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Silly idea - realign red line to serve TMC 3


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As we all know, the Red Line hooks west and goes up Greenbriar where it splits in a Y with Fannin, and continues to Braeswood where it turns east and then turns again at the intersection with Fannin. There is one station in between at Smith Lands, which serves a giant parking lot and some apartments. As we all also know, TMC 3 is a massive development proposed east of Bertner between MD Anderson and Baylor. This is quite the walk from either the TMC transit center or from Smith Lands, which has no reasonable direct path. It means people who work at TMC 3 who might otherwise use the Red Line probably won't.

 

WHAT IF we realigned the Red Line to just stick to Fannin, closing the detour onto Greenbriar, the sharp curves, and the station at Smith Lands? This is a shorter route(approx .7 miles vs .9 currently). This would allow a station to be built perhaps around the intersection of Fannin and St. Agnes(one of those side streets that goes to Bertner). Then within the recommended quarter-mile walking distance that most planners seem to agree is how far folks walk, you got MD Anderson and the western Bertner facing side of the TMC 3 complex. And its only a .3 mile walk to the heart of TMC3.

 

Since the red line has more than one depot now, it wouldn't hurt to have to close the southern tail of the line and do a bus bridge for the few days it would take to join the track segments.

 

If this was done, it would ensure even more jobs are within striking distance of Houston's highest ridership transit corridor.

 

So what do ya'll think?

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think this is a great idea with one (significant) concern. Many people park in the Smith Lands lot and ride the Light Rail to their jobs in the heart of the TMC. Move the station and those people - a large number - will have to be accommodated.

 

My thought - without any real engineering - is an autonomous bus that would connect your new light rail station to the parking lot and maybe even some of the other medical facilities along OST.

 

Just dreaming here.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Brooklyn173 said:

I think this is a great idea with one (significant) concern. Many people park in the Smith Lands lot and ride the Light Rail to their jobs in the heart of the TMC. Move the station and those people - a large number - will have to be accommodated.

 

My thought - without any real engineering - is an autonomous bus that would connect your new light rail station to the parking lot and maybe even some of the other medical facilities along OST.

 

Just dreaming here.

 

Some thoughts:

 

1. It might be easier to just not demolish the older alignment. Have a single LRV that goes to Dryden and back. They could also use the Smith Lands line for rodeo, football, etc.

2. Instead of an automated bus they could use a cheap mini bus similar to Metro Lift. It could be a community connector route. They'd keep the rail alignment for it to drive on.

3. Compare the long term cost of operating a transit service and maintaining current lot versus the cost of building parking garages somewhere else then selling the land.

4. Do an analysis of where the drivers who park at Smith Land come from. If they are coming from 610, then maybe expand the Fannin South Park and Ride and give everyone who parked at Smith Lands a special parking permit. This could be done by either A) leasing the parking on the old Astroworld site from the Rodeo people for a few years or B ) they buy and tear down that vacant Sams Club to the north of the existing lot and then expand the P&R out to the highway.

 

Edited by zaphod
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Or, they could build a large parking garage at the end of the Red Line and eliminate the Smithlands parking lots. People parking in a garage at the end of the Red Line would have easier freeway access, too. It would be a bonus if access from the garage to the Wham Bam Tram was covered. Put it where Waterworld used to be, build a covered walkway, make the entrance on West Bellfort so people will avoid Fannin... It'll be gold.
 

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I have nothing to backup my suspicion (otherwise it wouldn't be a suspicion), but I suspect the alignment not staying on Fannin the entire way after Braeswood is probably to do with the fire station on Fannin right after Braeswood.

 

are there any examples of fire stations having an exit onto a street with a lightrail? maybe an interesting coincidence, maybe something to it?

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7 hours ago, samagon said:

I have nothing to backup my suspicion (otherwise it wouldn't be a suspicion), but I suspect the alignment not staying on Fannin the entire way after Braeswood is probably to do with the fire station on Fannin right after Braeswood.

 

are there any examples of fire stations having an exit onto a street with a lightrail? maybe an interesting coincidence, maybe something to it?

 

I think this is a pretty insightful observation. I can't really think of a light rail line that has a grade crossing with a fire station adjacent to it. In any case if it was really such a huge problem then the cost of relocating the fire station to an adjacent block couldn't be so difficult.

 

You know maybe back in 2000 whenever they planned for the line they needed to be politically cautious and not ruffle feathers, so while it wouldn't be a genuine deal breaker they saw that as an issue?

On 6/8/2020 at 10:52 AM, Tumbleweed_Tx said:

Or, they could build a large parking garage at the end of the Red Line and eliminate the Smithlands parking lots. People parking in a garage at the end of the Red Line would have easier freeway access, too. It would be a bonus if access from the garage to the Wham Bam Tram was covered. Put it where Waterworld used to be, build a covered walkway, make the entrance on West Bellfort so people will avoid Fannin... It'll be gold.
 

 

Well yeah that's what I am saying.

 

I'd prefer the Sams Club shell to go away honestly. The garage could have other stuff mixed in, it could be the start of some kind of transit village. In my ideal world the Astro World site would be used for something cool and not something with a lot of wasteful surface parking.

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