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citykid09

The Way Houston's METRO Light Rail Should Have Been

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If only METRO had realized the importance of a high quality rail system no matter what the type (heavy or light). Take a Look at the World Class Gold Line that LA just opened:

the route that opened' date=' 8 stations, 2 underground

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Union Station, this was early Sunday, before the big crowds hit

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New Breda P2550 train pulls into Union Station, Atlantic designates the final stop on the Gold Line

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train (you can make out its shadow) crossing the 101 freeway

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The signature station is probably the Mariachi Plaza station.

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interior view

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interior view

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platform views at Mariachi

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exiting the station:

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the great canopy at the entrance:

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artwork & canopy:

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view down the tunnel:

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Exterior of Soto station, the other underground station on the Gold Line:

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Soto is a smaller station than Mariachi, but has some great artwork installations:

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the glowing egg:

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Train in motion at Soto Station:

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East Side Civic Center, ceremonies and station views:

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end of the line, Atlantic (maybe in a decade or so, this line will continue to be extended east, but its just a plan for now)

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Hopefully this gets built: its the "downtown connector" and will better connect the Gold Line with the Blue line, right now it takes 3 trains to traverse downtown, blue to red to gold lines.

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If only METRO had realized the importance of a high quality rail system no matter what the type (heavy or light). Take a Look at the World Class Gold Line that LA just opened:

The "World Class" Gold Line is an improvement for that part of L.A. to be sure, but don't go thinking it's head and shoulders above our own just because it has a tunnel. Trains take 24 minutes to traverse the six mile route, an average of 15 mph. Houston's Red Line averages...15 mph. Gold Line trains arrive every 6 to 8 minutes during rush hour and 12 minutes midday. Houston's trains arrive every 6 minutes all day. Gold Line runs in street medians for a long way, as does ours.

One could certainly argue that Houston should have a better built-out network like L.A. does, but METRO is working on that as quickly as they can.

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The "World Class" Gold Line is an improvement for that part of L.A. to be sure, but don't go thinking it's head and shoulders above our own just because it has a tunnel. Trains take 24 minutes to traverse the six mile route, an average of 15 mph. Houston's Red Line averages...15 mph. Gold Line trains arrive every 6 to 8 minutes during rush hour and 12 minutes midday. Houston's trains arrive every 6 minutes all day. Gold Line runs in street medians for a long way, as does ours.

One could certainly argue that Houston should have a better built-out network like L.A. does, but METRO is working on that as quickly as they can.

I thought I saw a whole lot of street level trains in those pictures. The trainsets look pretty much like ours as well. I wonder why light rail in the street in LA is "world class", but light rail in the street in Houston is not.

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I thought I saw a whole lot of street level trains in those pictures. The trainsets look pretty much like ours as well. I wonder why light rail in the street in LA is "world class", but light rail in the street in Houston is not.

Compare the photos of the stations to Wheeler Station and you can get a good idea why.

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So cosmetic stuff, then? Pfft.

Now you've gone and done it. The Houston-doesn't-take-pride-in-its-appearance crowd is going to come out of hiding and start complaining now.

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I wonder why light rail in the street in LA is "world class", but light rail in the street in Houston is not.

Because LA has a Harry Beck, London Tube styled System map that is far superior to what Metro has offered us. We too shall be world class once Metro adopts Christof's map for official use.

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So cosmetic stuff, then? Pfft.

More than just cosmetics - it's aesthetics, ease of use, and a feel for safety when using the stations.

From where I live it should be very easy to take the Richmond bus to Wheeler Station and transfer to the Rail to go downtown. My daughter had a job downtown, and rather than drive her or pay to park I suggested she take the rail, so I rode it first. The bus was fine, but the "station" itself is an unwelcome mess, just a bunch of bus shelters strung along an open grass field, with no common area or amenities to assist the travelers. The neighboring area with its collection of empty lots and homeless does not add to the comfort. Compared to the suburban Park N Ride lots, this station in the center of Houston, which will be the center of the rail system, feels exposed and incomplete. There was no way I could allow my daughter to wait at that station, as even I was approached by unsavory characters on my brief visit.

Metro can't change the surrounding area, but they can provide a better layout at the station and some sense of security. The Park N Ride lots always have a Metro Cop present. Maybe even a parking lot or ramp in the area would help, or allow an area for retail taco trucks or kiosks to park and add some life other than huddling in the bus shelters.

World Class means not settling for the lowest common denominator.

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More than just cosmetics - it's aesthetics, ease of use, and a feel for safety when using the stations.

From where I live it should be very easy to take the Richmond bus to Wheeler Station and transfer to the Rail to go downtown. My daughter had a job downtown, and rather than drive her or pay to park I suggested she take the rail, so I rode it first. The bus was fine, but the "station" itself is an unwelcome mess, just a bunch of bus shelters strung along an open grass field, with no common area or amenities to assist the travelers. The neighboring area with its collection of empty lots and homeless does not add to the comfort. Compared to the suburban Park N Ride lots, this station in the center of Houston, which will be the center of the rail system, feels exposed and incomplete. There was no way I could allow my daughter to wait at that station, as even I was approached by unsavory characters on my brief visit.

Metro can't change the surrounding area, but they can provide a better layout at the station and some sense of security. The Park N Ride lots always have a Metro Cop present. Maybe even a parking lot or ramp in the area would help, or allow an area for retail taco trucks or kiosks to park and add some life other than huddling in the bus shelters.

World Class means not settling for the lowest common denominator.

The beauty of the station at Wheeler is that it's smack in the middle of the whole urban renewal thing so many people on this board like to talk about. You don't like the neighborhood demographic now and you're afraid of a handful of people who don't look or dress like you? Then just wait another decade. Pretty soon, the whole neighborhood will be lilly white, crime-free and leprechauns will be handing out pots of gold on every street corner.

