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MetroRail University Line On Richmond

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You're putting Elevated in the more dense part of town but making it a subway down the broader strip of Westheimer? Past the west curve of Westheimer also holding on the subway for too long, to what, to bypass the Aloft, some restaurants, and suburban strip centers?

I say boo to you Cloud.

 

Agreed. How are you going to slap an El in the most walkable part of Montrose? Concrete pillars are imposing and discourage pedestrian traffic, much as they do for elevated freeways. Needs to be a subway from Main to Fountain View.

Edited by ADCS
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this is what i get for slapping together a rail plan in ~30 minutes. lol.. didn't get to consider everything. at upwards of half a billion dollars per mile, my thinking was subway is too expensive to put down the entirety of that route, so i had to pick and choose. TBH I'm not too familiar with the Westrose intersection. is it one of the more walkable parts of Montrose? glancing at a map its where the half priced books is, in what appears to be a suburban strip center, next to a suburban Kroger, next to a suburban Walgreens..? there do appear to be some nice restaurants in the area though, so if thats the case hopefully all the aforementioned suburban stuff can be redeveloped.

I'm not sure where you mean by "some restaurants and suburban strip centers"? theGalleria/River Oaks District/Azalea Court/Highland Village/River Oaks/ect would not be cool with an El going through there.. that part pretty much had to be subway. and obviously the stretch through downtown. as for being "wider", yeah, but traffic is historically worse through the west side..

since this seems to be a reoccurring issue, and Montrosians would probably freak (though you could make the structure really artsy through there. leave the neatly designed infrastructure as blank white "canvases" for local artists to periodically paint up, with neat lighting at night.. idk?), but i tried to figure out how to dip it down below grade before and after Montrose and there really aren't any opportunities without just being a big ass dip in the middle of segment from the Midtown curve-north and the Kirby dip down to subway. so IMO it would either have to be all subway from Brazos to Chimney Rock, or basically what i have sketched up.

damn i just rambled hard.. rail, man.

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this is what i get for slapping together a rail plan in ~30 minutes. lol.. didn't get to consider everything. at upwards of half a billion dollars per mile, my thinking was subway is too expensive to put down the entirety of that route, so i had to pick and choose. TBH I'm not too familiar with the Westrose intersection. is it one of the more walkable parts of Montrose? glancing at a map its where the half priced books is, in what appears to be a suburban strip center, next to a suburban Kroger, next to a suburban Walgreens..? there do appear to be some nice restaurants in the area though, so if thats the case hopefully all the aforementioned suburban stuff can be redeveloped.

I'm not sure where you mean by "some restaurants and suburban strip centers"? theGalleria/River Oaks District/Azalea Court/Highland Village/River Oaks/ect would not be cool with an El going through there.. that part pretty much had to be subway. and obviously the stretch through downtown. as for being "wider", yeah, but traffic is historically worse through the west side..

since this seems to be a reoccurring issue, and Montrosians would probably freak (though you could make the structure really artsy through there. leave the neatly designed infrastructure as blank white "canvases" for local artists to periodically paint up, with neat lighting at night.. idk?), but i tried to figure out how to dip it down below grade before and after Montrose and there really aren't any opportunities without just being a big ass dip in the middle of segment from the Midtown curve-north and the Kirby dip down to subway. so IMO it would either have to be all subway from Brazos to Chimney Rock, or basically what i have sketched up.

damn i just rambled hard.. rail, man.

I was talking about subway past the galleria west of Westheimer (to what, Chimney Rock)? Anything Within a 5-7 mile radius of Downtown and immediate Galleria area should be underground and out of sight. Anything on Westheimer in the loop should be underground. There are some exceptions. Having light rail down Memorial would be grand (through the park), certain areas of town can handle a light rail on the ground (maybe not sharing traffic lights with the street).

You can slap all the art you want on an elevated line but it will still remain. It could be done down the western portion of Westheimer I guess. But it's still going to be a blight.

I say boo sir. Boo to elevated and boo to you. Just kidding around Cloud. I'm just as passionate as everyone else and I'm simply critiquing your 30 minute rail plan.

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all good.. i was just running off of some of the ideas from the elevated rail discussion yesterday.

so i guess if we subwayed Westheimer from the Galleria to downtown, all that would be elevated would be the far west Westheimer line, outside the loop, and a small stretch from the Westpark ROW east over the section along the Carter, and north into the Main St light rail line (i realized it made sense to run the Westpark line that way since Westpark would be guy wire/LRT style powered vehicles vs 3rd rail heavy rail on the Westheimer/downtown line).

yeah i don't really want any of the new yellow LRT lines out west sharing vehicle traffic, or being straddled by lanes on both sides like our inner city lines.

