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MetroRail University Line On Richmond

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The typical transit agency provides service at a total cost per passenger mile.

According to its FY 2009 Annual Report, METRO's expenditures totaled $558,551,442 and it logged 610,865,178 passenger miles. That equates to a cost of $0.914 per passenger mile. For the sake of comparison, the IRS mileage rate for passenger vehicles in 2009 was $0.55 per mile driven; we can debate whether that figure works as a true proxy for the operating cost of a passenger vehicle, but to make the figures truly comparable, we'd first have to adjust for the average number of occupants per vehicle mile driven in a passenger vehicle. I don't think that there is any reasonable way to show that a car is less efficient than transit.

I think these figures are interesting nonetheless. It probably shows that at the moment, in houston, public transit is inefficient...and it is. It would be interesting to show a comparison of other cities with a higher transit usage to see if have a figure maybe even lower than $0.55 per mile. It would also be interesting to see how Metro's figure of $0.91 has changed over the years.

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"Was 59 there when Montrose was platted?" Probably, but certainly not as it is now. Montrose (Super Neighborhood 24) was not platted. It's a cluster of many smaller (suburban) planned neighborhoods. I've seen older maps where the area is labeled as a Ward.

No 59 wasn't there. 59 (the Southwest Freeway) was constructed beginning in the mid-50s, and divided existing neighborhoods, none of which were considered to be "Montrose." in the 63 yrs I've lived here Richmond Ave was never considered to run through any part of what's been called "Montrose" since the 60s (admittedly, what's now included in that designation has grown as the area gentrified and was no longer the bohemian crazy quilt it was when I lived at 201 Westheimer in the late 60s :blink: ).

in terms of current names for neighborhoods in the area, the "Museum District" seems to extend all the way to Richmond and maybe W. Alabama (b/c of the Menil/Rothko/UST)bordered on the east by the Spur and on the west at Dunlavy. then "Montrose/Neartown" goes north from W Alabama to W Gray, west from Baldwin/Taft to maybe Shepherd. some of that eastern side might be current "Midtown" or 4th Ward.

IMO by METRO's guidelines for neighborhood LRT access (located within 1/4 mile of a station) the University Line does not serve an inch of Montrose unless you count the few blocks just north of W Alabama near enough to the proposed station at Montrose/Richmond

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With the latest Record of Decision on July 26th, do you guys think the University Line is realistically on track with what is quoted on the website (below)?

Q: How long will construction take?

A: Construction for the entire University Line is expected to begin in late 2010 and take approximately four years. That does not mean the entire route will be torn up for that entire period. METRO is committed to minimizing the impact of construction by completing each segment of the route in as short a time as possible. Click here for some of the measures we're considering implementing.

Also, is the uptown line suppose to be completed by the same time, before, or after? Frustrating to see how fast Dallas is moving and how our lines keep being delayed (and investigated)...

No 59 wasn't there. 59 (the Southwest Freeway) was constructed beginning in the mid-50s, and divided existing neighborhoods, none of which were considered to be "Montrose." in the 63 yrs I've lived here Richmond Ave was never considered to run through any part of what's been called "Montrose" since the 60s (admittedly, what's now included in that designation has grown as the area gentrified and was no longer the bohemian crazy quilt it was when I lived at 201 Westheimer in the late 60s :blink: ).

in terms of current names for neighborhoods in the area, the "Museum District" seems to extend all the way to Richmond and maybe W. Alabama (b/c of the Menil/Rothko/UST)bordered on the east by the Spur and on the west at Dunlavy. then "Montrose/Neartown" goes north from W Alabama to W Gray, west from Baldwin/Taft to maybe Shepherd. some of that eastern side might be current "Midtown" or 4th Ward.

IMO by METRO's guidelines for neighborhood LRT access (located within 1/4 mile of a station) the University Line does not serve an inch of Montrose unless you count the few blocks just north of W Alabama near enough to the proposed station at Montrose/Richmond

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^^^ I share you're frustration. The last thing that should be happening is more delays, but the Southeast line construction seems to be in full swing. On my way to work I always have to take detours to avoid the construction.

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Considering this line is supposed to merge with the South East line, I wonder if construction crews are going to go ahead and install the appropriate rails when the time comes instead of having to dig it all up again when Richmond finally breaks ground.

I just wish Metro would give a rough time line.

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With the latest Record of Decision on July 26th, do you guys think the University Line is realistically on track with what is quoted on the website (below)?

Q: How long will construction take?

