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MetroRail University Line On Richmond

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In Lanier's defense, didn't he gut the money that was set aside for rail to make the city safer by adding heads to the police force?

If I'm remembering that correctly, I'd say at the time that was the smarter play.

That, and the rail "system" he doomed was hardly a "system" and was only "good" in the sense that (and to those for whom) any rail built any where at any time is by definition "good".

Further, It is a little disingeuous to claim that Lanier acted contrary to the will of the voters. He ran very explicitly on an anti-rail platform against the pro-rail incumbent, Kathy Whitmire, and he won the election.

Edited by Houston19514

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In Lanier's defense, didn't he gut the money that was set aside for rail to make the city safer by adding heads to the police force?

If I'm remembering that correctly, I'd say at the time that was the smarter play.

I read somewhere that Houston's murder rate remained mostly unchanged for many years after the hiring of additional cops..

That, and the rail "system" he doomed was hardly a "system" and was only "good" in the sense that (and to those for whom) any rail built any where at any time is by definition "good".

Further, It is a little disingeuous to claim that Lanier acted contrary to the will of the voters. He ran very explicitly on an anti-rail platform against the pro-rail incumbent, Kathy Whitmire and he won the election.

IIRC it was a monorail plan, but later changed to mostly grade-seperated light rail.

And many people say it was "good" because the proposed lines were mostly grade-seperated, unlike the at-grade lines today. Usually grade seperated lines are superior.

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IIRC it was a monorail plan, but later changed to mostly grade-seperated light rail.

And many people say it was "good" because the proposed lines were mostly grade-seperated, unlike the at-grade lines today. Usually grade seperated lines are superior.

It was passed in 1988 as a transit plan with the technology unspecified. Kathy Whitmire was planning to build monorail. It was never changed to grade-separated light rail. There are a lot of things about elevated lines that make them inferior to lines on the surface. (Much more difficult and time-consuming to evacuate the vehicles in an emergency or break-down; higher cost of construction...)

Edited by Houston19514

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That, and the rail "system" he doomed was hardly a "system" and was only "good" in the sense that (and to those for whom) any rail built any where at any time is by definition "good".

Further, It is a little disingeuous to claim that Lanier acted contrary to the will of the voters. He ran very explicitly on an anti-rail platform against the pro-rail incumbent, Kathy Whitmire, and he won the election.

It was a start to something and was grade separated

It was passed in 1988 as a transit plan with the technology unspecified. Kathy Whitmire was planning to build monorail. It was never changed to grade-separated light rail. There are a lot of things about elevated lines that make them inferior to lines on the surface. (Much more difficult and time-consuming to evacuate the vehicles in an emergency or break-down; higher cost of construction...)

Why even have referendums? The reason Lanier won was Wayne delcefino that slimy rat.

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As someone who builds models for a living... has the METRO ever publicly released any of their data?  I have to assume that they have (probably several times) hired consultants to put together data and reports detailing income levels, traffic flow, growth projections, detailed breakdowns of density by zip and sub-zip, resi to commercial travel & employment etc... I would love to get the data and just play around with it.  I'm not saying I could come up with anything (this is a bit outside my day-to-day), but it would be interesting, and might let the 'common public' put some numbers behind the rhetoric.

 

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The park and ride and HOV lanes have had the largest legacy costs for the agency and the least amount ridership w/r/t those costs. More people ride the singular rail than the whole P&R system everyday. So it's ok to spend money on people who have it already but it's waste of money to spend it on folks w/o the means to buy a $11k automobile?

edit: http://www.ridemetro...Report_FY12.pdf

 

 

I specifically said that METRO's P&R and HOV work, and that's great for the users, but cumulatively METRO's vision over time has failed to provide the biggest bang for the buck for the people that are transit-dependent in its service area.

 

I don't really give a damn what mode of transit serves those people, but they are not now being served (IMO and by METRO's recent admission) even though METRO has spent plenty of money building rail lines and allegedly improving bus service.

