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Commuter Rail in Houston


cloud713

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Also do you seriously consider 130 miles a feasible daily commute?

 

Sorta off the topic, but many years ago either the Chronicle or Post did a survey to find the longest work commute in the Houston area. It was won by a guy who lived in Katy drove to Orange every day to work in a chemical plant. So he drove 130 miles each way each day, five days a week for at least 45-50 weeks a year. He said he had to change the oil every two weeks and buy new tires at least yearly. When asked why he did it, he said he loved his home in Katy, but also liked the job.

 

Now this isn't a daily auto commute, of course, but I've worked with people who live in Austin and work in Houston. They would rent an apartment here and spend Sunday - Thursday night in Houston, then drive home on Friday. I've also known someone who lived in LA who flew into Houston to work during the week then left for home Thursday afternoon and another who lived in NY state and did the same thing. But those aren't the same things, of course, as a daily commute.

Edited by Firebird65
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I have several coworkers who commute from League City to The Woodlands every day and have for more than six years.

 

I have colleagues who live in Waller, Sealy, Brookshire, Huntsville, and Halletsville who work inside the Loop.

 

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No, the highway system has expanded enough as it is.

So, you want to tear down the Pierce Elevated solely for aesthetic reasons and don't want to see new freeways built or expanded, but you don't want a far-reaching commuter rail system? Gee, I thought you liked rail.  :unsure:

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So, you want to tear down the Pierce Elevated solely for aesthetic reasons and don't want to see new freeways built or expanded, but you don't want a far-reaching commuter rail system? Gee, I thought you liked rail. :unsure:

A rail to Beaumont exists it's called amtrak. Something to college station would have to be intercity rail. But again the question is is there sufficient ridership to justify that?

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Not really just a world where cities are built for pedestrians, bicyclists, rail, buses, and cars, in that order.

 

I cna't believe you want ot make it hard for my elderly Dad to get around, since riding in a car is the only way he can get anywhere. I don't really go anywhere close enough to walk, so forget the pedestrian stuff, cycling is not feasible for most of us, rail is too expensive and has no where to run, so that leaves buses and cars. Basically, Houston is fine as it is.

 

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Not really just a world where cities are built for pedestrians, bicyclists, rail, buses, and cars, in that order.

 

A world where cities are built for pre-19th century, the 19th century, the 19th century again and then the 20th century twice, in that order?

 

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I cna't believe you want ot make it hard for my elderly Dad to get around, since riding in a car is the only way he can get anywhere. I don't really go anywhere close enough to walk, so forget the pedestrian stuff, cycling is not feasible for most of us, rail is too expensive and has no where to run, so that leaves buses and cars. Basically, Houston is fine as it is.

A place that makes it easier for most to get around.

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False. Houston is centered around drivers and nobody else.

Oh, so there's no mass transit anywhere, nor sidewalks, nor bike lanes. For what it's worth, they are building sidewalks so it would be possible to walk the entirety of contiguous Bellaire (I think that's what I read somewhere, at least). Sidewalks are a tricky issue, as in most cities, it's the homeowner's responsibility to take care of them, and if the city does get involved, there's always complaints about cutting out shrubs and trees.

There are plenty of major roads in Houston without sidewalks, but those are mostly outer loop. But since you don't seem to be concerned with the outer loop (and I can pull up posts to that effect), why is that an issue to you anyway?

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False. Houston is centered around drivers and nobody else.

 

Correct.  Car drivers and bus drivers.  I live near the western edge of the city limits and I've got three bus lines within a 10 minute walk.  I could live a car-free life if I chose to.

 

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  • 1 year later...

Metro moves to revive potential commuter rail line to Missouri City

A commuter rail line between Missouri City and the Texas Medical Center ­- comatose for nearly four years - has leapt back to life, even if the dollars needed to build it remain elusive.


Metropolitan Transit Authority board members on Thursday approved a resolution authorizing transit officials to "place" the project in the "Federal Transit Administration process" and look for ways to pay for it. When officials essentially placed the project on inactive status in September 2012 after spending $1 million on feasibility studies, it was estimated to cost about $400 million to build the rail line....

 

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Metro-moves-to-revive-potential-commuter-rail-8401902.php?cmpid=twitter-premium

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  • 11 months later...

I think a lot of people don't realize how much nicer it is to take commuter rail vs driving if the logistics work for you.  Just completed a week doing this going from Lombard, IL to downtown Chicago.   Reminded me of how Wespark was a wasted opportunity as they could have probably used the existing tracks and developed infrastructure at the stations.

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On 7/6/2017 at 10:31 AM, BeerNut said:

I think a lot of people don't realize how much nicer it is to take commuter rail vs driving if the logistics work for you.  Just completed a week doing this going from Lombard, IL to downtown Chicago.   Reminded me of how Wespark was a wasted opportunity as they could have probably used the existing tracks and developed infrastructure at the stations.

 

Lucky you. Lombard is very nice. Neighboring Oak Brook is also very nice. Some of the best kept and manicured roads I have ever seen are out there in Lombard and Oak Brook.

