Jump to content

Metro approves $1.46 Billion for 20 miles of light rail


editor

Recommended Posts

The costs have risen significantly since first proposed and with all the funding delays there is no chance that we would have this built in 2013 or even 2014 for that matter.

I agree.. rising costs suck. But citykid wasn't complaining about costs. He was complaining about grade separation, and aesthetics of rail in a suburban neighborhood, etc, etc.

The things he was complaining about yet again have been constants of our rail plan for years... so while i expect it of him, i expect more of others than to all of a sudden agree with him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The costs have risen significantly since first proposed and with all the funding delays there is no chance that we would have this built in 2013 or even 2014 for that matter.

And honestly, I've been spending a lot of time in Atlanta and Dallas recently, and their systems would blow away our 20 mph train system that interacts with cars. I would rather keep formulating new ideas to improve the transportation system for the city that would be sustainable for the long term rather than put in what may just be a "nice to have" system that does nothing different than our regular city buses.

Thanks to you and all of the others that understand my points. I just left Atlanta with a lot of Houstonians and while we where there we road MARTA. It was there first time on it and they were all very impressed and envious at the sometime. They did not expect Atlanta to have such a rail system and wondered why Houston doesn't have one.

Okay, Highway 6, I understand the price is rising, but METRO should have thought about that years ago when Houston could have had a true Heavy Rail or Monorail. I'm sure the system Atlanta has cost much less than the light rail Houston has because it was built in the 1970s. But even knowing that the price goes up as time goes on, I would rather delay the plans for the rail in Houston and do it right, then build the crappy street car that they are about to put down. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like our Euro style train system better than urban thuggage subways. Street level stations are safer than subway stations and are easier for pedestrians to get to. Since METRO is more concerned with people with JOBS riding the train, as opposed to unemployed thugs hanging out in subway stations, it makes sense that they would build it at street level. I'm glad they did.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like our Euro style train system better than urban thuggage subways. Street level stations are safer than subway stations and are easier for pedestrians to get to. Since METRO is more concerned with people with JOBS riding the train, as opposed to unemployed thugs hanging out in subway stations, it makes sense that they would build it at street level. I'm glad they did.

Well let me be the first to tell you, you're not the majority.

Okay, let me ask this. If money was not an object, what kind of rail would you want Houston to have?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would rather delay the plans for the rail in Houston and do it right, then build the crappy street car that they are about to put down. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!

You're right, citykid, in that we aren't getting real rapid transit. However, I think METRO is to be commended for delivering the most extensive system possible for the money (and y'all can drop the 'you must work for METRO' bs).

Let's face it, Houston had NO history of transit useage. In the eyes of much of the public, the METRO bus system is for poor people who don't have a choice. In the transit world it's all about federal funding, and I don't think there would have been any way for METRO to justify to the feds spending billions and billions on a real rapid transit line. Forget extending it to cover a large area inside the beltway.

The Red Line is surprisingly close to its design capacity at peak hours. If they had the vehicles, they would be running all two-car trains every six minutes at rush hours. The line is ultimately designed for two-car trains every four minutes. With other lines feeding in, I think that kind of frequency will be necessary in not too long. At that point it will be worth considering real rapid transit, perhaps heavy rail underground. Like new subways elsewhere, it would have to be bored deep underground. Maybe we could go for a 'Houston T-Bone' connecting TMC, Downtown, and Uptown with a hub under Greenway and no stops in between.

Anyhow, my point is that the METRO light rail extensions will be useful. They will act as feeders and local circulators into whatever system Houston ends up with in the future. I, for one, would like to see the new lines in the ground asap.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well let me be the first to tell you, you're not the majority.

Okay, let me ask this. If money was not an object, what kind of rail would you want Houston to have?

I may or may not represent the majority, but at least I am a resident of METRO's service area. So, if METRO is trying to decide who to listen to, the guy who pays taxes to support the service, and lives on METRO's routes, and rides their buses will probably get more weight than a kid who lives in Brazos County, and who bases his opinions on whether it is 'cool' or 'urban'.

As to how I would do it if money were no object, it would still be at ground level, for the reasons I already stated. It is safer, easier to access, and less expensive to build. I am a taxpayer. I do not advocate spending obscene amounts of money for no reason. Your posts advocate exactly that.The drawing you posted of DART's Mockingbird Station showed that riders have to take escalators over 100 feet down, then walk a few hundred more feet just to get to the platform. On Main Street in Houston, I merely walk 15 feet across one lane of traffic and I am on the platform. I'll take 15 feet over 250 feet every time.

But, it isn't 'cool'.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would sure hate for Houston to miss out on the chance to finally become an alpha-town just because our trains are too short and and our rails intersect.

We should all sign an extremely powerful internet petition to FORCE Metro to halt construction, tear up the red line and start all over from scratch. We need cool subways and monorail systems in order to keep up with Atlanta. I'm sure Metro would be willing to throw out all the work they have been doing over the last ten thousand years and force another city election just so we all have a cool way to get to the zoo. Then finally, New York and Chicago will allow us to call ourselves 'urban' and we can sleep easy at night. I just can't stand the thought of people from other cities laughing at the length of our trains. :blush:

Yes, I think it is about time we start taking this issue seriously around here! It's obvious that Metro is listening to HAIF and doesn't have so much opposition already that they have nothing better to do than make sure every suburban yahoo on the internet is happy with their current plans.

Edited by Mister X
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're right, citykid, in that we aren't getting real rapid transit. However, I think METRO is to be commended for delivering the most extensive system possible for the money (and y'all can drop the 'you must work for METRO' bs).

Let's face it, Houston had NO history of transit useage. In the eyes of much of the public, the METRO bus system is for poor people who don't have a choice. In the transit world it's all about federal funding, and I don't think there would have been any way for METRO to justify to the feds spending billions and billions on a real rapid transit line. Forget extending it to cover a large area inside the beltway.

The Red Line is surprisingly close to its design capacity at peak hours. If they had the vehicles, they would be running all two-car trains every six minutes at rush hours. The line is ultimately designed for two-car trains every four minutes. With other lines feeding in, I think that kind of frequency will be necessary in not too long. At that point it will be worth considering real rapid transit, perhaps heavy rail underground. Like new subways elsewhere, it would have to be bored deep underground. Maybe we could go for a 'Houston T-Bone' connecting TMC, Downtown, and Uptown with a hub under Greenway and no stops in between.

Anyhow, my point is that the METRO light rail extensions will be useful. They will act as feeders and local circulators into whatever system Houston ends up with in the future. I, for one, would like to see the new lines in the ground asap.

I hope you are right about the future, but do you really think that Houston will ever go beyond light rail? They might think about it in 75+ years. The Metro is expecting an extra 2 million people by 2020, do you actually think that the light rails they are building will be able to handle those people? In the future cars will become less important in the way we get around. People will go to areas where they are able to live without a car and Houston won't be one of those places. Redscare, do you really think these 2 car street trains will be able to accommodate 7-8 plus million potential riders? And no its not about aesthetics, its about fitting the proper type of passenger rail in Houston. The citizens of Houston want a rail system they can ride around town without delays from street traffic, lights, and other rail. The rulers of Houston seem to always think they know what the people want but they don't. They always say, "Houston's to hot people won't walk." "Houston's a car city, no one will ride rail." And none of its true. If Houston doesn't change, it will NOT be able to compete with other cities and will decline in the future. Cars may have been the new wave of the future in the 1950s on forward, but heading in to 2020, its changing and its changing to rail.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree.. rising costs suck. But citykid wasn't complaining about costs. He was complaining about grade separation, and aesthetics of rail in a suburban neighborhood, etc, etc.

The things he was complaining about yet again have been constants of our rail plan for years... so while i expect it of him, i expect more of others than to all of a sudden agree with him.

lack of grade separation has been a constant since the beginning, and it's been a mistake since the beginning. I never really understood the support behind rail, it's mostly form and not much function. Maybe that's why so many people here liked the idea of it?

Fact of the matter is you could put buses that ran 2x as often on the routes they want rail for, for a fraction of the cost, without losing a lane of traffic and having all the accidents related to mixing rail & car traffic. I'm not sure why it took so long for people to realize this, it was apparent well before the first rail line was approved.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

lack of grade separation has been a constant since the beginning, and it's been a mistake since the beginning. I never really understood the support behind rail, it's mostly form and not much function. Maybe that's why so many people here liked the idea of it?

Fact of the matter is you could put buses that ran 2x as often on the routes they want rail for, for a fraction of the cost, without losing a lane of traffic and having all the accidents related to mixing rail & car traffic. I'm not sure why it took so long for people to realize this, it was apparent well before the first rail line was approved.

Actually, Main Street was already running buses SIX TIMES as often as the rail runs now. Prior to laying the tracks, there were roughly 1400 buses running up and down Main Street, with all of the noise and diesel exhaust that goes with it. The difference between that and the current rail is like night and day. There is less noise, less exhaust fumes and soot, and less congestion. Some of us consider that an IMPROVEMENT. Perhaps you do not. That is your opinion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, Main Street was already running buses SIX TIMES as often as the rail runs now. Prior to laying the tracks, there were roughly 1400 buses running up and down Main Street, with all of the noise and diesel exhaust that goes with it. The difference between that and the current rail is like night and day. There is less noise, less exhaust fumes and soot, and less congestion. Some of us consider that an IMPROVEMENT. Perhaps you do not. That is your opinion.

I wish I could find the numbers on that, I distinctly remember reading differently at the time, but it's been so long that the information is a bit more difficult to track down. Maybe I'm wrong on the frequency, but not the cost. Either way, the improvement is marginal in my view. If that sort of investment is going to be made, I'd be for a more significant investment of elevated rail, rather than something on the same grade with traffic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It just seems like a lot of money to implement a system that will be useful up until a point. I think there has to be some break-even point in Houston's future growth to where this becomes more of a burden than a benefit. If we have to continue to wait on funding delays as costs continue to rise, why not just ride it out until everyone agrees on a heavy rail system that will be sustainable over a century.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think construction costs have decreased since last summer.

I am curious about how adaptable this light rail system would be in the future... would it be possible, as the city becomes more dense, to transition segments of light rail underground?

First I'd be surprised if the city becomes much more dense anytime soon. The economy isn't projected to skyrocket and my most recent analysis indicates that occupany downtown/midtown is actually dropping even as new units come on line. We're just one more round of layoffs from another '80's style real estate bust in Houston and as we've seen in the past, since most people are here only because their jobs are here, there will be a huge exodus out of the city to other places offering employment opportunities.

Underground in Houston is virtually impossibly costly because the water table is only 5 to 6 feet below the surface. The result would be that one would have to literaly encase the line in a huge steel pipe to stop the tunnel from being flooded.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, Main Street was already running buses SIX TIMES as often as the rail runs now. Prior to laying the tracks, there were roughly 1400 buses running up and down Main Street, with all of the noise and diesel exhaust that goes with it. The difference between that and the current rail is like night and day. There is less noise, less exhaust fumes and soot, and less congestion. Some of us consider that an IMPROVEMENT. Perhaps you do not. That is your opinion.

I find that hard to believe as Metro has never had a fleet of 1400 buses to begin with.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First I'd be surprised if the city becomes much more dense anytime soon. The economy isn't projected to skyrocket and my most recent analysis indicates that occupany downtown/midtown is actually dropping even as new units come on line. We're just one more round of layoffs from another '80's style real estate bust in Houston and as we've seen in the past, since most people are here only because their jobs are here, there will be a huge exodus out of the city to other places offering employment opportunities.

Underground in Houston is virtually impossibly costly because the water table is only 5 to 6 feet below the surface. The result would be that one would have to literaly encase the line in a huge steel pipe to stop the tunnel from being flooded.

You sure?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nothing in the plans or expectations of what these rail lines are going to be have changed in the past few years - Why some of you are now "seeing the light" and siding with the official Haif Urban-Elevated-and-Atlanta spokesman, I don't know.

I've been saying (most of) this for years. It's not that the whole system needs to be grade-separated, just that we're diverting funds to light rail that serves relatively less dense and uncongested areas (East, Southeast, North) where less expensive BRT would be more appropriate, instead of beefing up the system in highly-dense highly-congested areas where the existence of grade-level light rail is frequently disruptive to and disrupted by congestion.

The things he was complaining about yet again have been constants of our rail plan for years... so while i expect it of him, i expect more of others than to all of a sudden agree with him.

Actually, no. At one point, BRT was proposed along many lower-ridership lines as a measure to promote cost savings. Those lines are now going to be light rail built by METRO without any federal assistance. It's out of pocket for us, but there are better uses we could put those funds to. Also, at that time, the route alignments for many routes were still up in the air. There was at least the sense that people could provide input, and they were. I was.

I like our Euro style train system better than urban thuggage subways. Street level stations are safer than subway stations and are easier for pedestrians to get to. Since METRO is more concerned with people with JOBS riding the train, as opposed to unemployed thugs hanging out in subway stations, it makes sense that they would build it at street level. I'm glad they did.

I would much rather that they have grade-separated lines in high-density areas with scarce land and just enforce anti-loitering laws than that they waste precious rights of way. I'm not saying that the whole project be 100% subways, either, but clearly there are places such as the TMC where the potential to ease congestion is well worth it.

The Red Line is surprisingly close to its design capacity at peak hours. If they had the vehicles, they would be running all two-car trains every six minutes at rush hours. The line is ultimately designed for two-car trains every four minutes. With other lines feeding in, I think that kind of frequency will be necessary in not too long. At that point it will be worth considering real rapid transit, perhaps heavy rail underground.

Better to build it right the first time than twice in rapid succession. And I'll remind you that we didn't build the Red Line with any federal assistance and that many of the new lines will be similarly locally-funded. Given the cost and the FTA's really crappy method of project evaluation, it is doubtful that we'll get money for an upgrade, even as it becomes painfully obvious that one is necessary.

I may or may not represent the majority, but at least I am a resident of METRO's service area. So, if METRO is trying to decide who to listen to, the guy who pays taxes to support the service, and lives on METRO's routes, and rides their buses will probably get more weight than a kid who lives in Brazos County, and who bases his opinions on whether it is 'cool' or 'urban'.

I'm a resident of METRO's service area and my opinions are based upon a goal of total transportation optimality, not image. And even if I weren't a resident in the service area, that doesn't mean that I wouldn't be shopping in a place that is. It is a sales tax, after all, not a property tax.

