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Metro moving toward $3B bond vote for 20-year transit plan

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I wish that the university line could be LRT instead of BRT, but extending LRT is a good thing for those areas - they are places that can be redeveloped into denser communities, while being low traffic now so it should be easier to make the lines.

 

BRT from W Little York to Missouri City is ambitious - if they do it properly the whole way

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It seems peculiar that the west side of town is getting BRT, where many people are turned off by buses and more likely to ride LRT, while all the LRT is on the central/east side of town, where people are more tolerant of buses. It also seems like a glaring problem that even in 2040, you will still not be able to get on a single vehicle, either BRT or LRT, and take it all the way from the Galleria to downtown.

 

Edited by H-Town Man
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There's going to be that signature Westheimer bus from downtown to the Galleria, but I'm not sure what the details are.

 

What we need is a good E/W rail route - if we could get some Boring company tunnels made for the light rail trains, it would be a 7 mi tunnel, and it would be about $140 million to make a 2 bore tunnel down Westheimer

https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2018/12/elon-musk-tunnel-ride-tesla-boring-company-los-angeles/578536/ 

 

Quote

Musk put a Tesla in a tunnel, and he did it for a potentially game-changing price: The demonstration tube cost $10 million a mile to dig.

 

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Strange to spend all LRT money on the east and north sides of town, when the much denser areas that actually support rail transit are all on the west side.  Still, would be a nice improvement. 

 

Still waiting on that University rail line promised with the 2003 referendum... 

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1 minute ago, mfastx said:

Strange to spend all LRT money on the east and north sides of town, when the much denser areas that actually support rail transit are all on the west side.  Still, would be a nice improvement. 

 

Still waiting on that University rail line promised with the 2003 referendum... 

The University Line would be finished a long time ago had it not been for morons like Culberson. I don't mind the amount of BRT Metro want's to spend money on and where they want to place it. I think we're underestimating just how efficient that service is and how easily it could translate to rail in the future. 

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On 12/19/2018 at 9:27 AM, cspwal said:

I wish that the university line could be LRT instead of BRT, but extending LRT is a good thing for those areas - they are places that can be redeveloped into denser communities, while being low traffic now so it should be easier to make the lines.

 

BRT from W Little York to Missouri City is ambitious - if they do it properly the whole way

Interestingly, the Metro plan suggests BRT could be converted for autonomous vehicle use in the future. 

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Posted (edited)

Unlike the last time we voted on light rail, it seems Houstonians are finally accepting the fact that they need this more than anything. I've heard very few people actually complain about this. 

Edited by j_cuevas713
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Most of the complaining I've heard is we need more not that this is a waste

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The annoying thing is a subset of people saying we should vote no on this because they want more money spent on rail, unhappy that this puts a bigger focus on BRT.  But I'm pretty sure that if this fails, Metro will take this as the people just rejecting mass transit in general, so those people would be shooting themselves in the foot.

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16 minutes ago, rechlin said:

The annoying thing is a subset of people saying we should vote no on this because they want more money spent on rail, unhappy that this puts a bigger focus on BRT.  But I'm pretty sure that if this fails, Metro will take this as the people just rejecting mass transit in general, so those people would be shooting themselves in the foot.

Isn't it ironic how spending too much money was an issue last election and now people are wanting to spend more? I think that's why METRO keeps telling people to educate themselves on the plan because its actually very cost efficient and smart. 

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My only problem with it is I think we desperately need rail going east west, but if the BRT line along I-10 is going to be an extension of the uptown BRT, then having 2 lines going every 5 minutes should help

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1 hour ago, rechlin said:

The annoying thing is a subset of people saying we should vote no on this because they want more money spent on rail, unhappy that this puts a bigger focus on BRT.  But I'm pretty sure that if this fails, Metro will take this as the people just rejecting mass transit in general, so those people would be shooting themselves in the foot.