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I think Wheeler station works just fine! In fact, since its condensed into a single block stop I think its superior to most of the other stations along the line. Crime reports do not seem to indicate that there is a major crime problem at Wheeler Station, despite the fact that a homeless person asked you for money and you saw an empty lot. There's a grocery store a block and a half away and I've always found it a convenient stop to pick up some things on my way home on the train.

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To be fair to RocketSci... we shouldnt have to wait 10 years for the neighborhood to get better around a rail station to feel safe at the rail station. And exaggerating with lilly-white leprechauns doesn't help anything.

I've used the rail countless times and pass by Wheeler station on car countless times a week.. and I agree, it certainly doesn't portray an image of safety. Maybe things will change once the station grows to accommodate the new rail line through there. While certain people here may have no problem being approached by homeless or being surrounded by residents of a poorer neighborhood, it is another matter altogether if it is your wife or daughter in that situation.

That being said... in comparison to LA's line... I think potential for security issues is just as high if not higher for an underground station, and I'm sure there are plenty of stations in LA more dangerous than Wheeler, despite the aestethics.

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More than just cosmetics - it's aesthetics, ease of use, and a feel for safety when using the stations.

From where I live it should be very easy to take the Richmond bus to Wheeler Station and transfer to the Rail to go downtown. My daughter had a job downtown, and rather than drive her or pay to park I suggested she take the rail, so I rode it first. The bus was fine, but the "station" itself is an unwelcome mess, just a bunch of bus shelters strung along an open grass field, with no common area or amenities to assist the travelers. The neighboring area with its collection of empty lots and homeless does not add to the comfort. Compared to the suburban Park N Ride lots, this station in the center of Houston, which will be the center of the rail system, feels exposed and incomplete. There was no way I could allow my daughter to wait at that station, as even I was approached by unsavory characters on my brief visit.

Metro can't change the surrounding area, but they can provide a better layout at the station and some sense of security. The Park N Ride lots always have a Metro Cop present. Maybe even a parking lot or ramp in the area would help, or allow an area for retail taco trucks or kiosks to park and add some life other than huddling in the bus shelters.

World Class means not settling for the lowest common denominator.

Couldn't have said it better!

As for your question Kylejack, If Cosmetics didn't matter, than why is it important to most other cities transit systems including LA's? When METRO Houston thinks of cosmetics, they think that keeping its properties clear of paid advertising is enough. I see nothing wrong with advertisements on buses, trains and stations in a crazy way it makes things more interesting and less like you're in Communist North Korea. Back to my point, instead of METRO worrying about ads on its properties, they should focus more on the cosmetics of their stations. The last time I was on Main I remember thinking what a cheap looking rail system with people standing in the middle of the road to wait for the train under a tiny shed. Not what something Id expect from the 4th largest city in America and Oil Capital of the World. Look at the systems Dubai and its surrounding oil rich neighbors have built. So don't tell me oil is the reason Houston doesn't have a World class transit system.

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I am not saying cosmetics don't matter, I'm saying they're not a factor in determining what is a "world class transit system". I would say that NYC has a world class transit system but I did not think it was very pretty to look at.

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I am not saying cosmetics don't matter, I'm saying they're not a factor in determining what is a "world class transit system". I would say that NYC has a world class transit system but I did not think it was very pretty to look at.

I agree, If Houston had a NYC type system with the same grit, I wouldn't complain. I think It would be easier to keep it clean in Houston than NYC though. No matter what though, I just can't call what METRO has built World Class. You all complain that Houston is to Hot to be out in the open all the time, well why not have built an in-closed system with air conditioning?

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I think Wheeler station works just fine! In fact, since its condensed into a single block stop I think its superior to most of the other stations along the line. Crime reports do not seem to indicate that there is a major crime problem at Wheeler Station, despite the fact that a homeless person asked you for money and you saw an empty lot. There's a grocery store a block and a half away and I've always found it a convenient stop to pick up some things on my way home on the train.

My daughter's friends have had drinks thrown at them, been pushed to the ground, been verbally assaulted by crazies, had an attempted purse snatching, and have been followed walking through the area. None of these have been in the crime statistics. I was approached by 2 individuals while waiting at the bus stop, and later moved to avoid an agitated man shouting to apparently no one, on my handful of visits to the station as a passenger. I avoid metro because of the station, and tell my family to avoid it. I board elsewhere even though Wheeler is technically more convenient.

The grocery store is a block and a half away across an open lot and a parking lot, great walk in the summer. The fortress Sears is across the street, and in the morning you can step over the people sleeping along the building or in the shade at the NAACP building along Fannin. While waiting for the bus, you can watch the homeless bathing in the fountain by the Baptist church across Main, or congregating and sleeping on the foundations of the flattened structures across the street. I don't see the guy with the mattress in the shopping cart anymore since it went up in flames under the freeway overpass. If you get tired of the huddled crowd in the bus shelter, you can step back into the exposed open grassy area to stand in the hot sun to soak in the ambiance. If you want to drop someone off at the station, you can pull over and block traffic on one of the major streets since there is no pull-over area.

We should have a station design that recognizes the current demographic of the area and adapts to it for the sake of all passengers.

And seriously, compare Wheeler Station with any of Metro's Park N Ride lots to see what Metro is capable of doing. Security, parking, covered waiting areas, aesthetically pleasing designs, drop-off lanes - all of the things lacking at Wheeler.

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My daughter's friends have had drinks thrown at them, been pushed to the ground, been verbally assaulted by crazies, had an attempted purse snatching, and have been followed walking through the area.

I think its just remarkable that people have stories like this and yet I ride the train every single day and don't encounter any of it. If people have drinks on the train, I would advise you to contact Metro Police as it is against the rules. Just don't tell them about my coffee mug!

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To be fair to RocketSci... we shouldnt have to wait 10 years for the neighborhood to get better around a rail station to feel safe at the rail station. And exaggerating with lilly-white leprechauns doesn't help anything.

I've used the rail countless times and pass by Wheeler station on car countless times a week.. and I agree, it certainly doesn't portray an image of safety. Maybe things will change once the station grows to accommodate the new rail line through there. While certain people here may have no problem being approached by homeless or being surrounded by residents of a poorer neighborhood, it is another matter altogether if it is your wife or daughter in that situation.