Actually, Main Street was already running buses SIX TIMES as often as the rail runs now. Prior to laying the tracks, there were roughly 1400 buses running up and down Main Street, with all of the noise and diesel exhaust that goes with it. The difference between that and the current rail is like night and day. There is less noise, less exhaust fumes and soot, and less congestion. Some of us consider that an IMPROVEMENT. Perhaps you do not. That is your opinion.

Before light rail, I never heard any roaring buses where I lived; after light rail, the LRT vehicle signal its horn any time that freeway traffic dies down and was audible over a half mile away. I consider that a loss...and I especially consider the backup of southbound vehicular traffic on Fannin in the afternoons to be a loss.

Are the busses they can make these days cleaner and quieter?

I have cited data from federal government sources on HAIF before that indicated that the operating cost per passenger mile and also the net output of pollutants per passenger mile were actually on par with or greater than buses. But none of the urbanistas cared because the pollution source points aren't in their back yard.

First I'd be surprised if the city becomes much more dense anytime soon. The economy isn't projected to skyrocket and my most recent analysis indicates that occupany downtown/midtown is actually dropping even as new units come on line. We're just one more round of layoffs from another '80's style real estate bust in Houston and as we've seen in the past, since most people are here only because their jobs are here, there will be a huge exodus out of the city to other places offering employment opportunities.

I would be surprised if it didn't. Don't forget that none of these lines will be operational before 2012. It is entirely plausible (and I'm going to go so far as to say probable) that global demand for energy and healthcare will be very strong by that point in time and that capital markets will have returned to normalcy.

Light rail infrastructure has a projected operational life span of many decades, not of only a few years.

Underground in Houston is virtually impossibly costly because the water table is only 5 to 6 feet below the surface. The result would be that one would have to literaly encase the line in a huge steel pipe to stop the tunnel from being flooded.

That is categorically false. If the water table were only 5 to 6 feet below the surface, we'd have artesian wells all up and down our bayous, wherever the banks even began to slope downwards towards the channels.

And the cure that you suggest, that a subway would have to be encased in a steel pipe, is ridiculous. Water permeates the rock in New York City and leaks constantly into the NYC transit system. They use sumps. They aren't that expensive, nor are they an exotic technology. TXDOT uses them to drain underpasses all over town.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It just seems like a lot of money

Fun with numbers...

$1.46 Billion dollars / 20 miles = $73,000,000 per mile; or $13,826 per linear foot.

If we assume a $1 bill is 6" long, and 0.0043-inches thick*, and we stacked the $13,836 dollars required for each foot, it would be two piles end-to-end, 29.73 inches tall each.

The cost could stack a pile of dollars just short 30-inches tall for the entire 20-mile length of the line.

If we spread the $13,836 dollars, side by side, and in two columns we'd get a width of (13,836/2)(2-5/8")(1'/12")=1,513 feet wide. About the width of the Katy freeway corridor IIRC. Roughly, it could pave (poorly!) the Katy freeway in singles from 610 past Highway 6.

*source for $1 dimensions here...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Before light rail, I never heard any roaring buses where I lived; after light rail, the LRT vehicle signal its horn any time that freeway traffic dies down and was audible over a half mile away. I consider that a loss...and I especially consider the backup of southbound vehicular traffic on Fannin in the afternoons to be a loss.

Like this means anything. Are you suggesting that there were no buses on Main Street? If so, say it. If not, tell us how many there were.

I'm a resident of METRO's service area and my opinions are based upon a goal of total transportation optimality, not image. And even if I weren't a resident in the service area, that doesn't mean that I wouldn't be shopping in a place that is. It is a sales tax, after all, not a property tax.

Then, your opinions count as well, even if we occasionally disagree. And at least you back up your smack with statistics or findings, as opposed to observations that Atlanta didn't do it this way.

Edited by RedScare
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Like this means anything. Are you suggesting that there were no buses on Main Street? If so, say it. If not, tell us how many there were.

Ummm...no, and if you'll read my post, I wasn't even referring to Main Street because the light rail in that neighborhood is on Fannin. And I'm sure that there were busses on Fannin, however, I never heard them at night, nor did they hold up traffic the way that crossing arms for a railroad crossing do.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, no. At one point, BRT was proposed along many lower-ridership lines as a measure to promote cost savings. Those lines are now going to be light rail built by METRO without any federal assistance. It's out of pocket for us, but there are better uses we could put those funds to. Also, at that time, the route alignments for many routes were still up in the air. There was at least the sense that people could provide input, and they were. I was.

I didn't say nothing has changed, Niche... I said the things he was arguing for ( that all of a sudden merited bandwagoners ) had not changed. He was not arguing the financial merits of BRT vs LRT.

He was arguing for full grade-separation as a means to justify his urban utopia ends. An at grade solution, whether BRT or LRT, has been as enduring a constant as his complaints as far as Metrorail is concerned.

