February 12, 2007
Some transportation-related items

Just a little roundup here, since I'm short on time:

1. Christof continues his look at the Universities line options, with a review of the western end of the track out in the Gulfton area. The good news here is that all options include this area. The bad news is that none of them appear to be taking maximum advantage of what's there as yet. Check it out.

2. Tory passes along the following Metro stats, courtesy of a presentation by chair David Wolfe:

  • The Main St. light rail line has 7,000 riders per day per mile, which is #1 in the nation out of 29 systems.

  • 40% of those riders are new to Metro (not formerly bus riders).

  • The University line is on a schedule about 1-2 years behind the other lines. One year behind in planning, but 2 years behind in estimated completion (Dec 2012 vs. Dec 2010).

  • We have the largest HOV lane network in the U.S., over 100 miles, and it moves the equivalent of 24 freeway lanes worth of people

  • Park-and-Ride has 25 lots, 31,000 parking spaces, and served 8.5 million riders in 2006.

  • They're using a new town-center public-private model for park-and-rides which is very cool, starting with the new Cypress P&R. There will be lots of pedestrian accessible shopping as you transition from your car to the bus and vice-versa.

  • Their light rail accident rate has substantially improved, and their overall bus rate of 0.75 accidents per 100K miles is impressive. I'm pretty sure I couldn't drive a bus on Houston's crowded streets for 100,000 miles without hitting something.

3. Also from Tory, a piece of potentially hot news concerning TxDOT, from an anonymous source he considers to be reliable. This is the source talking:

I caught wind of a pretty big deal at TxDOT today.... Looks like TxDOT underallocated state gas tax revenue to Houston, Dallas, Arlington and San Antonio and spent the $$ to build roads down near the border. It appears they owe Houston about a billion dollars from this underallocation over the past six years. The top Texas Transportation Commissioner is under fire, creating lots of momentum for the anti-concessionnaire movement in Texas. Story is slowly leaking.

Like Tory, I'll be on the lookout for any news articles relating to this.

4. And finally, I hope you caught Robin Holzer's op-ed in the Chron about the Universities line (you can also see it here, with some additional notes). As with Christof's criticism, now I can say we've finally had a real debate in the Chron's pages about the direction this project should go.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 12, 2007 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles