A preview of the Uptown line

Swamplot has a preview of the Uptown line as currently envisioned by Metro. The main focus of the Examiner story that Swamplot cites is the potential effect on vehicular traffic.

Following the construction of the Uptown light rail line, Post Oak Boulevard could feature 23 stop lights along the way north from Richmond Avenue to Interstate 610 — about half of them new.

Twenty-one stops were plotted in a Basis of Design report, dated Oct. 7, 2008. It was prepared by Houston Rapid Transit, a group of companies put together and led by Parson Transportation Group, which contracted with Metro to build the next phase of four more light rail lines in Houston, including the Uptown line.

However, in response to questions, a Metropolitan Transit Authority spokeswoman said Tuesday that since the report was written, the number of potential signals has increased to 23, with an additional traffic light and an additional pedestrian light under consideration.

While the proposals contained in such reports are subject to change, the original document indicates the scope of the project combined with the density and development in the area would make substantial alterations to the plan difficult at best.


A Metro-generated traffic analysis of April 2009 stated the only median openings along Post Oak will be at intersections that have signals — streets and driveways between intersections will be for “right-in, right-out” traffic only. That would include right turns only for vehicles exiting merchants’ parking lots.

An Examiner request for a copy of that report was denied. Metro claimed the communications were privileged for the purpose of deliberation.

That exemption to the Texas Open Records Act was upheld by the Texas Attorney General’s office.

In response to a question about the “right-in, right-out only” traffic decision, Metro wrote, the plan called for “the best possible placement of traffic signals and driveway locations to maintain access” along Post Oak to maintain safety.

The response did not address the “right-in, right-out” question, but said the plan had been discussed with Uptown Management District officials and area merchants.

I suppose if the lights are timed well it won’t be much worse than it already is, which is to say it’ll still be pretty bad. I imagine there will be much here for Mayor Parker to put her stamp on. The story suggests there isn’t much room to change the design, but you know how that goes. The main question will be timing. Metro is funding the Uptown line on its own, so once the pieces are in place things ought to move relatively quickly, certainly in comparison to some other lines. But as the Uptown line is dependent on the University line, nothing will happen until the latter is finalized.

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