a problem with it. It should be obvious, but just because you do not like it does not mean that it is a problem. And I am unaware of any city who ever improved its image or identity as a result of changing a logo on its buses. Seriously. In fact, the only logo I even remember outside of Dallas' hideous yellow paint scheme is Houston's...and that is because I live here.

I didn't say the city could change its image by changing METRO's logo. Changing the logo could HELP improve an image within the city. I was just saying give it a look to where no matter where you are in the US, you will know that's Houston.

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Being our nations color's is good and all, but those just seem like the generic American colors and that doesn't help Houston who has an image/identity problem. Why not come up with a new name, logo, and color scheme that is uniquely Houston.

Any ideas? :lol:

Maybe HELP could be a good name. Hmm...Houston elevated rail transporation. Or not. <_<

Edited by IronTiger
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Don't know about you, but in Dallas what they do is light rail often runs between roads and stops like normal trains in downtown. In more suburban areas, they function like normal trains (RR crossings).

I think light rail/comm rail can parallel this railroad here:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source...255432&z=12

Well Cologne, Germany's light rail does the same. Except for the Neumarkt ("central station"), in a square, where they wrap around and go their different ways. Most go underground, and some cross the bridges over the Rhein River, but rarely disrupt traffic, and have the right of way. Even out in the burbs, the tracks travel away from the roads, only a few times they cross the roads at grade. But even the "burbs", which are still very urban, the trains go above grade & underground to not distrupt traffic. This allows the trains to go fast, and allow a very low commute time. That wouldn't work here, and it would be extremely expensive. Enough so that it would create a lot of opposition.

Being our nations color's is good and all, but those just seem like the generic American colors and that doesn't help Houston who has an image/identity problem. Why not come up with a new name, logo, and color scheme that is uniquely Houston.

I don't think our image/identity problem could be solved by changing our transportation logo & colors. I think they look more modern then a lot of other systems around the country, even the world.

I didn't say the city could change its image by changing METRO's logo. Changing the logo could HELP improve an image within the city. I was just saying give it a look to where no matter where you are in the US, you will know that's Houston.

Don't we already recognize our system in movies, commercials, and tv shows?

What colors would be uniquely Houston? I think the red & blue (along with the white), are not only american, but texan as well.

Atleast we don't have a yellow Armadillo bus line like Austin. Yuck.

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Well Cologne, Germany's light rail does the same. Except for the Neumarkt ("central station"), in a square, where they wrap around and go their different ways. Most go underground, and some cross the bridges over the Rhein River, but rarely disrupt traffic, and have the right of way. Even out in the burbs, the tracks travel away from the roads, only a few times they cross the roads at grade. But even the "burbs", which are still very urban, the trains go above grade & underground to not distrupt traffic. This allows the trains to go fast, and allow a very low commute time. That wouldn't work here, and it would be extremely expensive. Enough so that it would create a lot of opposition.

Why would people oppose a system that didn't disturb traffic? Is it the locals or the Federal Government? Again I go back to the question why is it funded for cities like Dallas, Charlotte, Seattle, etc and not Houston. On another note, I just realized that San Fransisco has more than just the BART and the street cars, they also have light rail that is in a subway.

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All advertising was removed from the buses in the early 80's when the guy (name?) from Atlanta was appointed to head the organization.

I remember when I went to Atlanta for the first time as a 6 year old in the Summer of 1993, I thought their MARTA buses looked similar to METRO buses. At that young age, my dad explained to me that the man who was over MARTA at one point was also named to head METRO, and brought a new color scheme with him, I suppose it was to disassociate the new METRO from the old HouTran.

Here's two models that both transit companies have operated, 60 ft Neoplans, and 30ft New Flyers.

Houston:

HoustonNewFlyerD30LF.jpg

HoustonNeoplanArtic-2.jpg

Atlanta:

MARTA%203011.jpg

AtlantaAN460Articulated.jpg

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Why would people oppose a system that didn't disturb traffic? Is it the locals or the Federal Government? Again I go back to the question why is it funded for cities like Dallas, Charlotte, Seattle, etc and not Houston. On another note, I just realized that San Fransisco has more than just the BART and the street cars, they also have light rail that is in a subway.

The DART also has light rail at grade, elevated, and underground. It constantly changes.

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The DART also has light rail at grade, elevated, and underground. It constantly changes.

AND Houston can't really go deep underground because of its proximity to sea level. Remember the big floods of the early 2000s? But elevated...that might work.

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Why would people oppose a system that didn't disturb traffic? Is it the locals or the Federal Government? Again I go back to the question why is it funded for cities like Dallas, Charlotte, Seattle, etc and not Houston. On another note, I just realized that San Fransisco has more than just the BART and the street cars, they also have light rail that is in a subway.

I believe many have discussed the reason Dallas got rail, and we expanded freeways. Seattle & San Francisco are nothing to question as to why they have more (& more funding for), rail. They are two very urban & very liberal cities. San Francisco has a current crises of transportation over the bay, which is why they're getting that fancy new bridge, and the BART travels under the bay.