That being said... in comparison to LA's line... I think potential for security issues is just as high if not higher for an underground station, and I'm sure there are plenty of stations in LA more dangerous than Wheeler, despite the aestethics.

Why shouldn't we have to wait for the neighborhood to get prettier on its own? You really think this community (especially a number of HAIFers) wouldn't be outraged if METRO spent extra millions on aesthetics or on marketing to attract retail kiosks?

Also, when you say "residents of a poorer neighborhood," why don't you come out with what you really mean? This whole thread has much less to do with public art or personal safety and more to do with the perception of safety around dark-skinned people by some suburban snobs. I have no patience for racism, no matter how thin or thickly veiled it is (except with humor - then all bets are off). In fact, now I hope the neighborhood never changes just because I like watching bigots squirm in their self-conceptualized social hell. It's just silly to suggest METRO should hire dedicated cops for this one station when HPD already does a pretty good job monitoring the entire line. And besides, the police visibility never totally eliminates crime anyhow. There's rarely a cop more than two blocks away from the Greyhound station, and it's not as if that's done much to curtail miscreant behavior there.

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I think its just remarkable that people have stories like this and yet I ride the train every single day and don't encounter any of it. If people have drinks on the train, I would advise you to contact Metro Police as it is against the rules. Just don't tell them about my coffee mug!

Not on the train itself, but in the vicinity of the Station.

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I think its just remarkable that people have stories like this and yet I ride the train every single day and don't encounter any of it. If people have drinks on the train, I would advise you to contact Metro Police as it is against the rules. Just don't tell them about my coffee mug!

Uh, yeah. Not only that, but these things happen with much greater frequency in cities with "world-class" trains.

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Why shouldn't we have to wait for the neighborhood to get prettier on its own? You really think this community (especially a number of HAIFers) wouldn't be outraged if METRO spent extra millions on aesthetics or on marketing to attract retail kiosks?

Also, when you say "residents of a poorer neighborhood," why don't you come out with what you really mean? This whole thread has much less to do with public art or personal safety and more to do with the perception of safety around dark-skinned people by some suburban snobs. I have no patience for racism, no matter how thin or thickly veiled it is (except with humor - then all bets are off). In fact, now I hope the neighborhood never changes just because I like watching bigots squirm in their self-conceptualized social hell. It's just silly to suggest METRO should hire dedicated cops for this one station when HPD already does a pretty good job monitoring the entire line. And besides, the police visibility never totally eliminates crime anyhow. There's rarely a cop more than two blocks away from the Greyhound station, and it's not as if that's done much to curtail miscreant behavior there.

I live in the neighborhood, and I don't like walking through that area. I drive to and shop at the local stores, but my wife and daughters will not unless I am with them. There are many abandoned lots and run down buildings in the vicinity, as well as shelters and halfway houses whose residents congregate at the fast food joints, many street people who live and sleep nearby, some small drug dealing, and occasionally prostitution in the bushes along the freeway. There is nothing racist about this, and although I would like the neighborhood to get better my only real issue I am addressing here is that the current design of the station does not provide the level of services that other cities have, or that Metro has shown they are capable of providing.

Metro stations in other cities typically have covered shelters, parking nearby, retail areas, and visible police to provide a sense of security. This in turn promotes ridership and increases revenue to the Metro. What in the hell is so wrong with that??

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I live in the neighborhood, and I don't like walking through that area. I drive to and shop at the local stores, but my wife and daughters will not unless I am with them. There are many abandoned lots and run down buildings in the vicinity, as well as shelters and halfway houses whose residents congregate at the fast food joints, many street people who live and sleep nearby, some small drug dealing, and occasionally prostitution in the bushes along the freeway. There is nothing racist about this, and although I would like the neighborhood to get better my only real issue I am addressing here is that the current design of the station does not provide the level of services that other cities have, or that Metro has shown they are capable of providing.

Metro stations in other cities typically have covered shelters, parking nearby, retail areas, and visible police to provide a sense of security. This in turn promotes ridership and increases revenue to the Metro. What in the hell is so wrong with that??

There's absolutely nothing wrong with wanting safety for yourself and your family. Nothing at all. But that's not what you want. You're asking for the perception of safety and the rounding up of people who look different than you. The crime you've listed was no more intense than what I witnessed daily at my lilly white suburban high school in the 90s. Look, you took a calculated risk moving into that area at the time you chose to move there. Blame yourself for living in a neighborhood in the process of gentrification and not one that's totally gentrified (or suburban). Don't blame the neighborhood's residents for also having the audactiy to do such a thing as live there too. It's not their fault their skin tone make you feel uncomfortable.

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There's absolutely nothing wrong with wanting safety for yourself and your family. Nothing at all. But that's not what you want. You're asking for the perception of safety and the rounding up of people who look different than you. The crime you've listed was no more intense than what I witnessed daily at my lilly white suburban high school in the 90s. Look, you took a calculated risk moving into that area at the time you chose to move there. Blame yourself for living in a neighborhood in the process of gentrification and not one that's totally gentrified (or suburban). Don't blame the neighborhood's residents for also having the audactiy to do such a thing as live there too. It's not their fault their skin tone make you feel uncomfortable.

I accept my choices and the neighborhood as it is. I am comfortable with my neighbors, and I assume they are comfortable with my family and me.

Metro, on the other hand, has designed a crappy station at Wheeler.

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Why shouldn't we have to wait for the neighborhood to get prettier on its own? You really think this community (especially a number of HAIFers) wouldn't be outraged if METRO spent extra millions on aesthetics or on marketing to attract retail kiosks?

