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Metro Next - 2040 Vision

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, 102IAHexpress said:

 

 

Your sample size is too big which is why it seems like a great investment. Objectively, the additional train trips that the purple and green lines take now compared to the buses they replaced has -not- yielded compounded results in ridership/revenue. Why should an extension to Hobby be any different, this time, to every inaccurate Metro projection from the past? 

 

If your projections are correct why not just start off with a rapid bus line extension? If the numbers hold up, expand to light rail.

Because it’s an airport and the Red Line is proof Houstonians will use it to get to popular destinations whether for work or play. Ridership predictions for the Green and Purple were based on minorities that already heavily used public transit in neighborhoods like 3rd Ward and East End. Plus the overall potential and growth in those neighborhoods hasn’t even come close to hitting a ceiling in terms of development. For example, once East River builds out you can expect ridership to increase. 

Edited by j_cuevas713
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On 4/20/2019 at 11:42 PM, j_cuevas713 said:

 the Red Line is proof Houstonians will use it to get to popular destinations whether for work or play. 

 

The red line is proof that if high ridership bus routes between the med center and downtown are converted to a light rail line, it will remain high ridership route, but at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.

The green and purple lines are proof that if existing low ridership bus routes are converted to light rail, they will remain low ridership light rail routes but at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. 

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On 4/20/2019 at 8:05 PM, 102IAHexpress said:

 

 

Your sample size is too big which is why it seems like a great investment. Objectively, the additional train trips that the purple and green lines take now compared to the buses they replaced has -not- yielded compounded results in ridership/revenue. Why should an extension to Hobby be any different, this time, to every inaccurate Metro projection from the past? 

 

If your projections are correct why not just start off with a rapid bus line extension? If the numbers hold up, expand to light rail.

 

Connections suck and people don't like them. Going BRT to a train is not ideal. 

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Well implemented BRT is a low capacity version of light rail, but the differences to change it over are substantial - you would have to rip up the entire busway and start over with rails.  It's better to do it right the first time

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12 minutes ago, cspwal said:

Well implemented BRT is a low capacity version of light rail, but the differences to change it over are substantial - you would have to rip up the entire busway and start over with rails.  It's better to do it right the first time

 

Agreed. However at this point any pragmatic solution is optimal. We also know that substantial costs for rail come from the fact that the entire roadway gets ripped up and replaced. If we switch a BRT to LRT at some point then only the median area will have to be serviced. Less time will have to dedicated to design the entire ROW. I think we can both agree that all of these things will have to be taken on a case by case basis. There is no one-size fit all solution by any stretch of the imagination.

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11 hours ago, 102IAHexpress said:

 

The red line is proof that if high ridership bus routes between the med center and downtown are converted to a light rail line, it will remain high ridership route, but at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.

The green and purple lines are proof that if existing low ridership bus routes are converted to light rail, they will remain low ridership light rail routes but at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. 

 

so you're saying that the density that has built up within a few blocks of the red line over the 15 years (and continues to build) since the red line was built is not at all related to the convenience of light rail?

 

the red line extension, and green/purple lines have been in service for 3 years? 

 

and anyway, while it's not huge immediate weekday ridership numbers

Jan 2016

green      2633

purple     3697

Jan 2017

green      3274

purple     4256

Jan 2018

green     4032

purple    5033

Jan 2019

green     4372

purple    5567

 

percentage wise, ridership has increased substantially on those routes, and there's no reason it won't continue to rise as density increases around these lines. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, samagon said:

 

 

so you're saying that the density that has built up within a few blocks of the red line over the 15 years (and continues to build) since the red line was built is not at all related to the convenience of light rail?

 

the red line extension, and green/purple lines have been in service for 3 years? 

 

and anyway, while it's not huge immediate weekday ridership numbers

Jan 2016

green      2633

purple     3697

Jan 2017

green      3274

purple     4256

Jan 2018

green     4032

purple    5033

Jan 2019

green     4372

purple    5567

 

percentage wise, ridership has increased substantially on those routes, and there's no reason it won't continue to rise as density increases around these lines. 