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You guys all think too small. Pie in the sky...

 

Commuter line:

From Townsen park and ride to First Colony mall. middle of 59 the whole way.

Stops:

Townsen park and ride

Will Clayton Pkwy

Eastex park and ride

Texas Ave (stadiums and LR)

Elgin

Fannin (red line LR)

Greenway

Uptown (wherever the LR is supposed to go)

Hillcroft TC

Bellaire Blvd

Westwood park and ride

Bellfort park and ride

New park and ride to be built near first colony mall

 

Another commuter line:

starts at elgin and 288, down to at least pearland town center. middle of 288 the whole way.

holcombe ave

reed road

pearland town center

 

New LR:

from 288 on Holcomb to HW6 on bellaire.

stops everywhere!

but definitely stops:

red line

59

 

'nother new LR:

from eastwood TC on elgin to HW6 on Westheimer (it would be LR from EWTC to Smith st, then subway to chimney rock, then LR again the rest of the way)

stops everywhere!

but definitely stops:

288

main

galleria

 

that's about it. go ahead and get this to METRO board, tell them I can start next Tuesday, and the salary I've set for myself is fair for both parties.

Edited by samagon
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lol, now we've really starting to turn this into the Rail Charette thread. which is totally cool, just maybe slightly more appropriate over there? i love the ideas Samagon.. I've definitely implemented more than one of those plans in plans over in the Charette.

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http://www.houstontomorrow.org/livability/story/rep.-john-culberson-and-metro-reach-deal-on-university-line/#When:19:17:22Z

Does this mean another vote for the University line as it was previously designed? In today's anti-road money climate, I think that would pass easily!

I think it's for federal funding on Richmond, I think the Afton Oaks plan has been officially dead for years.

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I think it's for federal funding on Richmond, I think the Afton Oaks plan has been officially dead for years.

 

That would be fine. It would make more sense if a heavy rail is added on the Westpark easement later anyways, right?

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That would be fine. It would make more sense if a heavy rail is added on the Westpark easement later anyways, right?

Most of the east part of the Westpark heading east toward downtown is pretty much unusable. I can't imagine rail of any type wedged between 59 and the houses in the University Place area.

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yeah, the rail would have to be trenched most likely through that segment of Westpark ITL, but it would be a damn shame if METRO couldn't figure out a way to utilize the rest of that corridor. they could almost get it all the way to the Main St line if they got creative and elevated it around the new Carter tower and utilities. otherwise i guess it could cut north at Yoakum, since the METRO ROW ends at Montrose.

i just thought of something (topic related, heh)..

does Richmond need to be resurfaced through Afton Oaks? or are road conditions through there okay. a lot of Richmond is terrible but i don't venture through AO often. i was thinking if the roads need to be replaced, continue the Richmond/University Line as originally envisioned, into Uptown, and get them to cut/cover trenched segments through Afton Oaks so the residents aren't "bothered" by them or whatever.

Edited by cloud713

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yeah, the rail would have to be trenched most likely through that segment of Westpark ITL.

i just thought of something (topic related, heh)..

does Richmond need to be resurfaced through Afton Oaks? or are road conditions through there okay. a lot of Richmond is terrible but i don't venture through AO often. i was thinking if the roads need to be replaced, continue the Richmond/University Line as originally envisioned, into Uptown, and get them to cut/cover trenched segments through Afton Oaks so the residents aren't "bothered" by them or whatever.

Part of the thing against rail through Afton Oaks is the oaks themselves, and depending on the type, tend to die if the roots are disturbed. This also relates to why some sidewalk repair is difficult for the same reason.

Edit: a bike path would be nice for the rest of the ROW

Edited by IronTiger
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Part of the thing against rail through Afton Oaks is the oaks themselves, and depending on the type, tend to die if the roots are disturbed. This also relates to why some sidewalk repair is difficult for the same reason.

Edit: a bike path would be nice for the rest of the ROW

 

Houston so often seems to be a place where rationality is placed on a high pedestal... until trees are involved.

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Houston so often seems to be a place where rationality is placed on a high pedestal... until trees are involved.

Well, I do think the Wendy's tree removal issue was kinda ridiculous, at least the press Swamplot gave it.

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Part of the thing against rail through Afton Oaks is the oaks themselves, and depending on the type, tend to die if the roots are disturbed. This also relates to why some sidewalk repair is difficult for the same reason.

