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The Metro North Rail Line

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There are many ways to connect a light rail line to the airport.  You could have a central station with any of the following options: a shuttle bus connecting terminals to the rail station (Boston, LA are cities that I know have this), you could construct a people mover (my vote would be for us to somehow extend the underground people mover to the rail station since it is already outside of the sterile zone, the underground people mover would most likely have to be reconstructed as well), or you could have elevated walkways from the station to the terminals. 

 

A more expensive and probably not viable option would be to construct a station at each of the terminals, but you'd have to reconfigure the terminals and it would cost a lot. 

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Apparently they had the first test run on its own power last night, per METRO's facebook page.

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There are many ways to connect a light rail line to the airport.  You could have a central station with any of the following options: a shuttle bus connecting terminals to the rail station (Boston, LA are cities that I know have this), you could construct a people mover (my vote would be for us to somehow extend the underground people mover to the rail station since it is already outside of the sterile zone, the underground people mover would most likely have to be reconstructed as well), or you could have elevated walkways from the station to the terminals. 

 

A more expensive and probably not viable option would be to construct a station at each of the terminals, but you'd have to reconfigure the terminals and it would cost a lot. 

 

The original 2003 referendum had light rail going to IAH.

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Houston's North Rail Line will open for service on Dec. 21, 2013, according to Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County officials addressing a luncheon held by the Greater Houston Partnership Tuesday, Oct. 22.

 

The $756 million, 5.3-mile light rail transit extension will link MetroRail's University of Houston Downtown Station, one current LRT terminus, with Northline Commons via Main Street and Fulton Street, and is the first addition to Houston's initial 7.5-mile, LRT segment, which opened in January 2004.

 

MetroRail officials earlier this year targeted an opening date for the line prior to Christmas. 

 

Two other LRT routes, the East Line and Southeast Line, currently are scheduled to begin operations next year.

 

http://www.railwayage.com/index.php/passenger/light-rail/houston-north-rail-line-to-open-dec-21.html

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^ Great news!

 

Glad to see you noticed that, similar to the cities you routinely tout as models, Houston is expanding its rail too.  ;-)

Edited by Houston19514

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^ Great news!

 

Glad to see you noticed that, similar to the cities you routinely tout as models, Houston is expanding its rail too.  ;-)

 

It's admirable that Houston's new lines are going into low income areas. Many times such projects go into flashy areas for developers to jump on, which is good, but doesn't help the people that need this kind of infrastructure the most. I think part of this is that these neighborhoods aren't morons like Afton Oaks that protest against it.

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Only $27,000 per foot to construct. Hopefully it spurs a lot of development east of I-45.

 

Keep in mind that includes new underground utilities, streets, sidewalks, and traffic signals.

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Keep in mind that includes new underground utilities, streets, sidewalks, and traffic signals.

The idea that a street has to be rebuilt by the rail authority is ridiculous. And adds a lot to the cost unnecessarily.

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The idea that a street has to be rebuilt by the rail authority is ridiculous. And adds a lot to the cost unnecessarily.

So, if they tear up your yard to repair a sewer line (taking out a tree or two?), you should shoulder the cost of fixing the damage done? You sure you want to go with that, or do you want to rethink that?

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So, if they tear up your yard to repair a sewer line (taking out a tree or two?), you should shoulder the cost of fixing the damage done? You sure you want to go with that, or do you want to rethink that?

The reason these rules were put in place initially were to put houston electric's streetcar out of business. And it worked.

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The reason these rules were put in place initially were to put houston electric's streetcar out of business. And it worked.

I'm going to guess that this has much more to do with standard project management methodology. You generally want to have one group that's responsible for the success of the full project. If you make one group responsible for the rail and another responsible for the street work, you're raising your risk and the difficulty of coordination. Both teams have timelines and deliverables that need to be coordinated.

Sorry that doesn't sound as sexy as a massive conspiracy to undermine rail.

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I like light rail, too, as others on this board do too, but remember, it's like person A saying "I don't like Republicans" and person B saying "Every Republican in the neighborhood needs to be rounded up and shot". Same idea, but it's what separates citizens from criminal lunatics.

 

And Slick, you never answered my question...

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I'm going to guess that this has much more to do with standard project management methodology. You generally want to have one group that's responsible for the success of the full project. If you make one group responsible for the rail and another responsible for the street work, you're raising your risk and the difficulty of coordination. Both teams have timelines and deliverables that need to be coordinated.

