Category Archives: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

City report calls 11th Street a success

How about that? A Houston Public Works draft report obtained by Axios states that measures to slow traffic along 11th Street in the Heights have achieved key safety goals. Why it matters: The project — a polarizing rebuild completed under … Continue reading

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Metro officially puts Universities BRT line in the freezer

Goddammit. The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County will not pursue the University Corridor bus rapid transit line, a core element of the MetroNext program, delaying the project indefinitely. During a Tuesday meeting of the board of directors’ Strategic Planning … Continue reading

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The DFW high speed rail line hits a bump

Whoops. Dallas City Council members hit the brakes on a proposed elevated high-speed passenger rail line that would connect with Arlington and Fort Worth. The council, including Mayor Eric Johnson, approved a resolution 14-0, with council member Jaime Resendez absent. … Continue reading

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B-Cycle’s reprieve runs out

Sad to see it go. Houston’s long-struggling system of on-demand bicycles is reaching the end of the trail. BCycle, the system of kiosks with available bikes spread around downtown, Midtown and other locations will close June 30, officials with the … Continue reading

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I-45 construction set to begin

Ready or not, here it comes. Houston’s largest-ever freeway project is one step closer to starting construction, with crews poised to begin digging in the dirt along Interstate 69 by fall. After years of planning and sometimes fiery debate, the … Continue reading

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Cruise returns to Houston

They’re baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack… Houston, we missed you! Today we’re resuming driving in Houston where we’ll build on the knowledge collected last year. We’ll start with human driven vehicles and move to supervised autonomous driving with a safety driver behind the wheel … Continue reading

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Shepherd-Durham project back on track

First, I got this in my inbox, from the Mayor’s office. Mayor John Whitmire and the Memorial Heights TIRZ have reached a compromise on the design of the Shepherd Durham Phase II project that maintains the terms of the Federal … Continue reading

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Metro Chair seeks to nullify 2019 election

I’m so mad about this I’m having a hard time seeing straight. Metro is beginning to steer in a different direction under Mayor John Whitmire and his appointed chair of the transit agency, pulling away from a planned expansion of … Continue reading

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A brief overview of flying taxis

This was written by the executive director of the Oklahoma Aerospace Institute for Research and Education, and it answers at least one of my questions about our flying taxi future. In the near term, once eVTOLs are certified to fly … Continue reading

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Lone Star Rail revival

Maybe now is finally the time. Bexar County Judge Peter Sakai and Travis County Judge Andy Brown have jointly launched a committee of political heavyweights to explore the decades-old idea of connecting Austin and San Antonio via passenger rail. The … Continue reading

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On “bold things” for mobility

I have three things to say about this. Mayor John Whitmire started a noontime discussion about transportation in the region by saying he was “fired up” about the opportunity to improve the city’s mobility and infrastructure. […] 2. “I am … Continue reading

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That other high speed rail line update

Keep on moving. Transportation planners in North Texas continue their efforts to bring high-speed rail to the area, a system that would link Dallas and Fort Worth via Arlington and push south to Houston. The North Central Texas Council of … Continue reading

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We need to pay more attention to the I-10 construction proposals

By which I mostly mean I need to pay more attention to them, because they sound terrible. Between the shrill of large trucks barreling down Interstate 10 – when only the whoosh of cars dominates the din – Matt Tetlow … Continue reading

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Amtrak is going hard for the high speed rail line

I love it. If Texas ends up getting a long-envisioned high-speed railway between Houston and Dallas, the Amtrak executive now leading the initiative says it would feature the fastest trains in the world. The plan for the 240-mile route between … Continue reading

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Yeah, it looks like we do have to worry about Metro going backwards

I have three things to say about this. Transportation advocacy group LINK Houston, in its annual “Equity in Transit” report released this week, asked the region’s public transit provider to accelerate a $7.5 billion plan that was backed by Harris … Continue reading

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On increasing ridership at Metro

I’m open to hearing more. The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County is under new leadership, but the goal of increasing ridership remains the same. While the number of riders steadily has increased across the system since the peak of … Continue reading

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Shepherd-Durham project halted

It’s like deja vu all over again. Houston city officials have put the brakes on the middle piece of a planned redesign of Shepherd and Durham drives along the edge of the Heights, a decision that community officials and others … Continue reading

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More on Amtrak and Texas Central

Some good followup in the Chron on the question of Amtrak pushing the high speed rail line in Texas. With Amtrak taking the reins, for now, of a Texas bullet train project, here’s some of the issues that will determine … Continue reading

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Driverless snowplows

I realize this is unlikely to be of much interest in our part of the world, but as a devoted purveyor of autonomous vehicle news I felt compelled to share this with you. Jordan Smith was in Las Vegas looking … Continue reading

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Montrose Blvd project officially delayed

I dunno, man. Permitting for an overhaul of Montrose Boulevard, a project that has drawn ire from residents pushing to protect the road’s oak trees, has been delayed at City Hall after Mayor John Whitmire’s staff asked project organizers to … Continue reading

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Amtrak pushes for Texas Central

I like the sound of that. Booming demand, Texas’s rapidly expanding population and growing political will have converged to create the right environment to move high-speed rail ahead, Amtrak leadership said Tuesday. Andy Byford, Amtrak’s senior vice president of high-speed … Continue reading

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A brief robotaxi update

Cruise is back on the streets, but with human drivers for the time being. Cruise has announced that it’s resuming tests for its fleet of self-driving taxis in Phoenix, Arizona , though not with passengers just yet. The autonomous vehicle … Continue reading

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So what’s Mayor Whitmire’s deal with Vision Zero?

The Chron editorial board thinks he won’t be some destroyer of non-automotive transit. I’ll remain politely skeptical for now. John Whitmire insists he supports Vision Zero, the city’s action plan to make Houston streets safer. The ultimate goal is zero … Continue reading

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“If you’ve ever gardened, you know you have to weed”

What Allyn West says. I moved to Montrose in 2008, just in time for Hurricane Ike to welcome me to the Gulf Coast formally, and I lived on Crocker at Avondale during the pandemic. When Hurricane Harvey claimed the Honda … Continue reading

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Hardy Toll Road connector approved

It’s a very different project than what was first proposed. A planned extension of the Hardy Toll Road through the Near Northside into downtown Houston will proceed, but with various community-driven design elements. Harris County Commissioners on Tuesday approved a … Continue reading

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The Hardy Toll Road Connector is back

This has been in the works for a long time. The plan for the Hardy-Downtown Connector began in earnest in 2003, but the project stalled for many years due to budget concerns. The basic plan is a four-lane highway that … Continue reading

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Do I really need to worry about West 11th Street?

I dunno, man. Houston Mayor John Whitmire is reevaluating several street infrastructure projects for effectiveness, including the completed 11th Street redesign despite the controversy surrounding the recent removal of pedestrian and cyclist upgrades on Houston Avenue. Whitmire, who took office … Continue reading

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How about a pilotless air taxi?

Those are coming, too. Not as quickly and with fewer details now available, but it’s out there. Advanced Air Mobility company Wisk agreed to a deal with Sugar Land last week to bring pilotless air taxis to the Houston area. … Continue reading

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Flying taxis coming to an airport near you

Possibly in time for the FIFA World Cup. The Houston Airport System says they plan to bring air taxis to the area within the next two years, just in time for the FIFA World Cup in 2026. “Right now we’re … Continue reading

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The state of robotaxis in 2024

Good read. In 2023, it almost felt as if the promise of robotaxis was soon to be fulfilled. Hailing a robotaxi had briefly become the new trendy thing to do in San Francisco, as simple and everyday as ordering a … Continue reading

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The Houston Avenue hullabaloo

It seems like every new Mayor makes at least one dumb self-inflicted error early on in their tenure, because being Mayor is hard and there are lots of things that need to be done with priority. I’d say this goes … Continue reading

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Mayor Whitmire appoints a new Metro Chair

Congratulations and welcome aboard. Mayor John Whitmire on Tuesday announced CenterPoint Energy executive Elizabeth Brock would lead the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s board of directors. If approved, Brock would be the first Hispanic woman to lead the transit agency. “She brings … Continue reading

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I-10 elevation update

From the Woodland Heights Civic Association January newsletter: I-10 Heights to I-45 Project Update: Community Advocacy Leads to Significant Changes The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has announced modifications to its $347 million plan to elevate a section of Interstate … Continue reading

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Is this the end of the DeLorean dream?

Maybe? Bexar County Commissioner’s Court pulled the plug Tuesday on an incentives package for DeLorean Motors Reimagined, an electric-vehicle startup that pledged to create 450 jobs if it got tax breaks to locate its headquarters in San Antonio. The commissioners … Continue reading

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