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More potential routing the Westheimer Signature Bus Service through the International District/Asiatown instead?


paul2834

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After the great news about the MetroRapid Inner Katy corridor yesterday connecting Uptown and Downtown with a fast route, I started thinking about and looking at more things Houston public transit related like the Westheimer Signature Bus and system map.

The Westheimer Signature/BOOST Bus is pretty much the 82 bus, but is on 59's HOV lanes from Edloe to around the Wheeler Station area. This will provide a fast connection from the Museum District, Midtown, and a little further Downtown to Greenway/Upper Kirby and a little further Uptown and then is supposed to continue going west on Westheimer all the way to Highway 6.

Here's the system map and honing in on the frequent map on page 2 and looking at the activity centers, it got me thinking. What if instead of continuing all the way to highway 6 after leaving Uptown, the bus gets back on 59's HOV lanes and goes straight to the International District/Asiatown instead?

frequent_network_map.png.6b5304ffacfb34fa33112e4a227bdc4b.png

Metro obviously recognizes the area is a big enough deal to mark it on their map. Certain areas there always seem packed and it can even be hard to find parking. And I think the biggest thing to remark on is that it offers more unique experiences than alternatives. Going past Uptown, does Westheimer offer anything that you can't already get inside/near the loop? But Asiatown gets you all sorts of East Asian and Southeast Asian food, drinks, shopping, and entertainment and the area continues to develop and looks like it'll be growing up. And the bus could theoretically keep going on Bellaire and get you into the Vietnamese centers beyond Beltway 8, but the emphasis is 59 to the Beltway because these areas are much closer to 59's HOV lanes where the buses can go faster and won't have to stop.

The potential I see is a bus route that provides access to some of Houston's major spots quickly by leveraging 59's HOV lanes. Downtown -> Midtown -> Elgin stop (Monstrose) -> Wheeler Station (Museum District) -> (59's HOV lanes) -> Greenway/Upper Kirby @ Edloe -> Uptown and then hop back on 59 towards Asiatown.

Is Asiatown just too far for this to make sense even with leveraging more of the highway? Am I overestimating how much interest there is in going there? I do believe the area is the most developed Asiatown in all of the south and if you make it make it easier for tourists staying in the Museum District/Downtown/Uptown to get there, then I think many would be interested in going to try something new.  

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  • The title was changed to More potential routing the Westheimer Signature Bus Service through the International District/Asiatown instead?
1 hour ago, paul2834 said:

After the great news about the MetroRapid Inner Katy corridor yesterday connecting Uptown and Downtown with a fast route, I started thinking about and looking at more things Houston public transit related like the Westheimer Signature Bus and system map.

The Westheimer Signature/BOOST Bus is pretty much the 82 bus, but is on 59's HOV lanes from Edloe to around the Wheeler Station area. This will provide a fast connection from the Museum District, Midtown, and a little further Downtown to Greenway/Upper Kirby and a little further Uptown and then is supposed to continue going west on Westheimer all the way to Highway 6.

Here's the system map and honing in on the frequent map on page 2 and looking at the activity centers, it got me thinking. What if instead of continuing all the way to highway 6 after leaving Uptown, the bus gets back on 59's HOV lanes and goes straight to the International District/Asiatown instead?

frequent_network_map.png.6b5304ffacfb34fa33112e4a227bdc4b.png

Metro obviously recognizes the area is a big enough deal to mark it on their map. Certain areas there always seem packed and it can even be hard to find parking. And I think the biggest thing to remark on is that it offers more unique experiences than alternatives. Going past Uptown, does Westheimer offer anything that you can't already get inside/near the loop? But Asiatown gets you all sorts of East Asian and Southeast Asian food, drinks, shopping, and entertainment and the area continues to develop and looks like it'll be growing up. And the bus could theoretically keep going on Bellaire and get you into the Vietnamese centers beyond Beltway 8, but the emphasis is 59 to the Beltway because these areas are much closer to 59's HOV lanes where the buses can go faster and won't have to stop.

The potential I see is a bus route that provides access to some of Houston's major spots quickly by leveraging 59's HOV lanes. Downtown -> Midtown -> Elgin stop (Monstrose) -> Wheeler Station (Museum District) -> (59's HOV lanes) -> Greenway/Upper Kirby @ Edloe -> Uptown and then hop back on 59 towards Asiatown.

Is Asiatown just too far for this to make sense even with leveraging more of the highway? Am I overestimating how much interest there is in going there? I do believe the area is the most developed Asiatown in all of the south and if you make it make it easier for tourists staying in the Museum District/Downtown/Uptown to get there, then I think many would be interested in going to try something new.  

There is stuff you can get on Westheimer past the loop that you can't get inside the loop.  Off the top of my head there's Marini's and Manena's, both superb empanada shops just inside and just outside the beltway respectively.  REI and Collector's Firearms, which is like a gun museum where you can handle the displays and has taken over the entire square footage of a former barnes and noble.  One of the few Krispy Kreme's in town, Rudi Lechner's, which is just a short walk north of Westheimer and numerous other unique restaurants all the way out to hwy 6.

That said the idea of running it through Asiatown isn't a bad one, but there is already the Quickline running from the TMC station directly down Bellaire.  I don't know which one would be faster, though.  What I'd like to see is some sort of Asiatown circulator running back and forth a few miles on each side of the beltway and maybe down the beltway feeder to Viet Hoa plaza at Beechnut.

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The Bellaire line is also slated to be a BOOST route. Also, I think the Asia Town/International District will be served by BOOST routes on Beechnut and Gessner, not to mention a pretty easy connection from the University Line BRT.

Edited by Houston19514
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5 hours ago, staresatmaps said:

It would be nice to have a route from Downtown to Chinatown/Bellaire. Nobody wants to go through Wheeler station.

Once The Ion opens that whole area is going to be cleaned up.  Rice isn't going to tolerate the usual bs.

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3 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

I go through Wheeler Station all the time.  Never had the slightest problem there.

Going through Wheeler Station is fine. Actually walking there and approaching it is a different story.

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