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I was looking through Metro's website for updates on MetroNext, and found this powerpoint from a meeting that apparently happened about a week ago.

According to the presentation, the whole project is already funded through the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s Transportation Improvement Program (and as I understand it, the root of much of that money is TXDOT), and the first public meeting is happening by the end of February. We've already seen preliminary designs for the two middle stations, and the whole thing seems pretty straightforward. It's the only major project from MetroNext that's under the "in progress" category . . . anyone think we'll see ground breaking this year?


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https://www.ridemetro.org/Pages/METRORapid-Inner-Katy.aspx

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Will this line be an extension of the METRORapid Silver Line that runs in Uptown?

No. The METRORapid Inner Katy Project is a separate project being developed by METRO. It will be designed to connect with the METRORapid Silver Line at the Northwest Transit Center and enable you to connect between Downtown and Uptown without transferring.

OMG. They actually didn't f*** that part up. THANK YOU. This is huge allowing a rapid connection between uptown and downtown without any transfer. I was so worried they would make you get off at the Northwest TC

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Oh man, they are actually doing this how I thought they should!!!!

First, no transfer required for silver line passengers is so important. Just.... duh.

I like doing two stops along I-10. We knew Shepherd would happen, but I don't think it was clear for Studemont. 

The big news to me is that they are planning on having 3 BRT stops on the existing green/purple in Downtown. I had talked with Christof Spieler about this on Twitter awhile back, and he said that the boarding height is different on LRT vs BRT, but that they could extend the stations slightly to provide a curb at a different height. 

I didn't really expect a Theater District stop, but why not as they'll likely be driving right past and it is the closest station to so much development in the NW corner of Downtown. 

With them locking in the decision to do these 3 sites for downtown BRT stops, I would expect METRO to utilize the same  stations for the IAH BRT.

This would allow you to:

No transfer from Hobby(LRT) or IAH (BRT) to Convention District/Central Station/Theater District stops..

One-transfer from Hobby/IAH to the Galleria/Med Center/NRG

All on separated lane transit. That is pretty powerful!

There is potential for the White Oak Bayou Trail/MKT Trail to integrate directly with a BRT stop at Studemont, too. Some potentially significant Transit Oriented Development influences in the area, too. 

Also, they should just start working on the IAH BRT. If you are going to do the stations downtown, then skip the N. Shepherd stop until the LRT extension/station is built but go ahead and do Greenspoint and a station at the airport. It shouldn't matter if two-way HOV lanes aren't built yet because the 102 is currently utilizing the main lanes, so why not the BRT bus temporarily?

 

 

Edited by wilcal
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3 hours ago, wilcal said:

With them locking in the decision to do these 3 sites for downtown BRT stops, I would expect METRO to utilize the same  stations for the IAH BRT.

That will be interesting.  I wonder if those same stations can handle three (actually four) lines, each providing pretty frequent service.  Currently, there's a train every nine minutes.  I would expect the BRT lines will run, at minimum, every 15 minutes. That's already about 11 movements at each station every hour.  I wonder what the maximum feasible would be, especially when it involves integrating schedules of 4 different lines.

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Yeah that seems like a problem. 4 lines in the same ROW= potential bottleneck and limits increasing frequency long term. The IAH BRT should definitely get its own ROW or share with the Red Line if possible.

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10 hours ago, paul2834 said:

https://www.ridemetro.org/Pages/METRORapid-Inner-Katy.aspx

OMG. They actually didn't f*** that part up. THANK YOU. This is huge allowing a rapid connection between uptown and downtown without any transfer. I was so worried they would make you get off at the Northwest TC

Maybe I am misunderstanding, but from the map it looks like they WILL require you to get off at the Northwest TC and then take the Silver line to get down into Uptown.  This BRT line will not be going to Uptown, per the map -- only to the NW Transit Center and, if the high speed rail is built, continue north to the HSR terminal.  But maybe the map is inaccurate and it will actually turn south to Uptown along the ROW put in place for the Silver Line?

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If Washington ever gets BRT or LRT it would be separate. Think of this as an express line between Downtown and the Northwest Transit Center with only two stations in between. Anything on Washington would have way more stations and would be much more about serving people who live along the Washington Corridor.

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I think Cspwal and Rechlin might be reading too much into the maps.  While they are at times a bit ambiguous about it, in the clearest statement, the MetroNext website says that the Inner Katy BRT will "enable you to connect between Downtown and Uptown without transferring."

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13 hours ago, HouTXRanger said:


According to the presentation, the whole project is already funded through the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s Transportation Improvement Program (and as I understand it, the root of much of that money is TXDOT), and the first public meeting is happening by the end of February. We've already seen preliminary designs for the two middle stations, and the whole thing seems pretty straightforward. It's the only major project from MetroNext that's under the "in progress" category . . . anyone think we'll see ground breaking this year?

I don't know who said the Inner Katy BRT is the only major project from MetroNext that's "in progress" or what they exactly meant by that, but to be clear, there are at least 3 BOOST corridors that are very much in progress and the University BRT is also in progress.