AND Houston can't really go deep underground because of its proximity to sea level. Remember the big floods of the early 2000s? But elevated...that might work.

It doesn't have much to do with proximity to sea level. Look at Amsterdam, New York, Tokyo, etc. I think it has more to do with our soft, usually clay soil.. It can be done, but would be much harder compared to the rock that is Manhattan. I don't see a need to go underground in Houston (excluding tunnels at certain locations), except for Downtown... Elevated would make more sense. It would take a lot to figure out where exactly the lines would go, I don't think hoovering over the streets (except for denser, commercial areas like Uptown, TMC), and blocking sun light would look good. But being elevated would make it less flood prone. Hm...

This is why I think we need those Disney Monorails instead of light rail. The track is just a concrete beam with wires for christ's sake. They could go underground, travel high speeds, and would be cheaper. But this is a dream LR thread...

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My dream Light Rail in Houston:

If I can't get heavy rail in the city, I at least want something close. I like the look and the design of this Light Rail Line in Los Angeles. It has that big city urban rail look, its fast and for the most part has its own right of way. METRO Houston should look to Los Anegeles as an example for its light rail. Take a look at it running in the middle of the freeway.

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My dream Light Rail in Houston:

Take a look at it running in the middle of the freeway.

...which was my ORIGINAL idea, which was to have it paralleling I-45.

I still don't get why the light rail at-grade bothers so many people. It's by far the cheapest, and trains pass quickly through railroad crossings, no slow, long, chugging trains blocking traffic.

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...which was my ORIGINAL idea, which was to have it paralleling I-45.

I still don't get why the light rail at-grade bothers so many people. It's by far the cheapest, and trains pass quickly through railroad crossings, no slow, long, chugging trains blocking traffic.

You said it! Its the cheapest. Doesn't Houston, one of America's largest metropolitan areas deserve better than the cheapest of rail systems? As you can see the one in LA crosses streets, but very few. But there Light Rail system is what I thought Houston's would be, more like an urban heavy rail system.

Its hard to show people that haven't gotten the chance to ride a true transit system the value of it.

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While I agree that Houston needs better transit and lots of it, y'all are mixing up two different types of transit. The LA light rail is largely a suburb-to-city system, while this next phase of METRORail is designed to be more of an urban circulator, providing transportation within the city. It is entirely possible that future phases of METRORail will extend to the suburbs along freeways. And note that the Westpark portion of the University will be in its own ROW.

As for the "look" of the system, that's just a function of the vehicles. Portland MAX's old cars look more like heavy rail, and they are replacing them with S70 LRVs like ours.

As for why Houston is so far behind, ask your present and past elected officials *COUGH* DeLay.

And no, I don't work for METRO. This info is out there if you look for it.

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While I agree that Houston needs better transit and lots of it, y'all are mixing up two different types of transit. The LA light rail is largely a suburb-to-city system, while this next phase of METRORail is designed to be more of an urban circulator, providing transportation within the city. It is entirely possible that future phases of METRORail will extend to the suburbs along freeways. And note that the Westpark portion of the University will be in its own ROW.

As for the "look" of the system, that's just a function of the vehicles. Portland MAX's old cars look more like heavy rail, and they are replacing them with S70 LRVs like ours.

As for why Houston is so far behind, ask your present and past elected officials *COUGH* DeLay.

And no, I don't work for METRO. This info is out there if you look for it.

And the next question I was going to ask was how can I get a job with METRO, until I read your last sentence.

I would like to be an urban planner for the city of Houston or for METRO (if they have such a position).

I guess I will cool of on METRO a bit. After all the light rail that the city is building is 100 times better than the guided bus plan they had. Guided buses that look like rail is something I would like to see in Bryan/College Station. I look forward to the commuter rail lines that METRO will bring in. Those are the ones that would benefit me most.

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Keep in mind that the commuter rail isn't entirely a METRO issue. It would extend outside their service area, so either that would have to be expanded or the commuter rail run by a different agency. Right now, HGAC is spearheading the commuter rail, albeit slowly.

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Keep in mind that the commuter rail isn't entirely a METRO issue. It would extend outside their service area, so either that would have to be expanded or the commuter rail run by a different agency. Right now, HGAC is spearheading the commuter rail, albeit slowly.

Do you have a map of the current plans? Are there any? Are they active plans?

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You said it! Its the cheapest. Doesn't Houston, one of America's largest metropolitan areas deserve better than the cheapest of rail systems? As you can see the one in LA crosses streets, but very few. But there Light Rail system is what I thought Houston's would be, more like an urban heavy rail system.

Its hard to show people that haven't gotten the chance to ride a true transit system the value of it.

Since when is $1.46 Billion cheap? And how many transit systems have YOU ridden? I'll bet I have ridden every system you've been on...and then some.

It's hard to explain mass transit to people who don't pay taxes.

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Since when is $1.46 Billion cheap? And how many transit systems have YOU ridden? I'll bet I have ridden every system you've been on...and then some.

It's hard to explain mass transit to people who don't pay taxes.

Don't pay taxes, LOL

Here are a few: Long Island Rail Road also MTA NYC, MARTA, BART, Boston T and Subway, MBTA Subway.............shall I go on............METRO Houston.

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Thanks James, It seems as if that website was left abandoned about 2 years ago. Everything is from 2007. So I guess that answers my question, there are no current plans for commuter rail.

Oh, and RedScare, $1.46 Billion is considered very cheap. Dallas is paying over $47 for its current expansions.

Edited by citykid09
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Being our nations color's is good and all, but those just seem like the generic American colors and that doesn't help Houston who has an image/identity problem. Why not come up with a new name, logo, and color scheme that is uniquely Houston.

Form follows function, and following is uncool. Therefore obsessing over names, logos, and colors is extremely uncool. It is beneath us.

Why would people oppose a system that didn't disturb traffic? Is it the locals or the Federal Government? Again I go back to the question why is it funded for cities like Dallas, Charlotte, Seattle, etc and not Houston.

Good question. My hypothesis is that it is a combination of 1) poor public accountability of METRO's leadership, 2) fanatics internal and external to METRO that place a priority on rail-based transit as quickly as possible that recognize that public debate is a higher barrier to implementation than is functionality or cost, 3) bad PR between METRO, its constituents, other public entities, and especially legislators, and 4) FTA funding guidelines that are based only on initial cost and ridership, excluding any other impacts to the broader transportation system.

AND Houston can't really go deep underground because of its proximity to sea level. Remember the big floods of the early 2000s? But elevated...that might work.

False. We can actually go pretty deep underground, even well below the water table. Dealing with flooding only requires sealable entrances like we now have on the downtown tunnel system and sumps like we have at nearly every below-grade section of road in our freeway system (that doesn't naturally drain into a bayou by force of gravity. Subways are physically feasible, and in fact could be kept dry even when street flooding disables LRT that runs at grade level, just like occurred in Midtown a couple years ago. There are only two downsides to subways: construction takes longer, and they are more expensive.

Since when is $1.46 Billion cheap? And how many transit systems have YOU ridden? I'll bet I have ridden every system you've been on...and then some.

It's hard to explain mass transit to people who don't pay taxes.

When it yields a crappy end result. This forum is rife with threads in which people complain about all the cheaply-built McMansions. Same concept.

Oh, and RedScare, $1.46 Billion is considered very cheap. Dallas is paying over $47 for its current expansions.

It's not about the total amount spent. It's about bang for the buck.

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Oh, and RedScare, $1.46 Billion is considered very cheap. Dallas is paying over $47 for its current expansions.

Whoa, that costs less than what a tank of gas cost last summer! ;)

And maybe I'm just stupid, but when I think commuter rail, I think Amtrak. While light rail would be great, in say, Katy, College Station is not fit for light rail.

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Whoa, that costs less than what a tank of gas cost last summer! ;)

And maybe I'm just stupid, but when I think commuter rail, I think Amtrak. While light rail would be great, in say, Katy, College Station is not fit for light rail.

Billion that is.

It would really be perfect if we had service from College Station to Houston.

Believe it or not, the city of Bryan has talked about light rail not to long ago.

There use to be commuter rail in Bryan 80+ years ago. It went from Downtown to TAMU.

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Billion that is.

It would really be perfect if we had service from College Station to Houston.

Believe it or not, the city of Bryan has talked about light rail not to long ago.

There use to be commuter rail in Bryan 80+ years ago. It went from Downtown to TAMU.

I don't believe it, maybe you mean streetcar/trolley?

Still, my Line 45 is an expansion of METRO, which parallels I-45 more-or-less until Galveston.

For example, here, the "Mall of the Mainland" stop is a mere mile away from "North La Marque" (which is near the Factory stores). The North La Marque station is the last real stop of Line 45. Near the intersection of Delaney and Highway 6 is "Delaney" and the terminus of Line 45. Similar of how the "South Conroe" station also holds the Conroe Amtrak, Delaney is the La Marque/Texas City Amtrak. The Amtrak continues to Galveston, where it links into the trolley system of Galveston. This makes the Galveston trolley system also a viable way to get around the city as well.

Of course, because of Conroe's location, it would require another Amtrak line separate from the BCS/Waco line.

As for a BCS Amtrak stop, the original Amtrak "stop", if you could call it that...

You can even see the original guard rails.

So, my dream plan involves them building an underpass under the railroad tracks connecting West Luther to East Luther. On West Luther, just before it goes under the grade, there will be an Amtrak station. If you were to go on the College Station Amtrak, further down the line, it would take you to Navasota, Hempstead, and Cypress.

Or something like that.

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