 

However, after living in Chicago now for several months I hope nothing from Chicago ever gets implemented in Houston. Chicago is truly a failed city. While I can't speak to METRA commuter service since I live in downtown Chicago and have no use to commute to the suburbs, the local CTA trains are an absolute mess. There is a NY Times opinion letter to the editor today from a Chicago resident absolutely frustrated with Chicago's CTA trains.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/06/opinion/chicago-transits-success.html?_r=0

 

From the letter..." I ride the Red Line every day from the far North Side downtown to work. The trains are crowded; I can rarely find a seat; and there are often delays because of fire on the tracks. ..."

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On 7/7/2017 at 1:05 PM, 102IAHexpress said:

 

Lucky you. Lombard is very nice. Neighboring Oak Brook is also very nice. Some of the best kept and manicured roads I have ever seen are out there in Lombard and Oak Brook.

 

However, after living in Chicago now for several months I hope nothing from Chicago ever gets implemented in Houston. Chicago is truly a failed city. While I can't speak to METRA commuter service since I live in downtown Chicago and have no use to commute to the suburbs, the local CTA trains are an absolute mess. There is a NY Times opinion letter to the editor today from a Chicago resident absolutely frustrated with Chicago's CTA trains.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/06/opinion/chicago-transits-success.html?_r=0

 

From the letter..." I ride the Red Line every day from the far North Side downtown to work. The trains are crowded; I can rarely find a seat; and there are often delays because of fire on the tracks. ..."

I don't see that as a reason to not want good public transit lol

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15 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

I don't see that as a reason to not want good public transit lol

 

Not sure what you mean there? Who said anything about not wanting good public transit? (lol)

 

I was simply providing evidence contrary to Mayor Rahm Emanual's claim (and others) that public transit is nicer and or enjoyable in Chicago. Keep in mind trains are not crowded because rail is successful per se, it's because the government can't afford more trains! 

 

A good option worth considering in Houston is public ride sharing. Similar to an airport bus shuttle but with the convenience of UberPOOL. A commuter Uber van would be a good option for riders heading in the same direction, while giving them an inexpensive ride at the same price as a commuter train. 

 

The idea has gained traction in NYC, LA, SF, Boston and Chicago. Commuters in those cities can now use their pre-tax dollars (Houston does not have this I think?) in their commuter benefit debt cards to pay for UberPOOL rides. In the past those riders could only use their pre tax accounts on public bus/trains. 

 

http://www.chicagotribune.com/bluesky/originals/ct-chicago-uber-commuter-benefits-bsi-20170118-story.html

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  • 4 months later...
On 12/1/2017 at 8:17 PM, BeerNut said:

We've had the Katy Freeway/rail discussion many times, but to get off rail politics and explaining all what actually happened, what people often fail to account for in the Katy Freeway railway was that it was incompatible with the way that everything around was set up. It was set up so that it paralleled outbound traffic, and when the train routinely blocked off crossings, people couldn't turn right on frontage roads, which backed them up, which caused slowdown on the highway. Northwest Freeway doesn't have this problem for several reasons:

 

1) The railroad is on the inbound side.

2) The railroad is only near the freeway outer loop

3) Outer Belt US-290 wasn't nearly as developed as Outer Belt I-10 was in the 1990s

 

It's also a common misconception that the Katy Tollway was "designed" for rail. It is true that they were designed to potentially be converted to rail use, but it was never in the plans. The reason it came about to be that METRO was even allowed a voice in the construction of the Katy Freeway because the original HOV lanes used federal funding, and the resulting legal stuff of that let METRO have a say in the construction, and METRO decided to dump a bunch of money into over-engineering the center tollway lanes so it could be converted to rail use somewhere down the line even though there was never a guarantee to do so. (Ironically, this waste of money probably screwed over Inner Loop rail funding more than Culberson ever did).

 

edit: outer loop -> outer belt

Edited by IronTiger
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Emmett, et al also forget that the track along the freeway was a single track, and there was no room for another track, which would be required for commuter rail. And, for all the complaints about "it's still congested", the Katy carries far more vehicles than it did previously, and it's hard to imagine what it would be like without the expansion.

 

At some point, I think there will be rail out I-10, but I haven't seen a viable plan that incorporates stations, parking, and a means to get from the parking to the stations.

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6 hours ago, Ross said:

Emmett, et al also forget that the track along the freeway was a single track, and there was no room for another track, which would be required for commuter rail. And, for all the complaints about "it's still congested", the Katy carries far more vehicles than it did previously, and it's hard to imagine what it would be like without the expansion.

 

At some point, I think there will be rail out I-10, but I haven't seen a viable plan that incorporates stations, parking, and a means to get from the parking to the stations.

 

It would also have to be elevated the entire way, as there were far too many crossings on Katy Freeway to make commuter rail safe. Just for fun, I did a quick head count of the railroad crossings (road, crossover, private) as they would have appeared in 1997 10 miles out from 610 on both I-10 and US-290. Both would be a little past Beltway 8. US-290 had 18. Katy Freeway had 28. Considering that one of the proposals from residents around the freeway wanted a depressed freeway partially due to noise concerns, an elevated rail right next to their houses wouldn't have gone over smoothly either.

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