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Metro Next - 2040 Vision

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13 minutes ago, skwatra said:

 

The referendum passed 68% to 32%. That is pretty overwhelming.

You clearly read that wrong. 

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According to the county clerk, the Metro proposition passed 67.87% to 32.13% in Harris county.  That is a quite decent margin

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11 minutes ago, skwatra said:

I know the results bud. You read that wrong as in "barely passed." Clearly your comprehension isn't up to par with your reading skills. Read the date on my post. Idk how you're going to question what I wrote lol. The measure overwhelmingly passed.

12 minutes ago, cspwal said:

According to the county clerk, the Metro proposition passed 67.87% to 32.13% in Harris county.  That is a quite decent margin

"Barely passed" as in it RECENTLY PASSED not barley passed in the polls. 

Edited by j_cuevas713
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calm down. I honestly thought you meant that the measure "barely passed". in that context, i took it to mean:

1. only just; almost not.

2. in a simple and sparse way.

 

When you called me out for now knowing how to read, I thought you meant how to read election results.

 

If you barely pass 5th grade or barely win an election but most common meaning is that passed with marginal results. I thought it was important to note (given how i read your post), that the measure passed by a large margin.

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19 minutes ago, skwatra said:

calm down. I honestly thought you meant that the measure "barely passed". in that context, i took it to mean:

1. only just; almost not.

2. in a simple and sparse way.

 

When you called me out for now knowing how to read, I thought you meant how to read election results.

 

If you barely pass 5th grade or barely win an election but most common meaning is that passed with marginal results. I thought it was important to note (given how i read your post), that the measure passed by a large margin.

Are you done? 

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3 hours ago, skwatra said:

 

The referendum passed 68% to 32%. That is pretty overwhelming.

 

What was the margin of victory for the original lightrail referendum?

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4 hours ago, Luminare said:

 

What was the margin of victory for the original lightrail referendum?

I’m trying to find the numbers but it wasn’t by much from what I remember. 

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13 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

I’m trying to find the numbers but it wasn’t by much from what I remember. 

In 2003? 52-48.

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The MetroRail wiki page references this article:

https://web.archive.org/web/20120205164331/http://soc.hfac.uh.edu/artman/publish/article_39.shtml 

Quote

With the passage of Proposition 1 in November 2001 election, all taxpayers that reside in the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s jurisdiction are guaranteed the right to vote on any future rail projects that involve public debt. Proposition 3, which was placed on the ballot to halt the existing work of MetroRail was defeated.

Looking at the 2001 Harris county election results and an old Houston Chronicole article, Charter Amendment 1 passed 74% to 26% and said

Quote

Proposition 1, placed on the ballot by council at Brown's request, would allow the Metropolitan Transit Authority to continue with the $300 million light rail line under construction between downtown and Reliant Park. If Metro wanted to expand the system, it would have to seek permission from the voters in its service area.

 

Charter Amendment 3 narrowly failed 54% to 46% and it would have said

Quote

Proposition 3, placed on the ballot by petition, would force the city to hold a special election on the downtown-Reliant line. If voters in that subsequent election rejected the line, Metro might be forced to tear up work already done.

 

 

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On 11/9/2019 at 7:34 AM, Naviguessor said:

I’ve come to agree with the BRT option too. With the money that available, and the ground that we need to make up, it’s the best option imo. Also, if done right, Houston may become a roll model for the country. Are there any other US cities which use BRT as extensively as what’s Proposed in MetroNext? 

 

Pretty much every city in America of Houston's caliber or higher (and quite a few lower) have been mainly looking at rail transit and expanding that, with BRT as a complement at best. Seattle recently converted their bus tunnel to rail. Los Angeles is looking to do the same with its Orange Line. The only sizable city which had a huge BRT plan was Nashville, but the voters there turned it down. With the high margin this referendum passed with, I bet Metro could have had some of these routes as rail (Inner Katy, University, Westheimer) and the voters still would have approved. It's clear Houstonians were hungry for something so Metro could have proposed a little more.

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On 11/24/2019 at 5:39 PM, Trae said:

 

Pretty much every city in America of Houston's caliber or higher (and quite a few lower) have been mainly looking at rail transit and expanding that, with BRT as a complement at best. Seattle recently converted their bus tunnel to rail. Los Angeles is looking to do the same with its Orange Line. The only sizable city which had a huge BRT plan was Nashville, but the voters there turned it down. With the high margin this referendum passed with, I bet Metro could have had some of these routes as rail (Inner Katy, University, Westheimer) and the voters still would have approved. It's clear Houstonians were hungry for something so Metro could have proposed a little more.

Metro def played it safe. I'd rather play it safe and for sure pass than tease an idea and it fails. 

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Also, what Metro proposed takes the entire existing system and improves it. All of it. Across the board. In some ways that's more ambitious than a few big flashy projects, and it is 100% necessary to get our overall transit system to anywhere near world-class. Copenhagen has a subway, but it also has a network of high-frequency buses that get their own lanes. Same with Barcelona. The only local rail Bordeaux has is three light rail lines. Buses don't have to be an embarrassment; they can provide a strong, independently useful foundation on which to build future projects as capacity needs grow.