Edit: a bike path would be nice for the rest of the ROW

 

Correction, the trees were one of the reasons AO residents provided for why the rail shouldn't pass down Richmond. Whether this is really the reason they don't want rail down Richmond is another matter that is up for discussion.

 

If this truly is one of their concerns, the loss of these trees (at least in my opinion) does not outweigh the cost of having to fly the LR over 59.

 

Especially when you consider that it crosses at a point that doesn't have it go through the heart of greenway, easy access to this huge employment center should be paramount, and you'd think that the directors of the greenway area would lobby for easy LR access pretty hard. especially considering the positive impacts LR seems to be having all along the red line corridor (look at the proximity of every single residential development to the red line along the corridor, it's amazing).

 

I think I said it in another thread, but given 5 more years developers all over the city are going to be pushing really hard for more fixed guide-way transit near their properties, we're reaching a watershed mark.

 

When this is put back on the ballot, I expect a fair number of commercials paid for by developers and land owners recommending people vote for light rail on Richmond (whether it ends up being a yes, or no vote that OKs light rail is another matter).

 

edit: here's the thread:

http://www.houstonarchitecture.com/haif/topic/32109-gerald-hines-calls-for-more-mass-transit-in-houston/

 

I wonder how much of the speech from Hines helped Culberson change his stance?

Edited by samagon
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I think I said it in another thread, but given 5 more years developers all over the city are going to be pushing really hard for more fixed guide-way transit near their properties, we're reaching a watershed mark.

 

When this is put back on the ballot, I expect a fair number of commercials paid for by developers and land owners recommending people vote for light rail on Richmond (whether it ends up being a yes, or no vote that OKs light rail is another matter).

i think its already happening. Gerald Hines gave that talk about Houston needing more mass transit a week or two ago. and as you pointed out on the red line, lots of developers are seeing the benefits of the rail throughout midtown and downtown.

we also need to remember, not only will a Culbertson revote allow for the University Line to potentially be built, but also the Uptown Line to be built out as LRT instead of BRT.

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i think its already happening. Gerald Hines gave that talk about Houston needing more mass transit a week or two ago. and as you pointed out on the red line, lots of developers are seeing the benefits of the rail throughout midtown and downtown.

we also need to remember, not only will a Culbertson revote allow for the University Line to potentially be built, but also the Uptown Line to be built out as LRT instead of BRT.

 

Let's not keep our aspirations limited. Rail on Post Oak, sure - but as heavy rail that connects the TCR station (if it's at the NW Mall site, like I'm expecting it to be) with Uptown,  Highland Village, River Oaks, Upper Kirby, Greenway Plaza, Montrose, Midtown and Downtown. This could be something that knits Houston's urban core together in a way that was unimaginable even 10 years ago.

 

In the end, the problem with the University and Uptown Lines wasn't that they were too disruptive, it was that they didn't think big enough on them.

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I believe Gerald Hines did it.  When he did his speech that Houston must do something about mass transit. He said not just for Houston but for the Woodlands, Sugar Land and the whole metro area.  We must have heavy rail connecting to our light rail lines to save our infrastructure.  We will have 2 International airports, one of largest ports in the world, and almost 7 million in population.  But no transportation plan!  We must have leadership for the next 20 years.

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I hate to open old wounds, but I do see one way around the Richmond rail thing that may be able to satisfy most parties: part of the problem with rail on Richmond would be that it would essentially narrow the road to two lanes and make it more difficult to turn left and generally be worthless as a major thoroughfare. Why not take advantage of the mandatory setbacks as dictated by old zoning rules to widen the ROW, allow for the same amount of lanes, and create the "urban" look with that?

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That's an interesting idea, though I suspect a lot of the opposition of the Richmond line was more during the construction phase than once it was done.

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Out of curiosity I wandered to the Metro website and saw that the FTA finalized the environmental study on this line which gives Metro the right to tweak the design. This is awesome news and I knew nothing about this. Even if it goes back to the ballot box, its clear by how packed the trains and busses are that people want public transportation. 

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20 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

Out of curiosity I wandered to the Metro website and saw that the FTA finalized the environmental study on this line which gives Metro the right to tweak the design. This is awesome news and I knew nothing about this. Even if it goes back to the ballot box, its clear by how packed the trains and busses are that people want public transportation. 

Are you talking about the Record of Decision?  If so that was like over five years ago, I don't think METRO is even close to concerned with constructing the University line at this point, unfortunately. 