 

The quickest fix is now and has always been more buses, more stops, in more neighborhoods for the truly dependent. The planned and built rail lines will never be a good enough answer for those "w/o the means to buy an $11k automobile" except for that relatively small % that lives within walking distance of a rail line. Stopping or reducing bus service to some of these areas of highest need b/c of low ridership is false economy IMO, but is required if your agency has spent itself into a hole.

 

So, no, it's not OK.

 

And Kinkaid Alum's observation that perhaps the entire system would be better if METRO had not had to give up 25% of its sales tax collections - not only is the observation unprovable, it ignores the problem that METRO has more or less continuously failed to provide the best service it could with the money it does collect. There is no reason to believe that METRO would have magically become more competent at planning had the agency had that 25% of the tax revenue to spend.

Edited by IHB2

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Monorail wouldn't have worked, unless you wanted some expensive toy people-mover in downtown Houston.

 

Many moons ago, I saw this rendering of a station in the Galleria/Uptown area, in which the streets would be torn up and the light rail be built one level underground (with the roads being rebuilt). Whatever happened to that?

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I specifically said that METRO's P&R and HOV work, and that's great for the users, but cumulatively METRO's vision over time has failed to provide the biggest bang for the buck for the people that are transit-dependent in its service area.

 

I don't really give a damn what mode of transit serves those people, but they are not now being served (IMO and by METRO's recent admission) even though METRO has spent plenty of money building rail lines and allegedly improving bus service.

 

The quickest fix is now and has always been more buses, more stops, in more neighborhoods for the truly dependent. The planned and built rail lines will never be a good enough answer for those "w/o the means to buy an $11k automobile" except for that relatively small % that lives within walking distance of a rail line. Stopping or reducing bus service to some of these areas of highest need b/c of low ridership is false economy IMO, but is required if your agency has spent itself into a hole.

 

So, no, it's not OK.

 

And Kinkaid Alum's observation that perhaps the entire system would be better if METRO had not had to give up 25% of its sales tax collections - not only is the observation unprovable, it ignores the problem that METRO has more or less continuously failed to provide the best service it could with the money it does collect. There is no reason to believe that METRO would have magically become more competent at planning had the agency had that 25% of the tax revenue to spend.

 

The quickest fix is money and lots of it. You are confusing corruption and/or incompetence by METRO with the flaws of our proposed rail system. The best plan would be an expansion of rail NOT at the cost of buses. In fact, the best plan would involve expanding the bus system along with the rail system along with the hike and bike along with other commuting solutions. All of which require investment of money. 

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March 31 is the cutoff.

 

Thanks for posting by the way.

 

Apparently, the option you select on that page just creates a form letter, so if you select the wrong one, you just edit it to say what you want. For instance, I selected "I live near Richmond and support it" and change it from "I live near Richmond..." to "I live near the Eastwood Transit Center (the eastern terminus of the proposed University Line)..."

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It's kind of hard to accomplish great things when you are constantly under attack.

What if METRO hadn't been losing a quarter of its funding over all these years?

What if Lanier had not gone against the will of the voters and used rail money to expand park and rides and concrete pours to appease his wealthy builder/developer/engineering buddies?

What if federal matching funds hadn't been denied to the region?

METRO is a mess, but this shouldn't come as a surprise. It's hard to be anything but when its been surrounded by Lanier, Culberson, DeLay, and (insert the name of any of the long line of idiotic Harris County Commissioners here).

 

Not to mention all the people who have been programmed by talk radio to march around angrily repeating the same cliches over and over about "boondoggles" and "albatrosses" and "toy trains," etc., as though they would ever be satisfied by any transportation plan that wasn't 100% expanded roadway.

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Sources tell me that there are going to be some big steps forward with the University Line coming soon.  The current plan is to build it out to Greenway plaza (right to the line where it crosses John Culberson's Congressional district), and then watch Houstonians get mad until he caves.  Construction planned for 2014. 

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Sources tell me that there are going to be some big steps forward with the University Line coming soon.  The current plan is to build it out to Greenway plaza (right to the line where it crosses John Culberson's Congressional district), and then watch Houstonians get mad until he caves.  Construction planned for 2014. 

 

That'd be hilarious.

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Culberson's district goes to Shepherd. It would miss Greenway Plaza by a pretty good distance. Not to mention that tormenting Congressmen is not a very effective way of getting rail projects funded. This sounds like drunken wishful thinking.

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Culberson's district goes to Shepherd. It would miss Greenway Plaza by a pretty good distance. Not to mention that tormenting Congressmen is not a very effective way of getting rail projects funded. This sounds like drunken wishful thinking.

 

If you think there's a way to get Culberson to support rail, I am all ears. He and Delay were the anti-rail tag team for years. It's purely ideological for Culberson.

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It is not a matter of getting him to support it. Simply having him not torpedo it would be helpful. But, go run that rail right up to his front door and see what that gets you. He'll be putting anti-METRO riders in every bill for the next 20 years.

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He is not God and he doesn't own his district. Over a decade of not building certainly hasn't changed his behavior at all. He's vehemently anti-rail regardless of whether construction starts or not, but it's not just his decision to make. Federal funding was issued despite his opposition and can be issued again.

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He is not God and he doesn't own his district. Over a decade of not building certainly hasn't changed his behavior at all. He's vehemently anti-rail regardless of whether construction starts or not, but it's not just his decision to make. Federal funding was issued despite his opposition and can be issued again.

 

Politically, I'd say he does "own" his district, especially since he does not need very many votes from inside the Loop to win, given the level of his support in the northern and western portions of his district.

 

I spoke with his Hou office chief of staff last week about the questionaire.

 

Her response was that Culberson wants some updated info from Richmond Ave only (not any other part of the line in his district that also affects his constituents) to share with Ted Cruz, Ted Poe, Steve Stockman.

 

She specifically mentioned those names.

 

Draw your own conclusion.

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Politically, I'd say he does "own" his district, especially since he does not need very many votes from inside the Loop to win, given the level of his support in the northern and western portions of his district.

 

I don't care if he goes on serving his district. That will happen regardless. Meanwhile, I would like to see our local officials proceed with building the rail. Being Congressman for a district doesn't give a person the right to build a moat around the district that no rail can cross. Those decisions are made by local officials, and funded by local money and state and federal allocations. He is one member of a Congress of 535.

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Sadly, I am in his district. Man, gerrymandering in this town is insane. 

 

I hope the University Line happens. It is CRUCIAL to the entire system to have an East-West line. However, my contacts at UH have indicated that METRO is no longer talking about taking land for the U-Line...

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Sadly, I am in his district. Man, gerrymandering in this town is insane. 

 

I hope the University Line happens. It is CRUCIAL to the entire system to have an East-West line. However, my contacts at UH have indicated that METRO is no longer talking about taking land for the U-Line...

 

 

me too. I'm 1 measly block from not being in his district! US59 separates us like a wide river from his base of support running from Afton Oaks to the northwest suburbs. we have different interests on our side in common with our own adjacent neighborhoods. gerrymander r us.

 

even worse, I'm that same measly block away from freedom from Dan Patrick.

 

and of course our state rep is West U lawyer Sarah Davis, who appears to be about 14 years old and cannot seem to decide in the legislation she offers or supports whether she's a Christian rightwing scold or a feminazi.

 

 

 

otherwise, it's a great neighborhood :D

Edited by IHB2

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But, she had cancer so she is qualified!

 

Those commercials touting her "cancer survivor" status annoyed me. 

 

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Sources tell me that there are going to be some big steps forward with the University Line coming soon.  The current plan is to build it out to Greenway plaza (right to the line where it crosses John Culberson's Congressional district), and then watch Houstonians get mad until he caves.  Construction planned for 2014. 