Sorry that doesn't sound as sexy as a massive conspiracy to undermine rail.

No. I suggest you read houston electric by Steve baron to read about the history. Edited by Slick Vik

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The idea that a street has to be rebuilt by the rail authority is ridiculous. And adds a lot to the cost unnecessarily.

 

So, you advocate building rail without moving the utilities, repairing the sidewalks rail construction destroys, etc? That makes sense, let's just leave the utilities under the rail, so when repair is needed, the rail line gets torn up. Actually, that's a great idea, lets tear out the rail and improve mobility back to where it was before these stupid projects started destroying the ability of people to move around the city (it is a giant pain to get past the rail on North Main/Fulton if you are headed East or West).

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So, you advocate building rail without moving the utilities, repairing the sidewalks rail construction destroys, etc? That makes sense, let's just leave the utilities under the rail, so when repair is needed, the rail line gets torn up. Actually, that's a great idea, lets tear out the rail and improve mobility back to where it was before these stupid projects started destroying the ability of people to move around the city (it is a giant pain to get past the rail on North Main/Fulton if you are headed East or West).

That's not what I said. I said Metro shouldn't be financially responsible for rebuilding a street or sidewalks for that matter.

Also riding a train will be much smoother than a bus for people in the north line area.

Edited by Slick Vik

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Back on topic, I'm excited about this extension and the development that I hope comes with it. And personally, it gives my brother-in-law more flexibility in picking his classes at HCC without me having to drive him around.

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That's not what I said. I said Metro shouldn't be financially responsible for rebuilding a street or sidewalks for that matter.

Also riding a train will be much smoother than a bus for people in the north line area.

 

They're only responsible for building the streets they themselves took apart. If I damage my neighbor's sidewalk then I owe him to fix it.

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It would be better if it were elevated the entire length, and if the downtown segments were underground. 

 

Still support and thankful for what we have though. 

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It's admirable that Houston's new lines are going into low income areas. Many times such projects go into flashy areas for developers to jump on, which is good, but doesn't help the people that need this kind of infrastructure the most. I think part of this is that these neighborhoods aren't morons like Afton Oaks that protest against it.

 

Was that altruism on METRO's part of just because it's cheaper and gets less flack from the neighborhoood (plus being good for the developers who can get adjoining land cheaper)?

 

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It's admirable that Houston's new lines are going into low income areas. Many times such projects go into flashy areas for developers to jump on, which is good, but doesn't help the people that need this kind of infrastructure the most. I think part of this is that these neighborhoods aren't morons like Afton Oaks that protest against it.

 

Was that altruism on METRO's part of just because it's cheaper and gets less flack from the neighborhoood (plus being good for the developers who can get adjoining land cheaper)?

 

Government funding has strings attached. I think one was regarding existing utilized bus routes. It would stand to reason the low income areas nearest downtown, users of mass transit, would fit the bill.

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Was that altruism on METRO's part of just because it's cheaper and gets less flack from the neighborhoood (plus being good for the developers who can get adjoining land cheaper)?

A smart neighborhood which realizes the value of being close to a rail line unlike afton oaks who fought tooth and nail to avoid it.

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Government funding has strings attached. I think one was regarding existing utilized bus routes. It would stand to reason the low income areas nearest downtown, users of mass transit, would fit the bill.

 

It's going to be really interesting to see what the impact on bus service is going to be.  Is this designed to augment existing bus routes or is it designed to replace them?

 

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It's going to be really interesting to see what the impact on bus service is going to be.  Is this designed to augment existing bus routes or is it designed to replace them?

 

 

Never mind.  Answered my own question.  The number 15 bus route will be discontinued because it duplicates the route of the North line.  The current average workday ridership of the number 15 route is 2,281 and it saw a 10.3% increase in ridership over the last 12 months.  I would argue that any consideration of ridership numbers for the North line should consider that amount as a shift in existing transit ridership rather than an increase.

 

The projected ridership at opening is 17,400 average weekday boardings which would be a net increase of approx. 15,000.  Interested to see the actual numbers.

 

http://www.fta.dot.gov/documents/TX_Houston_North_Corridor_LRT_complete_profile.pdf

 

Edited by livincinco

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Never mind.  Answered my own question.  The number 15 bus route will be discontinued because it duplicates the route of the North line.  The current average workday ridership of the number 15 route is 2,281 and it saw a 10.3% increase in ridership over the last 12 months.  I would argue that any consideration of ridership numbers for the North line should consider that amount as a shift in existing transit ridership rather than an increase.