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1 hour ago, mfastx said:

Are you talking about the Record of Decision?  If so that was like over five years ago, I don't think METRO is even close to concerned with constructing the University line at this point, unfortunately. 

Well I've check the website in the past, as in the past few months and all it said about the University Line was it's a proposed line from point A to B. But this time I check it explained that the environmental study that was done a while back was approved by the FTA, which now gives Metro the right to redesign the line. I know a lot of us are optimistic about this line, but since the green and purple line both end at the Theater District, wouldn't it be nicer to have both lines extend out from there? Have one line go the the Northwest Transit Center and the other head towards the Galleria?

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that would be nice, but connecting high density centers, UH, Greenway, Uptown is as much a 'slam dunk' for high ridership as the original red line was. 

extending the green/purple line just doesn't take it to a high density destination (not that the green/purple lines do that on the other side of town).

not to get on a tangent, but I'm kind of surprised that opponents haven't used the green/purple ridership against it yet, saying that it hasn't increased in ridership as fast as the red line did, therefore light rail is a failure.

Edited by samagon
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The purple line is definitely gaining ridership, and though it might just be for the Final Four, they've started double stacking the trams for the line.

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yeah, it's just the final 4 they are doubled up for.

I do agree though, my drive home in the evenings brings me down rusk, and the station near rusk/fannin is usually full of people waiting on a train. so it's working, just not as fast as the red line, and not fast enough for critics.

Edited by samagon

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On 4/1/2016 at 4:33 PM, samagon said:

that would be nice, but connecting high density centers, UH, Greenway, Uptown is as much a 'slam dunk' for high ridership as the original red line was. 

extending the green/purple line just doesn't take it to a high density destination (not that the green/purple lines do that on the other side of town).

not to get on a tangent, but I'm kind of surprised that opponents haven't used the green/purple ridership against it yet, saying that it hasn't increased in ridership as fast as the red line did, therefore light rail is a failure.

Cause its not about ridership its about politics... the entire system is an overall success and they will still find some bs to claim how it won't work in any other part of the city... in much the same way those idiots in Uptown sued the city because of the BRT lanes claiming they won't ease congestion, which is bs... I guarantee those BRT buses are going to be packed all the time which is going to create less traffic and in return redevelop that area. Also once those BRT lanes are finished, expect to hear more about the University Line

Edited by j_cuevas713
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On 4/1/2016 at 4:33 PM, samagon said:

that would be nice, but connecting high density centers, UH, Greenway, Uptown is as much a 'slam dunk' for high ridership as the original red line was. 

extending the green/purple line just doesn't take it to a high density destination (not that the green/purple lines do that on the other side of town).

not to get on a tangent, but I'm kind of surprised that opponents haven't used the green/purple ridership against it yet, saying that it hasn't increased in ridership as fast as the red line did, therefore light rail is a failure.

If they had those lines extending all the way down Washington to the Northwest Transit Center with limited stops and right of ways like the red line has, you'd have a ****load of ridership.  Washington Corridor is one of the most dense areas period.  People would love to take the rail to work downtown, to the future high speed train station, etc. 

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9 minutes ago, WestUdweller said:

If they had those lines extending all the way down Washington to the Northwest Transit Center with limited stops and right of ways like the red line has, you'd have a ****load of ridership.  Washington Corridor is one of the most dense areas period.  People would love to take the rail to work downtown, to the future high speed train station, etc. 

  1. UH had over 42,000 students enrolled in 2015.
  2. Nearly 10,000 students enrolled at TSU.
  3. Greenway plaza has over 4 million SF of office space.
  4. The Galleria area is very dense with huge employment centers (I consider this a wash as neither the current iteration of the university line, or a line terminating at the NWTC would have direct connection to it).
  5. The last iteration of the university line had a stop in Gulfton on it's way to the Hillcroft transit center, not one of the densest, it is, hands down, the densest area of Houston.

I'm not saying that the Washington corridor is a desolate wasteland with nothing but tumbleweeds careening down streets, I'm saying that the best choice to maximize potential users and have the best positive impact for the most potential riders would be the university line along it's original route or existing planned route.

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20 minutes ago, samagon said:
  1. UH had over 42,000 students enrolled in 2015.
  2. Nearly 10,000 students enrolled at TSU.
  3. Greenway plaza has over 4 million SF of office space.
  4. The Galleria area is very dense with huge employment centers (I consider this a wash as neither the current iteration of the university line, or a line terminating at the NWTC would have direct connection to it).
  5. The last iteration of the university line had a stop in Gulfton on it's way to the Hillcroft transit center, not one of the densest, it is, hands down, the densest area of Houston.