 

Density is only part of the problem, but another issue is that we just don't have a network that is robust enough that beckons people to use it as an alternative. Right now we only have 3 lines. only one actually takes people to a few destinations that one would like to visit or work at. The network has to reach a critical moment where I can look at a metro map full of various lines and say...oh hey I don't need to take my car because I can take these various lines to get to my general location and then walk 5 mins to where I want to go. So its not just the density of where people live or work, but the density of the network itself and its ability to take people from one area to another where they need/want to go. I recently visited Germany again for a week and there are plenty of areas that have connections to rail (either city rail or regional rail) that are very suburban and not packed like the city. At the end of the day the network will gain riders when people are confident that the network will take them to wherever they want to go. Not just from Downtown to Reliant Stadium after they had to travel all the way downtown via car.

 

EDIT: Our network will have to be very dense because of how many different density mass areas we have and how spread out they are.

Edited by Luminare
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this is indeed part of it, and why the loss of the university line has really dealt a huge blow to the overall success of the system.

 

everyone says "See, these two added lines have really low ridership!" well, you removed a component of those lines, people being able to travel from east of 59 to job opportunities in the galleria area, and all points in between without a car would have been huge. the system of added lines was designed as a set to be successful, and when you take a piece out of that set, it's like taking a wheel off of a car and complaining because it doesn't move very well.

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1 minute ago, samagon said:

this is indeed part of it, and why the loss of the university line has really dealt a huge blow to the overall success of the system.

 

everyone says "See, these two added lines have really low ridership!" well, you removed a component of those lines, people being able to travel from east of 59 to job opportunities in the galleria area, and all points in between without a car would have been huge. the system of added lines was designed as a set to be successful, and when you take a piece out of that set, it's like taking a wheel off of a car and complaining because it doesn't move very well.

 

Exactly. In a way thats essentially how a transportation system should be pitch, but it so often isn't, and that its like a car....a really super big car. You can't just put some wheels on axles and say that the job is done. There is a lot more that goes into a car. A transportation network isn't just one line, but a system much like a car isn't just one machine, but many machines. Again though that isn't the argument that many make, but its probably the argument that will make sense to the most people sense...well... most people drive cars. The analogy would be perfect.

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Another analogy is if you built the Katy freeway like it is now, but then it ended in a stop sign (warning - cross traffic does not stop!) 2 miles before 610

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18 hours ago, samagon said:

this is indeed part of it, and why the loss of the university line has really dealt a huge blow to the overall success of the system.

 

everyone says "See, these two added lines have really low ridership!" well, you removed a component of those lines, people being able to travel from east of 59 to job opportunities in the galleria area, and all points in between without a car would have been huge. the system of added lines was designed as a set to be successful, and when you take a piece out of that set, it's like taking a wheel off of a car and complaining because it doesn't move very well.

 

Indeed it is not part of it. People can still take the 82 Westheimer and tons of other buses. The "system" is one of local buses, commuter buses and light rail. Our bus system is one the most successful in the country. But even with our successful bus system, the green and purple lines have not been able to leverage that success relative to the buses they replaced. 

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On 4/23/2019 at 10:59 AM, cspwal said:

Well implemented BRT is a low capacity version of light rail, but the differences to change it over are substantial - you would have to rip up the entire busway and start over with rails.  It's better to do it right the first time

 

That's like saying, lets build this skyscraper right the first time and make it 100 floors instead of 35.

 

The busway "track" is just surface road. There is no disruption in rapid bus service during light rail conversion because the bus, is still a bus, and it can just drive around that section of rail construction. Not that hard. 

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2 hours ago, 102IAHexpress said:

 

Indeed it is not part of it. People can still take the 82 Westheimer and tons of other buses. The "system" is one of local buses, commuter buses and light rail. Our bus system is one the most successful in the country. But even with our successful bus system, the green and purple lines have not been able to leverage that success relative to the buses they replaced. 

 

I am not sure we can really have an intelligent discussion, you and I, as we have some foundational disagreements we'd need to get past first.

 

primarily, you believe a bus is as good as light rail. if we can't agree on that, then we aren't ever going to be able to have a meaningful discussion on this topic.

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58 minutes ago, samagon said:

you believe a bus is as good as light rail. if we can't agree on that, then we aren't ever going to be able to have a meaningful discussion on this topic.