It's on Metro than to do a better job marketing their plan. They need to give people a better idea of what BRT is and that it is not a generic bus. Also, it is smart to design the BRT buses to look like light rail cars much as possible. It is going to come down to imagery. It be great to have all light rail but based on Houston's culture and the massive finances it has little chance of happening. Metro didn't do any favor for themselves with the boondoggle they turned the last light rail initiative into.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, cougarpad said:

It's on Metro than to do a better job marketing their plan. They need to give people a better idea of what BRT is and that it is not a generic bus. Also, it is smart to design the BRT buses to look like light rail cars much as possible. It is going to come down to imagery. It be great to have all light rail but based on Houston's culture and the massive finances it has little chance of happening. Metro didn't do any favor for themselves with the boondoggle they turned the last light rail initiative into.

I think they've done a great job overall selling the plan with countless meetings throughout the city the past year. There will always be an ignorant minority no matter what. One positive is people seem all in for light rail to Hobby. 

Edited by j_cuevas713
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2 hours ago, cougarpad said:

It's on Metro than to do a better job marketing their plan. They need to give people a better idea of what BRT is and that it is not a generic bus. Also, it is smart to design the BRT buses to look like light rail cars much as possible. It is going to come down to imagery. It be great to have all light rail but based on Houston's culture and the massive finances it has little chance of happening. Metro didn't do any favor for themselves with the boondoggle they turned the last light rail initiative into.

 

i follow this stuff and would say i'm probably in the 95% percentile when it comes to understanding what they've proposed.. but i still have no idea how a i10 BRT would work or look or function.  The idea that somehow people would be happy(?) with being dropped off somewhere near the Raising Canes/Wendys and that that would somehow be a destination that makes sense to anyone is beyond me.    

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Of there isn't light rail along the old "University" route down Richmond Ave I am voting against it .... BRT is a poor substitute and a waste of money while taking up just as much lane space. The trains add a cool factor to urban transit which attracts riders while BRT is still just a bus.

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7 minutes ago, crock said:

 

 

i follow this stuff and would say i'm probably in the 95% percentile when it comes to understanding what they've proposed.. but i still have no idea how a i10 BRT would work or look or function.  The idea that somehow people would be happy(?) with being dropped off somewhere near the Raising Canes/Wendys and that that would somehow be a destination that makes sense to anyone is beyond me.    

Cane's is awesome so I would take the BRT to Canes 

but your point is valid.  I assume some pedestrian bridges and bus connections will be involved

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Toopicky said:

Of there isn't light rail along the old "University" route down Richmond Ave I am voting against it .... BRT is a poor substitute and a waste of money while taking up just as much lane space. The trains add a cool factor to urban transit which attracts riders while BRT is still just a bus.

BRT is far from being a waste of money. This form of transit has proven to be efficient and reliable across the world. It just hasn't caught fire in the US just yet. Chicago and SF both have BRT lines that have been a success. But let me get something straight, you are going to vote against the entire initiative because you want trains, when BRT is just as efficient? Please reconsider for the sake of all of us in this forum to vote YES. This city would be stuck for the next 20 years if not longer without a decent transit system. Every vote is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT this year. We NEED this to pass. I'm a little lost how you didn't know about the University Line status, when it's been in the current state for almost 15 years. If you want to wait even longer for any form of transit, be my guest and vote NO. If you eventually want trains to replace the BRT lines, VOTE YES!

Edited by j_cuevas713
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Also a good way to make the case for light rail on the University corridor is to show high rider ship on the BRT - it can probably handle half the volume as light rail, so if the ridership approaches that then they can upgrade the guide ways.

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The only way to ever get LRT is to vote YES on transit expansion projects. We have to build an infrastructure now and can replace with whatever, whenever it makes sense. In the case for Houston the Northwest Transit Center will still succeed although it is not completely connected by train.

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2 hours ago, ZRFkris said:

The only way to ever get LRT is to vote YES on transit expansion projects. We have to build an infrastructure now and can replace with whatever, whenever it makes sense. In the case for Houston the Northwest Transit Center will still succeed although it is not completely connected by train.

