January 22, 2008
The soccer stadium and the rail line

Rad Sallee writes about the Dynamo Stadium situation:

Local bloggers pointed out last week that the site being considered for a soccer stadium on the east side of downtown may lie in the path of two planned light rail lines.

"Local bloggers" in this case means Christof. I linked to his post, but he's the one who brought it up. Like Cory, I'm a bit curious as to why Sallee didn't just say "Local blogger Christof Spieler" or something like that. But whatever.

Mayor Bill White's spokesman Frank Michel said that is no surprise to the city or Metropolitan Transit Authority, since both have been involved in stadium talks with the Houston Dynamo soccer team since last spring.

Dynamo president Oliver Luck said Metro's East End and Southeast rail lines would be "a natural tie-in" to the stadium. The tracks would be a big convenience for fans, he said.

But the Metropolitan Transit Authority wasn't saying whether the two rail routes will need to be altered if a stadium deal goes through.

Yes, of course it's a natural tie-in. You absolutely want the stadium to be convenient to the rail line. Directly in the path of the rail line seems to me to be another story altogether.

"We are evaluating a number of options. Any proposed solutions will be part of the ongoing process with the FTA. We do not expect this to affect the timetable for construction," Metro spokeswoman Sandra Salazar said in a written reply to questions.

The city and Dynamo have been just as vague about the stadium site, but the Houston Chronicle reported last week that the city is negotiating to buy parcels in a six-block area between Texas and Walker and between Hutchins and Dowling, near Minute Maid Park.

Maps from 2006 on Metro's Web site show the East End and Southeast lines entering downtown from the east on a single set of tracks on Capitol, which lies just south of Texas.

If the map holds true, a square more than 500 feet per side would remain for a stadium between Capitol and Walker, but there wouldn't be much space left over for a plaza, parking or sidewalks.

Salazar said maps of the two lines on the Web page (www.ridemetro.org) are being revised.

Well okay then. We'll see what they come up with. Seems like a lot to juggle without causing any delays in final delivery, but if that's their story, I hope they'll stick to it.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 22, 2008 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles