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West Houston Monorail


BaderJF

West Houston Monorail  

33 members have voted

  1. 1. what do you think of the "West Houston" Line

    • Perfect
      9
    • Good
      8
    • Needs adjustments
      5
    • Too long
      0
    • Too many stations
      2
    • Add more stations
      0
    • Change the whole line
      4
    • No need for a west Houston line
      5


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Hello everyone, this is my first post/topic on HAIF and hopefully you guys like it.

 

I have been living in Houston for the past 8 years and one of the main things Houston has a problem with is lack of public transportation (rail) and traffic.

For as long as I have lived here I always hoped they would build a "west/East" line in west Houston, which is where most people live. And I think it would 

help so much in easing heavy traffic on Wesheimer, Richmond, and San Felipe.

 

In my opinion, I think the best and most effective transit line for west Houston would be a monorail, although it may costs much more than light rail,

it's much easier to build, doesn't disturb vehicle or pedestrian traffic, and it will attract many people to ride it since it's elevated and will have nice views

of Houston's skylines (Downtown, Medical Center, Greenway, Uptown, Westchase, and the energy corridor).

 

I think the best first monorail in Houston should start from the south east line under construction located on Scott st. and Elgin st. intersection, going towards west Houston

until it reaches "West Oaks Mall" Around 19.7 miles long. All the stations are elevated. The "Galleria station" and "West Oaks Mall Station" would have both a street and a bridge

connection to the malls. The "Westchase I Station" is marked major because of the existing and future office/hotel development.

 

Pros:

- Help many students at UH, TSU, UST, and HCC.

- Ease traffic on many streets/freeways.

- Increase development on Westheimer.

- Help the city in attracting more events and tourists.

- Easy and super fast construction using columns and beams. Dig a hole, drop in column, connect with beams, all pre-made in factory.

- Doesn't affect vehicle or pedestrian traffic like light rail does.

- Environment friendly

- Makes more profit than light rail.

- No worries about accidents with cars or stopping for signals.

- Very reliable

 

Cons:

-Very expensive, may cost from $10 million to $90 million per mile, the longer the cheaper.

 

Here is the picture I made showing the line and stations:

 

(Click to enlarge)

post-12491-0-29504600-1380538312_thumb.j

 

Some Pictures I found online:

post-12491-0-36456700-1380541186_thumb.j

post-12491-0-34968600-1380541196_thumb.j

 

How its going to look in Houston:

post-12491-0-71227100-1380541244_thumb.j

 

What do you guys think of the "West Houston" Line???

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Well, I didn't see "quiet" in any of the pros...and elevated trains are ugly. Two other "pros" I had a problem with was "Increase development on Westheimer" (how?) and "makes more profit than light rail" (I wasn't aware that light rail makes any profit at all).

It's monorail not elevated rail there is big difference, as you can see in the pictures they are low profile, the columns and beams can have many designs to look nice and appealing for which ever area it's passing through.

As for increasing development on westheimer, there are many undeveloped properties, that can be developed into new shopping centers, restaurants and even some mid rises and high rises in westchase.

And how they make profit is to increase ticket price a bit maybe to $2.00 instead of $1.25, more space for advertising, and the low cost of operating them and there reliability. some monorails are operated by private companies

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Well, I didn't see "quiet" in any of the pros...and elevated trains are ugly. Two other "pros" I had a problem with was "Increase development on Westheimer" (how?) and "makes more profit than light rail" (I wasn't aware that light rail makes any profit at all).

 

 

Who cares if it's ugly, Houston is not exactly Paris, and it's efficient and gets people from A to B faster than light rail.

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Hello everyone, this is my first post/topic on HAIF and hopefully you guys like it.

 

I have been living in Houston for the past 8 years and one of the main things Houston has a problem with is lack of public transportation (rail) and traffic.

For as long as I have lived here I always hoped they would build a "west/East" line in west Houston, which is where most people live. And I think it would 

help so much in easing heavy traffic on Wesheimer, Richmond, and San Felipe.

 

In my opinion, I think the best and most effective transit line for west Houston would be a monorail, although it may costs much more than light rail,

it's much easier to build, doesn't disturb vehicle or pedestrian traffic, and it will attract many people to ride it since it's elevated and will have nice views

of Houston's skylines (Downtown, Medical Center, Greenway, Uptown, Westchase, and the energy corridor).

 

I think the best first monorail in Houston should start from the south east line under construction located on Scott st. and Elgin st. intersection, going towards west Houston

until it reaches "West Oaks Mall" Around 19.7 miles long. All the stations are elevated. The "Galleria station" and "West Oaks Mall Station" would have both a street and a bridge

connection to the malls. The "Westchase I Station" is marked major because of the existing and future office/hotel development.

 

Pros:

- Help many students at UH, TSU, UST, and HCC.

- Ease traffic on many streets/freeways.

- Increase development on Westheimer.

- Help the city in attracting more events and tourists.

- Easy and super fast construction using columns and beams. Dig a hole, drop in column, connect with beams, all pre-made in factory.

- Doesn't affect vehicle or pedestrian traffic like light rail does.

- Environment friendly

- Makes more profit than light rail.

- No worries about accidents with cars or stopping for signals.

- Very reliable

 

Cons:

-Very expensive, may cost from $10 million to $90 million per mile, the longer the cheaper.

 

Here is the picture I made showing the line and stations:

 

(Click to enlarge)

 

Some Pictures I found online:

attachicon.gifLas-Vegas-Monorail.jpg

attachicon.gifmonorail2.jpg

 

How its going to look in Houston:

attachicon.gifmonorail-at-3015.jpg

 

What do you guys think of the "West Houston" Line???

 

My only disagreement is I think the most dense area of Houston is actually southwest houston around Gulfton.

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I'll back almost any rail or dedicated mass transit option that links to the existing system, is relatively cost-effective, is somewhat decent-looking, isn't too loud, and actually runs in areas where they'd be most heavily used. I agree with you that the Westheimer corridor, along with Richmond, and, maybe, San Felipe needs to be seriously considered for future rail, etc. All the talk has been Richmond, but Westheimer would likely be a much more effective route. But, we need many east-west routes, not just one. 

 

Ideally, east-west lines should include the bus routes with the highest ridership. These, I believe, include Westheimer, Richmond, Holcombe/Bellaire, and Bissonnet. If I had my say, Westheimer would be a subway inside the loop, then become at grade or elevated west of the 610 loop/Galleria. Bissonnet would be at grade (possibly elevated outside the loop), Holcombe/Bellaire would be at grade or elevated. 

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Welcome to  HAIF.

 

Would it not be hard for a train to negotiate hard 90 degree turns at Shepherd and Newcastle?

 

One point about monorails that is overlooked is that the required ground clearance is about the same as a surface-level train, so the traffic impact is relatively consistent with light rail.  Available clearance is why the rail was planned for Richmond instead of Westheimer.  To me it would seem extremely difficult to run a monorail or any train down Westheimer or Shepherd.  Wasn't the proposal in the 1980s to run down Alabama?

 

Not sure how it would be more environmentally friendly or more profitable than light rail.  Given the difficulty in finding funding for the existing rail system, how could the additional costs of a monorail be funded?  I just always have a difficult time with the cost / benefit equation of monorail proposals.

 

 

 

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If it were only $10m to $90m a mile, it would be very cost competitive with light rail, which is running as much or more than that here (oh, and there is no profit in any sort of rail transit - just massive tax subsidies).  I've heard capacity is a problem with monorail, and that the elevated ADA-compliant stations add *a lot* to the cost (full elevators required).  But I do like the route.

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there is no profit in any sort of rail transit - just massive tax subsidies

 

I'd be interested to see all types of transit compared in terms of what makes a profit, after public costs are factored in (e.g. how much profit is there in air travel after you consider what the public pays for airports?).  It doesn't seem like any mode of transit has been profitable in an absolute sense since stagecoach.

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If it were only $10m to $90m a mile, it would be very cost competitive with light rail, which is running as much or more than that here (oh, and there is no profit in any sort of rail transit - just massive tax subsidies).  I've heard capacity is a problem with monorail, and that the elevated ADA-compliant stations add *a lot* to the cost (full elevators required).  But I do like the route.

 

Highways aren't profitable either.

 

Also rail really shouldn't cost so much. For example there is a tram system in France being set up for far 16 million euros per kilometer. Bogota's proposed system is $565 million for 23 kilometers. Norfolk builts its for $43 million per mile.

 

The most interesting is Curitiba's proposed subway system that would cost only $72 million per mile. The question is why does it cost so much to build a subway in this country?

 

http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2010/10/01/how-is-besancon-building-a-tramway-at-e16-millionkilometer/

Edited by Slick Vik
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Welcome to  HAIF.

 

Would it not be hard for a train to negotiate hard 90 degree turns at Shepherd and Newcastle?

 

One point about monorails that is overlooked is that the required ground clearance is about the same as a surface-level train, so the traffic impact is relatively consistent with light rail.  Available clearance is why the rail was planned for Richmond instead of Westheimer.  To me it would seem extremely difficult to run a monorail or any train down Westheimer or Shepherd.  Wasn't the proposal in the 1980s to run down Alabama?

 

Not sure how it would be more environmentally friendly or more profitable than light rail.  Given the difficulty in finding funding for the existing rail system, how could the additional costs of a monorail be funded?  I just always have a difficult time with the cost / benefit equation of monorail proposals.

 

No it's not hard for monorail to turn sharply, here are some pictures of Sydney's monorail system, and you can clearly see how sharp the turn is in a very tight area.

 

post-12491-0-06003300-1380578487_thumb.j

 

post-12491-0-09868000-1380578530_thumb.j

 

Also the vehicle/pedestrian traffic wouldn't be consistent with light rail. They are elevated and the columns can be 2ft wide and wouldn't take space from the center of Westheimer which is about 3-5 ft wide.

 

It would be easily funded if we didn't have those stupid people who oppose rail and want us to stay in the 19th century. Also it can be privately funded for future returns like tollways. Many huge events were lost because of the lack of public mass transit like FIFA and the Olympics 

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Highways aren't profitable either.

 

Stop using that as a reason for light rail, because that line of reasoning is akin to saying "I'd rather accidentally drop a $50 bill rather than a $5 bill, I've lost money anyway". And those "cheap European trains" are more likely heavily subsidized. And yes, while monorails CAN turn 90°, they would have to slow down significantly, tending to defeat the "fast" part of the equation. 

 

With that, I'll bow out of this thread, as the radical pro-rail people among us will use this thread to shout down opposition to something ridiculous like this despite all evidence to the contrary.

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That is a perfect route for fixed guideway transit.  I would prefer heavy rail over monorail thought.  Higher speeds (from what I can tell) and higher capacity, with lower operating costs.  Cheaper in the long run, but wayyy more expensive up front. 

 

Perhaps I need to do more research on monorail however. 

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Stop using that as a reason for light rail, because that line of reasoning is akin to saying "I'd rather accidentally drop a $50 bill rather than a $5 bill, I've lost money anyway". And those "cheap European trains" are more likely heavily subsidized. And yes, while monorails CAN turn 90°, they would have to slow down significantly, tending to defeat the "fast" part of the equation.

With that, I'll bow out of this thread, as the radical pro-rail people among us will use this thread to shout down opposition to something ridiculous like this despite all evidence to the contrary.

Highways cost more over the long term because of constant expensive maintenance. Once a rail system is built it can last for hundreds of years with minimal maintenance costs.

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Highways cost more over the long term because of constant expensive maintenance. Once a rail system is built it can last for hundreds of years with minimal maintenance costs.

A monorail is also far less useful and benefits far fewer people than a highway.

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Once a rail system is built it can last for hundreds of years with minimal maintenance costs.

I'm going to need to call BS on that one, because the oldest active rail lines are 100-125 years old and it's generally a stretch to consider them active. That being said, let's not derail this thread into yet another rail v. highway conversation.

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I'm going to need to call BS on that one, because the oldest active rail lines are 100-125 years old and it's generally a stretch to consider them active. That being said, let's not derail this thread into yet another rail v. highway conversation.

New York, Chicago, London, Buenos Aires, Paris, Madrid, Tokyo, Moscow, Budapest, Hamburg, Berlin, and Copenhagen disagree.

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New York, Chicago, London, Buenos Aires, Paris, Madrid, Tokyo, Moscow, Budapest, Hamburg, Berlin, and Copenhagen disagree.

 

And I would have to disagree with you on that as well.

 

Chicago's L at one point was degrading to the point where speed was greatly reduced.   I witnessed it and Editor even talked about it briefly in another thread several years ago.

 

A couple of years ago, I saw a video of a section of rail being replaced (Street level) over a weekend that involved tearing up the concrete for the entire intersection.  I forgot what city it was in, but I got the impression it was long overdue and an older transit system.

 

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New York, Chicago, London, Buenos Aires, Paris, Madrid, Tokyo, Moscow, Budapest, Hamburg, Berlin, and Copenhagen disagree.

My comment is based on the following as well as additional sources. This would place the City & South line at 123 years of age. Please provide details of an older existing line.

The first "real" metro line, however, was the City & South London Railway, between Stockwell and King William Street (later replaced by Bank) in the City of London, which opened on 4 Nov 1890 and which is part of today's Northern Line. This was the first underground line in the world using electric traction. In 1898, two years after Glasgow's cable drawn subway and Budapest's first electric underground line had opened, another short electric tube line started operating in London, this is today's Waterloo & City Line. From 1900 onwards, the Metropolitan and the District Railways began electrifying all their lines.

http://www.urbanrail.net/eu/uk/lon/london.htm

Edited by livincinco
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I'm no expert, but I would guess that maintenance costs on an elevated rail/monorail would hardly be "minimal". 

 

Monorails have just never seemed practical.  They are extremely expensive, use up a lot of right-of-way, and in urban areas I'm not sure people want trains going past upper-story windows.  Haven't most monorails been somewhat novelty items rather than full-fledged components of the transit system?

 

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My comment is based on the following as well as additional sources. This would place the City & South line at 123 years of age. Please provide details of an older existing line.

The first "real" metro line, however, was the City & South London Railway, between Stockwell and King William Street (later replaced by Bank) in the City of London, which opened on 4 Nov 1890 and which is part of today's Northern Line. This was the first underground line in the world using electric traction. In 1898, two years after Glasgow's cable drawn subway and Budapest's first electric underground line had opened, another short electric tube line started operating in London, this is today's Waterloo & City Line. From 1900 onwards, the Metropolitan and the District Railways began electrifying all their lines.

http://www.urbanrail.net/eu/uk/lon/london.htm

 

1. London Metropolitan Railway was opened in 1863

2. You said that it was a "stretch" to say any of these old rail systems are active, and I gave you a list of cities where the systems are very active.

And I would have to disagree with you on that as well.

 

Chicago's L at one point was degrading to the point where speed was greatly reduced.   I witnessed it and Editor even talked about it briefly in another thread several years ago.

 

A couple of years ago, I saw a video of a section of rail being replaced (Street level) over a weekend that involved tearing up the concrete for the entire intersection.  I forgot what city it was in, but I got the impression it was long overdue and an older transit system.

 

It doesn't cost as much to maintain a rail system as it does to maintain highways.

I'm no expert, but I would guess that maintenance costs on an elevated rail/monorail would hardly be "minimal". 

 

Monorails have just never seemed practical.  They are extremely expensive, use up a lot of right-of-way, and in urban areas I'm not sure people want trains going past upper-story windows.  Haven't most monorails been somewhat novelty items rather than full-fledged components of the transit system?

 

I do agree monorails for whatever reason have never really caught on except in a select few places.

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1. London Metropolitan Railway was opened in 1863

2. You said that it was a "stretch" to say any of these old rail systems are active, and I gave you a list of cities where the systems are very active.

 

London Metropolitan Railway was opened in 1863, but the rail line and all of the rolling stock was replaced when the system was electrified in the early 1900's.  It was pretty much a complete rip and replace, so it's really not accurate to imply that this is an example of the low maintenance costs of rail.  It's kind of comparable to citing the Roman roads as an example of the longevity and maintenance costs of highways.

 

I'm removing myself from further non-monorail related discussion on this thread as it is not relevant to the topic.

Edited by livincinco
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[quote name="Slick Vik" post="435605"

It doesn't cost as much to maintain a rail system as it does to maintain highways.

I didn't mention the cost, I was merely saying that extensive maintenance can be necessary. It's not exactly a "build it and done" piece of infrastructure.

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London Metropolitan Railway was opened in 1863, but the rail line and all of the rolling stock was replaced when the system was electrified in the early 1900's.  It was pretty much a complete rip and replace, so it's really not accurate to imply that this is an example of the low maintenance costs of rail.  It's kind of comparable to citing the Roman roads as an example of the longevity and maintenance costs of highways.

 

I'm removing myself from further non-monorail related discussion on this thread as it is not relevant to the topic.

 

So you agree the first urban railway started running in 1863. Great.

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I recall reading a few year's ago about Chicago's project to replace one of its El lines, I want to say it was the Blue line running through the Medical Center and southerly west side.  It cost somewhere over a billion to replace the whole thing. No one was complaining of course, but it does show you that rail needs at least some periodic maintenance.

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Rail for sure needs maintenance.  Everything needs maintenance. 

 

However in the 21st century, many heavy rail systems are built in a way that minimizes necessary maintenance.  Of course every 50 or so years you'll have to modernize stuff and add new rolling stock.  Good infrastructure just costs a lot. 

 

Back on topic, I noticed that this route is very similar to the proposed extensions to the original 1983 rail plan.  This plan would have used heavy rail technology similar to Atlanta or DC.  Ridership would be very impressive if that had been built IMO.

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Back on topic, I noticed that this route is very similar to the proposed extensions to the original 1983 rail plan. This plan would have used heavy rail technology similar to Atlanta or DC. Ridership would be very impressive if that had been built IMO.

aww, dont remind me of the heavy rail plans of the 80s. some of those routes were golden.. completely agree that the blue line ridership would have been very impressive.. i wonder if a plan like this will ever come back to Houston. we need commuter or heavy rail to feed into the light rail system and extend the reach of mass transit to the suburbs.

81986d1309922291-houston-metro-1980s-hea

on a more serious proposal for this thread...

wasnt super neighborhood 22 proposing to trench the Hempstead rail line going through west Houston? if so, how feasible would it be to widen the trench for one more set of tracks for commuter/heavy rail going from the

Burnett Station to a new transit station north of the uptown light rail line (one would imagine they would extend the uptown plan north to connect into the new commuter/heavy rail line). i found this rendering that shows the (Hempstead?) rail line im speaking of, and how it could link into the uptown rail line. interesting that theyve already considered this (i guess when they were planning the hempstead commuter line, which i assume never materialized since i havent heard of it in a while? i think the rail owners said the line was too busy for them to share it with commuter rail or something, so this idea of adding another line through the trench in west houston would solve all of that).

metro-map-2012-christof.jpg

Edited by cloud713
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on a more serious proposal for this thread...

wasnt super neighborhood 22 proposing to trench the Hempstead rail line going through west Houston? if so, how feasible would it be to widen the trench for one more set of tracks for commuter/heavy rail going from the

Burnett Station to a new transit station north of the uptown light rail line (one would imagine they would extend the uptown plan north to connect into the new commuter/heavy rail line). i found this rendering that shows the (Hempstead?) rail line im speaking of, and how it could link into the uptown rail line. interesting that theyve already considered this (i guess when they were planning the hempstead commuter line, which i assume never materialized since i havent heard of it in a while? i think the rail owners said the line was too busy for them to share it with commuter rail or something, so this idea of adding another line through the trench in west houston would solve all of that).

 

 

This is SN22's transportation presentation from 2010. The trenching concept starts on page 14.

http://sn22.org/download/SN22_Transportation%20Pres_072810.pdf

Edited by urban909
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  • 2 weeks later...

No it's not hard for monorail to turn sharply, here are some pictures of Sydney's monorail system, and you can clearly see how sharp the turn is in a very tight area.

 

attachicon.gifSydney30.jpeg

 

attachicon.gifSydney34.jpeg

 

Also the vehicle/pedestrian traffic wouldn't be consistent with light rail. They are elevated and the columns can be 2ft wide and wouldn't take space from the center of Westheimer which is about 3-5 ft wide.

 

It would be easily funded if we didn't have those stupid people who oppose rail and want us to stay in the 19th century. Also it can be privately funded for future returns like tollways. Many huge events were lost because of the lack of public mass transit like FIFA and the Olympics 

 

 

Btw, the Sydney monorail has closed.  

http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/19104718/sydney-monorail-takedown-hits-halfway-mark/

 

as has the one at the Minnesota Zoo.

http://www.urbanmsp.com/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=1402

 

 

Monorail seems the transportation of the future, and always will be.  It just never makes sense in the present.

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In my uninformed opinion, I believe in a urban setting (such as the background), tracks should be under ground. Above ground works in wide boulevard (maybe), and open spaces. In these dense areas they only add clutter and close the space, casting shadows and creates a tunnel effect.

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In my uninformed opinion, I believe in a urban setting (such as the background), tracks should be under ground. Above ground works in wide boulevard (maybe), and open spaces. In these dense areas they only add clutter and close the space, casting shadows and creates a tunnel effect.

 

I agree.  No visual impact, and no stops for the train in between stations. 

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  • 1 month later...
  • 5 months later...
  • 2 months later...

I think there might be something to that effect, at least descriptions of it on the Chron. The situation was VERY sticky, the voters didn't vote for the monorail plan as proposed by METRO, which had 5 Whitmire appointees who were ruling 5-4 on everything, and Lanier and another candidate ran polls to show most were against the plan, and when elections came around, Whitmire got about 20% of the vote.

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  • 1 year later...

I am a unique person. Not only was I born near Houston, I grew up there and except for stretches where I lived near Chicago and New York, I lived, went to school and worked in Houston. I am now retired and live in Alabama to be near my children. Good luck with your efforts to get monorail in Houston. But keep in mind that you have a long way to go and history does not help you. Back in 1956, when I was nine and my brother was four, they tried to get those pesky Houston residents to give up their cars and commute by monorail. To give Houstonians a taste of what it may be like, they built and operated a short monorail line in the area where the Astrodome and Reliant Field are now located. You could ride it and it was free. My brother and I were so excited -- we were going to have Disneyland right at home. But as we were driving home, my parents were talking about whether they would support the upcoming bond election to finance building a real working  monorail to provide public mass transit throughout the city. My mother thought it was a good idea. However, my Dad said, "But Ida, they will raise our property taxes to pay back the bonds and they will also charge us to use it. We already pay a gasoline tax to build and maintain this big system of freeways they are planning to build. They say that the freeway system will allow me to drive to work in 15 minutes and I won't have to pay for anything but the gas for the car." Gasoline at that time averaged about 29 cents a gallon. We lived about 15 miles from downtown Houston --  in Sharpstown; being one of the first to buy a home there. You know the rest of the story. By the time the Southwest Freeway was completed, it took the average commuter about 1.5 to 2 hours to drive to downtown Houston from the suburbs.. It has only gotten worse. Anyway, after my brother and i grew up and moved away, my parents moved closer to town because my Dad said that he was tired of fighting traffic for up to four hours a day to get to and from work. 

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