 

To be fair, a BRT bus is indeed almost as good as light rail.  In fact, a lot of subway systems (I've seen it in Mexico City and I think Paris, too) use rubber-tired vehicles for their subways.  The main advantage of rail is bigger vehicles than BRT allows, but we are limited by block lengths here so even our double-car rail isn't a whole lot bigger than BRT buses.  The other main advantages of rail are theoretically lower maintenance costs and usually a smoother ride.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, rechlin said:

 

To be fair, a BRT bus is indeed almost as good as light rail.  In fact, a lot of subway systems (I've seen it in Mexico City and I think Paris, too) use rubber-tired vehicles for their subways.  The main advantage of rail is bigger vehicles than BRT allows, but we are limited by block lengths here so even our double-car rail isn't a whole lot bigger than BRT buses.  The other main advantages of rail are theoretically lower maintenance costs and usually a smoother ride.

 

certainly right, but the 82 isn't a BRT.

 

I've been on the metro in Paris, and indeed some of the lines do have rubber wheeled vehicles.

 

I don't consider them more comfortable, and I don't know if they are cheaper to maintain, maybe cheaper to install than rail.

Edited by samagon
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There's a more fundamental worldview disagreement here. 102IAHexpress seems to believe that public transit's primary purpose is to serve people who can't afford a car. If you start from that perspective, you're never going to end up with a decent transit network. You will instead end up with what most American cities have - a bunch of slow, low-frequency bus lines and *maybe* some sort of specialized service specifically for commuters that doesn't run on the weekends or late enough to get you home from going out. 

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3 hours ago, Texasota said:

There's a more fundamental worldview disagreement here. 102IAHexpress seems to believe that public transit's primary purpose is to serve people who can't afford a car. If you start from that perspective, you're never going to end up with a decent transit network. You will instead end up with what most American cities have - a bunch of slow, low-frequency bus lines and *maybe* some sort of specialized service specifically for commuters that doesn't run on the weekends or late enough to get you home from going out. 

 

Mostly accurate representation of my view. But to be more accurate, my view is specific to Houston. Or more specifically to the incorporating charting documents of the Metropolitan Transit Authority. It was chartered primarily as a means to serve people who cannot afford automobiles, AND people who are physically impaired. 

If you believe that the Metropolitan Transit Authority should have a different primary purpose. Then petition your representatives and ask to either amend its stated purpose or abolish it and start from scratch. 

 

The more fundamental disagreement here, as I see it, is what people -think- Metro's legal purpose is vs. what its -actual- legal purpose is. If you think Metro was chartered to be a New York City type public transportation network, then of course you want more rail. But, Houston is not NYC. 

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25 minutes ago, 102IAHexpress said:

 

Mostly accurate representation of my view. But to be more accurate, my view is specific to Houston. Or more specifically to the incorporating charting documents of the Metropolitan Transit Authority. It was chartered primarily as a means to serve people who cannot afford automobiles, AND people who are physically impaired. 

If you believe that the Metropolitan Transit Authority should have a different primary purpose. Then petition your representatives and ask to either amend its stated purpose or abolish it and start from scratch. 

 

The more fundamental disagreement here, as I see it, is what people -think- Metro's legal purpose is vs. what its -actual- legal purpose is. If you think Metro was chartered to be a New York City type public transportation network, then of course you want more rail. But, Houston is not NYC. 

Not everyone wants to sit in bumper to bumper traffic for 1 hour just to go 5 miles.

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46 minutes ago, 102IAHexpress said:

 

Mostly accurate representation of my view. But to be more accurate, my view is specific to Houston. Or more specifically to the incorporating charting documents of the Metropolitan Transit Authority. It was chartered primarily as a means to serve people who cannot afford automobiles, AND people who are physically impaired. 

If you believe that the Metropolitan Transit Authority should have a different primary purpose. Then petition your representatives and ask to either amend its stated purpose or abolish it and start from scratch. 

 

The more fundamental disagreement here, as I see it, is what people -think- Metro's legal purpose is vs. what its -actual- legal purpose is. If you think Metro was chartered to be a New York City type public transportation network, then of course you want more rail. But, Houston is not NYC. 

 

you're gonna have to provide a source. 

