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MetroRail University Line On Richmond

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Can someone give me an update on the University Line? What's the latest? Where EXACTLY to they project is it going and when will construction finally begin?

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Is this what Metro will call the lines, or are they going to go with colors?

Edited by Trae

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They haven't decided west of Greenway Plaza.

Trae you should go read the METRO website so you can clarify your answer.

Edited by musicman

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Trae you should go read the METRO website so you can clarify your answer.

Excellent point, Musicman. It's quite comical that someone who thinks he has all the answers for Houston mass transit is so completely ignorant about the current system and plans.

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Has there ever been any predicted ridership statistics for this thing yet?

I dont know how much capacity train-wise the current red line has, but it might be interesting if they broke up the system into various lettered or numbered routes interlined from the different terminals to eliminate transfers.

Anyways, inevitably richmond will need to be torn up just like any other road right? Right now im home painting with my parents, might as well reorganize the furniture if you've got to move it all out in the garage, right?

Still, I wonder how much the construction can be mitigated? I mean lots of cities around the world have had to tear up streets for extended periods, surely at least one before Houston has had this kind of predicament and has successfully gotten around it?

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Has there ever been any predicted ridership statistics for this thing yet?

I dont know how much capacity train-wise the current red line has, but it might be interesting if they broke up the system into various lettered or numbered routes interlined from the different terminals to eliminate transfers.

Anyways, inevitably richmond will need to be torn up just like any other road right? Right now im home painting with my parents, might as well reorganize the furniture if you've got to move it all out in the garage, right?

Still, I wonder how much the construction can be mitigated? I mean lots of cities around the world have had to tear up streets for extended periods, surely at least one before Houston has had this kind of predicament and has successfully gotten around it?

I agree!

As I've stated on this topic sometime last year; Richmond is due for a serious repair job from Montrose out to 610. The Current shape of it is almost disgraceful and I'm sure it has beaten quite a few suspensions into submission. Such a project would take an extended amount of time. Since A-Oaks and other residences are complaining about the length of the construction that the U-Line would take. They fail to take into account on how long just a regular construction job will take.

either way, Richmond will be torn up.

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I hope they put a line down Richmond. Like you said above it needs improvment why not put a rail line down one of Houston major streets. Why are people living in and around Richmond fighting it I thought the rail line will raise the price of their homes.

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I hope they put a line down Richmond. Like you said above it needs improvment why not put a rail line down one of Houston major streets. Why are people living in and around Richmond fighting it I thought the rail line will raise the price of their homes.

the train and afton oaks aren't compatible and METRO has already confirmed that.

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Excellent point, Musicman. It's quite comical that someone who thinks he has all the answers for Houston mass transit is so completely ignorant about the current system and plans.

I think I have all the answers? Okie...sit down.

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I hope they put a line down Richmond. Like you said above it needs improvment why not put a rail line down one of Houston major streets. Why are people living in and around Richmond fighting it I thought the rail line will raise the price of their homes.

You must be new to Houston, or to this post - The people in Afton Oaks are fighting it for several reasons. None of them according to the popular posters on this forum are worthwhile reasons, but then I am the only poster on this forum that actually lives in Afton Oaks right now. In a nut shell:

1.) The referendum that approved rail called for a line in the Westpark Corridor - to the people that live and own businesses on Richmond that meant Westpark, not Richmond. METRO apparently is of the opinion that the Wespark Corridor is anywhere between Interstate 10 and South Loop 610.

2.) During the prolonged construction period those that live in Afton Oaks will be virtual prisoners to traffic. Richmond will be virtually impassable, traffic from Richmond will shift to Westheimer.

3.) Newcastle will experience an even higher incidence of "cut-through" traffic typically driving too fast and jeopardizing any and all foot traffic in the neighborhood.

4.) The constant noise associated with the rail line, a train every what 15 minutes?

5.) Closure of businesses up and down Richmond - just like those on main street - if you can't get to a business it can't turn a profit, no profit - no business.

6.) The Afton Oaks neighborhood would generate little if any ridership - we don't need it.

7.) there is absolutely no proof that a rail on Richmond would raise the property values. Rail in other cities in other states may have had raised property values, but the rail on Main, which was also supposed to raise property values can offer zero proof that it raised property values. If property values on Main went up they may have gone up in spite of the rail - of course there aren't really any residential neighborhoods on MAIN that the rail cuts through are there?

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Anyways, inevitably richmond will need to be torn up just like any other road right?

Does anyone know whether Richmond would need to be completely reconstructed (even without rail along it) or whether it could just be resurfaced? Most of the OST resurfacing project was minimally disruptive, even though some issues with the contractor made it last longer than it should have in places, and OST was about as torn up as Richmond is before the job was done.

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Does anyone know whether Richmond would need to be completely reconstructed (even without rail along it) or whether it could just be resurfaced? Most of the OST resurfacing project was minimally disruptive, even though some issues with the contractor made it last longer than it should have in places, and OST was about as torn up as Richmond is before the job was done.

Leave it to Niche to ask the $64 dollar question. The answer to your question will definitely cut to the very heart of this topic - I wish I had the answer, but alas, road construction isn't my area of expertise. I guess the CoH would ultimately have to make this decision and I wouldn't want to hazard a guess on their criteria for re-surface versus replace . . . .

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Leave it to Niche to ask the $64 dollar question. The answer to your question will definitely cut to the very heart of this topic - I wish I had the answer, but alas, road construction isn't my area of expertise. I guess the CoH would ultimately have to make this decision and I wouldn't want to hazard a guess on their criteria for re-surface versus replace . . . .

There hasn't been any major construction on Richmond for at least 20 years. Last construction I remember was the Widening of Richmond just past Wesleyan in the mid 80's and some minor widening just past 610 to Hillcroft. Beyond that, Richmond is almost an embarrassment to the history of road construction. It's on the verge of being disowned by other roads.

From what I have seen, some of the potholes are pretty deep. The Asphalt patches we see are simply covering up the potholes that had penetrated the actual concrete. It is particularly bad in the A-oaks area, Between Hillcroft and BW8, and before shepherd. Doing a dig and patch (with concrete) won't do it, the OLDER concrete around it will then fall apart over time (2-4 years). The only way o make this a workable road is to tear the whole thing up pour a nice even layer over rebar.

Richmond sees too much traffic for a simple asphalt roadway. In fact, OST should have been done that way instead of the half-assed job that was done.

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Richmond sees too much traffic for a simple asphalt roadway. In fact, OST should have been done that way instead of the half-assed job that was done.

Whole freeways have received asphalt overlays (parts of I-45 and 225 come to mind), so I'm not sure that traffic volume by itself is a reason that it wouldn't work. I'm also quite satisfied with OST for the time being, but I can understand your reasoning regarding the potholes. ...I honestly don't know what the truth of the matter is.

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The argument for concrete over asphalt is durability. Concrete will last much longer before breaking down than asphalt. However, concrete is much more expensive, leading to the age old debate of spending more now or later.

The City seems to have taken the approach of replacing many heavily travelled roads with concrete. An example would be Studewood, or closer to Richmond, Kirby. Stormwater pipes were replaced under both streets. I don't know if the stormwater aspect dictated the decision or the fact that these heavily travelled streets will not need to be disturbed for repairs for a longer period. I would suspect that Richmond would be a prime candidate for concrete.

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The argument for concrete over asphalt is durability. Concrete will last much longer before breaking down than asphalt. However, concrete is much more expensive, leading to the age old debate of spending more now or later.

The City seems to have taken the approach of replacing many heavily travelled roads with concrete. An example would be Studewood, or closer to Richmond, Kirby. Stormwater pipes were replaced under both streets. I don't know if the stormwater aspect dictated the decision or the fact that these heavily travelled streets will not need to be disturbed for repairs for a longer period. I would suspect that Richmond would be a prime candidate for concrete.

