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MetroRail University Line On Richmond

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Your first picture looked like a Metro rail car with a different paint scheme. The second was pretty cool looking. The third (the boxy one) looked like a rental car shuttle bus.

yeah i was just giving some different examples, i like the second one the best...

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If you weren't so wrong all the time, we might listen to you. You apparently know so little about Dallas rail that you do not know that it is just as slow as Houston's. The average speed of a train is dictated by how much distance is between the stations. A route with many stations, such as METRO downtown, will have a lower average than a more suburban route. The Uptown line will average about 21 mph.

The Red Line in Dallas only averages 21 mph, even though it runs into the northern suburbs. In town, it is even slower. The Blue Line in Dallas is even worse. It averages 19 mph. And these are supposedly "fast" trains, because they run in their own ROW. So, your "opinion that these trains are faster is a myth.

You are also wrong on capacity. Houston's trains hold 25% more people than Dallas'. Why would we want to copy a system that has LESS capacity?

Do your research citykid. You make yourself sound ignorant when you make up stuff that aint true.

Actually, Red, somewhere in the previous 3100+ posts on this thread, I took the time to calculate the average distance between light rail stations in Dallas, and found that they were over twice as far from one to the other, and grade-seperated in many sections, as compared to Houston's Red Line. If your speeds are accurate, then there is something other than distance between stations is acting to suppress Dallas speeds. I'm not sure exactly what that is.

I'm in Dallas right now and have been quizzing my contacts up here on the effectiveness and appeal of the DART system. It seems that Dallasites have some gripes about it, one of which is that the trains either aren't large enough or don't run frequently enough. Another is that they don't have sufficient parking capacity at DART Rail stations to accomodate demand. The locals see DART Rail as a victim of its own success, in a way, that could generate significantly higher ridership numbers if the rails were more extensively used and parking capacity were increased, but that is held back by mismanagement. Perhaps mismanagement is linked to the lower average speeds than would be expected; I'm not sure just yet.

In any case, it seems to me that transit agencies generally don't seem to be managed very well, and that Houston and Dallas may each have things that they can learn from one another. Dallas does a lot of things right that Houston doesn't, vice versa. And undoubtedly, there are things that both or neither does very well.

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no, you frustrate people here like you do on the chron website.

____ you too.

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____ you too.

You have NO idea how many times I say that at the screen on this system.

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just saw a report on Channel 11 news about federal funding for light rail. This is an excerpt from the online version of the report on the khou.com website

----------------------

"In that doomsday scenario you present [if federal money is not forthcoming], we would just build it. Starting with the Uptown and East End lines that we are already committed to 100 percent financing," Metro President Frank Wilson said.

Metro would then apply for a federal waiver to build its share of the University line with the agreement that it would continue to be evaluated for the 50 percent federal match.

Full story here: http://www.khou.com/news/local/stories/kho....19e0e0c98.html

----------------------

My question for anyone who knows more about this than I do is: how likely is this "doomsday scenario". Was it just KHOU putting an angle on the story or is there real cause for concern that the University Line might be put off even onger than it already has been?

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My question for anyone who knows more about this than I do is: how likely is this "doomsday scenario". Was it just KHOU putting an angle on the story or is there real cause for concern that the University Line might be put off even onger than it already has been?

from the story itself, the metro guy said they don't have funding for light rail on the north line and another one, only for brt. they have to go before the fed transit people next yr to give them an updated story i.e. ridership will warrant LRT funding.

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Of course they don't have funding, they haven't applied for it yet. They did however apply for BRT funding, which they have, but they want to (great) upgrade to LRT for those lines.

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My only gripe with Houston's rail is that it stops at red lights sometimes and there are not too many rail-crossing guards stopping cars as the train goes by.

I agree. I drive to work in the Med Center every day and, at the junction of Fannin and McGregor, have lost count of the number of times when a car or two in the left turn lane has made a train sit through a full circuit of lights before the left turn arrow appears and the car(s), and the train, can move. Metro either needs to start ticketing aggressively (install traffic cameras to monitor left turn lanes?) or just allow the train driver to over-ride the rotation. The disadvantage of the latter is it would just encourage cars to duck into the left turn lane knowing they will get a quick green arrow with a train coming up behind them. Whatever the solution, I hope Metro learns from the mistakes of the Main St line. If you are going to have light rail, then do it right, and give the trains the right of way at every single junction. Otherwise you just end up up pissing off the rail riders as well as the motorists.

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I'll chime in with my $0.02.

I'm a Kingwood suburbanite, so I doubt that I'll ever get much use out of the rail, but my taxes do support Metro, so I'll bloviate with everyone else.

From a cost benefit standpoint, the street grade rail lines just don't make much sense, given how many busses and drivers you could buy for your money. I throw that out there knowing that federal funding won't pay for busses, but will for this, so Metro is taking what it can get to grow. There also seems to be a psychological component for riders that think (perhaps accurately) that if they get on a bus they might end up God knows where, whereas a train is going to go where they want it to.

Now filter all of this through bureaucratic inefficiency and city politics cronyism, and the best intentions will turn in to who knows what at the end of the day. I'll admit to libertarian leanings as full disclosure, but there is no denying the value of an effective public transportation system, and all of the governmental garbage that goes along with that is just part of the price we pay as a city to have something that can move people around.

All that said, intra-loop transit doesn't seem to be the biggest problem with traffic in Harris county. When I lived in the Greenway Plaza area, I could get anywhere I needed in town by car really easily, so the whole idea seemed flawed from the get go to me. Now, if we want to subsidize the transportation of those who do not want to or are not able to own and maintain a car, that's a whole other discussion to get people yelling at each other about.

In my own opinion, a commuter rail (ala Long Island/NYC or Chicago) could have done wonders for I-45 (both ways), 290 and Katy Freeway commuters where Houston traffic is the worst, but ROW issues seem to make that either impossible, or at least politically unworkable. Further, again in full admission of my jaundiced opinion of local politics, would not be attempted since suburbanites don't jive with the whole urban planning agenda.

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I think the idea is to build up the inner loop infrastructure first, and then add commuter rail as the next phase. That way once the commuter trains arrive in the city, people will have a way to move between places of interest.

I also think the inner loop is going to densify quite a bit in the next few years, which will make the inner loop infrastructure more useful even before the commuter lines are built. The one line we have is already incredibly useful to those of us living in the inner loop and in walking distance of a station (such as Woolie and I).

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I think the idea is to build up the inner loop infrastructure first, and then add commuter rail as the next phase. That way once the commuter trains arrive in the city, people will have a way to move between places of interest.

I also think the inner loop is going to densify quite a bit in the next few years, which will make the inner loop infrastructure more useful even before the commuter lines are built. The one line we have is already incredibly useful to those of us living in the inner loop and in walking distance of a station (such as Woolie and I).

If the 2 million new residents number that gets thrown out turns out to be accurate, I expect that everywhere will be more densly packed, and with the decentralization, it would be useless without being able to get from the Galleria area to Downtown, so that does make some sense. I do wonder where any eventual commuter rail would physically run. Emminent domaining several hundred miles of right of way would be tough, but after seeing what they took out on the south side of the Katy between the loop and Beltway, I guess anything is possible. Without something large scale, Houston will be close to unlivable with that kind of growth in population.

In the meantime though, 290 has to be widened. Train or no train. It might be nice if they made provisions for both at the same time, as they might have been able to do with the Katy.

Edited by Nate99

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Without something large scale, Houston will be close to unlivable with that kind of growth in population.

You might think so, but if you consider the difference in the rate between job growth in suburban and urban locations, it becomes immediately apparent that the really big problem is not so much suburb-to-city congestion--it is suburb-to-suburb.

I see the greater challenge not as widening freeways so much as it is widening dozens of major and secondary arterials throughout the region.

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You might think so, but if you consider the difference in the rate between job growth in suburban and urban locations, it becomes immediately apparent that the really big problem is not so much suburb-to-city congestion--it is suburb-to-suburb.

I see the greater challenge not as widening freeways so much as it is widening dozens of major and secondary arterials throughout the region.

Quite true, that would be part of my "something large scale". I fear that it might require solutions for both types of congestion. We already have rush hours going both ways on the Katy.

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We already have rush hours going both ways on the Katy.

I still don't understand for the life of me why they're going to leave out rail on the Katy Freeway. If anyplace in the Houston metro could benefit from rail, it would be this area corridor.

Things just don't make sense to me in Houston! :angry2:

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Sure doesn't. If Westpark was at least a commuter rail, it wouldn't look so bad, but both corridors are tollways (the Katy has a tollway in the middle).

