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Inner Loop traffic


feufoma

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Traffic on the freeways was horrendous, however, after seeing that it was there at all manner of hour this past weekend, I chose surface streets to bypass the traffic around that area. I'm not sure if it was any faster, but it felt like I was doing something.

 

It's particularly frustrating cause everywhere I went this weekend would have been easily accessible by the planned university line. Granted, if it had gone through, it still wouldn't be done. Ironic still, cause the surface streets I chose to use instead of the freeway were roads the university line would have gone down.

Edited by samagon
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This is where a real rail system would have really come in handy for a lot of people.

 

Inner Loop traffic was about the same this weekend on surface streets when I went from the Greenway Plaza area to Midtown and the next day to Downtown (not the NBA east side).

 

I didn't use a freeway. 15 minutes max from my door to 3200 Louisiana Saturday and the same the next day to the Market Square area.

 

That's the point of living inside the Loop. Don't get on the damn freeways which are generally packed with outerLoopers.

 

You and a couple of other posters here seem to think the planned 5 line LRT system would remove those freeway drivers. That seems unlikely unless enough of them live within a short distance of the outside the Loop terminus (termini?).

 

The only really horrific Inner Loop traffic is in the Central Market parking lot any time the store is open. Millions of $$$ of German steel competing for any parking space within 100 yds of the door  :D

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Inner Loop traffic was about the same this weekend on surface streets when I went from the Greenway Plaza area to Midtown and the next day to Downtown (not the NBA east side).

 

I didn't use a freeway. 15 minutes max from my door to 3200 Louisiana Saturday and the same the next day to the Market Square area.

 

That's the point of living inside the Loop. Don't get on the damn freeways which are generally packed with outerLoopers.

 

You and a couple of other posters here seem to think the planned 5 line LRT system would remove those freeway drivers. That seems unlikely unless enough of them live within a short distance of the outside the Loop terminus (termini?).

 

The only really horrific Inner Loop traffic is in the Central Market parking lot any time the store is open. Millions of $$$ of German steel competing for any parking space within 100 yds of the door  :D

 

It took me about an hour to get from Beechnut and Chimney Rock to Westheimer and Chimney Rock (a trip that normally takes about 15-20 minutes, even with "rush hour" traffic).  I think there were about 50 concerts scheduled for that night in the Galleria area, and everybody and their grandma was trying to turn into a parking lot somewhere on the Richmond strip.  Even shopping centers in the Galleria are that are normally not crowded like the SW corner of Fountain View and Westheimer were tough to find a parking space in - I'm still not sure why exactly.

 

I used the surface roads thinking they would not be crowded since my wife had told me that 610 was a mess.  Didn't help.

 

They definitely could have been helped by some sort of shuttle down Richmond / Galleria area and some off-site parking.  I don't know that anybody realized it was going to get that bad.  I didn't even realize that area was still that popular :).

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Just think what the traffic would be like if we got that Super Bowl in 2017. Even if the buses were done by then it would probably be much worse with how much that area will be developed. Hopefully the east side of downtown will attract more people with how much that'll have been developed by then but the Galleria is definitely gonna close again!

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According to news reports, what happened was that multiple all-stars tweeted they would be at the Galleria, and so every fan in the city converged on it hoping to meet their favorite celebrity.  Of course that created total gridlock.  I don't think the Super Bowl would create such a scenario.  Super Bowl players are focused on the game, not making celebrity appearances (outside of media day at the stadium - and that's restricted to media).

 

The solution is simple: in the future, the NBA should do a little coordinating to spread the celebrity appearances out around town, rather than concentrated in the Galleria.

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I was trying to get to Home Depot from Braeswood and the loop was even getting clogged down towards Beechnut. The exit ramp to 59 North was also at a standstill. Surface roads were also jammed (as that was the route I took).

 

If anything, I think this highlighted how crappy 610 by the Galleria is. That one clog caused our freeway system to come to a screeching halt (even side roads). Maybe they should double-deck the thing so people that want to avoid the Galleria can just cruise on above it.

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You and a couple of other posters here seem to think the planned 5 line LRT system would remove those freeway drivers. That seems unlikely unless enough of them live within a short distance of the outside the Loop terminus (termini?).