I'm not saying that the Washington corridor is a desolate wasteland with nothing but tumbleweeds careening down streets, I'm saying that the best choice to maximize potential users and have the best positive impact for the most potential riders would be the university line along it's original route or existing planned route.

Well I wasn't saying you needed one line vs another.  Just that in addition to the university line, the other line should be extended all the way to the northwest transit center

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U-Line would have also hit up Houston Community College Central and U of St. Thomas. It would have also allowed downtown visitors a chance to connect easily to the Menil, one of our biggest tourist attractions. 

Also, I was surprised that all four Final Four teams were officially housed in Uptown (Royal Sonesta, Westin, JW Marriott and Hilton). Imagine those folks being able to ride the rail the NRG rather than driving/uber. 

If that line isn't built soon, I hope we start hosting schools downtown. We just need one more mega hotel to add to the Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott Marquis mix...

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Metro could have a special VIP train to transport teams to NRG from hotels - I'm imagining one of the older light rail cars when it's about to be retired gets super tinted windows, new interior, and a better sound system

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I wonder if metro could incorporate express or limited express trains for certain times of the day. 

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The problem would be passing the local trains with the express trains; the system just wasn't designed with that in mind.  There are some cross over points, but it is more for operating with a closed sections of lines as opposed to bypassing stops.  The only places where the trains could pass would be Burnett and UH stadium - they both have a pocket for trains to pass.  

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Makes sense.  Damn you Japan for showing me your fancy train network with musical station tones, under overpass shopping, and heated toilet seats.

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I'm new to this forum and somewhat new to Houston.  Why was the University Line scuttled?  The route would have connected high density, working class housing around Gulfton, large employment centers in the Galleria and Medical Center, and three universities.  The route was also a mostly straight shot so the average speed would have been high.

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2 hours ago, Geographer said:

I'm new to this forum and somewhat new to Houston.  Why was the University Line scuttled?  The route would have connected high density, working class housing around Gulfton, large employment centers in the Galleria and Medical Center, and three universities.  The route was also a mostly straight shot so the average speed would have been high.

A neighborhood objected, and the Congressman, John Culberson, made sure there was no funding available.

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19 hours ago, Ross said:

A neighborhood objected, and the Congressman, John Culberson, made sure there was no funding available.

 

Let's not forget Culberson's predecessor, Tom DeLay.  And FWIW, it was one single neighborhood that the line was re routed to bypass.

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2 hours ago, mollusk said:

 

Let's not forget Culberson's predecessor, Tom DeLay.  And FWIW, it was one single neighborhood that the line was re routed to bypass.

I'm being pedantic, but Delay was the rep for CD22, Culberson was in CD07. The two of them together were a giant roadblock for rail. 

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1 hour ago, Ross said:

I'm being pedantic, but Delay was the rep for CD22, Culberson was in CD07. The two of them together were a giant roadblock for rail. 

Don't forget Bob Lanier, who killed the original monorail proposal and subsequently forced Metro to use local funding to build the red line.

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1 hour ago, Ross said:

I'm being pedantic, but Delay was the rep for CD22, Culberson was in CD07. The two of them together were a giant roadblock for rail. 

 

DeLay''s district included most of the University Line.  Most of the Harris County portion of it was later redistricted to the 7th.

 

And don't get me started on MayorBob.

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How did two Congressmen in Washington prevent a light rail line from being constructed in Houston?  Also, both those Congressmen are out of office now so why isn't the University Line being reconsidered?

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They put riders in the budget saying that no federal money could go to Metro if they built a rail line along that route.  Metro still could have built it, but it would have to used 100% local funds as opposed to using matching grants from the federal government.  

Now that they are out of office, the line has been revived as bus rapid transit, which is very similar to light rail - dedicated lanes, stations instead of bus stops, and signal priority.  The new line that is replacing the original proposed university line goes a lot further than the university line was going to.

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1 hour ago, Geographer said:

How did two Congressmen in Washington prevent a light rail line from being constructed in Houston?  Also, both those Congressmen are out of office now so why isn't the University Line being reconsidered?

How did we elect a president two shades off from the color of the sun? It's politics

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1 hour ago, j_cuevas713 said:

How did we elect a president two shades off from the color of the sun? It's politics

 

Are you implying that the color of a president's skin matters?

 

keep-your-fingers-clean-while-eating-che

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