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I still don't understand for the life of me why they're going to leave out rail on the Katy Freeway. If anyplace in the Houston metro could benefit from rail, it would be this area corridor.

Things just don't make sense to me in Houston! :angry2:

...because P&R service is less expensive, more flexible, allows for more efficient use of outrageously-expensive ROW, and when implemented properly (and I don't think it is and that it should be vastly expanded), can significantly reduce total trip time of transit users relative to commuter rail.

The only effective counterpoint to the above is that rail bias supresses ridership. This is less true for P&R service because busses are larger and more comfortable.

Edited by TheNiche

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^^More comfortable? You know this how?

They are more comfortable than busses on local routes. This is my understanding from speaking to several people, including at least one on this forum.

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But how much more comfortable is a bus in an HOV from Katy to Downtown than a train on the same route?

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The P&R buses are considerably more comfortable than the standard METRO buses and the current LRT vehicles. Ride em and you'll see why the P&R system is successful.

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Who knows how comfortable a commuter train would be though. It could be like a (comfortable) airplane.

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But how much more comfortable is a bus in an HOV from Katy to Downtown than a train on the same route?

i agree.. its been a few years, but i've ridden them before...

They're more comparable to greyhound coaches then regular busses... much more comfortable seats and more leg room.

The ride isn't as smooth as rail... but... its also not nearly as bad as your typical stop and go herky jerky bus ride because it is typically on freeway or hov lanes.

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I think I have ridden one before when the Super Bowl was here. We went to the Hillcroft P&R and rode one into Downtown on the Saturday before. They were like Greyhound buses.

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But how much more comfortable is a bus in an HOV from Katy to Downtown than a train on the same route?

It'd be hard to compare them to a commuter train that doesn't exist. However, my point was not that the P&R busses would be more comfortable than a train or that rail bias would be eliminated. My point was that rail bias would be lesser than any that has been studied.

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My question for anyone who knows more about this than I do is: how likely is this "doomsday scenario". Was it just KHOU putting an angle on the story or is there real cause for concern that the University Line might be put off even onger than it already has been?

Light rail funding still has hurdles to clear

Despite the optimism expressed by Metropolitan Transit Authority officials last week, the agency still has some hurdles to clear before it gains federal funding for two of its light rail lines.

Changes in federal rules for evaluating transit projects have improved the cost-effectiveness scores for Metro's planned North and Southeast lines above the minimum levels for funding, Metro President and CEO Frank Wilson announced last week.

As a result, he said, Metro no longer will need to resort to the less expensive alternative of Bus Rapid Transit and can build the light rail that voters approved and were promised.

But because the rule changes affect all applicants, the competitive position of Metro's projects might not improve.

Federal funding is not an issue for the Uptown and East End lines, which Metro plans to pay for itself, backed by booming sales tax revenue. The University line always had the kind of ridership and cost projections to qualify for federal dollars, Metro says.

Among the FTA rule changes, Metro says, is a willingness to consider "rail bias"

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P&Rs aside, rail is a whole lot more comfortable than local buses. I can't wait until the U-Line starts functioning; trying to do something productive on the #25 always gives me a headache.

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I gave the bus every chance when I moved here first, but it was just too unreliable. With LRT I know that unless someone tries to make a left turn in front of one or something, there'll be one along in ten minutes....

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I gave the bus every chance when I moved here first, but it was just too unreliable. With LRT I know that unless someone tries to make a left turn in front of one or something, there'll be one along in ten minutes....

Yeah, that is a strong advantage with LRT. There will always be on time, unless some idiot decides to make an illegal left turn, or walk right in front of the train. That would be the only time buses are more flexible, becauser a bus can move around the accident, BUT the bus could do the same for the light rail riders who are waiting for the wrecked train (as little as the wrecks are happening now though).

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metrorail1018.jpg

This is great news for Houston!

While the BRT lines would have been a step forward and an improvement over the current situation, these light rail lines will create established, committed transportation corridors that will attract long term urban development.

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Are you for or against rail?
Depends on implementation.In its current configuration, average speeds for LRT are too low and conflicts with vehicle traffic too great. If elevated, the costs go up, but the negative external impacts are dramatically reduced and average speeds can be improved. I'm willing to spend money to obtain benefits exceeding the investment. I'm unwilling to spend money for very litte or even negative returns.But if we're still talking about commuter rail, well no, it just doesn't make a lick of sense.
I gave the bus every chance when I moved here first, but it was just too unreliable. With LRT I know that unless someone tries to make a left turn in front of one or something, there'll be one along in ten minutes....
Yeah, local bus routes need improving.