 

I heard something very similar. "METRO is going to do what it wants to do."

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Not stirring the pot, but how the hell does the Univ Line end at Shepherd & Richmond w/o METRO having to condemn a lot more property than planned for that site, and why would METRO want to do that? 

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Not stirring the pot, but how the hell does the Univ Line end at Shepherd & Richmond w/o METRO having to condemn a lot more property than planned for that site, and why would METRO want to do that? 

 

I'm pretty sure that "totheskies" was being sarcastic.  I highly doubt that any work on the University Line is planned anytime soon. 

 

And I don't think the scenario proposed here is realistic IMO.

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Not stirring the pot, but how the hell does the Univ Line end at Shepherd & Richmond w/o METRO having to condemn a lot more property than planned for that site, and why would METRO want to do that? 

 

Shepherd Square Plaza becomes our Grand Central Station? :)

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Shepherd Square Plaza becomes our Grand Central Station? :)

 

There's not really much memorable at Richmond and Shepherd at the moment. 

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Sources tell me that there are going to be some big steps forward with the University Line coming soon.  The current plan is to build it out to Greenway plaza (right to the line where it crosses John Culberson's Congressional district), and then watch Houstonians get mad until he caves.  Construction planned for 2014. 

 

You had my hopes up with this post, but your attempt at sarcasm sucks when you're making it sound like this could be real.

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The source is pretty credible... though she's not on the METRO board, she has a lot of sway with them.  The other thing said was that the Uptown line would be converted to BRT. 

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The source is pretty credible... though she's not on the METRO board, she has a lot of sway with them.  The other thing said was that the Uptown line would be converted to BRT. 

 

The BRT sounds believable since I believe there was news about uptown starting that up by itself without METRO.

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There's not really much memorable at Richmond and Shepherd at the moment. 

 

 

Rockin' Robin Music shop, The Stag, Star Pizza, Cactus Records...hell it's already a must-see destination :D

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METRO is petitioning to the City of Houston to designate Richmond between Main and Greenway Plaza as a "transit street" on its Major Thoroughfare Plan. This is useful for planning/engineering and interagency coordination purposes, but it's a far cry from any portion of the line actually being built anytime soon. Especially since building any portion of the line will cost money and federal grant agreements that METRO simply does not have right now.

 

The next thing that's going to be built (after the three lines currently under construction are completed) is the Uptown BRT, provided funding can be secured. Uptown District is actually driving this project; METRO has simply agreed to provide service.

 

The U-line, I'm afraid, is at least a decade away at this point.

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METRO is petitioning to the City of Houston to designate Richmond between Main and Greenway Plaza as a "transit street" on its Major Thoroughfare Plan. This is useful for planning/engineering and interagency coordination purposes, but it's a far cry from any portion of the line actually being built anytime soon.

 

 

Thanks for the clarification. That actually makes sense rather than any claim that a piece of the Univ Line will be built before all of it is funded. It makes so much sense it's hard to believe METRO thought to do it...

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METRO is petitioning to the City of Houston to designate Richmond between Main and Greenway Plaza as a "transit street" on its Major Thoroughfare Plan. This is useful for planning/engineering and interagency coordination purposes, but it's a far cry from any portion of the line actually being built anytime soon. Especially since building any portion of the line will cost money and federal grant agreements that METRO simply does not have right now.

 

The next thing that's going to be built (after the three lines currently under construction are completed) is the Uptown BRT, provided funding can be secured. Uptown District is actually driving this project; METRO has simply agreed to provide service.

 

The U-line, I'm afraid, is at least a decade away at this point.

 

I think METRO is simply hoping that somehow they will get federal funds for this line. Without that I see no construction on the horizon either.