A: Construction for the entire University Line is expected to begin in late 2010 and take approximately four years. That does not mean the entire route will be torn up for that entire period. METRO is committed to minimizing the impact of construction by completing each segment of the route in as short a time as possible. Click here for some of the measures we're considering implementing.

Also, is the uptown line suppose to be completed by the same time, before, or after? Frustrating to see how fast Dallas is moving and how our lines keep being delayed (and investigated)...

It's because Dallas was able to get federal funding years ago, while Houston had some congressmen (Culberson, DeLay), that tried and succeeded in blocking Metro's request. You should go look at Dallas' plans now though. They've all been delayed since DART built the system too elaborate and now DART is out of funds for other projects.

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I'll say this. . .Many people who post on this forum seem to think that when a plan is announced, they should start marking days off of their calendar to see a completed project. Well, especially with rail projects, there are a number if different studies, plans, meetings, approvals that must take place before these plans come to fruition. There probably will be several years before we see any progress on the U line. We probably shouldn't expect revenue service before 2018? At lest,

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2018 being the most pessimistic view. It's not like Metro hasn't already done studies, etc., on the University Line. Mid-2014 to 2015 is the best bet.

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Figured I"d revive the thread a bit:

Here is a vid I took yesterday

The vid was originally 22min, but the trip with lights took about 35-40 minutes on a Sunday afternoon, plus tack on 5 minutes when the camera shut off because of overheating.

I tried something different with the camera, I added a UV and Polarizing filter to cut down on some of the glare. *I* think it turned out okay.

The thing that kinda' sucks about it is the fact I had to turn off the Steady shot and auto focus to see if that would extend the filming time...and yes it did, but at the cost of really unsteady shot compared to the even more rougher main street vid.

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Here is a vid I took yesterday

If ever I'm in a hurry to get somewhere in this city, I'm calling on you to drive. Every red light you approached magically turned green! ohmy.gif

(Seriously, nice vid. Thanks!)

Edited by Simbha

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Cool video.

Not that you'd do this with your nice camera, but if you have a spare point-in-shoot, I find fastening it to your front grill not only makes for a lower and cooler angle, but it really cuts down on shaking as well.

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If ever I'm in a hurry to get somewhere in this city, I'm calling on you to drive. Every red light you approached magically turned green! ohmy.gif

(Seriously, nice vid. Thanks!)

I was quite fortunate, but the cuts that you see on some of lights show that I actually stopped for more than a minute at least. I turned it off for ease of editing, but also the camera has a tendency to overheat and it extended the time I was able to record. It only shut off on me once!

After looking at the video and comparing it with the others, I did notice the look was MUCH better with that filter on with the sky with a darker blue on it. Overall I'm pleased with it.

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I was quite fortunate, but the cuts that you see on some of lights show that I actually stopped for more than a minute at least. I turned it off for ease of editing, but also the camera has a tendency to overheat and it extended the time I was able to record. It only shut off on me once!

After looking at the video and comparing it with the others, I did notice the look was MUCH better with that filter on with the sky with a darker blue on it. Overall I'm pleased with it.

Nice vid of the proposed route. Too bad you couldn't fly over Westpark & 59 at Cummins to show the elevated portion :)

It's hard to see where the money's going to come from to build this line.

METRO's finances don't look sufficient over the next many years to interest the feds in funding their end of the deal.

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Every time I see a new post in this thread I arrive with hope and leave with disappointment. There were so many possibilities here.

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Every time I see a new post in this thread I arrive with hope and leave with disappointment. There were so many possibilities here.

I know, I'm rather heartbroken about it as well.

I kinda' wished there were more updates and as far as I know, METRO probably is keeping everything mum to not tip its hand to the A-oaks people.

This is the first time I've even driven Richmond down to midtown to 610 and I have to say, that road is going to have to be torn up in the near future for proper repairs. If people fighting the U-line because they don't want their street torn up for significant amounts of time are living in an alternate reality. Just REGULAR road construction is going to eat up the road for years.

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I know, I'm rather heartbroken about it as well.

I kinda' wished there were more updates and as far as I know, METRO probably is keeping everything mum to not tip its hand to the A-oaks people.

This is the first time I've even driven Richmond down to midtown to 610 and I have to say, that road is going to have to be torn up in the near future for proper repairs. If people fighting the U-line because they don't want their street torn up for significant amounts of time are living in an alternate reality. Just REGULAR road construction is going to eat up the road for years.

and that's probably why it's left in such condition, cause they don't want to waste money fixing the road, only to tear it up again to widen and lay tracks.