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I've tried searching, but can't find the info I need.

Does anyone know if Metro is going to be taking land along Richmond for the University line? If so, how much and where?

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I've tried searching, but can't find the info I need.

Does anyone know if Metro is going to be taking land along Richmond for the University line? If so, how much and where?

yes they are. i believe some between the spur and montrose will be taken. there's an earlier thread as well with some description. probably some other will be taken but i don't remember any more specifics.

Edited by musicman

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Who knows how comfortable a commuter train would be though. It could be like a (comfortable) airplane.

My only experience with commuter rail is Chicago's METRA trains, and I found METRO's P&R busses on HOV lanes to be of comparable comfort.

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My only experience with commuter rail is Chicago's METRA trains, and I found METRO's P&R busses on HOV lanes to be of comparable comfort.

i have taken the MTA Metro-North Railroad and its fairly descent for the amount that its used for. the best commuter rail is in zurich in my opinion; clean, comfortable and spacious...

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While driving down Richmond today, I happened to notice the lack of something;

NO Anti-Rail signs posted anywhere from Afton Oaks on down to Montrose that I have been able to spot.

Also, I noticed a Variance request over between Shepherd and Greenbriar. Anyone have a clue on this one?

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yes they are. i believe some between the spur and montrose will be taken. there's an earlier thread as well with some description. probably some other will be taken but i don't remember any more specifics.

and there will be more eminent domain along Cummins, the 59 feeder (both n & s), and Westpark where the line turns from Richmond, crosses 59, and turns again to Westpark.

the takings in the DEIS were merely suggestions. I expect the final tally to be higher.

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While driving down Richmond today, I happened to notice the lack of something;

NO Anti-Rail signs posted anywhere from Afton Oaks on down to Montrose that I have been able to spot.

Also, I noticed a Variance request over between Shepherd and Greenbriar. Anyone have a clue on this one?

Westbound, the last house in AO... they've had a big banner up on their fence (separating AO from the center with the cajun restaurant and the bbq rest. ) from the beginning.... It was stil there Friday.. you might have missed that one.

But otherwise, I do agree, most of come down.

Edited by Highway6

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and there will be more eminent domain along Cummins, the 59 feeder (both n & s), and Westpark where the line turns from Richmond, crosses 59, and turns again to Westpark.

the takings in the DEIS were merely suggestions. I expect the final tally to be higher.

So ... no one really knows yet? Any ideas about what will happen along Richmond between Montrose and Shepherd?

I ask because my fiance's mother lives over there.

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I still don't understand for the life of me why they're going to leave out rail on the Katy Freeway. If anyplace in the Houston metro could benefit from rail, it would be this area corridor.

Things just don't make sense to me in Houston! :angry2:

That great big right of way would have been perfect, but now its a feeder road. My guess is that it would take another 20 years to build the infrastructure (inner loop transport) to make a commuter rail feasible for enough people, by which time the freeway would be completely unusable for anyone.

A lot of commerce travels on I-10 through Houston with no way around it, so the freeway needed something. Unfortunately if you build it they will come. And build more subdivisions.

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Check out Texas Monthly's article regarding the Red Line. Very positive. There were four cars going down Main the other morning coming to work.

Say what? Care to elaborate?

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Its just not the same as other rail systems, look at the picture of the one you showed in LA. Why do other cities rail systems have more cars connected, and Houston's usually have just 1 or 2 connected?

Actually, while driving to work the other morning, there were 4 cars connected on the Red Line. Usually, though, they are in 2's, but I guess for the morning commute, there was a need for 4. I think probably the frequency of the trains running down the Red Line only requires 2 cars each most of the time.

Thanks sidegate for the Tx Mo link.

Edited by houstonfella

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Well, THAT is interesting, and while I don't doubt your word, I find it very difficult to believe. The only reason why imagine they would do that is to stage a set of trains at the north, or perhaps they might have broken down or something and were towing it back to the barn.

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I am guessing when he said 4 he meant 2 because each actual car looks in a way like 2 because of the joint thing in the middle of it. The stations are only big enough to accommodate 2 cars.

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