 

here's what metro states on their website:

https://www.ridemetro.org/Pages/AboutMetro.aspx

 

Quote

Vision

Through collaborative relations and innovative approaches, METRO will be an industry leader in delivering timely and efficient service that is transformative by providing multi-modal interactions for communities to connect to everyday work and life opportunities.

 

Quote

Mission

METRO’s mission is to provide safe, clean, reliable, accessible and friendly public transportation services to our region.

 

there's nothing in either of those two statements that say anything about who they target with their service. 

 

if indeed what you are suggesting was their only task in life, then why is PARK and ride even legal?

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On 4/23/2019 at 4:52 PM, Luminare said:

A transportation network isn't just one line, but a system

True.
The Triborough Bridge has been described as "a traffic machine". Remove any part of it, and the whole no longer functions. 
For better or worse, NYC had its Robert Moses, whose immense power made his vision a reality. Imagine if we had a transportation advocate who responded to complaints about Rail on Richmond by instead ramming it straight through Afton Oaks. I don't see anyone like that around here....

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Posted (edited)
41 minutes ago, Some one said:

Not everyone wants to sit in bumper to bumper traffic for 1 hour just to go 5 miles.

 

I would hazard a guess that no one wants to sit in traffic for 1 hour to go 5 miles, though that may be a bit of an overstatement of actual conditions, barring an accident that shuts down the entire freeway.   But that statement points towards making commuter solutions the priority.  What seems to be on the table is more oriented towards moving people around in the city and not so much moving them in and out of the city.

Edited by august948

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17 minutes ago, august948 said:

 

But that statement points towards making commuter solutions the priority.  What seems to be on the table is more oriented towards moving people around in the city and not so much moving them in and out of the city.

 

Good point. The issue is the Metro board and their fiduciary duty to their "shareholders" to borrow from corporate law. The largest shareholder, Houston, gets the most board seats (5). Second is Harris County Commissioners court (2), then the other 14 municipal members share (2). For a total of 9 board members. Most of the board members are loyal to "shareholders" in Harris County or Cities on the Harris County border. Accordingly, most of the movement will be intra-Harris County or intra-Houston. 

 

Again, I'm not opposed to abolishing Metro and starting from scratch. Heck, that's how Metro was created in the first place, by replacing the old HouTran system. 

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1 hour ago, 102IAHexpress said:

 

Good point. The issue is the Metro board and their fiduciary duty to their "shareholders" to borrow from corporate law. The largest shareholder, Houston, gets the most board seats (5). Second is Harris County Commissioners court (2), then the other 14 municipal members share (2). For a total of 9 board members. Most of the board members are loyal to "shareholders" in Harris County or Cities on the Harris County border. Accordingly, most of the movement will be intra-Harris County or intra-Houston. 

 

Again, I'm not opposed to abolishing Metro and starting from scratch. Heck, that's how Metro was created in the first place, by replacing the old HouTran system. 

 

Thank you for the elucidation.  In that light, the things metro has done and is planning make sense.  It looks to me like what they need is an expansion of service area and equivalent board representation from the outlying communities in order to put commuter services further up the priority scale.  Barring that, the solution lies with txdot in the form of highway expansion.

 

We're all in favor of highway expansion, right?

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That can't possibly be a serious question. No, we're not all in favor of highway expansion. And Metro's prioritization of moving people around within the (enormous) city makes sense - it's not just about how the population is dispersed today; it's about providing for what the population could look like in the future. It's the same basic idea as the obscene Grand Parkway. You build the infrastructure for the city you want, not just the city as it currently exists. 

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5 minutes ago, Texasota said:

That can't possibly be a serious question. No, we're not all in favor of highway expansion. And Metro's prioritization of moving people around within the (enormous) city makes sense - it's not just about how the population is dispersed today; it's about providing for what the population could look like in the future. It's the same basic idea as the obscene Grand Parkway. You build the infrastructure for the city you want, not just the city as it currently exists. 

 

It's more of a rhetorical question.  I'm already certain that some are in favor of highway expansion (myself included) and some are not. 

 

Here's the problem.  Only a fraction of the entire metro area lives inside the loop.  Last I checked it was around 600,000.  It may be more now, but the point is that it's only a fraction of the total.  If you are serious about moving the transport network forward, you have to address the needs of the vast majority of people who live outside this core area.  Expecting everyone to move inside the loop, or even inside the beltway is unrealistic.  From my perspective, and from that of many others as well, moving people in and out of the city efficiently is far more important than whatever is done in the core.  If you could magically eliminate the morning and evening rush hours, Monday through Friday, getting around Houston would be a (relative) breeze.  Since we don't have magic at our disposal, that need must be addressed.

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, august948 said:

 

It's more of a rhetorical question.  I'm already certain that some are in favor of highway expansion (myself included) and some are not. 

 

Here's the problem.  Only a fraction of the entire metro area lives inside the loop.  Last I checked it was around 600,000.  It may be more now, but the point is that it's only a fraction of the total.  If you are serious about moving the transport network forward, you have to address the needs of the vast majority of people who live outside this core area.  Expecting everyone to move inside the loop, or even inside the beltway is unrealistic.  From my perspective, and from that of many others as well, moving people in and out of the city efficiently is far more important than whatever is done in the core.  If you could magically eliminate the morning and evening rush hours, Monday through Friday, getting around Houston would be a (relative) breeze.  Since we don't have magic at our disposal, that need must be addressed.

 

this article states that if you move 10% of the population from cars to motorcycles, it can reduce congestion by 40%.

https://newatlas.com/motorcycles-reduce-congestion/21420/

 

There's a link to the actual study that came to those findings in the article as well.

 

I'd submit that this probably translates well to commuter trains, and other options.

 

when you expand freeways it increases sprawl and then traffic is right back where it was before you expanded. that is proven time and again, right here in our own home town. You can see the results on I-10, you will see the results soon on 290, you continually see it happen on the Gulf Freeway, and when 288 is done, you will see the results there as well.

 

meanwhile, in Houston and beyond it is shown that if you don't have density when you put in fixed guideway transit (LR, BRT, whatever), the density comes naturally.

 

why is it important to create density, rather than continue sprawl? Houston has a city limit that is pretty well fixed, the Texas legislature made it harder for cities like Houston to keep expanding. We, as Houstonians made it harder for the city to raise property tax rates.

 

how then, is a city going to make more money to fix potholes, have a better police force, etc? Increase property values! to do that, you need density. So is expanding freeways to make it easier for people to live farther away from town, and not help pay taxes for services they use really the answer?

 

so yeah, don't expand freeways, build better services for alternatives to single vehicle travel. good enough that 10% of the population will choose to travel that way and leave the car in the garage. reduce congestion by 40%, less emissions floating around the air to get people sick, more options for everyone. there are so many pluses to going a different direction than wider freeways.

Edited by samagon
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That fraction that lives inside the loop has the same population as a medium sized city - think Tulsa, Albuquerque, Baton Rouge... 

 

Beyond that, we have a bunch of freeway segments that don't need a stall or wreck to come to a near halt in the middle of the flippin' afternoon - mostly inside the loop, but not entirely.  

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58 minutes ago, mollusk said:

That fraction that lives inside the loop has the same population as a medium sized city - think Tulsa, Albuquerque, Baton Rouge... 

 

Beyond that, we have a bunch of freeway segments that don't need a stall or wreck to come to a near halt in the middle of the flippin' afternoon - mostly inside the loop, but not entirely.  

 

For a medium sized city, Innerloopville we'll call it, there's already got a pretty good public transport system and the 2040 proposals intend to make that even better.  Those of us outside the loop will be paying a lot for that privilege.  You're welcome.

 

As for mid-afternoon congestion, I'd guess some of that is related to folks coming in from rural wastelands outside the perimeter.  You can either batten down the hatches and make it increasingly difficult to go in and out of the city or find some way to smooth that transit.  I vote for the latter, but that requires a real expansion of the metro service area and inclusion of outlying communities in the process (and funding). 

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Some of the inner loop has a decent public transit system.  For other parts, it can take an hour to go the same distance you could drive in 20 minutes.  The inner loop needs a lot more fast transit options, whether its trains, brt, or express/limited service

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1 hour ago, samagon said:

 

this article states that if you move 10% of the population from cars to motorcycles, it can reduce congestion by 40%.

https://newatlas.com/motorcycles-reduce-congestion/21420/

 

There's a link to the actual study that came to those findings in the article as well.

 

I'd submit that this probably translates well to commuter trains, and other options.

 

when you expand freeways it increases sprawl and then traffic is right back where it was before you expanded. that is proven time and again, right here in our own home town. You can see the results on I-10, you will see the results soon on 290, you continually see it happen on the Gulf Freeway, and when 288 is done, you will see the results there as well.

 

meanwhile, in Houston and beyond it is shown that if you don't have density when you put in fixed guideway transit (LR, BRT, whatever), the density comes naturally.

 

why is it important to create density, rather than continue sprawl? Houston has a city limit that is pretty well fixed, the Texas legislature made it harder for cities like Houston to keep expanding. We, as Houstonians made it harder for the city to raise property tax rates.

 

how then, is a city going to make more money to fix potholes, have a better police force, etc? Increase property values! to do that, you need density. So is expanding freeways to make it easier for people to live farther away from town, and not help pay taxes for services they use really the answer?

 

so yeah, don't expand freeways, build better services for alternatives to single vehicle travel. good enough that 10% of the population will choose to travel that way and leave the car in the garage. reduce congestion by 40%, less emissions floating around the air to get people sick, more options for everyone. there are so many pluses to going a different direction than wider freeways.

 

That's an interesting idea, encouraging a switch from cars to motorcycles.  I don't know how successful you would be getting suburban commuters to switch in our climate, though.  As for density, that's already happening naturally.  You are certainly right about fixed guideway transit attracting it. My wife and I were driving around midtown earlier this week looking for what remains of the chinatown that used to be there and the change is very noticeable.

 

As a property owner in the city, I'm not terribly excited about higher property vales pushing up my taxes, but another consequence of that is declining affordability in the core of the city.  That's just going to encourage more development outside the city where property values are less.  Thus leading to more commuters.

 

My point here is that if we can't find a way to include the broader metro area in some sort of well put together system that suburban commuters are actually going to use instead of the  freeways then you are going to get more and larger freeways pushing traffic into the city where it then becomes constricted and congested.  Or, if it gets bad enough, businesses will relocate to the outer areas (a la Exxon) diminishing the city's tax base and slowing the drive towards density.

3 minutes ago, cspwal said:

Some of the inner loop has a decent public transit system.  For other parts, it can take an hour to go the same distance you could drive in 20 minutes.  The inner loop needs a lot more fast transit options, whether its trains, brt, or express/limited service

 

I think the comparison was the inner loop as a small city vs places like Tulsa and Baton Rouge.  How does the inner loop transit system compare to the systems in those cities?  I'd bet it's world class in comparison.

 

My broader point is that too much emphasis is made on inner loop transit when the greater need is outside the loop.

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But if you're destinations are in the inner loop, to use transportation from outside the loop you need good transportation inside the loop.  Take the P&R options - they're great for going to downtown, but it would take an extra 45 minutes to go to my office that's 5 miles from downtown

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4 minutes ago, cspwal said:

But if you're destinations are in the inner loop, to use transportation from outside the loop you need good transportation inside the loop.  Take the P&R options - they're great for going to downtown, but it would take an extra 45 minutes to go to my office that's 5 miles from downtown

 

A very good point.  If we're going to tackle this problem effectively we've got to deal with the last mile problem for someone who lives off the Grand Parkway.

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I think it's going to take some sort of vision on the behalf of someone in charge of Metro for a more cohesive system for both the inner loop, the developed area between 610 and bwy 8, and the suburbs where the most growth is happening.  The express buses mentioned in the 2040 vision is a start, but I think more will have to be done.

 

As a side note, what would people think about more services at train stations and transit centers?  How hard would it to be to put in vending machines for drinks, snacks, umbrellas so when you miss your bus by 38 seconds you can have a cool beverage to relax with 

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2 minutes ago, cspwal said:

I think it's going to take some sort of vision on the behalf of someone in charge of Metro for a more cohesive system for both the inner loop, the developed area between 610 and bwy 8, and the suburbs where the most growth is happening.  The express buses mentioned in the 2040 vision is a start, but I think more will have to be done.