Also, when you say "residents of a poorer neighborhood," why don't you come out with what you really mean? This whole thread has much less to do with public art or personal safety and more to do with the perception of safety around dark-skinned people by some suburban snobs. I have no patience for racism, no matter how thin or thickly veiled it is (except with humor - then all bets are off). In fact, now I hope the neighborhood never changes just because I like watching bigots squirm in their self-conceptualized social hell. It's just silly to suggest METRO should hire dedicated cops for this one station when HPD already does a pretty good job monitoring the entire line. And besides, the police visibility never totally eliminates crime anyhow. There's rarely a cop more than two blocks away from the Greyhound station, and it's not as if that's done much to curtail miscreant behavior there.

Yes.. i would be outraged if Metro spent millions to make Wheeler prettier yet did nothing to increase security.

I could care less about the aesthetics slant to this thread... I only came to Rockets defense from a security standpoint.

Dude.. you're talking to a guy who lives maybe a mile from Wheeler station, not a suburban snob... but hey.. love the liberal 'label and dismiss' tactic.

I mean "residents of a poorer neighborhood" ... that they happen to be black in this case doesn't drive the concerns. Ya know what... you go walk a mile though the poorest neighborhood in Houston and see what happens.... I don't know where that is... but I'll be more interested to learn if you manage to walk through without getting assaulted than the color of the person who assaulted you. In my statement I linked "poor" to "crime" .... if you can only interpret that as "black" equals "crime.. that's your own issue you have to deal with.

You obviously arent married and only have to look after yourself .. thats nice. Your view on perception of safety will change once you have others to worry about.

As for why this one station should have increased security.... let's see.. It's already one of the few transit stations on the line therefore it has increased activity. That activity will increase even more once the next rail line gets added. As the rail system expands, this will arguably become one of the more important and active junctions in the entire system. At a minimum, It wouldnt hurt to add some nice fences and landscape to better control access. If any architecture gets built on the site as it gets expanded, it wouldnt hurt to choose this location as a metro pd substation as well.

Most safety measures from security gates to metal detectors do a much better job at increasing perception of safety vs real safety..... I understand that there is a difference. However that doesnt diminish the fact that those measures are still quite effective because increasing perception of safety can increases deterrence to crime. Increased perception of safety can lead to increased safety.

Example: Metal detectors at airports increase perception of safety. If i was a terrorist and wanted to smuggle explosives on to a plane, i'm sure i could find a way to do it. The metal detector make me feel better though that the chances of that arent as great. However, I'm not a terrorist. I'm a normal guy. But because I'm a normal guy, I see that metal detector as a pretty strong deterrent to me being able to get a gun on to the plane. Therefore the safety of others on the plane is actually much higher than if there were no metal detectors at all.

Edited by Highway6

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I accept my choices and the neighborhood as it is. I am comfortable with my neighbors, and I assume they are comfortable with my family and me.

Metro, on the other hand, has designed a crappy station at Wheeler.

But your complaints were about the neighborhood, not the station:

Not on the train itself, but in the vicinity of the Station.

I live in the neighborhood, and I don't like walking through that area. I drive to and shop at the local stores, but my wife and daughters will not unless I am with them. There are many abandoned lots and run down buildings in the vicinity, as well as shelters and halfway houses whose residents congregate at the fast food joints, many street people who live and sleep nearby, some small drug dealing, and occasionally prostitution in the bushes along the freeway.

What do you propose METRO should do about the Jack in the Box, the Shipleys, the Fiesta, the Sears or the NAACP? What should METRO do? If your criticism is the transients or the prostitution or the drug use, your complaint isn't with METRO, that's all I'm saying.

I mean "residents of a poorer neighborhood" ... that they happen to be black in this case doesn't drive the concerns. Ya know what... you go walk a mile though the poorest neighborhood in Houston and see what happens.... I don't know where that is... but I'll be more interested to learn if you manage to walk through without getting assaulted than the color of the person who assaulted you. In my statement I linked "poor" to "crime" .... if you can only interpret that as "black" equals "crime.. that's your own issue you have to deal with.

Sure, the proximity of the NAACP offices and the traditionally black 3rd Ward is all my perception. Whatever. Nice attempt to turn the racist card back on me. If history serves as a pattern, then your next post will say that it's my fault you sided with the bigot viewpoint on this one. Again, whatever.

You obviously arent married and only have to look after yourself .. thats nice. Your view on perception of safety will change once you have others to worry about.

Like my wife and my infant daughter? And you know what? Since the safety of those two are a concern of mine, I choose to live in Greenway, not a gentrifying part of Midtown. Ever hear the parable of the frog and the scorpion? If not, I'll skip to the chase: if you mess with a scorpion, you're bound to get stung. As in, if you live in a neighborhood with criminals, you're bound to be the victim of crime.

As for why this one station should have increased security.... let's see.. It's already one of the few transit stations on the line therefore it has increased activity. That activity will increase even more once the next rail line gets added. As the rail system expands, this will arguably become one of the more important and active junctions in the entire system. At a minimum, It wouldnt hurt to add some nice fences and landscape to better control access. If any architecture gets built on the site as it gets expanded, it wouldnt hurt to choose this location as a metro pd substation as well.

Most safety measures from security gates to metal detectors do a much better job at increasing perception of safety vs real safety..... I understand that there is a difference. However that doesnt diminish the fact that those measures are still quite effective because increasing perception of safety can increases deterrence to crime. Increased perception of safety can lead to increased safety.

Example: Metal detectors at airports increase perception of safety. If i was a terrorist and wanted to smuggle explosives on to a plane, i'm sure i could find a way to do it. The metal detector make me feel better though that the chances of that arent as great. However, I'm not a terrorist. I'm a normal guy. But because I'm a normal guy, I see that metal detector as a pretty strong deterrent to me being able to get a gun on to the plane. Therefore the safety of others on the plane is actually increased.

Er... so... we need metal detectors at Wheeler station or the terrorists are going to shoot the plane up? Don't you think if they had sinister intentions, they'd just hop on the train at an unprotected stop? Or, are you suggesting every train stop should look like this:

berlin-flag.jpg

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More than just cosmetics - it's aesthetics, ease of use, and a feel for safety when using the stations.

Ease of use? How can taking several flights of stairs or an escalator underground be easier to use than a street level station? Is an office on the 3rd floor easier to access than one on the 1st floor? Boy, for someone insinuating that he is a rocket scientist, your logic skills sure are out of whack.

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No... dont think we should have the Berlin wall put up around wheeler... or metal detectors. That would be why i sued the word "Example"

I think Wheeler is incredibly open now and that is its problem. Seems like you can approach the actual platform from 360 degrees. Which isnt the best thing if you're surrounded by a poor neighborhood.

Throw up natural and manmade barriers to approach to limit the access to a handful of points.

Put up more security cameras, including overtly obvious ones at those access points.

I think at a minimal level, that could do wonders for increasing perception of security at the station, but also increase deterrence for unauthorized access by those who aren't there to ride transit and deterrence for possible crime.

You left me no choice but to turn it on you since you were the first to call others a racist. I'm not a racist, nor do i take kindly to being called one.

And unless you're talking about "Breakfast Klub"... I had no clue there were NAACP offices or any other magnet for CP right around that intersection. I've been to Breakfast Klub... its pricey enough its not going to attract the homeless or really poor and I have no problem eating there with the family despite the fact that I'd be in the less than %5 of white people there at any given time. That Jack in the Box there though is another isue... I certainly wouldnt let my wife eat there by herself.

What's the difference between the two places? It surely isnt the dominant racial identity of the majority of users.. its the perception of who is welcome there based on income levels. I guarantee you more homeless and poor people will be using that Jackin the Box over the Breakfast Klub at any given time.... therefore, from a potential crime or harrassment standpoint, the Jack in the Box is much more risky.

Hey.. great parable. But while I live a mile from Wheeler station, I live a mile to the west in a neighborhood I most certainly could not expect to actually buy a home in anytime soon. Ergo.. not a scorpion den. But where I live, and where you live is besides the point because we are talking about a transit station, and soon to be important transit junction... meaning it will be used by people that live all over.

Would you let your wife wait at Wheeler station for an hour by herself? No. And that's a shame.. because your tax dollars helped build it, so you should certainly be able to do so.

Edited by Highway6

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The way METRO has its light rail set up now, you can pretty much ride for free. Who hasn't ridden it for free?

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Ease of use? How can taking several flights of stairs or an escalator underground be easier to use than a street level station? Is an office on the 3rd floor easier to access than one on the 1st floor? Boy, for someone insinuating that he is a rocket scientist, your logic skills sure are out of whack.

I'm sorry, when did I say anything about an escalator or 3rd floor office? When did I say anything about design specifics other than better auto access, parking, covered areas, and a sense of security? When did I say anything about skin color, or when did I become a suburban snob? Why is my logic attacked about things I never said.

I have a great idea - how about discussing and responding to things I actually say and not trying to read into it things that don't exist!

Just to make things clear:

I think Wheeler Station may be a functional station, but its current design does not represent so called "world class" transit stations in other cities, which incorporate welcoming public spaces (not just crowded bus shelters and vacant grass), convenient intermodal transfers (in this case pedestrian, auto drop off, parking), mixed use within public space (such as immediately adjacent retail or offices), and security (real and perceived, thru visible police, restricted access, improved aesthetics in conjunction with surrounding community).

If Houston is to be considered "world class" in anything, then it will be judged by the world's standards, not the standards of low expectations. Even within the low expectations of Houston (Park N Ride lot design) Wheeler Station is poor.

Info: during public meetings about the University Line I did bring up Wheeler Station design in several group meetings. Unfortunately, most of the "public" at these meetings were Richmond Avenue business owners who opposed rail and had no interest in improving the system for actual passengers.

Edited by RocketSci

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Would you let your wife wait at Wheeler station for an hour by herself? No. And that's a shame.. because your tax dollars helped build it, so you should certainly be able to do so.

Exactly!

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I'm sorry, when did I say anything about an escalator or 3rd floor office? When did I say anything about design specifics other than better auto access, parking, covered areas, and a sense of security? When did I say anything about skin color, or when did I become a suburban snob? Why is my logic attacked about things I never said.

I have a great idea - how about discussing and responding to things I actually say and not trying to read into it things that don't exist!

Uh, dude. You compared the Gold Line depicted in citykid's post to Houston's Red Line. I quoted YOUR post, and highlighted YOUR post. The Gold Line pictures show subway stations and elevated tracks, while Wheeler Station is at street level. I never brought up skin color or snobbishness. I merely commented on your claim that the Gold Line was easier to use than the Red Line. You may believe that the subway stations LOOK better, and I would agree with you in many cases. But, nothing is easier to use than a street level station.

If you are concerned about others pointing out the flaws in your argument, you should reconsider posting on a public forum.

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No... dont think we should have the Berlin wall put up around wheeler... or metal detectors. That would be why i sued the word "Example"

I think Wheeler is incredibly open now and that is its problem. Seems like you can approach the actual platform from 360 degrees. Which isnt the best thing if you're surrounded by a poor neighborhood.

Throw up natural and manmade barriers to approach to limit the access to a handful of points.

Put up more security cameras, including overtly obvious ones at those access points.

I think at a minimal level, that could do wonders for increasing perception of security at the station, but also increase deterrence for unauthorized access by those who aren't there to ride transit and deterrence for possible crime.

You left me no choice but to turn it on you since you were the first to call others a racist. I'm not a racist, nor do i take kindly to being called one.

And unless you're talking about "Breakfast Klub"... I had no clue there were NAACP offices or any other magnet for CP right around that intersection. I've been to Breakfast Klub... its pricey enough its not going to attract the homeless or really poor and I have no problem eating there with the family despite the fact that I'd be in the less than %5 of white people there at any given time. That Jack in the Box there though is another isue... I certainly wouldnt let my wife eat there by herself.

What's the difference between the two places? It surely isnt the dominant racial identity of the majority of users.. its the perception of who is welcome there based on income levels. I guarantee you more homeless and poor people will be using that Jackin the Box over the Breakfast Klub at any given time.... therefore, from a potential crime or harrassment standpoint, the Jack in the Box is much more risky.

Hey.. great parable. But while I live a mile from Wheeler station, I live a mile to the west in a neighborhood I most certainly could not expect to actually buy a home in anytime soon. Ergo.. not a scorpion den. But where I live, and where you live is besides the point because we are talking about a transit station, and soon to be important transit junction... meaning it will be used by people that live all over.

Would you let your wife wait at Wheeler station for an hour by herself? No. And that's a shame.. because your tax dollars helped build it, so you should certainly be able to do so.

Ok, there we have it! Transit should only be provided in rich neighborhoods, since our wives might not feel safe in poor ones!

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Uh, dude. You compared the Gold Line depicted in citykid's post to Houston's Red Line. I quoted YOUR post, and highlighted YOUR post. The Gold Line pictures show subway stations and elevated tracks, while Wheeler Station is at street level. I never brought up skin color or snobbishness. I merely commented on your claim that the Gold Line was easier to use than the Red Line. You may believe that the subway stations LOOK better, and I would agree with you in many cases. But, nothing is easier to use than a street level station.

If you are concerned about others pointing out the flaws in your argument, you should reconsider posting on a public forum.

There is more to ease of use than whether the stations are at street level or not.

The Union Station is the juncture of multiple rail lines, and I am sure represents an ease of use for passengers transferring.

To me, ease of use also includes ability to access and drop off passengers by car, protection from the elements, and effects on other area transportation. Ease of use was also merely one of the criteria identified. At Wheeler transfer from bus to rail is easy, I agree, as rail runs often enough where the wait is short. Transfer from rail to bus often involves longer waits and exposure to the elements.

(Skin color and snobbishness comments were not directed at you - my post was aimed at more than one poster)

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There is more to ease of use than whether the stations are at street level or not.

The Union Station is the juncture of multiple rail lines, and I am sure represents an ease of use for passengers transferring.

To me, ease of use also includes ability to access and drop off passengers by car, protection from the elements, and effects on other area transportation. Ease of use was also merely one of the criteria identified. At Wheeler transfer from bus to rail is easy, I agree, as rail runs often enough where the wait is short. Transfer from rail to bus often involves longer waits and exposure to the elements.

(Skin color and snobbishness comments were not directed at you - my post was aimed at more than one poster)

At those stations where multiple lines meet, I would expect more than exists at Wheeler, also. But, only one line runs through Wheeler. And, I also agree that the train runs often enough to make it easy to use (why Highway6's wife would let 10 trains come by before boarding one an hour later is beyond me). I only highlighted 'ease of use' because I agree that there are no aesthetic values to Wheeler. It is simply a functional station.

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No... dont think we should have the Berlin wall put up around wheeler... or metal detectors. That would be why i sued the word "Example"

I think Wheeler is incredibly open now and that is its problem. Seems like you can approach the actual platform from 360 degrees. Which isnt the best thing if you're surrounded by a poor neighborhood.

Throw up natural and manmade barriers to approach to limit the access to a handful of points.

Put up more security cameras, including overtly obvious ones at those access points.

I think at a minimal level, that could do wonders for increasing perception of security at the station, but also increase deterrence for unauthorized access by those who aren't there to ride transit and deterrence for possible crime.

You left me no choice but to turn it on you since you were the first to call others a racist. I'm not a racist, nor do i take kindly to being called one.

And unless you're talking about "Breakfast Klub"... I had no clue there were NAACP offices or any other magnet for CP right around that intersection. I've been to Breakfast Klub... its pricey enough its not going to attract the homeless or really poor and I have no problem eating there with the family despite the fact that I'd be in the less than %5 of white people there at any given time. That Jack in the Box there though is another isue... I certainly wouldnt let my wife eat there by herself.

What's the difference between the two places? It surely isnt the dominant racial identity of the majority of users.. its the perception of who is welcome there based on income levels. I guarantee you more homeless and poor people will be using that Jackin the Box over the Breakfast Klub at any given time.... therefore, from a potential crime or harrassment standpoint, the Jack in the Box is much more risky.

Hey.. great parable. But while I live a mile from Wheeler station, I live a mile to the west in a neighborhood I most certainly could not expect to actually buy a home in anytime soon. Ergo.. not a scorpion den. But where I live, and where you live is besides the point because we are talking about a transit station, and soon to be important transit junction... meaning it will be used by people that live all over.

Would you let your wife wait at Wheeler station for an hour by herself? No. And that's a shame.. because your tax dollars helped build it, so you should certainly be able to do so.

Let me start first by saying that I don't let my wife do anything. She's more than capable of making her own decisions about places that she finds appropriate or inappropriate for herself. Besides that, she's from a city with much worse crime than Houston so I'm fairly confident she can handle herself. Her home town Memphis can make Mogadishu look like the Woodlands at times. While I'd hope she doesn't wait at Wheeler station for an hour, that's more because trains go through every six minutes, not because I fear for her safety. If she's there for an hour, that means she's sat back and watched at least nine trains go by. That's irresponsible behavior, and that sort of thing is what makes a person a target, not merely being white in a black neighborhood.

Another funny thing is I've eaten at that Jack in the Box several times in the past and never once encountered a problem. Not once. Despite the income level of the people who eat there or their skin tone, most people the world over want to live in peace and aren't looking for trouble. Just simply because the Wheeler station is in a neighborhood with a variable demographic, this does not mean anyone is in any way facing any greater danger than a station in Downtown or the TMC. As to your idea that I should take a leisurely stroll through the poorest neighborhood in Houston as if that somehow proves Wheeler is itself crawling with criminal vermin, all I can do is sit back dumbfounded and ask, "What? What does that have to do with anything being discussed here?"

I just don't understand this irrational fear so many people burden themselves with. Not every person out there is out to get you. While I readily admit the crime around Wheeler station is higher than the areas around some park and rides in lpaces like Kingwood, you must admit Midtown never had any pretensions of being Kingwood. One is an urban area and has all the trappings that go along with urban life, and the other is decidedly suburban and is as safe and bland and cloistered as any 'burb should expect to be. If RocketSci doesn't like the urban lifestyle, then he shouldn't live there. It's really that simple. His bad decision making skills aren't METRO's fault. That's the gist.

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Ok, there we have it! Transit should only be provided in rich neighborhoods, since our wives might not feel safe in poor ones!

Yeah.. Cuz I havent been fighting for rail expansion on HAIF as long as you have, right.

Both you and Attica have the same problem... you confuse the the neighborhoods of my residence, and attica's residence, and transit user's residences with that of the neighborhood at this station location. Wheeler isnt just any station.. its a current transit station and future rail junction. When the system gets built out, it will be one of maybe 5 most important and active stations. Wheeler station happens to live in a dodgy neighborhood. People from Uptown, Downtown, Northline, Sunnyside will be passing through it.

If NY's Union Station was in in the middle of the worst part of Harlem, it would be expected that everything possible to make that station secure, should be done to protect transit users.

Red... Despite wherever you may live.. would you drop your wife at Wheeler station to fend for herself for an hour as its current security level ??

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Yeah.. Cuz I havent been fighting for rail expansion on HAIF as long as you have, right.

Both you and Attica have the same problem... you confuse the the neighborhoods of my residence, and attica's residence, and transit user's residences with that of the neighborhood at this station location. Wheeler isnt just any station.. its a current transit station and future rail junction. When the system gets built out, it will be one of maybe 5 most important and active stations. Wheeler station happens to live in a dodgy neighborhood. People from Uptown, Downtown, Northline, Sunnyside will be passing through it.

If NY's Union Station was in in the middle of the worst part of Harlem, it would be expected that everything possible to make that station secure, should be done to protect transit users.

Red... Despite wherever you may live.. would you drop your wife at Wheeler station to fend for herself for an hour as its current security level ??

I'm not married, but if I were, my wife would have no reason to wait an hour at Wheeler, when the trains come by every 6 minutes.

You are complaining of Wheeler's current layout when future lines are built. That makes no sense whatsoever. When the U Line is built, Wheeler will get redone. Rather than argue that the current Wheeler is insufficient to handle future expansion, I suggest that you post the future expansion plans, so that we can debate reality. Claiming that a current configuration will not work in the future is rather...umm...silly.

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Yeah.. Cuz I havent been fighting for rail expansion on HAIF as long as you have, right.

Both you and Attica have the same problem... you confuse the the neighborhoods of my residence, and attica's residence, and transit user's residences with that of the neighborhood at this station location. Wheeler isnt just any station.. its a current transit station and future rail junction. When the system gets built out, it will be one of maybe 5 most important and active stations. Wheeler station happens to live in a dodgy neighborhood. People from Uptown, Downtown, Northline, Sunnyside will be passing through it.

If NY's Union Station was in in the middle of the worst part of Harlem, it would be expected that everything possible to make that station secure, should be done to protect transit users.

Red... Despite wherever you may live.. would you drop your wife at Wheeler station to fend for herself for an hour as its current security level ??

Wheeler station ain't exactly in the Houston equivalent of the worst part of Harlem, and I'm talking about 2009 Harlem, not 1980s Harlem.

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Red... Despite wherever you may live.. would you drop your wife at Wheeler station to fend for herself for an hour as its current security level ??

What the heck is going on with this hour question?

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Let me start first by saying that I don't let my wife do anything. She's more than capable of making her own decisions about places that she finds appropriate or inappropriate for herself. ..... While I'd hope she doesn't wait at Wheeler station for an hour, that's more because trains go through every six minutes, not because I fear for her safety. If she's there for an hour, that means she's sat back and watched at least nine trains go by.

Okay.. Stop circling around the issue with train times and female independence ... Would you be comfortable with her decision if she chose to wait at Wheeler station for an hour?

Another funny thing is I've eaten at that Jack in the Box several times in the past and never once encountered a problem.

Me neither.. but you and I aren't 100 lb women. I think we can both agree from a common sense standpoint that women are more likely to be assaulted than men and smaller weaker people are more likely to be assaulted than bigger stronger looking people.

And as my "walk though the poorest neighborhood example" was meant to demonstrate.... the poorer an area is, the more chance of desperation, the more chance of crime.

And you keep bringing back up skin tone.. not me.

I just don't understand this irrational fear so many people burden themselves with. Not every person out there is out to get you. While I readily admit the crime around Wheeler station is higher than the areas around some park and rides in lpaces like Kingwood, you must admit Midtown never had any pretensions of being Kingwood.

Nor have i mentioned Kingwood or other suburbia even once. We could just as easily compare Wheeler to the two stations to the north and two stations to the south. McGowan station may only be a platform... but it is both more isolated in its access but surrounded by eyes (cameras and places of business and residences) and the perception of safety, and deterrence for crime, is greater there than at Wheeler.

Edited by Highway6

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I'm not married, but if I were, my wife would have no reason to wait an hour at Wheeler, when the trains come by every 6 minutes.

You are complaining of Wheeler's current layout when future lines are built. That makes no sense whatsoever. When the U Line is built, Wheeler will get redone. Rather than argue that the current Wheeler is insufficient to handle future expansion, I suggest that you post the future expansion plans, so that we can debate reality. Claiming that a current configuration will not work in the future is rather...umm...silly.

You're right.. lets talk only current..

Busses dont come by every 6 minutes...

Hypothetical Mrss Red gets off the rail to catch a bus that runs every 15 minutes and is 10 minutes late....

Would you be comfortable with hypothetical Mrs. Red waiting at current Wheeler station for 25 minutes without you ?

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If RocketSci doesn't like the urban lifestyle, then he shouldn't live there. It's really that simple. His bad decision making skills aren't METRO's fault. That's the gist.

I don't live at the corner of Wheeler and Main.

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Not really sure what you're so afraid of. Its not a high crime area.

Here's the beat report for September, most recent available: http://www.houstontx.gov/police/cs/stats2009/sep09/sep0910h40.htm

There's nothing on that block on Fannin or even all that close on Fannin. On Main Street there's an Aggravated Assault, a Theft, and an Auto Theft. Might be at that VA living quarters place? There are no rapes or homicides. Many beats cannot say that, including River Oaks, where a son shot and killed his dad.

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Okay.. Stop circling around the issue with train times and female independence ... Would you be comfortable with her decision if she chose to wait at Wheeler station for an hour?

Me neither.. but you and I aren't 100 lb women. I think we can both agree from a common sense standpoint that women are more likely to be assaulted than men and smaller weaker people are more likely to be assaulted than bigger stronger looking people.

And as my "walk though the poorest neighborhood example" was meant to demonstrate.... the poorer an area is, the more chance of desperation, the more chance of crime.

And you keep bringing back up skin tone.. not me.

Nor have i mentioned Kingwood or other suburbia even once. We could just as easily compare Wheeler to the two stations to the north and two stations to the south. McGowan station may only be a platform... but it is both more isolated in its access but surrounded by eyes (cameras and places of business and residences) and the perception of safety, and deterrence for crime, is greater there than at Wheeler.

Yoo ask a lot of hypotheticals and then get annoyed that we're conditionalizing them? You're not asking about any kind of real world scenario that would ever actually take place. If you don't want me to dance, don't take me to the club.

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You're right.. lets talk only current..

Busses dont come by every 6 minutes...

Hypothetical Mrss Red gets off the rail to catch a bus that runs every 15 minutes and is 10 minutes late....

Would you be comfortable with hypothetical Mrs. Red waiting at current Wheeler station for 25 minutes without you ?

Well, for your hypothetical to occur, I would have had to get married, AND Mrs. Red and I would have made the decision to move to the area. Since we would not have decided to move there if we were terrified to go outside, and considering my experience in criminal matters (including how not to make yourself a victim), and considering my general non-interest in bimbos (meaning my wife would know how to stay safe), my belief is that I would be aware but not overly concerned if my wife were at Wheeler Station waiting for the bus. However, in the interest of getting off of a topic that has little chance of ever occurring, if I concede that I would be terrified, and that I would beat my wife before I let her wait for the bus at Wheeler, could we move onto something else? Might I also suggest that your tax dollars allow you to ride the train, not demand that it be built to your specs? Might I also point out that you and others seem to have expensive solutions to the "problems" of METRO, yet also seem to complain a lot about tax money to pay for it?

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Yoo ask a lot of hypotheticals and then get annoyed that we're conditionalizing them? You're not asking about any kind of real world scenario that would ever actually take place. If you don't want me to dance, don't take me to the club.

deleted

Edited by RocketSci

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Well, for your hypothetical to occur, I would have had to get married, AND Mrs. Red and I would have made the decision to move to the area. Since we would not have decided to move there if we were terrified to go outside, and considering my experience in criminal matters (including how not to make yourself a victim), and considering my general non-interest in bimbos (meaning my wife would know how to stay safe), my belief is that I would be aware but not overly concerned if my wife were at Wheeler Station waiting for the bus. However, in the interest of getting off of a topic that has little chance of ever occurring, if I concede that I would be terrified, and that I would beat my wife before I let her wait for the bus at Wheeler, could we move onto something else? Might I also suggest that your tax dollars allow you to ride the train, not demand that it be built to your specs? Might I also point out that you and others seem to have expensive solutions to the "problems" of METRO, yet also seem to complain a lot about tax money to pay for it?

Oh thank God.. you're saying only dumb bimbos get assaulted, raped, and harassed by homeless. Okay.. no longer an issue then.

I just suggested fencing and landscaping... not that pricey a solution.

Nor have i ever complained about metro and our tax money.

Wheeler station is in the middle of a open superblock surrounded by, except for the Sears, majority open blocks. It's isolated and isolation is an ingredient for crime.

It's also accessible from all sides.

I just think its a poorly designed station. I think If the whole block were more of a destination with 2-4 access points, that would do wonders.

Use landscaping and ornamental fencing to define the block. Right there, psychologically, that would set up boundary..

You need to use transit? Come on in. You don't need to use transit, please stay out or walk around.

As it is now, there is zero boundary, zero buffer. It is designed to be usable by anyone regardless if they are there for the site's intended purpose or not.... Basic security, not there.

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Oh thank God.. you're saying only dumb bimbos get assaulted, raped, and harassed by homeless. Okay.. no longer an issue then.

I just suggested fencing and landscaping... not that pricey a solution.

Nor have i ever complained about metro and our tax money.

Wheeler station is in the middle of a open superblock surrounded by, except for the Sears, majority open blocks. It's isolated and isolation is an ingredient for crime.

It's also accessible from all sides.

I just think its a poorly designed station. I think If the whole block were more of a destination with 2-4 access points, that would do wonders.

Use landscaping and ornamental fencing to define the block. Right there, psychologically, that would set up boundary..

You need to use transit? Come on in. You don't need to use transit, please stay out or walk around.

As it is now, there is zero boundary, zero buffer. It is designed to be usable by anyone regardless if they are there for the site's intended purpose or not.... Basic security, not there.

Yes, if you're going to go the helpless bimbo route, I'm going to call out the bimbo post. People use Wheeler every single day without problem. Granted, few of them are bimbos, and that is probably a good thing. Only one post has contained actual crime stats, and they showed none. All other posts contain unsupported fears of crime. Let's stick to reality, shall we?

Your "solution" of fencing around a PUBLIC transit station is window dressing. It will not make the station any safer, though it might make you and a few others feel safer. I'm not a fan of apparent safety. Again, I like reality. Reality says that you are a potential victim ANYWHERE. Ask the mayor of Sugarland. Closing off the station, or hiding it underground or behind walls or fences make it LESS safe, not more.

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