I must say watching Harrisburg, it's actually quite amazing how quick it's all coming together, of course they still have to lay the track, and run the wires, make the stations, and whatever else, but it's moving pretty quickly, and it doesn't appear that aside from not knowing day to day where the cones and barriers are, access to streets and businesses aren't too badly affected.

then again, the amount of traffic running down Richmond vs Harrisburg probably isn't comparable in the least.

Edited by samagon

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I'm glad something's been built somewhere and am happy for the people that will be the beneficiaries of it. That said, from my reading of the Metro map, the Harrisburg line doesn't intersect with the Main Street line. I can't begin to convey how little sense this makes to me.

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That said, from my reading of the Metro map, the Harrisburg line doesn't intersect with the Main Street line. I can't begin to convey how little sense this makes to me.

????

Every line but the Uptown line will directly intersect with the Main St Line.

http://www.metrosolu...1068/387347.pdf

http://www.metrosolutions.org/clients/1068/367099.pdf

Edited by Highway6

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Well, not according to this map

http://bit.ly/eW4TMs

(Takes a while to render - apparently 1500000000000 dpi resolution is required and the name of every street in Houston is relevant.)

I think graphically they just chose one of the two colors to show once the lines joined.. they could have gone the other way.

But it has always been the case that both lines would share track into downtown.. as opposed to East Line users forced to switch trains at the Bastrop Station.

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I think graphically they just chose one of the two colors to show once the lines joined.. they could have gone the other way.

But it has always been the case that both lines would share track into downtown.. as opposed to East Line users forced to switch trains at the Bastrop Station.

I see

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I think graphically they just chose one of the two colors to show once the lines joined.. they could have gone the other way.

But it has always been the case that both lines would share track into downtown.. as opposed to East Line users forced to switch trains at the Bastrop Station.

Yeah, downtown traffic should be interesting to see once they it goes into operation.

During the rush hour, there should be a train almost every two minutes going through downtown from these two lines. Oy!

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During the rush hour, there should be a train almost every two minutes going through downtown from these two lines. Oy!

Glad I'm not the light timing engineer in charge of that section.

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Glad I'm not the light timing engineer in charge of that section.

Hmph. By driving some sections of the city, I didn't even KNOW we had such creatures working for the city.

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I think these figures are interesting nonetheless. It probably shows that at the moment, in houston, public transit is inefficient...and it is. It would be interesting to show a comparison of other cities with a higher transit usage to see if have a figure maybe even lower than $0.55 per mile. It would also be interesting to see how Metro's figure of $0.91 has changed over the years.

Public transit is never a profitable venture. Then again, neither are highways.

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Public transit is never a profitable venture. Then again, neither are highways.

Exactly, both are investments that will define how the city will develop for many years to come.

Freeway decisions made decades ago clearly define how our cities now look.

Over time rail lines will help determine how & where new development will occur in increasingly congested areas.

But we shouldn't expect dramatic results overnight - the investment takes time to pay off.

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Does anybody know what the official status of the University line is? Is it on hold for funding? Or is it just scheduled to be built after the current construction is finished on the other lines?

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Does anybody know what the official status of the University line is? Is it on hold for funding? Or is it just scheduled to be built after the current construction is finished on the other lines?

I'm guessing it is on hold for funding. I emailed the METRO representative asking for an update on the line a couple of months ago, and got no response...

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I'm guessing it is on hold for funding. I emailed the METRO representative asking for an update on the line a couple of months ago, and got no response...

That's unacceptable.

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One of the agency's goals for this fiscal year is to examine the funding options and determine the path forward for the University Line. So hopefully there will be news in the next few months.

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One of the agency's goals for this fiscal year is to examine the funding options and determine the path forward for the University Line. So hopefully there will be news in the next few months.

City of Bellaire recently voted to proceed with the rezoning/development of TOD in the space bound by Westpark, 610 South svc road and S. Rice (the current industrial zoned area south of the offramp for Westpark Tollway)

This is a deal the COB and METRO have discussed for a few yrs.

Maybe Bellaire knows something or is just more confident than I am that METRO will find funding and complete the U Line in this decade.

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I read the line funding went through despite someone trying to block it

That is correct.

"WASHINGTON - The committee chairman described it as a "food fight," an after-midnight bout as Republican Congressman Blake Farenthold tried to jimmy legislation to block federal money for Metro to build or extend the University and Uptown light rail lines.

In the end, his effort failed. But the wrangling in the wee hours last week spotlighted the countless little-noticed struggles that take place across Capitol Hill as lawmakers try to steer taxpayers' dollars toward projects they favor – and away from projects they oppose."