 

As a side note, what would people think about more services at train stations and transit centers?  How hard would it to be to put in vending machines for drinks, snacks, umbrellas so when you miss your bus by 38 seconds you can have a cool beverage to relax with 

 

There would need to be an expansion of the board representation to include the outlying communities (or counties perhaps) and a tax commitment on their part.  The current Metro board and area was set up in the '70's when these outlying communities weren't an issue.  Metro needs to expand to include more of the metro Houston area or become a subordinate part of a larger organization that coordinates metro-wide transit. 

 

As for the vending machines, that should be a no-brainer for Metro.  They don't even have to own or service the vending machines.  There are plenty of private companies that do that.  All they need to do is provide a few square feet and an electric outlet.

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One problem I see with expanding the Metro service area is I feel like they tried, but couldn't - wasn't the reason the Pearland park and ride fell through was Pearland was already at the sales tax cap and couldn't contribute to Metro's funding?

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4 minutes ago, cspwal said:

One problem I see with expanding the Metro service area is I feel like they tried, but couldn't - wasn't the reason the Pearland park and ride fell through was Pearland was already at the sales tax cap and couldn't contribute to Metro's funding?

 

Yes, I recall that too.  There's a lot that has to be re-engineered here.  But if you don't re-engineer it, the default solution is expanding the highways.  Maybe the solution is to get the counties surrounding Harris to join Metro and contribute that way.  Could be we need changed laws and regulations in Austin (yet another hurdle).

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Good discussion of the tax/political hurdles. The only solution I have other than expanding the highway and/or just abolishing Metro and starting from scratch, is to restrict the HOV lanes to Metro buses only. There are too many cars slowing down the HOV lanes, and too many HOV violators. Motorcycles are exempt per federal law I think, but other than that, keep the solo drivers out of there. 

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49 minutes ago, 102IAHexpress said:

Good discussion of the tax/political hurdles. The only solution I have other than expanding the highway and/or just abolishing Metro and starting from scratch, is to restrict the HOV lanes to Metro buses only. There are too many cars slowing down the HOV lanes, and too many HOV violators. Motorcycles are exempt per federal law I think, but other than that, keep the solo drivers out of there. 

 

My commute of late has involved the HOV on 59 north and south.  Though it slows down at times, I haven't found it to be much of a problem congestion-wise.  My biggest peeve with HOV drivers is that some see the slowdown in the mainlanes and hit the breaks even though there's no reason to in the HOV.  I think that contributes to some of the problem at least on the segment I drive.

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6 hours ago, august948 said:

 

That's an interesting idea, encouraging a switch from cars to motorcycles.  I don't know how successful you would be getting suburban commuters to switch in our climate, though.  As for density, that's already happening naturally.  You are certainly right about fixed guideway transit attracting it. My wife and I were driving around midtown earlier this week looking for what remains of the chinatown that used to be there and the change is very noticeable.

 

As a property owner in the city, I'm not terribly excited about higher property vales pushing up my taxes, but another consequence of that is declining affordability in the core of the city.  That's just going to encourage more development outside the city where property values are less.  Thus leading to more commuters.

 

 

 

or maybe it encourages what we have seen over the past decade. more density. look at montrose, where once there were single family homes and garden apartments, there are townhomes, condos and apartment towers. sure, the people may not be able to afford a ranch style home on a 10,000ft plot inside the beltway, or a bungalow on a 5,000ft plot in the loop for an affordable price, but they will find a condo, or an apartment, or a townhome. all of these are denser than a single family home on a huge plot with a yard.

 

that is density. and that is the only way our city is going to increase the amount of money coming in considering what they can't do to make more money. A 10 million dollar apartment tower paying 2.5% in taxes brings in more for the city than 10 homes paying 2.5% on $300,000.

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Telephone and Broadway are sperated by 3/4 mi - it's walkable, but I doubt it will turn the huge mass of people who live on broadway into daily train users.  Hopefully they can coordinate a frequent bus on broadway that would connect them, because otherwise it would leave some ridership off the table.

 

How are they going to bridge the train tracks on Griggs?  That seems like a big issue

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1 hour ago, cspwal said:

Telephone and Broadway are sperated by 3/4 mi - it's walkable, but I doubt it will turn the huge mass of people who live on broadway into daily train users.  Hopefully they can coordinate a frequent bus on broadway that would connect them, because otherwise it would leave some ridership off the table.

 

How are they going to bridge the train tracks on Griggs?  That seems like a big issue

 

So much potential ridership lost. Blah.

