The most interesting part of this discussion of where a proposed extension of the Green and/or Purple lines to Hobby Airport may go is unfortunately not on the drawing board at this time.
Speaking before the METRO board, District I City Council Member Robert Gallegos said he’s heard a lot of objections to one proposal that would take the train down 75th Street. He said he worries a rail line would interfere with a big park improvement project.
“We have a beautiful green space, Mason Park,” said Gallegos. “We have a master plan. I’ve met with community three times. They’ve had input on what they’d like to see at that park.”
Other proposals for the Hobby line would put the train on major thoroughfares like Broadway Street and Telephone Road. Board Chairman Carrin Patman said the challenge is finding the most efficient route along existing streets.
“The time to get to airports matters for people using it for that purpose,” said Patman. “The more zigs and zags you have the more time is added.”
At their May meeting, board members also viewed a proposal for light rail on Washington Avenue between downtown and Heights Boulevard, but that plan was presented only for discussion.
The Chron story has some more details.
The long-range plan already includes a 0.2-mile extension of the Green and Purple Lines from their western end in the Theater District of downtown to the Houston Municipal Courthouse. The new proposal, suggested by officials with the Houston Downtown Management District, would continue that extension further, likely by taking the line along Houston Avenue and then west on Washington Avenue. Additional stops would be at Sawyer and Studemont.
“I would be really curious what the ridership models will show,” said Metro board member Sanjay Ramabhadran.
Officials stressed the proposal is being evaluated and is not part of the plan, yet.
“We’re looking at it,” Patman said.
With few specifics outlined, many residents of the nearby Sixth Ward, bordered by Buffalo Bayou and Washington Avenue, and the Heights cheered the possibility.
See here for the background. Dug Begley of the Chron tweeted what a Washington extension might look like. I like the idea, but I agree with the commenters who ask why stop there. I proposed what was then a stand-alone and now would be an extension of the existing Green and Purple lines all the way to the Galleria way back in 2009. None of this is remotely feasible now, and there would be engineering challenges even if it were politically and financially doable, but it would be high-quality transit through a part of town that could easily support it, and would offer multiple connections to high frequency bus lines as well as to the Uptown BRT line, which in turn could get you to the high speed rail terminal at 290 and 610. The idea is free if you ever decide to use it, Metro.