Edited by Highway6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ummm...no, and if you'll read my post, I wasn't even referring to Main Street because the light rail in that neighborhood is on Fannin. And I'm sure that there were busses on Fannin, however, I never heard them at night, nor did they hold up traffic the way that crossing arms for a railroad crossing do.

Oh. Then I repeat.

LIKE THAT MEANS ANYTHING!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I never realized that each bus only ran its route one time per day. I need to research these things, rather than believe what I read.

Sarcasm aside, you have to realize that when you throw out numbers like "1400 buses" removed from Main Street, the average person is going to think 1400 literal buses removed from Main street instead of perhaps 1400 bus trips. Now, I have to ask you Red, where did you get those numbers from? Metro perhaps? Metro is quick to point out the number of buses removed from Main Street as that's where the Red Line was built, but the number of buses running down Travis/Milam/Louisiana/Smith remains the same (adjusting of course for "service improvements" read: cuts). Those four streets are home to a number of Park and Ride routes, express, and local bus routes with some routes running buses 2 minutes apart. So, while Main Street has "benefited" from the light rail in that regard, improvements in the most bus dense corridor are yet to be realized. Also, removing those "1400 buses" also removes easy transfer opportunities for those on the of us who live on the Southwest side as nearly all of our bus routes were truncated at transit centers to force feed the rail line.

So, while you can take solace in less buses running down Main Street, every other street except Fannin/San Jacinto (the buses moved off Main used these two streets while LRT construction took place) is still congested with buses. The same result could have been acheived through (Don't say BUS!) Rapid Transit running down Main Street and for hundreds of millions of dollars less.

Also, Red, to put your 1400 buses number into perspective, I'd have to see the total number of bus trips into the downtown area before and after LRT construction and things like "service improvements" could not tally into that total reduction.

Edited by MetroMogul
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Honestly, the other two photos I see are the only ones that make since for rail in Houston (they are off the streets). The one in The Galleria area I think is a stupid Idea. You don't put rail on a crowded street like that. It will be difficult to turn, uturn, etc. I think that they should at least consider above ground or below ground stations for this area.

They are being so Cheap with METRO Rail that I hear that it will have the first ever (world or nation???) rail line crossing that is not separated. Meaning that trains going east and west will have to stop and wait for trains going north and south to pass by and the other way around. You guys can criticize me if you want, but I think Houston is getting the crappiest passenger rail system ever built. When rail was first approved for Houston, I expected a World-Class rail system on par with other major cities, not a 2 car street train scooting along streets and not in its own right of way. I just watched a video of one of the new lines going right down the middle of a street in a suburban style neighborhood with ranch style housing, WTF! That doesn't even look right. I don't blame the people for the NIMBY stuff. It seems as if the people that work for METRO have never been outside of Houston and have never seen an actual passenger rail system work. With all hope completely lost of Houston being a true urban city (You can't be truly urban without the proper rail infrastructure), I can still have hope for other Texas cities like Austin and San Antonio to build world class rail systems in the future. Dallas' has done in right. The only thing I can say about DART Rail is that it is light rail and not a Heavy Rail System, but other than that, its perfect.

I think all construction that has started on the new lines should stop and there should be a complete redesign of the entire system. If I had it my way, the Main street line would be completely removed and moved underground, where a rail system should be in a city the size of Houston.

Okay, where are my critics?

I'm a critic.

Amsterdam is a great example of the system we are creating, there are no grade separations for different rail (tram) lines to different locations, they do have to wait for another train. There are no elevated or underground sections, it is all street level. It is all shared with the road traffic (and bicycle traffic, who incidentally have their own signals at intersections, meaning cars have to wait for the tram, and bikes).

Until such a time as ridership increases and car traffic through those areas decrease as a result of that ridership increase, car traffic is going to go up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Amsterdam is a great example of the system we are creating, there are no grade separations for different rail (tram) lines to different locations, they do have to wait for another train. There are no elevated or underground sections, it is all street level. It is all shared with the road traffic (and bicycle traffic, who incidentally have their own signals at intersections, meaning cars have to wait for the tram, and bikes).

Amsterdam is stagnant. It is so difficult to create increased density there on account of that they view their City as a kind of museum piece, that there will never be a need to anticipate new growth or an increasing demand on their system. Moreover, the legacy issues that are predominant in a comparison of land use patterns or density gradients in either Houston or Amsterdam make them incomparable cities.

From a planning perspective, it is the antithesis of Houston in just about every way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Amsterdam is stagnant. It is so difficult to create increased density there on account of that they view their City as a kind of museum piece, that there will never be a need to anticipate new growth or an increasing demand on their system. Moreover, the legacy issues that are predominant in a comparison of land use patterns or density gradients in either Houston or Amsterdam make them incomparable cities.

From a planning perspective, it is the antithesis of Houston in just about every way.

You're right.

I deleted half my comments before I posted, I hate making long winded replies :) (oops)

Anyway, yeah, Houston and Amsterdam (the old centrum area) grew up in different periods with different ideas on transportation, and how far relative distances are.

Houston should continue growing, while the centrum of Amsterdam (where the trams are used heavily) cannot grow any larger, however, that also means that the car traffic that they have (which is a lot, and continues to grow) will be constrained to what is already there, and it has to be shared by the tram system and bikes. The population of both cities will continue to grow and become more dense.

I don't know, I'm certainly not anything more than a citizen on a forum, I didn't do any studies, I only have empirical evidence from at least 10 trips to Holland that centered around Amsterdam over the course of my 30 year life that has a system not unlike our own, and I have watched that city grow to enjoy car transportation more and more, and seen the congestion that comes with it.

I think a solid tram system (light rail) is the right solution, I think a subway is too costly in both safety and money, and an elevated, while intriguing would be costly as well.

And personally, as far as the noise goes, I don't live next to the line, but when I am biking on main, or around the area, the horn is a very soft tone that notifies me of its presense but isn't over powering. Then again, I live in broadmoor and have 2 RR lines that are heavily used very close to my house. Niether the RR, or the LR are any less anoying than a bus idling at a stoplight, or accelerating from a stop, or even at a cruise speed.

Edited by samagon
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're right.

I deleted half my comments before I posted, I hate making long winded replies :) (oops)

Anyway, yeah, Houston and Amsterdam (the old centrum area) grew up in different periods with different ideas on transportation, and how far relative distances are.

Houston should continue growing, while the centrum of Amsterdam (where the trams are used heavily) cannot grow any larger, however, that also means that the car traffic that they have (which is a lot, and continues to grow) will be constrained to what is already there, and it has to be shared by the tram system and bikes. The population of both cities will continue to grow and become more dense.

I don't know, I'm certainly not anything more than a citizen on a forum, I didn't do any studies, I only have empirical evidence from at least 10 trips to Holland that centered around Amsterdam over the course of my 30 year life that has a system not unlike our own, and I have watched that city grow to enjoy car transportation more and more, and seen the congestion that comes with it.

I think a solid tram system (light rail) is the right solution, I think a subway is too costly in both safety and money, and an elevated, while intriguing would be costly as well.

And personally, as far as the noise goes, I don't live next to the line, but when I am biking on main, or around the area, the horn is a very soft tone that notifies me of its presense but isn't over powering. Then again, I live in broadmoor and have 2 RR lines that are heavily used very close to my house. Niether the RR, or the LR are any less anoying than a bus idling at a stoplight, or accelerating from a stop, or even at a cruise speed.

So Houston is not worth of a subway because its too costly? So lets see New York, LA and Chicago build on street light rail because subways are to expensive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So Houston is not worth of a subway because its too costly? So lets see New York, LA and Chicago build on street light rail because subways are to expensive.

I think metro need to hire you, right away. Your once a month rant about metro shows that you are so far advanced then they are in the ability to engineer a line that would fit with-in the given budget. I wish we could get the billions that DART has so we can build 40 miles of rail so it can get 60,000 boarding a day while our little 7.5 mile "toy-train" gets over 40,00 boardings a day. Dallas mockingbird station is "cool" and so "urban". I wish we could be just like them.

Our park n ride service just sucks.... It takes 300,000 people from the burbs a day to the galleria, greenway plaza, and DT. We should cancel this service so we can build cool stations that are underground for our rail....

Let just build 10's billions of dollars of subway so we can look more urban and be just like NY!!!

Our rail lines are probably going to be as efficient as our allotted money will allow. They will work well with the park n' ride service.

Seriously, go apply for metro. You can help us be "cool" just like Dallas and Atlanta. Oh yeah, Charlotte is cooler now...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry but i agree with citykid09. The plans to build rail on street level near the Galleria is equivalent to walking inside of a burning building. What makes no sense to me is that Houston can build millions of overpasses and such for a regular freeway but can't have a dedicated lane for a lightrail train off street level?

I've always been a supporter of a subway line in Houston. There was a study done several years ago that stated it was feasible. The thing is, if they're not looking into subway, at least they could consider monorail a little further. The idea of lightrail should be to improve mobility for motorist and pedestrians, not add to the already existing problem.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So Houston is not worth of a subway because its too costly? So lets see New York, LA and Chicago build on street light rail because subways are to expensive.

Well, there are 3 things that bother me about a subway (and these are my own personal issues, not saying they are issues for everyone)..

Safety, safety is an issue, I understand that there would likely be security cameras everywhere, but people get robbed in front of those all the time, there is a lot less desire to do something out in the open at a rail station, than there would be in a small box of a subway station.

Out of sight, out of mind, seeing a train roll by a location that you drive often is something that hits me continuously, but seeing a set of stairs going down doesn't inspire me to park my car and walk to the station.

Accessibility, being one of the fattest cities in the country (if not the world) I don't see many fat people (sorry, overweight) walking down stairs to get to a subway, then walking back up. escalators? sure, but then there are people in wheelchairs, they need elevators. While the question could be asked, would they use it? Who knows, but the ADA would be all up in METRO if they didn't have the access.

I don't know, but I do feel that people will eventually park more and ride on the lines, which will reduce cars in those areas.

Obviously someone did the feasibility studies, and found that this was the best way, I agree with it, so I'm not going to do a lot of thinking about it ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, there are 3 things that bother me about a subway (and these are my own personal issues, not saying they are issues for everyone)..

Safety, safety is an issue, I understand that there would likely be security cameras everywhere, but people get robbed in front of those all the time, there is a lot less desire to do something out in the open at a rail station, than there would be in a small box of a subway station.

Out of sight, out of mind, seeing a train roll by a location that you drive often is something that hits me continuously, but seeing a set of stairs going down doesn't inspire me to park my car and walk to the station.

Accessibility, being one of the fattest cities in the country (if not the world) I don't see many fat people (sorry, overweight) walking down stairs to get to a subway, then walking back up. escalators? sure, but then there are people in wheelchairs, they need elevators. While the question could be asked, would they use it? Who knows, but the ADA would be all up in METRO if they didn't have the access.

I don't know, but I do feel that people will eventually park more and ride on the lines, which will reduce cars in those areas.

Obviously someone did the feasibility studies, and found that this was the best way, I agree with it, so I'm not going to do a lot of thinking about it ;)

Ludicrous... you've obviously a) not been to a subway station or b ) have a ridiculous prejudice against fat people. Either way, the number of overweight people in Houston has NO BEARING WHATSOEVER to whether the city goes with Lightrail, BRT, or subway. The only thing that matters in this discussion is density of the city, predicted ridership for the lines, and COST.

Edited by totheskies
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're right.

I deleted half my comments before I posted, I hate making long winded replies :) (oops)

Anyway, yeah, Houston and Amsterdam (the old centrum area) grew up in different periods with different ideas on transportation, and how far relative distances are.

Houston should continue growing, while the centrum of Amsterdam (where the trams are used heavily) cannot grow any larger, however, that also means that the car traffic that they have (which is a lot, and continues to grow) will be constrained to what is already there, and it has to be shared by the tram system and bikes. The population of both cities will continue to grow and become more dense.

I don't know, I'm certainly not anything more than a citizen on a forum, I didn't do any studies, I only have empirical evidence from at least 10 trips to Holland that centered around Amsterdam over the course of my 30 year life that has a system not unlike our own, and I have watched that city grow to enjoy car transportation more and more, and seen the congestion that comes with it.

Wait, that doesn't make any sense. Why would car traffic in the center of Amsterdam be projected to increase even though density is fixed...unless the traffic is increasingly being generated from origin or destination points beyond the center of Amsterdam, which isn't as well served by the tram system. That would mean that the percentages of people who live or work in the center of Amsterdam are increasingly preferring to live or work in the suburbs. And if that is the case, and the tram doesn't connect to the suburbs but is actually impeding traffic flow among an increasing number of people who prefer a commute that involves autos, then isn't the auto congestion that the tram is inducing just a self-inflicted malady? It wouldn't surprise me. If you'd ever worked a room where Dutch real estate investors outnumber non-Dutch by 6:1, it probably wouldn't surprise you either. They love their country and its history and legacy, but they admire us for being so efficient and adaptable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think metro need to hire you, right away. Your once a month rant about metro shows that you are so far advanced then they are in the ability to engineer a line that would fit with-in the given budget. I wish we could get the billions that DART has so we can build 40 miles of rail so it can get 60,000 boarding a day while our little 7.5 mile "toy-train" gets over 40,00 boardings a day. Dallas mockingbird station is "cool" and so "urban". I wish we could be just like them.

Our park n ride service just sucks.... It takes 300,000 people from the burbs a day to the galleria, greenway plaza, and DT. We should cancel this service so we can build cool stations that are underground for our rail....

Let just build 10's billions of dollars of subway so we can look more urban and be just like NY!!!

Our rail lines are probably going to be as efficient as our allotted money will allow. They will work well with the park n' ride service.

Seriously, go apply for metro. You can help us be "cool" just like Dallas and Atlanta. Oh yeah, Charlotte is cooler now...

LOL, Cool is not the reasoning behind my "rant." Houston's citizens always brag about Houston being the 4th largest city in America. They also brag about being one of the fastest growing cities in America, Okay. They also talk about wanting to host the Olympics and other big name events. But at the end of the day its all laughable to the people who make those decisions. Do you honestly think Houston can hold an Olympics with its current infrastructure? Houston is a city with big dreams, but does very little to make those dreams come true. Do you think Atlanta would have gotten the Olympics if they didn't have their world class transit system? Name me one city that has gotten the Olympics without one (not the winter Olympics, the main Olympics). No world class Alpha city has on street light rail as its leading form of transit. If Houston has aspirations to be an Alpha city, it must think bigger!