It seems unlikely we would see ground breaking on the Inner Katy BRT this year.  They are "hoping" to achieve LPA (locally preferred alternative) "later this year." Construction would almost certainly be some months after achieving LPA, if not more.  

Edited by Houston19514
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1 hour ago, Avossos said:

So... This is a protected bus lane like Post Oak in Uptown? Does this mean Washington Ave with neither get Light Rail nor BRT?

There is currently no plans to do that. They added LRT on Washington to METROnext like 2 months before the vote but then removed it. From what I understand, they still could and could even use METROnext funds to do so, but there is no indication that they will at this point. Also remember that they are extending the green/purple line west, but just to the courthouse. 

1 hour ago, Texasota said:

If Washington ever gets BRT or LRT it would be separate. Think of this as an express line between Downtown and the Northwest Transit Center with only two stations in between. Anything on Washington would have way more stations and would be much more about serving people who live along the Washington Corridor.

Exactly. And they had originally only planned for one stop. This is the first time I've seen anything about a second stop.

21 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

I don't know who said the Inner Katy BRT is the only major project from MetroNext that's "in progress" or what they exactly meant by that, but to be clear, there are at least 3 BOOST corridors that are very much in progress and the University BRT is also in progress.

It seems unlikely we would see ground breaking on the Inner Katy BRT this year.  They are "hoping" to achieve LPA (locally preferred alternative) "later this year." Construction would almost certainly be some months after achieving LPA, if not more.  

I had to laugh the other day because I saw one of the new digital BOOST status boards on Montrose at a bus stop without even a bench. I'm sure that they are planning all of the facets of METROnext, but we haven't gotten much info considering it passed 14 months ago.  What public-facing info has been released about the University BRT?

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1 hour ago, Houston19514 said:

I don't know who said the Inner Katy BRT is the only major project from MetroNext that's "in progress" or what they exactly meant by that, but to be clear, there are at least 3 BOOST corridors that are very much in progress and the University BRT is also in progress.

It seems unlikely we would see ground breaking on the Inner Katy BRT this year.  They are "hoping" to achieve LPA (locally preferred alternative) "later this year." Construction would almost certainly be some months after achieving LPA, if not more.  

When I said it's the only major project that's in progress, what I really meant to say is its the only major extension or addition of service/lines that's confirmed its funding and is officially beginning the road to groundbreaking with meetings like this. The BOOST stuff is great (I take one of those routes to school!) but it's not an addition or extension of a line, just an improvement of the experience. And the University BRT damn well BETTER BE "in progress" in some way, but I haven't seen confirmation that its money is set or that even the most preliminary planning/meetings have started.

I remember hearing that this would be the first major project to get started way back in 2019, something about because TXDOT was funding the busway just like they funded the busway for the uptown line.

41 minutes ago, wilcal said:

What public-facing info has been released about the University BRT?

I haven't heard anything at all. I think it's way, way out there while metro focuses on the quick and cheaper stuff like BOOST and these highway aligned BRTs.

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4 minutes ago, HouTXRanger said:

When I said it's the only major project that's in progress, what I really meant to say is its the only major extension or addition of service/lines that's confirmed its funding and is officially beginning the road to groundbreaking with meetings like this. The BOOST stuff is great (I take one of those routes to school!) but it's not an addition or extension of a line, just an improvement of the experience. And the University BRT damn well BETTER BE "in progress" in some way, but I haven't seen confirmation that its money is set or that even the most preliminary planning/meetings have started.

I remember hearing that this would be the first major project to get started way back in 2019, something about because TXDOT was funding the busway just like they funded the busway for the uptown line.

I haven't heard anything at all. I think it's way, way out there while metro focuses on the quick and cheaper stuff like BOOST and these highway aligned BRTs.

Article from Dug at the Chronicle makes it sound like most everything got shelved :/ 

 

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/transportation/article/Metro-has-lost-half-its-riders-but-still-has-a-15689817.php

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58 minutes ago, wilcal said:

Article from Dug at the Chronicle makes it sound like most everything got shelved :/ 

 

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/transportation/article/Metro-has-lost-half-its-riders-but-still-has-a-15689817.php

It just sounds like they're going to get as much done as they can with the current budget. I'll be honest, I agree the pandemic is a real issue but I'd be lying if I said I'm not ready to get back to normal. 

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Has there been any news on the Westheimer Signature Bus Service? It's similar to this line in that it'll also run on a highway (59) a good amount providing an express lane connecting Greenway/Upper Kirby and just a little further Uptown with the Museum District/Midtown and just a little further Downtown. But it's going to do this without being called a BRT and instead use the HOV lanes on 59. Does that mean there's very little stopping them from having this line now?

EDIT:

https://www.centralhouston.org/media/filer_public/48/85/48853c76-54cd-4cef-b37b-fd944f01b089/1232020_central_houston_inc_5_sm.pdf

^There were some people asking about the MetroRapid University, which is how it's referred to here. I believe the map on the second to last page of this Dec. 2020 presentation looks new. You can see where all of the stops will approximately be.

