The board agreed to a $1.6 million contract with New York-based Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn Architects to provide a preliminary design for a massive transit station north of the University of Houston-Downtown and Interstate 10.
"The issue is if we are going to do this, we want to enhance the community and make a real landmark," Metro board chairman David Wolff said.
Metro officials envision the station becoming the hub for many of Metro's services, serving as the starting and ending point for bus routes, rail lines, bus rapid-transit lines and commuter rail. Riders could transfer and catch a bus or train to their ultimate destination.
The project's estimated cost is about $150 million, and the building would not be completed until 2011 or 2012, Wolff said. Metro officials said federal money would be sought.
Christof provides a wealth of additional data on this proposed transit center. One point of interest:
The ITC is also the heir of a vision Downtown groups have been pushing since at least 2003: a new transit center where light rail, commuter rail, Amtrak, local buses, and long-distance buses come together. This would solve several problems:
* the Greyhound station, which Midtown interests feel discourages development, would be removed.
* the Amtrak station and its rail line, which stand in the way of redeveloping the Downtown post office and the Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s plan for a new bayou channel , could be removed.
* local buses could be rerouted from downtown streets.
* The Houston Airport System could address congestion at the airport by building a sattelite temrinal with parking, transit access, and baggage check-in counters, connected to the airport by shuttle bus.
The ITC is also a redevelopment opportunity. The adjacent Hardy Yards, once a major Southern Pacific Railroad locomotive maintanance facility, has been sold to private developers. So have the Missouri-Kansas-Texas yards on the other side of Main Street.
I think there's a lot to like about this, though there are some concerns, as Tory points out. His argument about putting it where people want to go instead of where it's convenient to build is a cogent one. We'll see how it develops.
The CTC has a forum topic devoted to the ITC if you're interested in discussing it further.Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 23, 2006 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles | TrackBack