Isn't it interesting though that the only part of Richmond that has seen any significant upgrade is that area just outside 610? That portion was done when the whole Galleria area got its face lift, and all of the silver arches, new street lights etc. I doubt it was just politics and money, who was the Mayor when that was done anyway? It wasn't our current mayor Guillermo Blanco . . . I am thinking that was under the Lanier Regime - and he just happens to be good friends with one Gerald Hines - owner and developer of the Galleria. Sorry for straying off topic - I am sure I will be chastised accordingly - it is an intriguing aside though . . . . .

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Isn't it interesting though that the only part of Richmond that has seen any significant upgrade is that area just outside 610? That portion was done when the whole Galleria area got its face lift, and all of the silver arches, new street lights etc. I doubt it was just politics and money, who was the Mayor when that was done anyway? It wasn't our current mayor Guillermo Blanco . . . I am thinking that was under the Lanier Regime - and he just happens to be good friends with one Gerald Hines - owner and developer of the Galleria. Sorry for straying off topic - I am sure I will be chastised accordingly - it is an intriguing aside though . . . . .

If memory serves correct, I think the whole project was kicked off right around the transition time between the Brown and Lanier Administrations, so I'm not entirely sure which one initiated it. You have to remember it takes time just to just get studies done. But as far as I can remember, it happened about 18-22 years ago when the makeover occurred. Can someone back me up on time? I'm not certain. But I DO remember that A-oaks, Galleria, and all the other businesses along 610 from Richmond to I-10 were up in arms at the proposed improvements to both the Highway and the local roads because they claimed it would hurt their business and put off improvements on 610 for several years that resulted in the massive redesign that we currently have now. While I'm not about to look up the archived newspapers of that era, I do remember quite a bit of that, I just don't recall the exact year.

We were already somewhat off topic, and you didn't stray TOO far afield aside from just tossing out derogatory names. But I'll let it pass.

I always thought that Asphalt paving the freeways was just a lazy way of doing it. The ONLY benefit that I could see from it is the smoother and quieter ride. On a stormy night they were an absolute hazard, if this is done to Richmond it'll be a complete waste of money.

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The argument for concrete over asphalt is durability. Concrete will last much longer before breaking down than asphalt. However, concrete is much more expensive, leading to the age old debate of spending more now or later.

The City seems to have taken the approach of replacing many heavily travelled roads with concrete. An example would be Studewood, or closer to Richmond, Kirby. Stormwater pipes were replaced under both streets. I don't know if the stormwater aspect dictated the decision or the fact that these heavily travelled streets will not need to be disturbed for repairs for a longer period. I would suspect that Richmond would be a prime candidate for concrete.

Come to think of it, you're right that stormwater drainage was critical in both the Kirby and Studewood street reconstruction projects. Same thing with a recent project along Almeda. But since Richmond runs parallel to the bayous, I don't follow your reasoning that it would be a prime candidate for concrete.

From what I can see in the GIMS system, there are only a couple stretches along Richmond where there is a continuous stormwater line; these are between Kirby and Edloe, and then from Timmons to Post Oak Blvd. But I can't tell how large the pipe is. There are no announced proposals to upgrade stormwater lines along any part of Richmond inside the loop, and the layout of stormwater lines under OST looks very similar to Richmond. So unless Ricco's pothole argument pans out, I'd put my money on asphalt resurfacing as the most likely outcome.

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So unless Ricco's pothole argument pans out, I'd put my money on asphalt resurfacing as the most likely outcome.

It would totally depend on the condition of the underlying concrete. If said concrete is not stable, then the new asphalt surface will feel remarkably like the old concrete one in a relatively short time.

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Typical NIMBY post
Hey, its coming whether you like it or not. Even if the ballot said Richmond instead of Westpark, do you really think the vote would have went the other way?

You might as well sell, smile, or shut-up.

Edited by Jeebus

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Hey, its coming whether you like it or not. Even if the ballot said Richmond instead of Westpark, do you really think the vote would have went the other way?

Actually, it probably would have. The referendum only passed by a pretty thin margin. METRO was very deliberate in dubbing the route "Westpark" because they wanted to keep the possibility of staunch NIMBYism among wealthy constituents (the only ones that ultimately matter) in that corridor in check, and Westpark was the most forgiving alignment where negative externalities are concerned. Notice that the other routes were "Southeast", "East", "North", and "Uptown". Names, of course, signify nothing, but very few voters read the full ballot language to understand that, and METRO knows this.