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11 hours ago, Texasota said:

Also, what Metro proposed takes the entire existing system and improves it. All of it. Across the board. In some ways that's more ambitious than a few big flashy projects, and it is 100% necessary to get our overall transit system to anywhere near world-class. Copenhagen has a subway, but it also has a network of high-frequency buses that get their own lanes. Same with Barcelona. The only local rail Bordeaux has is three light rail lines. Buses don't have to be an embarrassment; they can provide a strong, independently useful foundation on which to build future projects as capacity needs grow.

 

I agree it improves the system but they low balled it at the end of the day. Those buses in Copenhagen are in addition to its 105-mile S-Train (light rail) and 23-mile Metro train (heavy rail subway). Barcelona's buses are in addition to its over 89 miles of rail, with more on the way (commuter, subway, and light rail).  Bordeaux is a small city, and it's metro isn't even larger than Austin. It's not a city Houston should be compared to.

 

Metro could have re-implemented the rail lines from the 2008 proposal and with the improved bus routes. Yeah it would have taken money, but it's at a time when Houstonians have become sick with traffic and driving, and now the city has much better urban offerings. It's almost a perfect storm. This was the same city that approved the heavy rail plan in the 80s before a mayor diverted the funds. I'm happy the system is improving, but hopefully there's a way to convert some of these BRT routes to LRT (like they were originally) because it'll be decades before they eventually make the switch.

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Don't get me a wrong: I would love to see a referendum next year converting the University line to rail (before it's built), building the 90 and 290 commuter lines (but as true regional rail), regional lines along Hardy and 45 S to Galveston, and a serious proposal for rail into the Heights and Montrose (probably 3-4 lines, though a N-S cross-neighborhood line would actually be pretty useful - maybe it could even swoop down through the Village and into the medical center.)

 

I agree that below a certain size it makes no sense to use another city for comparison, but I think mid-size cities are absolutely fair game. I personally view that Houston as functionally a mid-size city with big city suburbs. I do think we need to stop relying on American cities and start looking at cities in other countries that actually have functioning transit. Many of which manage to take buses and make them work as real transit, regardless of whether that's part of a larger system or the backbone. Copenhagen didn't have a subway until pretty recently, and the bus line that runs along Norrebrograde is still incredibly heavily used and important for getting in and out of the center city.

 

And for what it's worth, Bordeaux's metro area is actually almost exactly the same as Austin's at roughly 2.1 million

Edited by Texasota

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1 hour ago, Texasota said:

Don't get me a wrong: I would love to see a referendum next year converting the University line to rail (before it's built), building the 90 and 290 commuter lines (but as true regional rail), regional lines along Hardy and 45 S to Galveston, and a serious proposal for rail into the Heights and Montrose (probably 3-4 lines, though a N-S cross-neighborhood line would actually be pretty useful - maybe it could even swoop down through the Village and into the medical center.)

 

I agree that below a certain size it makes no sense to use another city for comparison, but I think mid-size cities are absolutely fair game. I personally view that Houston as functionally a mid-size city with big city suburbs. I do think we need to stop relying on American cities and start looking at cities in other countries that actually have functioning transit. Many of which manage to take buses and make them work as real transit, regardless of whether that's part of a larger system or the backbone. Copenhagen didn't have a subway until pretty recently, and the bus line that runs along Norrebrograde is still incredibly heavily used and important for getting in and out of the center city.

 

And for what it's worth, Bordeaux's metro area is actually almost exactly the same as Austin's at roughly 2.1 million

 

the problem is, the voters asks questions about what was the money you just got used for?

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Maybe, but that seems like an easy question to answer: the previous budget was for bus upgrades, which cost $X. If we want to upgrade some lines to rail, which is more expensive, that will cost an additional $Y.

 

Not saying the city would vote for it (that would probably depend on what the *details* of "it" ended up being), but the explanation isn't really all that complicated. And with almost 70% of the voting electorate behind this year's bond, that's a decent sign for clearly defined future additional projects. 

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5 hours ago, Texasota said:

Don't get me a wrong: I would love to see a referendum next year converting the University line to rail (before it's built), building the 90 and 290 commuter lines (but as true regional rail), regional lines along Hardy and 45 S to Galveston, and a serious proposal for rail into the Heights and Montrose (probably 3-4 lines, though a N-S cross-neighborhood line would actually be pretty useful - maybe it could even swoop down through the Village and into the medical center.)

 

I agree that below a certain size it makes no sense to use another city for comparison, but I think mid-size cities are absolutely fair game. I personally view that Houston as functionally a mid-size city with big city suburbs. I do think we need to stop relying on American cities and start looking at cities in other countries that actually have functioning transit. Many of which manage to take buses and make them work as real transit, regardless of whether that's part of a larger system or the backbone. Copenhagen didn't have a subway until pretty recently, and the bus line that runs along Norrebrograde is still incredibly heavily used and important for getting in and out of the center city.