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Attempt-to-block-MetroRail-funding-fails-3159794.php

On a side note, metro still has the university line listed as preparing for final design. Anyone think I should hold out hope that it once again goes into uptown instead of the warehouse district of Bellaire ? (I know they rezoned for an urban center but the plans as were discussed here are underwhelming)

http://www.gometrorail.org/go/doc/2491/418119/

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Nick G the routing fight has been fought but probably is not over

elevating over the sw fwy and running a mile or so through the desert that is Westpark between Cummins and Chimney Rock has been cussed and discussed on here for years.

I posted some stats on this thread years ago that support why I think it is the most expensive, ill-advised of the possible options.

In short, I argued that that routing will cause a mobility nightmare from Weslayan to South Rice and along the adjacent sw fwy and 610 service roads in that stretch.

My original posts are #502-503-504 on page 17 of this thread, July 3, 2006 (yikes).

Edited by IHB2

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Nick G the routing fight has been fought but probably is not over

elevating over the sw fwy and running a mile or so through the desert that is Westpark between Cummins and Chimney Rock has been cussed and discussed on here for years.

It's a desert now, but once you build it, things will pop up. Either way, this is exciting news, regardless, just means another option instead of cars and parking lots.

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It's a desert now, but once you build it, things will pop up. Either way, this is exciting news, regardless, just means another option instead of cars and parking lots.

It's not possible for much to "pop up" along that stretch since the Centerpoint ROW brackets the METRO ROW and Centerpoint owns all of the property on the south side of Westpark west of the UPRR to Newcastle. That leaves a few hundred feet south of the current dog park (on the ROW) to the 610 svc rd.

There is no room for TOD development on the north side of Westpark along that stretch either with existing office bldgs, a large COH water station, the Hou Chron, etc.

Still, the lack of TOD would not matter if running rail through there on 3-12 minute headways 20 hrs day would not fubar the north/south traffic on the only 2 n/s arteries in that stretch. it will be a mobility nightmare on Weslayan, 59 svc rd @ Weslayan, the 610 svc rd (north) @ Wpark, and Wpark where the tollway dumps 1000s of cars onto a little 2/10 mile piece of Wpark @ 610 AND METRO proposes to connect to the Uptown Line.

This is not the same as screwing up cross streets along the Main St Line. This is about the rail's interaction with serious #s of vehicles every minute of every work day.

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Come on Afton Oaks...you are between 610, Richmond, and Westheimer. Honestly if I was one of the houses on richmond I wouldn't mind the rail, atleast the street will be redone nicely and its not like there will be a stop infront of your house.

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I want to see grade separations on this route at high-traffic intersections. Otherwise (never-minding the opportunity costs) I think that it'll do more harm than good to regional mobility.

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Come on Afton Oaks...you are between 610, Richmond, and Westheimer. Honestly if I was one of the houses on richmond I wouldn't mind the rail, atleast the street will be redone nicely and its not like there will be a stop infront of your house.

This thread was started 6 years ago today.

Three thousand, Four hundred, and thirty-eight posts later and this conversation is still in the same place for some people. Amazing.

Who cares what you would want. Who cares what the people of Afton Oaks want or wanted. The "deciding where tracks should go" part of this discussion stopped years ago. Metro won't and shouldn't be having this conversation again.... and neither should we.

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The "deciding where tracks should go" part of this discussion stopped years ago. Metro won't and shouldn't be having this conversation again.... and neither should we.

If it were any other entity than METRO, I'd be inclined to agree that the conversation is over. They'd have done their due diligence, communicated adequately with stakeholders, and had their final engineering specs ready and available. The reality, as we found out from the East End debacle, is that METRO may very well start building the line in a middle segment before they've figured out how to connect it to either terminus. Until the tracks are in the ground, I wouldn't expect or encourage any interested party to be quiet and just live with it.

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I wouldn't expect or encourage any interested party to be quiet and just live with it.

I agree, in fact the frustration with this line not going to uptown is one of the main reasons I started looking for pro-rail people eventually leading me to join this forum. It might not be a big deal for you, Highway6 in Montrose, but speaking as someone from uptown this remains very significant.

I also encourage people to go to one of these meetings, to let them know this needs to be fixed.