You might as well sell, smile, or shut-up.

This much is true. The opportunity to campaign is over. Disingenuous though METRO has been, they have what they need to do pretty much whatever they want.

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Hey, its coming whether you like it or not. Even if the ballot said Richmond instead of Westpark, do you really think the vote would have went the other way?

You might as well sell, smile, or shut-up.

I don't know how the vote would have gone, and neither do you, so you may can that smug attitude. We can both guess what might have happened and both guesses are equally valid. Perhaps if you would go back and read all of the posts you might discover that the purpose of my post listing the Afton Oaks Reasons for being against rail was purely informational for a new poster.

I will refrain from pummeling you with clever repartee for the time being.

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I don't know how the vote would have gone, and neither do you, so you may can that smug attitude. We can both guess what might have happened and both guesses are equally valid. Perhaps if you would go back and read all of the posts you might discover that the purpose of my post listing the Afton Oaks Reasons for being against rail was purely informational for a new poster.

I will refrain from pummeling you with clever repartee for the time being.

Actually, I always recommend that users read (or rather skim) some of our larger threads because quite a bit of it is still relevant, or it was at the time it was posting and puts the various arguments into some sort of perspective as opposed to a whole bunch of us simply summarizing our perspective arguments.

I'm just rather curious as to whether you are willing to put up with all the road improvement on Richmond in the next few years.

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Actually, it probably would have. The referendum only passed by a pretty thin margin. METRO was very deliberate in dubbing the route "Westpark" because they wanted to keep the possibility of staunch NIMBYism among wealthy constituents (the only ones that ultimately matter) in that corridor in check, and Westpark was the most forgiving alignment where negative externalities are concerned.

...

I doudt that the voters in Afton Oaks voted "FOR" the the referendum because it said Westpark. I am sure the people fighting it now voted "NO" no matter what it said. I would even go so far as to say more people would have switched their vote from "YES" to "NO" if they would have shown the Culberson plan.

I think the closeness of the election just came down to the question of whether we should spend money on public transportation not on whether it was going to be going down Richmond or Westpark.

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I doudt that the voters in Afton Oaks voted "FOR" the the referendum because it said Westpark. I am sure the people fighting it now voted "NO" no matter what it said. I would even go so far as to say more people would have switched their vote from "YES" to "NO" if they would have shown the Culberson plan.

I think the closeness of the election just came down to the question of whether we should spend money on public transportation not on whether it was going to be going down Richmond or Westpark.

Exactly.

I was pleasantly surprised to see all of the "Rail On Richmond, Where the People Are" signs in yards in places like Southampton, Boulevard Oaks, the Museum District, Upper Kirby, Castle Court, Montrose, Ranch Estates, West U, etc...

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I was pleasantly surprised to see all of the "Rail On Richmond, Where the People Are" signs in yards in places like Southampton, Boulevard Oaks, the Museum District, Upper Kirby, Castle Court, Montrose, Ranch Estates, West U, etc...

the two different homeowners i know in castle court chuckle at this. they said nobody here would be caught dead on the rail.

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I've seen the signs in Castle Court as well. I know know some people wouldn't be caught dead on any form of public transit (you know... because it's only for 'poor people'), but I also know Rice students who live in the area who would love to ride the rail to school.

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Actually, I always recommend that users read (or rather skim) some of our larger threads because quite a bit of it is still relevant, or it was at the time it was posting and puts the various arguments into some sort of perspective as opposed to a whole bunch of us simply summarizing our perspective arguments.

I'm just rather curious as to whether you are willing to put up with all the road improvement on Richmond in the next few years.

Ricco -

that will depend entirely on whether or not I decide to keep working at my current vocation or quit to pursue one of my hobbies as a source of income. If I keep working I will stay in Afton Oaks and live through whatever happens on Richmond. . . . .