 

I can't speak for the motives of others, but for me, the east end transit center is less than a mile from my house. The times I've ridden the mainstreet line it's been very reliable (stopping at each stop, not just parking indiscriminately for random whatever), which I can't say that same for my experience with the buses. The few times I've taken the bus, I've watched the driver skip stops (with people standing there looking at the bus in a perplexed manner) break route, all that stuff. I've not been on a bus when they just stop randomly, but I've observed them doing it.

 

My point is, right now I can walk less than 250 feet and be at a bus stop that connects to other bus routes around town that would likely put me within 200-500 feet of my destination, but I'd rather drive than be on a bus. When/if the University line is built (assuming it terminates at the east end transit center as currently planned), I'd opt to walk less than a mile to get on the train and walk however far it is from the stop to the destination rather than driving, or taking the bus (assuming the destination is less than a mile or two from the train stop).

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I was trying to get to Home Depot from Braeswood and the loop was even getting clogged down towards Beechnut. The exit ramp to 59 North was also at a standstill. Surface roads were also jammed (as that was the route I took).

 

If anything, I think this highlighted how crappy 610 by the Galleria is. That one clog caused our freeway system to come to a screeching halt (even side roads). Maybe they should double-deck the thing so people that want to avoid the Galleria can just cruise on above it.

 

If by "crappy", you mean operating far above design capacity, I totally agree. TxDOT did about the best they could rebuilding it in 2007 as a no-capacity-added project, but the fact is - the West Loop needed to be improved 20 years ago, like they were planning to do in the 1990s.

 

I think that would make an interesting thread on HAIF: do you support/oppose adding capacity to 610 and why?

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I think that would make an interesting thread on HAIF: do you support/oppose adding capacity to 610 and why?

 

The solution is simple, just build a toll road over the top of the railroad track that runs parallel to west 610, it could go from the south loop up to the new toll road that will follow 290.

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The solution is simple, just build a toll road over the top of the railroad track that runs parallel to west 610, it could go from the south loop up to the new toll road that will follow 290.

 

No more toll roads, but interesting idea. I doubt it would happen, though, because it would be fought by Bellaire, West U, Afton Oaks, and lots of other neighborhoods that have lots of money.

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The solution is simple, just build a toll road over the top of the railroad track that runs parallel to west 610, it could go from the south loop up to the new toll road that will follow 290.

 

 

For the same reason the West Loop can never be wider than it is now, Memorial Park makes your toll road impossible, unless you are willing for Memorial Park to be removed from public ownership under terms of the original title transfer:

 

"Originally the site of Camp Logan, a training camp for the soldiers of WWI, the property was purchased by the Hogg family and then conveyed to the city at cost in 1925. Under the transfer agreement, the land must be used for park purposes only." (Memorial Park Conservancy website - my emphasis)

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I've thought for a long time a partial solution to taking pressure off the West Loop might be turning Voss/Hillcroft from Westpark/59 to I10 into a grade-separated road like Allen Parkway or Memorial (underpasses at the major intersections).  I think the RoW might be there for a tight 4 lanes.  Hunters Creek Village would probably never approve, so it would probably take TXDoT to force it through.

 

More politically feasible would be elevating 3-4 express lanes down the median of the West Loop.

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Traffic on the freeways was horrendous, however, after seeing that it was there at all manner of hour this past weekend, I chose surface streets to bypass the traffic around that area. I'm not sure if it was any faster, but it felt like I was doing something.

 

It's particularly frustrating cause everywhere I went this weekend would have been easily accessible by the planned university line. Granted, if it had gone through, it still wouldn't be done. Ironic still, cause the surface streets I chose to use instead of the freeway were roads the university line would have gone down.

 

I don't know...after switching my Montrose to downtown commute out to Med Center area to downtown, I'm really starting to think rail down Richmond is just a bad idea.  At least with that design.  Rail down Richmond = horrendous traffic on Richmond and every street that crosses it.  I've sat at a red light that's somehow stayed red for 5 min.  Imagine something like that on Montrose, Shepherd, etc?  Suddenly any people using sidestreets to try to get around are forced onto the major roads to cross the rail line, creating even more congestion.  Not worth it.  You could say just take the rail but the stops along a few straight lines aren't all that accessible to most of the population

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I don't know...after switching my Montrose to downtown commute out to Med Center area to downtown, I'm really starting to think rail down Richmond is just a bad idea. At least with that design. Rail down Richmond = horrendous traffic on Richmond and every street that crosses it. I've sat at a red light that's somehow stayed red for 5 min. Imagine something like that on Montrose, Shepherd, etc? Suddenly any people using sidestreets to try to get around are forced onto the major roads to cross the rail line, creating even more congestion. Not worth it. You could say just take the rail but the stops along a few straight lines aren't all that accessible to most of the population

Do you take the rail?

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I don't know...after switching my Montrose to downtown commute out to Med Center area to downtown, I'm really starting to think rail down Richmond is just a bad idea.  At least with that design.  Rail down Richmond = horrendous traffic on Richmond and every street that crosses it.  I've sat at a red light that's somehow stayed red for 5 min.  Imagine something like that on Montrose, Shepherd, etc?  Suddenly any people using sidestreets to try to get around are forced onto the major roads to cross the rail line, creating even more congestion.  Not worth it.  You could say just take the rail but the stops along a few straight lines aren't all that accessible to most of the population

 

If you are driving between Med Center area and Downtown and are waiting 5 minutes at a red light because of the light rail, then you're doing it wrong. There are a handful of ways to get between those two area that never cross the tracks... not to mention, you could ride the train.

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The solution is simple, just build a toll road over the top of the railroad track that runs parallel to west 610, it could go from the south loop up to the new toll road that will follow 290.

 

HCTRA floated that idea a few years back but it was quickly shot down. 

 

 

 

"Originally the site of Camp Logan, a training camp for the soldiers of WWI, the property was purchased by the Hogg family and then conveyed to the city at cost in 1925. Under the transfer agreement, the land must be used for park purposes only."

 

That is interesting, but one wonders then how the West Loop got built through part of the park.  If I'm not mistaken, a sliver of land west of the West Loop is technically still part of Memorial Park. 

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HCTRA floated that idea a few years back but it was quickly shot down. 

 

heh, well, the iron is hot for striking now, as it were.

 

They (HCTRA) should have plans sitting in attache cases ready to roll after gridlock events like this last weekend to start getting community support. Have everyone say "yes, this is a terrific idea!" then in 2 years when construction starts and they all complain, they'll be reminded that they liked the idea.

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I tend to question whether it's worth doing anything.  Road capacity can only be expanded so much at a reasonable cost, and it might not make sense to design with a view to the occasional gridlock event such as this.  After all, drivers should reasonably expect that the West Loop will be clogged most of the time, and plan routes (the beltway is often a good alternative) and drive times accordingly.  It's painful, but there probably just isn't that much extra capacity to be had in the area.   

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  If I'm not mistaken, a sliver of land west of the West Loop is technically still part of Memorial Park. 

 

That strip of park to the west of the loop is  Wiess park. At least north of Woodway.

http://www.houstonparksboard.org/projects/wiess_park.php

Edited by LarryDierker
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I don't know...after switching my Montrose to downtown commute out to Med Center area to downtown, I'm really starting to think rail down Richmond is just a bad idea. At least with that design. Rail down Richmond = horrendous traffic on Richmond and every street that crosses it. I've sat at a red light that's somehow stayed red for 5 min. Imagine something like that on Montrose, Shepherd, etc? Suddenly any people using sidestreets to try to get around are forced onto the major roads to cross the rail line, creating even more congestion. Not worth it. You could say just take the rail but the stops along a few straight lines aren't all that accessible to most of the population

As I've said before some of the most congested areas in the world have light rail, Richmond avenue is not even in the same league.

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Why are people still discussing the Richmond Rail?  The METRO board pushed that out so far (past 2024 I think) because of funding issues. Sounding more like it won't happen period.

 

I saw a few weeks ago that the Uptown Mgmt Dist is now actively pursuing bus rapid transit in the Galleria area because METRO dropped the ball there as well.  They are going to use tax reinvestment zone funding for a majority of the project.

Edited by musicman
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I have to admit it is rather amazing that metro was unable to even get started on uptown and university lines since the referendum nearly 10 years ago.

 

what's worse is that they've spent about 45 million on design and various studies for the galleria line and even more for the richmond line.   all down the drain.

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I have to admit it is rather amazing that metro was unable to even get started on uptown and university lines since the referendum nearly 10 years ago.

 

unless you came late to the party that began in earnest in 2005, there's not a damn thing amazing about it.

 

opposition to those 2 rail lines extends well beyond a few pricy neighborhoods and kneejerk NIMBYs b/c the design of both has centered on political considerations rather than efficient, cost-effective routes.

 

and you have to account for the agency's annoying combination of arrogance and ineptitude in its decision to just release proposed routes to the public as a fait accompli before gathering sufficient stakeholder support. my 1st Univ Line meeting was at the Holiday Inn Galleria in summer 05 and for the benefit of the Afton Oaks crowd, who were there in full force and already plenty pissed that the line would be on any part of Richmond, especially their part.

 

Frank Wilson had yet to develop his shuck 'n jive "we're crossing to Westpark" schtick, but I'll claim some credit for his future talking points that Westpark between Weslayan and Chimney Rock is a transit "desert" from a ridership perspective, since the term was mine when I spoke at the 05 meeting.

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unless you came late to the party that began in earnest in 2005, there's not a damn thing amazing about it.

opposition to those 2 rail lines extends well beyond a few pricy neighborhoods and kneejerk NIMBYs b/c the design of both has centered on political considerations rather than efficient, cost-effective routes.

and you have to account for the agency's annoying combination of arrogance and ineptitude in its decision to just release proposed routes to the public as a fait accompli before gathering sufficient stakeholder support. my 1st Univ Line meeting was at the Holiday Inn Galleria in summer 05 and for the benefit of the Afton Oaks crowd, who were there in full force and already plenty pissed that the line would be on any part of Richmond, especially their part.

Frank Wilson had yet to develop his shuck 'n jive "we're crossing to Westpark" schtick, but I'll claim some credit for his future talking points that Westpark between Weslayan and Chimney Rock is a transit "desert" from a ridership perspective, since the term was mine when I spoke at the 05 meeting.

What would be the most efficient routes? Richmond or westheimer to me seem the obvious ones. But I think highland village had staunch opposition also

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What would be the most efficient routes? Richmond or westheimer to me seem the obvious ones. But I think highland village had staunch opposition also

 

 

I would urge you to search for METRO's original Univ Line route proposal that stayed on Richmond west of Main until Timmons, then turned north to Westheimer, then through Highland Village through the Galleria to Sage/Hidalgo, turning south to Richmond to the SW Fwy feeder at the Westpark curve, then crossing Westpark to the P&R terminus.

 

The route made sense to me on many levels, especially the idea of running through the heart of the Galleria and of critical importance IMO the fact that the line would never have to cross the SW Fwy.

 

HV was utterly opposed. So it didn't happen. Only then was Richmond through Afton Oaks included in the line.

 

HV merchants didn't want LRT for the same reason Costco killed it going past Cummins - no left turns allowed across Richmond = limits automobile access to merchant parking - and forcing the elevated turn south over 59 to Westpark that was just a stupid decision from a cost, engineering, and ridership perspective.

 

When METRO suggested a grade separation LRT bridge over the UPRR tracks at HV, the merchants could see the same problem Harrisburg merchants had with the East Line bridge, only HV merchants have a hell of a lot more stroke than the Harrisburg businesses. Homeowners on the Westheimer end of Afton Oaks also were not happy about elevating the train.

 

METRO then suggested a similar bridge elevating the train over the UPRR on Richmond and all of Afton Oaks went nuts...

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I would urge you to search for METRO's original Univ Line route proposal that stayed on Richmond west of Main until Timmons, then turned north to Westheimer, then through Highland Village through the Galleria to Sage/Hidalgo, turning south to Richmond to the SW Fwy feeder at the Westpark curve, then crossing Westpark to the P&R terminus.

The route made sense to me on many levels, especially the idea of running through the heart of the Galleria and of critical importance IMO the fact that the line would never have to cross the SW Fwy.

HV was utterly opposed. So it didn't happen. Only then was Richmond through Afton Oaks included in the line.

HV merchants didn't want LRT for the same reason Costco killed it going past Cummins - no left turns allowed across Richmond = limits automobile access to merchant parking - and forcing the elevated turn south over 59 to Westpark that was just a stupid decision from a cost, engineering, and ridership perspective.

When METRO suggested a grade separation LRT bridge over the UPRR tracks at HV, the merchants could see the same problem Harrisburg merchants had with the East Line bridge, only HV merchants have a hell of a lot more stroke than the Harrisburg businesses. Homeowners on the Westheimer end of Afton Oaks also were not happy about elevating the train.

METRO then suggested a similar bridge elevating the train over the UPRR on Richmond and all of Afton Oaks went nuts...

That route sounds fabulous. But that makes too much sense. I find it amazing that merchants and neighborhoods have more power than transit authorities.

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I would urge you to search for METRO's original Univ Line route proposal that stayed on Richmond west of Main until Timmons, then turned north to Westheimer, then through Highland Village through the Galleria to Sage/Hidalgo, turning south to Richmond to the SW Fwy feeder at the Westpark curve, then crossing Westpark to the P&R terminus.

The route made sense to me on many levels, especially the idea of running through the heart of the Galleria and of critical importance IMO the fact that the line would never have to cross the SW Fwy.

HV was utterly opposed. So it didn't happen. Only then was Richmond through Afton Oaks included in the line.

HV merchants didn't want LRT for the same reason Costco killed it going past Cummins - no left turns allowed across Richmond = limits automobile access to merchant parking - and forcing the elevated turn south over 59 to Westpark that was just a stupid decision from a cost, engineering, and ridership perspective.

When METRO suggested a grade separation LRT bridge over the UPRR tracks at HV, the merchants could see the same problem Harrisburg merchants had with the East Line bridge, only HV merchants have a hell of a lot more stroke than the Harrisburg businesses. Homeowners on the Westheimer end of Afton Oaks also were not happy about elevating the train.

METRO then suggested a similar bridge elevating the train over the UPRR on Richmond and all of Afton Oaks went nuts...

Source? Links?

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That route sounds fabulous. But that makes too much sense. I find it amazing that merchants and neighborhoods have more power than transit authorities.

 

Right, because we should all lay down and let the government tell us what to do, even if it means destroying our neighborhood or business.

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Right, because we should all lay down and let the government tell us what to do, even if it means destroying our neighborhood or business.

This would be for the better good of the overall population, to help people get from place to place in a cost and time efficient manner. And second of all, without this government there would be no roads, no lights, no infrastructure period, a lot of which created the suburban "American Dream." You can't have it both ways.

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Right, because we should all lay down and let the government tell us what to do, even if it means destroying our neighborhood or business.

 

It makes sense for a government agency to not be given free reign to just drop a line anywhere without careful consideration regarding how it will affect those neighborhoods. One has only to look at how freeways cut through the middle of neighborhoods affected them negatively, and it takes decades for them to get their feet back under them, no matter how good it might have been for the overall city.

 

Of course, I personally think the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction. The government isn't willing to pose a short term disruption anywhere at the cost of the long game. And it seems like that direction is not given by the voice of people, but money.

 

Why was the east end line okay running straight down the middle of a very vibrant (if not money rich) community, yet the same cannot be done down the middle of another vibrant (and rich) community?

 

I'd bet, with the way Montrose is turning into River Oaks east, that in 5-10 years time when they start planning for this route again, it won't just be HV, or AO, all of everything west of the midtown spur will be against it going through.

 

As a casual observer, it sure as hell looks like this tiny bit of America is ruled not by one person/one vote, but who's got the bigger pockets? But I guess, how is this different than any other time in American history?

Edited by samagon
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Source? Links?

 

I can't dredge up any text source from pre-Solutions referendum in Nov 2003, but the original Timmons to Westheimer route was the proposal for "The East-West Line" (later renamed the Univ Line) before Solutions, and HV had already shot it down by late 2003.

 

"NEW" METRO's website re: LRT is scrubbed clean of anything happening before Greanias took over, and if you want to try to slog through the Chronicle online archives to find a 10-12 yr old article with route map (there was one I think) good luck.

 

My info on HV's position comes from attending every Univ Line meeting from summer 2005 through the end of 2009 (including meetings for citizen design of the stations to fit the unique character of each neighborhood that would have a station  :lol: ). If that's not good eneough for you, you can wade through the public testimony for every meeting and my testimony is evidence I was actually there.

 

Here is a link to Christof Spieler's analysis of the evolving Solutions rail plan from 2004. Needless to say, things changed considerably from 2004.

 

It's an interesting read and interesting to see his own evolution, especially once they gave him the key to METRO's executive washroom uh Board appointment.