 

Also, I'll bet another bridge is in the future to go over those tracks. Gotta cross it somewhere though. They did have concerns about environment stuff, just like in the East End. 

 

28 minutes ago, Naviguessor said:

Hobby Rental Car Center?  Don't recall hearing about one of these developing. Should happen. 

 

I mean, the current rental car centers are kind of clustered right there. Maybe they just mean a stop that is accessible? I think the central rental car center at IAH has been pretty successful, but there are way more people to pay the high rental car taxes. 

 

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1 hour ago, Naviguessor said:

Hobby Rental Car Center?  Don't recall hearing about one of these developing. Should happen. 

 

This is needed to support the high ridership estimates by Metro. Passengers boarding to get to their rental cars will no doubt still be counted as light rail passengers. An easy way to inflate the numbers.  Much like the Smith Lands stop on the Red Line. 

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48 minutes ago, 102IAHexpress said:

 

This is needed to support the high ridership estimates by Metro. Passengers boarding to get to their rental cars will no doubt still be counted as light rail passengers. An easy way to inflate the numbers.  Much like the Smith Lands stop on the Red Line. 

 

Yeah, because almost 7% of the Red Line's boardings are at Smith Lands station.  :wacko:

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Naviguessor said:

Hobby Rental Car Center?  Don't recall hearing about one of these developing. Should happen. 

 

A consolidated rental car facility has been in the Hobby master plan since at least 2014, and I think before that.  I believe the last master plan iteration indicated a preferred site west of the new parking garage.  

Edited by Houston19514
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4 hours ago, cspwal said:

Telephone and Broadway are sperated by 3/4 mi - it's walkable, but I doubt it will turn the huge mass of people who live on broadway into daily train users.  Hopefully they can coordinate a frequent bus on broadway that would connect them, because otherwise it would leave some ridership off the table.

 

How are they going to bridge the train tracks on Griggs?  That seems like a big issue

 

I would imagine either bridge or underpass.  Why would either  be a big issue?

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6 hours ago, cspwal said:

Telephone and Broadway are sperated by 3/4 mi - it's walkable, but I doubt it will turn the huge mass of people who live on broadway into daily train users.  Hopefully they can coordinate a frequent bus on broadway that would connect them, because otherwise it would leave some ridership off the table.

 

How are they going to bridge the train tracks on Griggs?  That seems like a big issue

There's a boost corridor being planned that runs down Broadway.

 

Honestly the good thing about the realignment is that not only is it cheaper, but it also goes through Gulfgate , which could bring in more riders.

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9 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

 

Yeah, because almost 7% of the Red Line's boardings are at Smith Lands station.  :wacko:

 

Depending on the time of year Smith Lands is usually between the fifth to third most boarded station in Metro's entire light rail network for weekday boarding's. It's essentially a private park and ride. Additionally, the official Park and Ride for the Red Line is Fannin South, which is usually the third most boarded station in Metro's entire light rail network. Two of the most popular light rail stations are essentially parking lots. LOL

 

If the Med Center could offer more parking for its employees, almost 7K boarding's would be wiped off the Light Rail ridership numbers. Shocking. 

 

https://www.ridemetro.org/Pages/RidershipReport.aspx

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10 hours ago, 102IAHexpress said:

 

Depending on the time of year Smith Lands is usually between the fifth to third most boarded station in Metro's entire light rail network for weekday boarding's. It's essentially a private park and ride. Additionally, the official Park and Ride for the Red Line is Fannin South, which is usually the third most boarded station in Metro's entire light rail network. Two of the most popular light rail stations are essentially parking lots. LOL

 

If the Med Center could offer more parking for its employees, almost 7K boarding's would be wiped off the Light Rail ridership numbers. Shocking. 

 

https://www.ridemetro.org/Pages/RidershipReport.aspx

 

Do they still have to pay to ride? No trying to ask a leading question, just honestly don't know if they have a special deal worked out. 

 

Also, Smith Lands is only 13.4% if you count those passengers both ways. It's a lot, but not insane.

 

I think it's crazier that we have NRG's lots sitting empty so much of the time and the med center built their own. At least it could be converted to more office space/hospital space eventually and they could go garage. 

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