My comments weren't aimed at you Ricco - you know full well what my stance is and why - we disagree - but have been less disagreeable about it lately.

Exactly.

I was pleasantly surprised to see all of the "Rail On Richmond, Where the People Are" signs in yards in places like Southampton, Boulevard Oaks, the Museum District, Upper Kirby, Castle Court, Montrose, Ranch Estates, West U, etc...

It shouldn't be a surprise that the West U folks want it on Richmond - the bunch of NIMBY'S!

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I've seen the signs in Castle Court as well. I know know some people wouldn't be caught dead on any form of public transit (you know... because it's only for 'poor people'), but I also know Rice students who live in the area who would love to ride the rail to school.

if i lived there biking would be primo for rice.

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I think the closeness of the election just came down to the question of whether we should spend money on public transportation not on whether it was going to be going down Richmond or Westpark.

I agree with you on this part. That is exactly how the debate was framed.

My assertion, though, is the METRO knew that the debate could be influenced by NIMBYism, even if just a little bit. And in elections, NIMBYs--which may or may not even care about things like light rail unless it could actually affect them--turn out far more reliably (even if they've never voted prior to then) and make a heck of a lot more noise than would the activist YIMBYs, which are the types that were following the issue and going to vote for the referendum one way or the other. This is an example of how single-issue voters can influence elections. But METRO played the game very astutely and took care to keep the issue very theoretical and not to disturb the NIMBYists.

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if i lived there biking would be primo for rice.

Yeah you're right, biking is the way to go if you're going to the Rice campus (although I knew a guy who took the bus to Wheeler and took the train). But going downtown is another story...

I guess grad students don't get to make or break decisions like this, but I know a lot of people who live around Richmond who may not be home owners, but want the rail there pretty badly.

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but I know a lot of people who live around Richmond who may not be home owners, but want the rail there pretty badly.

i can see the non-homeowners wanting rail more.

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But since Richmond runs parallel to the bayous, I don't follow your reasoning that it would be a prime candidate for concrete.

From what I can see in the GIMS system, there are only a couple stretches along Richmond where there is a continuous stormwater line; these are between Kirby and Edloe, and then from Timmons to Post Oak Blvd. But I can't tell how large the pipe is. There are no announced proposals to upgrade stormwater lines along any part of Richmond inside the loop, and the layout of stormwater lines under OST looks very similar to Richmond. So unless Ricco's pothole argument pans out, I'd put my money on asphalt resurfacing as the most likely outcome.

the line has played an important role in the arguments of the anti-Richmond rail group. its location apparently makes the laying of rail along that part of Richmond problematic w/o significant reconstruction of the line and/or the street = big $$. Frank Wilson has conceded as much when pressed in public meetings.

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the two different homeowners i know in castle court chuckle at this. they said nobody here would be caught dead on the rail.

Sounds like you need better friends. The ones you currently hang with sound like unsophisticated snobs. Those are the worst kind. :)

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Sounds like you need better friends. The ones you currently hang with sound like unsophisticated snobs. Those are the worst kind. :)

come join us! :)

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I don't know how the vote would have gone, and neither do you, so you may can that smug attitude. We can both guess what might have happened and both guesses are equally valid. Perhaps if you would go back and read all of the posts you might discover that the purpose of my post listing the Afton Oaks Reasons for being against rail was purely informational for a new poster.

I will refrain from pummeling you with clever repartee for the time being.

Reading your posts when they were orginally posted did nothing to change my mind, but please go ahead and pummel away. All the words in the world aren't going to change the fact that the Metrorail is coming to Richmond, and I'm going be to on it.

Let's embrace this baby!

Edited by Jeebus

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So, its happening? It's going through Afton Oaks?

Edited by Trae

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uhhhhh....no

We won't know anything until sometime later this summer or fall. I think the changing political winds might give Metro some balls and put it through 610, but they're keeping their cards very close to their chest at this time.

Right now I'm curious about the uptown line. THAT should be very interesting for construction and approval.

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uhhhhh....no

Read the post above mine.

I hope what you say is true Ricco. That would be nice if it went all the way to 610. What is so interesting about the Uptown Line (besides it being BRT)?