 

http://citemag.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/MetroWhatsNext_Spieler_Cite61.pdf

 

As usual Spieler's original take makes a lot of sense.

Edited by IHB2
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Well, it's not good enough for me. ;-). Because you told us nothing. The Spieler article you linked does not even contain any of the words "Westheimer", "Highland Village" , or "Timmons". Further, your having allegedly attended every University Line meeting starting in mid-2005 is not evidence of knowledge of plans supposedly killed and buried 1 1/2 years prior.

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This would be for the better good of the overall population, to help people get from place to place in a cost and time efficient manner.

METRO is not an organization that does anything in a cost and time efficient manner. They've wasted over 100 million on the 2 lines that haven't been built. That money could have been used to actually help our transportation concerns.

Edited by musicman
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METRO is not an organization that does anything in a cost and time efficient manner. They've wasted over 100 million on the 2 lines that haven't been built. That money could have been used to actually help our transportation concerns.

 

is there any government run, or government funded organization that does anything in a cost/time efficient manner?

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Well, it's not good enough for me. ;-). Because you told us nothing. The Spieler article you linked does not even contain any of the words "Westheimer", "Highland Village" , or "Timmons". Further, your having allegedly attended every University Line meeting starting in mid-2005 is not evidence of knowledge of plans supposedly killed and buried 1 1/2 years prior.

 

:lol:  ok then.

 

last links: 2007 the earliest Chronicle reference I can find to rail on Westheimer but is in response to an anti-rail on Richmond group "dredging up" an old idea according to this article and Gulf Coast Institute (David Crossley.)

 

the very 1st meeting I attended in 2005 there was some discussion of the "original" Richmond rail route by both the AO folks, Frank Wilson, and the lead METRO LRT engineer at the time (Scott ?? somebody - can't remember his name), which in fact turned north at Timmons to Westheimer - see the 2006 link below to Gulf Coast Institute (you'll have to click on the imbedded links to the "Richmond/Westheimer Alignment" b/c this is as far as I'm going to lead you, you just have to go it alone from here  ;) )

 

keep in mind that the Uptown Line was not part of the 2003 referendum (was to be voted on in a 2nd Solutions referendum proposed for 2009 after the other 4 were completed or well underway to completion), and an earlier plan to run on Westheimer through the heart of the Galleria makes more sense.

 

2006:  http://www.gulfcoastinstitute.org/university/

 

 

2007: http://www.chron.com/news/houston-traffic/article/For-some-Westheimer-light-rail-still-merits-1592373.php

Edited by IHB2
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:lol:  ok then.

 

last link: 2007 the earliest reference I can find to rail on Westheimer but is in response to an anti-rail on Richmond group "dredging up" an old idea according to this article and some blog posts by David Crossley.

 

the very 1st meeting I attended in 2005 there was some discussion of the "original" Richmond rail route, which in fact turned north at Timmons to Westheimer.

 

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-traffic/article/For-some-Westheimer-light-rail-still-merits-1592373.php

 

Just because someone may have used the words "original" Richmond rail route to describe a route that you remember understanding 8 years ago to mean a route that turned north at Timmons to Westheimer does not make any of it so.

 

In fact, one of the early alternative routes considered by Metro went out Richmond and turned north on Weslayan (not Timmons) to Westheimer.  It was never in any sense the "original" or  designated or chosen route.  It was dismissed very early on in the process, largely, I think, because of lack of space on Westheimer to add surface rail.

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is there any government run, or government funded organization that does anything in a cost/time efficient manner?

 

No. But that is what happens when we keep electing people to government who inherently hate government.

 

The sequester nonsense is about to make things worse. I am praying that it will make the average American WAKE UP and realize that we NEED government. It's a necessary evil, but it doesn't have to be evil. We can make government efficient but not with teabaggers in charge.

 

It always amazes me that people are stunned by how inefficient our government is but then they turn around and vote to send people to Congress/Austin/City Hall whose only plan of action is to light a match and burn the house down.

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At the same time it is absurd that a neighborhood like Afton Oaks can reroute a light rail line. This isn't like an expressway ripping through the Bronx.

 

Any neighborhood can fight that battle. Afton Oaks was successful. I am curious as to why your commute to the Galleria area should be more important than the property rights of the folks in Afton Oaks.

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