Exactly! The same way each block in this city goes from empty lot to house to skyscraper is the same way we need to think about this transit plan. If we don’t lay something down, we have nothing to build and improve upon while still moving people in the process. 

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23 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

Unlike the last time we voted on light rail, it seems Houstonians are finally accepting the fact that they need this more than anything. I've heard very few people actually complain about this. 

 

I think some of this comes down to certain representatives no longer representing areas of Houston.

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17 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

BRT is far from being a waste of money. This form of transit has proven to be efficient and reliable across the world. It just hasn't caught fire in the US just yet. Chicago and SF both have BRT lines that have been a success. But let me get something straight, you are going to vote against the entire initiative because you want trains, when BRT is just as efficient? Please reconsider for the sake of all of us in this forum to vote YES. This city would be stuck for the next 20 years if not longer without a decent transit system. Every vote is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT this year. We NEED this to pass. I'm a little lost how you didn't know about the University Line status, when it's been in the current state for almost 15 years. If you want to wait even longer for any form of transit, be my guest and vote NO. If you eventually want trains to replace the BRT lines, VOTE YES!

 

I'm largely in agreement with most of your points but there's one thing I need to correct here: 

 

BRT is NOT as efficient or as good as LRT.  It is significantly cheaper, sure.  But on an operational basis, it generates less ridership, has less capacity and costs more per passenger to operate on top of all of that.  It's an absolute failure of Metro to never have built the original University Line as LRT.  It was promised to us in 2003 and was never built.  It is by far the second best corridor for rail in Houston after the original Red Line.  Just the University Line itself would have more ridership than the Red Line extension, Green and Purple Lines COMBINED.  That was the one important line coming out of the 2003 referendum and they screwed it up.  The original plan was to have the University and Uptown lines as rail and the east side lines as BRT.  

 

Now, all of that out of the way, despite my disappointment in the above, I would still vote yes on this plan.  Reason being is that after 2003 it took nearly 20 years for Metro to develop another expansion plan.  These projects won't all be completed until 2040 (assuming all projects get built which is quite doubtful).  If this fails, who knows how long it will be until there is another opportunity to improve transit in Houston.  While BRT for the west side lines is a disappointment, it is still a significant upgrade over what we have now.  

 

Rail to one of the airports is a win as well.  

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Let's not make the perfect the enemy of the good.  BRT can be upgraded to rail fairly easily.

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57 minutes ago, mfastx said:

 

I'm largely in agreement with most of your points but there's one thing I need to correct here: 

 

BRT is NOT as efficient or as good as LRT.  It is significantly cheaper, sure.  But on an operational basis, it generates less ridership, has less capacity and costs more per passenger to operate on top of all of that.  It's an absolute failure of Metro to never have built the original University Line as LRT.  It was promised to us in 2003 and was never built.  It is by far the second best corridor for rail in Houston after the original Red Line.  Just the University Line itself would have more ridership than the Red Line extension, Green and Purple Lines COMBINED.  That was the one important line coming out of the 2003 referendum and they screwed it up.  The original plan was to have the University and Uptown lines as rail and the east side lines as BRT.  

 

Now, all of that out of the way, despite my disappointment in the above, I would still vote yes on this plan.  Reason being is that after 2003 it took nearly 20 years for Metro to develop another expansion plan.  These projects won't all be completed until 2040 (assuming all projects get built which is quite doubtful).  If this fails, who knows how long it will be until there is another opportunity to improve transit in Houston.  While BRT for the west side lines is a disappointment, it is still a significant upgrade over what we have now.  

 

Rail to one of the airports is a win as well.  

I agree it is lower capacity per bus compared to a train car but its frequent. We could see multiple buses loaded at one station at a time. It's not going to be one bus and then wait 15 minutes and then another bus. Idk why you think BRT is a disappointment. There are cities with entire BRT networks that carry tons of people daily. Just because it's not an elevated train doesn't make it less of a transit solution. 

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Also just having a train doesn't mean it will be frequent.  Made the mistake of trying to ride the Baltimore light rail on a Sunday, and it was over half an hour before it showed up.

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The Baltimore light rail is the worst light rail I have ever ridden. 

 

Shouldn't we merge this with the one in "trains"?

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23 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

BRT is far from being a waste of money. This form of transit has proven to be efficient and reliable across the world. It just hasn't caught fire in the US just yet. Chicago and SF both have BRT lines that have been a success. But let me get something straight, you are going to vote against the entire initiative because you want trains, when BRT is just as efficient? Please reconsider for the sake of all of us in this forum to vote YES. This city would be stuck for the next 20 years if not longer without a decent transit system. Every vote is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT this year. We NEED this to pass. I'm a little lost how you didn't know about the University Line status, when it's been in the current state for almost 15 years. If you want to wait even longer for any form of transit, be my guest and vote NO. If you eventually want trains to replace the BRT lines, VOTE YES!

 

Oh, I know how the GOP overlords blocked it over and over from being built, but I've ridden on BRT's before and they are no better than a bus.  I have also ridden on urban rail (including Houston's) and it has always been an enjoyable experience. The rail equipment is maintained better, the ride is quieter and the whole experience is a lot more enjoyable. I'll vote NO for this boondoggle

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3 hours ago, Texasota said:

The Baltimore light rail is the worst light rail I have ever ridden. 

 

Shouldn't we merge this with the one in "trains"?

 

You should try Baltimore buses .... much worse

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Which BRT? I'm just asking because there's a lot of systems that use the term BRT for just a normal bus, while others operate it as much as a light rail train as possible

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On 8/15/2019 at 1:06 PM, crock said:

 

 

i follow this stuff and would say i'm probably in the 95% percentile when it comes to understanding what they've proposed.. but i still have no idea how a i10 BRT would work or look or function.  The idea that somehow people would be happy(?) with being dropped off somewhere near the Raising Canes/Wendys and that that would somehow be a destination that makes sense to anyone is beyond me.    

 

On 8/15/2019 at 1:14 PM, cspwal said:

Cane's is awesome so I would take the BRT to Canes 

but your point is valid.  I assume some pedestrian bridges and bus connections will be involved

 

It's a Transit Center. It's clearly shown on the map.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Toopicky said:

 

Oh, I know how the GOP overlords blocked it over and over from being built, but I've ridden on BRT's before and they are no better than a bus.  I have also ridden on urban rail (including Houston's) and it has always been an enjoyable experience. The rail equipment is maintained better, the ride is quieter and the whole experience is a lot more enjoyable. I'll vote NO for this boondoggle

 

I've ridden plenty of times on Metro buses and rail.  I've had plenty of unpleasant experiences on the rail.  The one time I had a slightly unpleasant experience on a bus, the bus driver made the drunk passenger get off at the next stop.  That doesn't happen on the rail because there is rarely any "adult supervision." Also, I can see zero basis to claim that our rail cars are maintained either better or worse than our buses.

Edited by Houston19514

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BRT is a bus.  To be blunt, that's what the "B" stands for.  The main distinctions are a dedicated lane, branding, and sometimes priority at traffic lights.  Judging by the renderings, we'll also probably have snazzy wheel spats and a different paint job to make it easier to pretend it's rail.  It would be nice if they were electric (quieter, and one less thing to do to upgrade to rail), but that horse is out of the barn already.

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Rarely are BRT buses just a reassigned city bus. The ones I’ve seen and risen on are usually designed with multiple sliding doors (like LR), articulated (like LR), board from raised platforms(also like Light Rail), which are on the same plain as the floor of the bus and fared like MertoRail is. All for faster, more efficient loading and unloading. 

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Additionally, one would have to think BRT could quickly adopt driverless technology once proven and available. Surely within the next two decades this is a certainty.

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Toopicky said:

 

Oh, I know how the GOP overlords blocked it over and over from being built, but I've ridden on BRT's before and they are no better than a bus.  I have also ridden on urban rail (including Houston's) and it has always been an enjoyable experience. The rail equipment is maintained better, the ride is quieter and the whole experience is a lot more enjoyable. I'll vote NO for this boondoggle

Boondoggle? Because it doesn’t offer you your train experience? Give me a f*ckin break. People like you fail to understand how much work it takes to create a plan that’s affordable and takes in to account how this city is built and operates. Go ahead a vote NO and help screw all the rest of us over. For every person in this forum who takes the time to document each development as it happens and cheers for Houston to continue to grow and develop in a manner we all believe it can, it seriously pains the living hell out of me to have someone come on here and go against that. 

Edited by j_cuevas713
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On ‎8‎/‎15‎/‎2019 at 1:06 PM, crock said:

 

 

i follow this stuff and would say i'm probably in the 95% percentile when it comes to understanding what they've proposed.. but i still have no idea how a i10 BRT would work or look or function.  The idea that somehow people would be happy(?) with being dropped off somewhere near the Raising Canes/Wendys and that that would somehow be a destination that makes sense to anyone is beyond me.    

 

The way I see it, you have two options going east and west. The University line is the corridor line that takes you through a lot of the more interesting places where you can get off. The I-10 line looks like an express route to get people between Uptown/future HSR and Downtown as quickly as possible, connecting the two major hubs. The University line in comparison would be moving a lot slower.

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BRT is garbage. Fact remains trains are sexy and buses aren't. Period. 

 

Not that LRT would be any better. I rode the train from downtown to the Dome back during the rodeo and that piece about rattled the fillings out of my teeth. Truth is METRO has their head wedged very far up their ass. The focus should be on commuter rail to the burbs and to IAH where the majority of flights are. This crap of running a designated bus through the galleria area that's already choked with traffic and un-synchronized traffic lights is ridiculous. I mean who's really going to ride this thing anyway when an Uber can pick you up and drop you off door to door.

Commuter rail needs to be the line of thinking. I've heard many people say up in The Woodlands (where i reside) that they'd ride it if there was a rail system. It's also one of the few instances, anacdotally speaking, where the buses actually work and are full.

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On 8/16/2019 at 2:46 PM, Toopicky said:

 

 I have also ridden on urban rail (including Houston's) and it has always been an enjoyable experience. The rail equipment is maintained better, the ride is quieter and the whole experience is a lot more enjoyable. 

 

This quote above is how I know @Toopicky has never ridden Light Rail in Houston. There's zero point in debating with someone who has never even been on Metro Rail.

 

As far as the bond vote on the 20 year plan. It is what it is. Personally, I would rather, have a vote to abolish Metro and just start a new regional transit authority. In fact, if Buzbee wins, which is a big if, I will recommend we do just that. 

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2 minutes ago, 102IAHexpress said:

 

This quote above is how I know @Toopicky has never ridden Light Rail in Houston. There's zero point in debating with someone who has never even been on Metro Rail.

 

As far as the bond vote on the 20 year plan. It is what it is. Personally, I would rather, have a vote to abolish Metro and just start a new regional transit authority. In fact, if Buzbee wins, which is a big if, I will recommend we do just that. 

 

What does Buzbee/mayor's office have to do with disbanding Metro?

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Just now, wilcal said:

 

What does Buzbee/mayor's office have to do with disbanding Metro?

 

The mayor nominates and the council approves 5 of the 9 board members on Metro. The mayor has a lot of clout with his 5 board members. 

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On 8/16/2019 at 9:12 AM, mfastx said:

It's an absolute failure of Metro to never have built the original University Line as LRT.  It was promised to us in 2003 and was never built.  

 

I believe that the funding for that was based on some federal funding (as well as some of the current MetroNEXT 2040 projects are contingent upon some matching funds) and Culberson was able to single-handedly stop it by preventing federal funds. 

1 minute ago, 102IAHexpress said:

 

The mayor nominates and the council approves 5 of the 9 board members on Metro. The mayor has a lot of clout with his 5 board members. 

 

I forgot about that. I didn't realize it was a majority. I'd honestly be more worried with King. He specifically said that he doesn't want to spend another dollar on public transit. Buzbee at least said he would hire/talk to someone who knew what they were doing to make a decision. 

 

Turner is not even a particularly progressive candidate when it comes to transit, but Buzbee and King would be absolute killers for any type of progressive policies. 

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7 minutes ago, wilcal said:

 

Turner is not even a particularly progressive candidate when it comes to transit, but Buzbee and King would be absolute killers for any type of progressive policies. 

 

I think Turner was supportive of Metro monorail back when he was a candidate in 91? But I could be wrong about that. But I agree he is not too vocal about supporting Metro these days. As far as Buzbee and Metro goes, I honestly don't know. We have never discussed it. He is not a republican or democrat these days so I'm sure he's open to hearing contrasting points of view. I personally have never seen him on public transit, but in the all the years I worked with him, he never spoke badly about it either. 

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On 8/16/2019 at 11:13 AM, j_cuevas713 said:

I agree it is lower capacity per bus compared to a train car but its frequent. We could see multiple buses loaded at one station at a time. It's not going to be one bus and then wait 15 minutes and then another bus. Idk why you think BRT is a disappointment. There are cities with entire BRT networks that carry tons of people daily. Just because it's not an elevated train doesn't make it less of a transit solution. 

 

That is unlikely, they will run a schedule similar to LRT.  Sure there are plenty of successful BRT lines and it's a fine transit solution.  I'm in favor of it as I said.  But BRT was better served on the east side lines with lower density and ridership potential.  The west side corridors can absolutely support LRT, and it's a shame it won't get built that way because transit ridership would be greater had it been.  

 

14 hours ago, wilcal said:

I believe that the funding for that was based on some federal funding (as well as some of the current MetroNEXT 2040 projects are contingent upon some matching funds) and Culberson was able to single-handedly stop it by preventing federal funds. 

 

Yup I'm aware, but was disappointed in Metro not being able to figure out a solution.  Also wouldn't that law that Culberson passed still apply to BRT?  I thought he prohibited "fixed guide way transit" being constructed on Richmond.  

 

Anyway, now that he is out of the picture Metro has no excuse to not try and go for the rail solution as originally intended.  Instead they are expanding two lines to Hobby and further north. 

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13 hours ago, 102IAHexpress said:

 

He is not a republican or democrat these days so I'm sure he's open to hearing contrasting points of view.

 

he literally held a Trump fundraiser at his house and started his campaign with that pig commercial.  Why are you bringing garbage/lies into this forum? 

 

 

 

On 8/16/2019 at 5:02 PM, Houston19514 said:

 

 

It's a Transit Center. It's clearly shown on the map.

 

a transit center doesn't exist.. there is nowhere in that corridor where a transit center even makes sense to be placed...  also, we still have no idea what a BRT-line looks like when it's part of(?) the interstate.   And, again... currently, if you're dropped off at shepherd at i10, you're in a weird no-mans land that isn't walkable to either washingtn ave or the walkable-parts of the heights.  

 

 

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

 

This quote above is how I know @Toopicky has never ridden Light Rail in Houston. There's zero point in debating with someone who has never even been on Metro Rail.

 

As far as the bond vote on the 20 year plan. It is what it is. Personally, I would rather, have a vote to abolish Metro and just start a new regional transit authority. In fact, if Buzbee wins, which is a big if, I will recommend we do just that. 

 

Au contraire, mon amie .... I do indeed ride the Houston Metro Red Line and I hold a metro stored value card.

Don't forget, assumptions make one a fool ....

Edited by Toopicky
typo

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2 hours ago, crock said:

a transit center doesn't exist.. there is nowhere in that corridor where a transit center even makes sense to be placed...  also, we still have no idea what a BRT-line looks like when it's part of(?) the interstate.   And, again... currently, if you're dropped off at shepherd at i10, you're in a weird no-mans land that isn't walkable to either washingtn ave or the walkable-parts of the heights.  

 

 

 

Of course the transit center doesn't currently exist.  Neither does the I-10 BRT line.  Both are part of the same plan for future projects.  The point of the transit center is to connect to intersecting bus lines and possibly also to a Park and Ride.

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