 

The projected ridership at opening is 17,400 average weekday boardings which would be a net increase of approx. 15,000.  Interested to see the actual numbers.

 

http://www.fta.dot.gov/documents/TX_Houston_North_Corridor_LRT_complete_profile.pdf

 

I'm curious how they came to an average of 17,400 weekday bordings when the current bus route has 2,281.  Does that represent changed bus routes to force riders onto the rail line?  Is some of it people already on the existing line, just continuing on to destinations on the new segment?  Or did they pull it out of their posterior?

 

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I'm curious how they came to an average of 17,400 weekday bordings when the current bus route has 2,281.  Does that represent changed bus routes to force riders onto the rail line?  Is some of it people already on the existing line, just continuing on to destinations on the new segment?  Or did they pull it out of their posterior?

 

 

Don't know what kind of science went into those numbers.  It'll be fun to watch the actual numbers when they come in though and see what the impact is on impacted bus lines.  (Yes, I realize that qualifies me as a nerd to say that).

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Never mind.  Answered my own question.  The number 15 bus route will be discontinued because it duplicates the route of the North line.  The current average workday ridership of the number 15 route is 2,281 and it saw a 10.3% increase in ridership over the last 12 months.  I would argue that any consideration of ridership numbers for the North line should consider that amount as a shift in existing transit ridership rather than an increase.

 

The projected ridership at opening is 17,400 average weekday boardings which would be a net increase of approx. 15,000.  Interested to see the actual numbers.

 

http://www.fta.dot.gov/documents/TX_Houston_North_Corridor_LRT_complete_profile.pdf

 

I too am anxious to see the APTA report for the line.  We may have to wait around a year or so for ridership to reach full short-term potential (the original line took about a year to reach ~35,000 boardings. 

 

I'm curious how they came to an average of 17,400 weekday bordings when the current bus route has 2,281.  Does that represent changed bus routes to force riders onto the rail line?  Is some of it people already on the existing line, just continuing on to destinations on the new segment?  Or did they pull it out of their posterior?

 

 

Some of the ridership comes from new transit riders who didn't ride the bus before.  Then you have a lot of ridership from people who rode similar (parallel) bus routes before the rail line opened.  Basically what the rail line does is transport many bus route's worth of people and consolidating them into one line.  This allows for greater efficiency long-term and also allows METRO to deploy hundreds of buses elsewhere in the fleet to bolster other lines. 

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I too am anxious to see the APTA report for the line.  We may have to wait around a year or so for ridership to reach full short-term potential (the original line took about a year to reach ~35,000 boardings. 

 

Some of the ridership comes from new transit riders who didn't ride the bus before.  Then you have a lot of ridership from people who rode similar (parallel) bus routes before the rail line opened.  Basically what the rail line does is transport many bus route's worth of people and consolidating them into one line.  This allows for greater efficiency long-term and also allows METRO to deploy hundreds of buses elsewhere in the fleet to bolster other lines. 

 

The question of new transit riders is a big one in my mind because that it is one of the key stated benefits for trains.  I think that it's going to be especially interesting to see how much of an impact that has in a lower income area which probably had a higher rate of transit ridership already.

 

To your point, we should be able to see an impact on ridership on parallel lines and get some feel whether people will bypass a bus station to ride the train. 

 

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Too bad the 39 rail cars they bought are way behind schedule with a delivery date of TBD.

http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/local&id=9303951

You are paying a Spanish company $150 million to make the cars. The first one was supposed to be here in July. Then it slipped to November. Now propulsion issues and a failed leak test are forcing METRO to say there is no scheduled date for delivery.

Edited by musicman

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The question of new transit riders is a big one in my mind because that it is one of the key stated benefits for trains.  I think that it's going to be especially interesting to see how much of an impact that has in a lower income area which probably had a higher rate of transit ridership already.

 

To your point, we should be able to see an impact on ridership on parallel lines and get some feel whether people will bypass a bus station to ride the train. 

 

 

I watched an interview with one of the board members and he said that they would be restructuring the bus lines around the rail line to make them more perpendicular as opposed to parallel to the rail line, so it would be a little tough to measure ridership decline in neighboring bus routes. 