Edited by paul2834
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34 minutes ago, paul2834 said:

Has there been any news on the Westheimer Signature Bus Service? It's similar to this line in that it'll also run on a highway (59) a good amount providing an express lane connecting Greenway/Upper Kirby and just a little further Uptown with the Museum District/Midtown and just a little further Downtown. But it's going to do this without being called a BRT and instead use the HOV lanes on 59. Does that mean there's very little stopping them from having this line now?

EDIT:

https://www.centralhouston.org/media/filer_public/48/85/48853c76-54cd-4cef-b37b-fd944f01b089/1232020_central_houston_inc_5_sm.pdf

^There were some people asking about the MetroRapid University, which is how it's referred to here. I believe the map on the second to last page of this Dec. 2020 presentation looks new. You can see where all of the stops will approximately be.

I believe we knew where the stops were going to be because the city instituted TOD designation around them ahead of time: 

https://houstontx.gov/planning/tod-standards.html

If you click the TOD Street Interactive Map the University Line stations have already been factored. 

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1 hour ago, paul2834 said:

Has there been any news on the Westheimer Signature Bus Service? It's similar to this line in that it'll also run on a highway (59) a good amount providing an express lane connecting Greenway/Upper Kirby and just a little further Uptown with the Museum District/Midtown and just a little further Downtown. But it's going to do this without being called a BRT and instead use the HOV lanes on 59. Does that mean there's very little stopping them from having this line now?

EDIT:

https://www.centralhouston.org/media/filer_public/48/85/48853c76-54cd-4cef-b37b-fd944f01b089/1232020_central_houston_inc_5_sm.pdf

^There were some people asking about the MetroRapid University, which is how it's referred to here. I believe the map on the second to last page of this Dec. 2020 presentation looks new. You can see where all of the stops will approximately be.

The 82-Westheimer BOOST route:  It appears they plan to use both lower Westheimer and the Southwest Freeway.  Perhaps they plan to run locals and expresses?  They plan 2-way HOVs on Southwest Freeway (they are currently one-way only) starting at Spur 527. I think the 82-Westheimer BOOST will use those from the Spur to Edloe. Information presented at a Metro committee meeting earlier this week said "January 2021 Solicitation Request to Issue RFQ for design services".

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So basically this'll be a separate line, but riders will have the opportunity to continue on the Silver Line, right? Also, in the presentation, it also ties into TxDOT's plan to add managed lanes on I-10. Does that mean there's gonna be one transit lane and one managed lane in each direction? And I see between NWTC and the future high-speed rail terminus, they plan to use the 290 hov lane. Does that mean they're going to expand the 290 hov lanes with on/off ramp to the High-Speed rail station, or are they gonna have their own dedicated transit lanes? 

6 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

I don't know who said the Inner Katy BRT is the only major project from MetroNext that's "in progress" or what they exactly meant by that, but to be clear, there are at least 3 BOOST corridors that are very much in progress and the University BRT is also in progress.

It seems unlikely we would see ground breaking on the Inner Katy BRT this year.  They are "hoping" to achieve LPA (locally preferred alternative) "later this year." Construction would almost certainly be some months after achieving LPA, if not more.  

From what I've seen, originally they were gonna start construction this year and finish it in 2024. I've seen another Houston Chronicle article that says that it'll be done by 2026, but I'm not sure what the exact timeline is now. Either way, I hope they get started on it soon. We need an Uptown to Downtown line ASAP.

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10 hours ago, Some one said:

So basically this'll be a separate line, but riders will have the opportunity to continue on the Silver Line, right?

It sounds like it will be operating effectively as one single line if no transfers will be required.

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Also, in the presentation, it also ties into TxDOT's plan to add managed lanes on I-10. Does that mean there's gonna be one transit lane and one managed lane in each direction?

Sounds like that hasn't really been decided yet, but I thought I saw a rendering that didn't have any real separation between the two lanes. 

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And I see between NWTC and the future high-speed rail terminus, they plan to use the 290 hov lane. Does that mean they're going to expand the 290 hov lanes with on/off ramp to the High-Speed rail station, or are they gonna have their own dedicated transit lanes? 

I think this is the first time we've seen this routing. Before it was shown on Post Oak. Two-way HOV lane refreshes are part of METROnext, so there might be some funding for something dedicated.

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From what I've seen, originally they were gonna start construction this year and finish it in 2024. I've seen another Houston Chronicle article that says that it'll be done by 2026, but I'm not sure what the exact timeline is now. Either way, I hope they get started on it soon. We need an Uptown to Downtown line ASAP.

Agreed. Watching these projects slowly slip is hair-pulling. This is one of the projects that they have listed as being prioritized. Also, the Shepherd/Durham rebuild is also slated for a 2026 completion (2024 for north half of it?) so there might be some harmony with finishing the Shepherd BRT station at that time. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's not impossible at all; it's just not part of the plan. Assuming this gets built as presented, an obvious future step (to me at least) would be to add an infill station where I-10 crosses Westcott/Washington. That would serve as a western Cottage Grove/Rice Military Station, but it would also provide easy access to Memorial Park. Direct access to the Memorial Park Loop and sports fields specifically.

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