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From the Houston Tomorrow page linked above:

 

"...including such streets designed to be more appropriate for major transit investments - to prioritize pedestrian realm over automobile speed"

 

 

That's exactly the kind of pie-in-the-sky statement that gets residents along the proposed Univ Line so upset. The idea of retro-fitting an important auto thoroughfare like Richmond Ave to engineer in less mobility (in this case "automobile speed") than currently exists drives most Houstonians nuts.

 

 

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The condition of Richmond is deplorable. And...not much investment (except for the couple of apartment complexes and and galleries) has been done, between Montrose and Kirby. Not sure who Cilberson is getting paid by along here. Not sure of this new "designation" will help the streetscape, until there is actually some real investment from Metro. Come on Metro. Pull the trigger already.

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Maybe it might might be easier once the other lines are completed to show how much use it is with the ridership it will have.

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For those of you who are interested in the Richmond/University Line designation as a transit corridor street:

 

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1N5ICPCPQWTdKKQtTIuXQSzBdhvQPMU5DASz1DxF6RBk/viewform

 

and:

 

http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/6239/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=14775

 

There is also a public meeting at City Hall today at 2:30.

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:

 

 

There is also a public meeting at City Hall today at 2:30.

 

There are a lot of people worried about that meeting-- I got this earlier in the week

 

 

No Light Rail through Montrose Please

 

S.gif

 

What: Houston Planning Commission MTFP Public Hearing

When: 2:30 pm, Thursday, July 18, 2013

Where: City Council Chambers, Public Level, City Hall Annex, 900 Bagby Street

 

Please forgive us for reaching out to you about city politics but it concerns our pottery business and our family home.

Houston's Planning Commission is holding a hearing on July 18th to take community input on the 2013 proposed amendments to Houston's Major Thoroughfare and Freeway Plan (MTFP). Included are requests to designate the segments of Richmond Ave., Westpark, and the other streets that make up the University Corridor as "Transit Corridor Streets." 

Richmond is now designated a "Major Thoroughfare".

The new designation would help pave the way for Metro to take much of gallery and studio front property so we would no longer have ANY parking. How can we have a pottery business with NO parking?

Our family home on the same block would probably be condemned as the new road would take our front porch. 

See the link to a photo showing how close the curb would come to the studio, gallery and our house. The outer green line shows where the street is now and inner green line shows much more land Metro needs for the light rail.

We enjoy using the Main Street Rail. We are not opposed to mass transit. Our opinion is that the light rail should not go through the Montrose
We believe better bus service or even a trolley would be more appropriate and not destroy small business in this area. Light rail from the suburbs to the city would work best if it traveled along the freeway as it does in Dallas, Atlanta and other cities.
We would love to have your support at the public hearing on Thursday.

There is also an online City comment form.

Reference amendment applications #20-29 University Corridor - METRO.

Information is also circulating about Metro wanting to acquire real estate to sell and then raise funds for building the rail. Condemning property on Richmond Ave and then buying it at a low price would sure help them!

BlogHouston

Houston Business Journal

Thank you for all your support!

Judy Adams and John Foelber

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I talk to the Mayor at a kick off party 2 weeks ago. I asked her was she thought about Mr. Culberson about no Federal funding for Metro next year. Even though Metro did not ask for funding. She rolled her eyes, and said the city has a plan. She did not say anything else. We need this rail line. I live in the Upper Kirby District. The traffic is getting worse. I would love to walk to the University Line and go out to eat, the museums, downtown without driving. In 2020 when we are the third largest city it would be foolish with no other way of getting around but concrete. The concrete companies sure like Mr. Culberson.

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I talk to the Mayor at a kick off party 2 weeks ago. I asked her was she thought about Mr. Culberson about no Federal funding for Metro next year. Even though Metro did not ask for funding. She rolled her eyes, and said the city has a plan. She did not say anything else. We need this rail line. I live in the Upper Kirby District. The traffic is getting worse. I would love to walk to the University Line and go out to eat, the museums, downtown without driving. In 2020 when we are the third largest city it would be foolish with no other way of getting around but concrete. The concrete companies sure like Mr. Culberson.

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