Edited by Nick_G

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Nick, a second line is planned that connects the Red Line to the Northwest Transit Center via Post Oak Blvd. It might not happen immediately, but it will happen. (And actually, I'd rather that it happen later because the University Line will provide an opportunity for people to realize the critical importance of grade separation at major intersections.) And in the mean time, the University Line will connect to the Hillcroft Transit Center...which I'd argue is more important than Uptown in some respects because southwest Houston's demography, extreme density, and already-high rate of transit use will enable the light rail system to capture a tremendous number of riders and seem to the FTA (for the sake of future funding) as though it is awesome...whether it is or not.

And at the end of the day, METRO must play to the screwy FTA criteria or it makes it harder for them to get additional funding for new projects...even unsexy projects.

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I agree, in fact the frustration with this line not going to uptown is one of the main reasons I started looking for pro-rail people eventually leading me to join this forum. It might not be a big deal for you, Highway6 in Montrose, but speaking as someone from uptown this remains very significant.

Just becasue the two lines are diffent colors on the map does NOT mean trains can't go from one to the other. We aren't talking H vs HO scale here. It has been known for years that the transtion between the two lines will not be a T intersection but a T intersection with a curve from Uptown to University. - Translation: Every other train on the University Line will be going to north to Uptown and beyond.

Again with the 3 yr old conversations.

And yes... as a Montrosian, I never dare wander more than a mile from the intersection of Westheimer and montrose.. so this Uptown business wouldn't mean jack diddly to me. Really ??

Edited by Highway6

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If it were any other entity than METRO, I'd be inclined to agree that the conversation is over. They'd have done their due diligence, communicated adequately with stakeholders, and had their final engineering specs ready and available. The reality, as we found out from the East End debacle, is that METRO may very well start building the line in a middle segment before they've figured out how to connect it to either terminus. Until the tracks are in the ground, I wouldn't expect or encourage any interested party to be quiet and just live with it.

By all means then.. You and Chris should team up this Saturday and go pass out pamphlets in Afton Oaks about the merit of rail on Richmond. Have fun with that.

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Just becasue the two lines are diffent colors on the map does NOT mean trains can't go from one to the other. We aren't talking H vs HO scale here. It has been known for years that the transtion between the two lines will not be a T intersection but a T intersection with a curve from Uptown to University. - Translation: Every other train on the University Line will be going to north to Uptown and beyond.

Again with the 3 yr old conversations.

No one is forcing you to participate, if you are done with the conversation don't worry about it, I am not going to reiterate all of the arguments for this line going into uptown as they are already listed in this thread but I do agree with them.

And yes... as a Montrosian, I never dare wander more than a mile from the intersection of Westheimer and montrose.. so this Uptown business wouldn't mean jack diddly to me. Really ??

You are the one who said we should not care.

Edited by Nick_G

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By all means then.. You and Chris should team up this Saturday and go pass out pamphlets in Afton Oaks about the merit of rail on Richmond. Have fun with that.

Isn't the opposite "basically" what drove them to force the lines off Westminster and Richmond in the first place?

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No one is forcing you to participate, if you are done with the conversation don't worry about it, I am not going to reiterate all of the arguments for this line going into uptown as they are already listed in this thread and I do agree with them.

You don't need to reiterate all of the arguments FOR the train going into Uptown.

It does.

Somewhere on haif is a a link or a image of the metro engineering schematics for the intersection of those two lines. IT shows a curve that allows the westbound trains the choice of either continuing west or going north.

It has also been stated by Metro that trains would indeed do that, that they would most likely alternate.

Here.. I drew you a picture.

2jd5s81.jpg

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You don't need to reiterate all of the arguments FOR the train going into Uptown.

It does.

Somewhere on haif is a a link or a image of the metro engineering schematics for the intersection of those two lines. IT shows a curve that allows the westbound trains the choice of either continuing west or going north.

It has also been stated by Metro that trains would indeed do that, that they would most likely alternate.

Here.. I drew you a picture.

2jd5s81.jpg

I was not part of the debate three years ago. I am voicing that I agree with those who would put the rail down Richmond, if as the Niche has stated that it will get more passengers at the hilcroft transit center is true then that is great and I hope it is as that is fine as that is the goal. (I do believe however that there would be more passengers on this train if it went to the corner of Richmond and Post Oak and then made it's way to Hilcroft). You act as if someone had one conversation once then it can not be mentioned again.

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for the short length that this thing will go down westpark, I don't see it as a problem. I wish the people living on richmond right inside the loop could understand they are living on a major thoroughfare, and be more complicit, but that's life. they want to live on a major thoroughfare without a light rail line.

either way, the uptown line will link the Uline through the Galleria Area up to that transit center on 610 and i10.

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