Light rail on the streets is okay (not very good) on the streets as they are planned, if you are a city that plans to stay the same in population and not defensify. But if you are a city that plans to grow and defensify as Houston is I don't think the street light rail will cut it.

Ideally, Houston should have a combination of subways in the really dense areas such as downtown and uptown, and above ground right of ways where they are passable. Now if areas such as downtown want a street car set up (similar to San Fransisco) that would be fine also. There should be rail lines going to all of the major areas. In less dense areas and in the far out suburbs BRT will work best until they feel the need to upgrade to rail. Commuter rail should run from the Woodlands, Katy, Cypress (preferably from the park and ride station if possible) and possibly a line to the Bryan/College Station area.

And those of you who say I always want to copy another city, well its okay to copy another city, all ideas had to have come from somewhere. If all cities thought that way Boston would be the only city in the U.S. with a subway, and New York would have never developed into the city it is today. Or take that a little further and London would be the only city in the world with a subway.

Get mad at my comments if you want, but I bring interesting conversation to this forum.

Edited by citykid09
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you think Atlanta would have gotten the Olympics if they didn't have their world class transit system?

Much was promised. Billy Payne, the head of the Atlanta committee, predicted "the greatest peacetime event in the 20th century" but, 12 years on, the Atlanta Games are remembered not for Michael Johnson's supercharged efforts on the track or Muhammad Ali's lighting of the Olympic cauldron, but for the transport chaos that almost brought the Games screeching to a halt.

Embattled bus drivers got lost and quit mid-journey, while spectators fought for places on erratic train services.

if this is world class, i'd leave it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Much was promised. Billy Payne, the head of the Atlanta committee, predicted "the greatest peacetime event in the 20th century" but, 12 years on, the Atlanta Games are remembered not for Michael Johnson's supercharged efforts on the track or Muhammad Ali's lighting of the Olympic cauldron, but for the transport chaos that almost brought the Games screeching to a halt.

Embattled bus drivers got lost and quit mid-journey, while spectators fought for places on erratic train services.

if this is world class, i'd leave it.

I remember it for a terrorist bombing, and that is all that I remember or care about.

...of course, I don't much care for the idea of bringing the Olympics to Houston. I know that there are lots of people out there that give a crap about the Olympics. Not me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember it for a terrorist bombing, and that is all that I remember or care about.

...of course, I don't much care for the idea of bringing the Olympics to Houston. I know that there are lots of people out there that give a crap about the Olympics. Not me.

Do you know what an event like the Olympics will do for Houston? Infrastructure wise, money wise, image wise, etc? A whole lot! I don't care much for the Olympics myself, but the benefits it could bring to Houston (or any city in Texas) makes me want it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember it for a terrorist bombing, and that is all that I remember or care about.

...of course, I don't much care for the idea of bringing the Olympics to Houston. I know that there are lots of people out there that give a crap about the Olympics. Not me.

I remember the bombing, the gridlock, and Atlanta bringing naked commercialism to the Games on an unprecedented scale. In fact, far from the Olympics making Atlanta seem "world class", the Olympics showed how far from "world class" Atlanta was. It was really an embarrassing Olympics for them at the time.

And, I'm with Niche. I no longer think an Olympics is in Houston's best interest. A world's fair, maybe, but not an Olympics.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you know what an event like the Olympics will do for Houston? Infrastructure wise, money wise, image wise, etc? A whole lot! I don't care much for the Olympics myself, but the benefits it could bring to Houston (or any city in Texas) makes me want it.

I'm not entirely sure what the Olympics will do for us, but it frustrates me to no end what we would no doubt do for the Olympics.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember the bombing, the gridlock, and Atlanta bringing naked commercialism to the Games on an unprecedented scale. In fact, far from the Olympics making Atlanta seem "world class", the Olympics showed how far from "world class" Atlanta was. It was really an embarrassing Olympics for them at the time.

And, I'm with Niche. I no longer think an Olympics is in Houston's best interest. A world's fair, maybe, but not an Olympics.

Why? Because you know Houston in its current state or future planned state will not be able to handle an Olympics? What made the people that tried to bring it to Houston in the first place actually think they had a chance?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Because the money spent on sports infrastructure is a waste. I don't mind Houston trying to get it for vanity's sake, I just don't want Houston to win it. Given Houston's performance on other large events, I do not doubt that they could pull it off. But, the public money spent on stadiums that will be unused or underused after the cameras are gone is not worth the expense.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Because the money spent on sports infrastructure is a waste. I don't mind Houston trying to get it for vanity's sake, I just don't want Houston to win it. Given Houston's performance on other large events, I do not doubt that they could pull it off. But, the public money spent on stadiums that will be unused or underused after the cameras are gone is not worth the expense.

The city pretty much has all of the stadiums needed, but getting people around would be a problem. The city would need more hotels though, it need to clean up all of the litter and the unsightly shopping centers, apartments, housing and fix the flooding problem. Might also need a few more attractions, But other than that, the city has the stadiums. May need a soccer stadium though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...