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Read the post above mine.

I hope what you say is true Ricco. That would be nice if it went all the way to 610. What is so interesting about the Uptown Line (besides it being BRT)?

What's going to be interesting is the fact that the uptown area is almost legendary in its protestations against ANY form of construction or change.

Here are but a few examples that I know of:

610 expansion

Turning Richmond and Westheimer into one way streets.

Widening of Westheimer

They're almost fanatical about it if they suspect that it might interfere with the shoppers going into and out of the place.

plus when (no doubt it's a WHEN) construction takes place the disruption will be almost legendary to the point that I'm sure priests in the area will find a reference to it in the bible.

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Read the post above mine.

I hope what you say is true Ricco. That would be nice if it went all the way to 610. What is so interesting about the Uptown Line (besides it being BRT)?

there are 3 finalist alignments for the U Line west of Main St. none of them extend further west on Richmond than Cummins St. east of Wesleyan. the DEIS process has already taken place on these 3 options, a second round of public comments on the DEIS is on the METRO schedule for this month and August. the Locally Preferred Alternative is scheduled to be chosen by the METRO board at its August meeting, followed by the final EIS for that choice. METRO board Chairman Wolff is on the record as favoring the Cummins option.

the Sunset Terrace/College Court/West U neighborhood, which will receive the highest impact from the Wpark alignment, still hopes to persuade METRO to cross 59 at the UP tracks or Drexel, but METRO seems unwilling even to discuss it.

so it is extremely unlikely the U Line will come anywhere near Afton Oaks, although residents there could someday catch the Uptown Line and connect with the U Line over on Westpark.

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The more I think about it, the more I seem to like the cummings alignment. a brief stop over by West U would probably see some use, but I can see how the people at Drexel would like for the line to be in their area, but I can see how problematic it would be for metro to cross the UP tracks.

As it currently stands, I can see the Richmond line (in the future) perhaps be extended out. as ridership increases and the numbers get more solid, the money for extending the routes won't be that much of a problem.

The only real bummer is the dog park going away, but I'm sure it can be put somewhere nearby.

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I guess the easiest thing to do is go south on Weslayan, then make a right down Westpark. Then, have a stop by all those apartments along Westpark. Too bad tunneling isn't an option.

Edited by Trae

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I can see how problematic it would be for metro to cross the UP tracks.

It really won't be that problematic because the line will either run on or adjacent to the Westpark overpass or the Richmomd bridge when Richmond is rebuilt. If we were still living in AO, we'd be advocating for an underpass instead of looming Westpark-style bridges on Westhiemer and Richmond.

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It really won't be that problematic because the line will either run on or adjacent to the Westpark overpass or the Richmomd bridge when Richmond is rebuilt. If we were still living in AO, we'd be advocating for an underpass instead of looming Westpark-style bridges on Westhiemer and Richmond.

Well, what I was referring to was a potential Drexel alignment. If that was the case, the turn would have been way too severe and awkward considering the UP tracks would have been extremely close. If it was the Cummin' or any other alignment then transversing the UP tracks would have been very simple.

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i spoke with someone who is working on the rail designs for Richmond between the spur and montrose....I got an email with some info.

From Montrose to Stanford, the ROW is currently 80'. Between Stanford and Greeley, it expands to 100' and then stays at 100' to the Spur. The drawings show some property being taken on the south side of Richmond between Montrose and Stanford and on the north side of Richmond between Stanford and Jack.

If this ends up being the case, looks like the proletariat and chapultapec may be affected since they are on the south side of richmond between montrose and stanford. on the northside of richmond between stanford and jack, looks like a block of homes and a block of townhomes. should be interesting to see what happens.

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I think some Pro-railers mugged a few of those Afton Oaks neighbors.

Maybe they will move now!

Just messing.

HOUSTON -- Residents of the Afton Oaks subdivision said they are worried about their safety after two driveway robberies in the area, KPRC Local 2 reported Tuesday.

One resident said he was robbed after getting home from the airport at about midnight Saturday.

Article here.

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