 

And for what it's worth, Bordeaux's metro area is actually almost exactly the same as Austin's at roughly 2.1 million

 

It depends on what you define as a mid-size city, and if that's Bordeaux then Houston is not midsize. Copenhagen has had a subway for almost 20 years, and a light rail system for decades longer. The urban core of Houston has reached substantial size and density, or at least enough to warrant much more rail. Even some of the projections of a few BRT lines are enough to federally petition for light rail instead.

 

I think we agree that Metro wasn't ambitious with this plan. It's telling when literally every city of Houston's caliber has banked on rail transit and has only included BRT options as supplements to the overall system. None of them seem to think that BRT is right as a first option for their system for a reason, yet the densest and most urban side of Houston is going to use the less attractive transit mode. I really hope Metro goes back to the table after the holidays, looks at the margin this won by, and starts working on a referendum. If they can do that for some of the lines you named, along with the other BRT proposals feeding into them, then Houston might have a true mass transit system.

Edited by Trae

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I asked a Metro PR person about how much latitude they have in deciding what to do with the bond authority... and it sounded like a lot.

 

If they wanted to change the plan to include university line as light rail then I'm pretty sure they still can. 

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3 hours ago, Trae said:

I really hope Metro goes back to the table after the holidays, looks at the margin this won by, and starts working on a referendum. 

 

I think this sounds possible. Imagine if the opposite had happened. People voting down the proposal because it didn't have enough rail, but Metro interpreting that as people not wanting to expand mass transit at all.  The numbers show people support mass transit and it's only going to keep moving that way. Perhaps they will take a second look at some of the routes that will be better off starting off as rail.

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You people are dreaming.

Metro won't change their plan other than perhaps a simple reroute until AFTER all the money is spent..... the voters have spoken.

 

Edited by Toopicky
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22 hours ago, Toopicky said:

You people are dreaming.

Metro won't change their plan other than perhaps a simple reroute until AFTER all the money is spent..... the voters have spoken.

 

 

Almost all of the plan is contingent upon matching federal funds. If those don't materialize they'll have to change it on that basis alone. 

 

See: the last referendum and the university line. 

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14 hours ago, wilcal said:

 

Almost all of the plan is contingent upon matching federal funds. If those don't materialize they'll have to change it on that basis alone. 

 

See: the last referendum and the university line. 

 

Dropping a line because Federal funding was blocked isn't nearly the same as Metro deciding to upgrade from BRT to LRT.

The former was blocked and no funds were spent, while the later is simply IGNORING what the electorate voted to do and spend  MORE that they approved.

 

Not going to happen without another vote, and that won't happen until this tranche of money is spent.  Even then, how does Metro approach the voters again and say. "Remember all that money we spent building BRT ? Well, we want to tear it all up and spend even more and BTW we will have to shut down the BRT route for a few years while we replace all the new concrete to support the rail we should have built in the first place."

 

Wait another 30 years ......

Edited by Toopicky
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On 11/29/2019 at 5:58 AM, Toopicky said:

You people are dreaming.

Metro won't change their plan other than perhaps a simple reroute until AFTER all the money is spent..... the voters have spoken.

 

Dropping a line because Federal funding was blocked isn't nearly the same as Metro deciding to upgrade from BRT to LRT.

The former was blocked and no funds were spent, while the later is simply IGNORING what the electorate voted to do and spend  MORE that they approved.

 

Not going to happen without another vote, and that won't happen until this tranche of money is spent.  Even then, how does Metro approach the voters again and say. "Remember all that money we spent building BRT ? Well, we want to tear it all up and spend even more and BTW we will have to shut down the BRT route for a few years while we replace all the new concrete to support the rail we should have built in the first place."

 

Wait another 30 years ......

 

Isn't that what a referendum is? Which is what I said Metro should have based on the margin of victory. Also if BRT is supposed to be easily switched to rail, then converting any voter approved lines to LRT during construction will only delay it a couple of years at worst. The likelihood of a referendum happening to convert these lines back to LRT as originally voted on years ago is not high, so Houston will have to deal with the Great Value form of transit for a few decades.

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On 11/28/2019 at 5:35 PM, wilcal said:

 

Almost all of the plan is contingent upon matching federal funds. If those don't materialize they'll have to change it on that basis alone. 

 

See: the last referendum and the university line. 

 

I mean, 70% of voters want transit in this city.

 

anyone who would specifically block federal funding coming to Houston for the purpose of transit might have a harder time than they did when it was barely 51% of voters that wanted transit.

 

besides, the people who would have attempted this are no longer representatives, right?

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27 minutes ago, samagon said:

 

 

I mean, 70% of voters want transit in this city.

 

anyone who would specifically block federal funding coming to Houston for the purpose of transit might have a harder time than they did when it was barely 51% of voters that wanted transit.

 

besides, the people who would have attempted this are no longer representatives, right?

 

Logic and politics.... oil and water.

 

And yes, the aforementioned person is no longer a rep, but it's very much a swing district. 

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29 minutes ago, samagon said:

besides, the people who would have attempted this are no longer representatives, right?

 

Why did I suddenly hear a cackle in the background when I read that?

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