The first of the three Metro open house meetings on the route for the Universities rail line was last night. Here's the story, about which I'll have more in a minute. Tory discusses some of the highlights, and I hope Christof will chime in as well.
Now, a couple of points from the story. The main thrust of the piece was that Metro unveiled a plan (which they had alluded to before the meeting) to switch the line over from Richmond to Westpark at Edloe, which would mean it would stay out of the Afton Oaks neighborhood.
Some of the most adamant opposition to rail on Richmond has come from the Afton Oaks subdivision, which borders Richmond just inside the West Loop. Metro board chairman David Wolff said at a news conference Tuesday that Metro will poll Afton Oaks residents to see how widespread the opposition there is.
"I'm perfectly happy to run this down through Greenway Plaza," he said. "It's really up to the folks in Afton Oaks."
Some of them were among more than 100 people who attended the first of the meetings Metro has scheduled in coming days to discuss the options for the University Line and get comments from residents.
Attendees milled around tables with plans depicting the line, asking questions of Metro officials.
The agency appeared to win few converts.
"I'm absolutely against this," said Beverly Stone, a 27-year resident of Afton Oaks. "It will significantly reduce the value of our homes."
Stone, a member of the Afton Oaks civic organization, said the rail line would be like a knife in the heart of her neighborhood.
(And before anyone suggests it, concerns about the potential effects of the line and its construction east of Kirby don't count, since Richmond east of Kirby is not in her neighborhood. If that is her concern, then I want to hear her say that.)
U.S. Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston, whose support is crucial to Metro obtaining federal money for the line, did not express an opinion on the revised plans.
Culberson said Metro officials told him Thursday that "they needed two weeks to make their case to the people on Richmond, and I agreed to wait two weeks before publicly expressing what my position would be.
"Metro does not need to sell this plan to me, but to the people I represent who will be most affected - people whose homes or businesses and properties are on Richmond," he said.
The new University Line maps show stations at Montrose, Dunlavy, Shepherd, Kirby, Buffalo Speedway or Greenway Plaza, Weslayan, South Rice and Hillcroft.
Wilson said the stations would be similar to those on the Main Street line but would be spaced wider to avoid restricting turns.
UPDATE: So we're clear, Metro proposed a number of possible routes, some of which did include staying on Richmond through Afton Oaks. You can see the map here. Perhaps that's what Ms. Stone's comment was about. That I can understand, but it's still not clear to me why she didn't at least note the alternative. Maybe that's the fault of the way the story is written and not what Ms. Stone said, I can't say for sure.Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 19, 2006 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles | TrackBack