 

Although I will say that, according to METRO, around 20,000 of the daily boardings on the Red Line are "new transit riders."  I have no idea where that number comes from or how METRO arrived to that conclusion, so I'd take it with a grain of salt. 

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I watched an interview with one of the board members and he said that they would be restructuring the bus lines around the rail line to make them more perpendicular as opposed to parallel to the rail line, so it would be a little tough to measure ridership decline in neighboring bus routes. 

 

Although I will say that, according to METRO, around 20,000 of the daily boardings on the Red Line are "new transit riders."  I have no idea where that number comes from or how METRO arrived to that conclusion, so I'd take it with a grain of salt. 

 

That makes sense to restructure the lines, but I think that the numbers will still provide interesting data.  Those lines will essentially become feeder lines to the rail line, so I think that it's reasonable to assume that the majority of those riders would ride the bus and the rail.

 

I've saved a copy of the current METRO alignment for future reference.

 

Regarding the new riders on the Red Line, sounds like that's an extrapolated number from a survey.  It depends on the sample size, but I would agree that it's pretty sketchy. 

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Although I will say that, according to METRO, around 20,000 of the daily boardings on the Red Line are "new transit riders."  I have no idea where that number comes from or how METRO arrived to that conclusion, so I'd take it with a grain of salt. 

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This is the future of Houston mass transit... And I mean this station. Don't mean to start an argument here but everything seemed so.. so... un-Houston actually. This Burnett station alone feels like a true mass transit hub.

 

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Going towards the platform

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Elevators to send me up

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Elevators viewed from the second floor

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Walking towards the platform on the second level

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North view

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South view

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The view from the platform itself

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Art on the platform

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Looking from the middle platform

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This is the future of Houston mass transit... And I mean this station. Don't mean to start an argument here but everything seemed so.. so... un-Houston actually. This Burnett station alone feels like a true mass transit hub.

 

 

 

 

North view

 

 

South view

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uByMlUG.jpg?1

 

Agree! 

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Anyone got pics as the train goes by Walmart and Northline Commons?  Good to see downtown and museum district residents will have better access to big box stores now.  At least that's a little progress.

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Anyone got pics as the train goes by Walmart and Northline Commons?  Good to see downtown and museum district residents will have better access to big box stores now.  At least that's a little progress.

 

I think this is pretty neat as well.  In Boston the nearest WalMart is quite a hike from public transportation.

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When all the lines are done.  Everyone will see has importing to get cars off the road.  I saw the interview with Mr. Garcia he said we need an extension down I-10 to connect with the Galleria Area.  Once the other lines are running.  Residents can see how rail works.  I like it I will ride it to have some good Mexican food there. 

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Anyone got pics as the train goes by Walmart and Northline Commons? Good to see downtown and museum district residents will have better access to big box stores now. At least that's a little progress.

That's pretty cool, but unless it was only a small amount (1-2 bags), it would be a pain to bring lots of bags inside of a train. A Walmart is fine and good, but the light rail particularly falls flat when they put it near upscale shopping and expect both of those to be utilized at the same time, which is good, since Houston has no such thing.

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That's pretty cool, but unless it was only a small amount (1-2 bags), it would be a pain to bring lots of bags inside of a train. A Walmart is fine and good, but the light rail particularly falls flat when they put it near upscale shopping and expect both of those to be utilized at the same time, which is good, since Houston has no such thing.

Houston has no upscale shopping?

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Houston has no upscale shopping?

I should clarify--new outdoor shopping centers ("lifestyle centers"), often developed on the spot of a failed mall. We're not talking something like CityCentre either...we're talking glorified shopping centers with some office space thrown into make it "mixed-use".

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That's pretty cool, but unless it was only a small amount (1-2 bags), it would be a pain to bring lots of bags inside of a train.

Nope.

0007633239490_500X500.jpg

I can fit almost a full shopping cart worth of merchandise in this bad boy, and its not a pain at all, its actually easier than carrying bags by hand. Me and the wifey have been waiting for the north line to open so we could finally start taking the train to walmart instead of driving. It was awesome. The best part was saving gas money and helping the environment.

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On the flip side, since bringing a basket inside the train is both bulky and a bit obnoxious to other passengers, I am forgetting that people take trips differently in urban areas. While I am not a suburbanite per se, going to stores is usually a once a week affair. You can compensate (urban dwellers usually do) by taking more trips but less merchandise per trip.

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