The beginning of this story about a Metro public hearing regarding a rail corridor will probably sound familiar to you.
Sentiment was split regarding the pros and cons of the Metropolitan Transit Authority's alignment plans for its North Corridor bus rapid transit line at a public hearing Saturday at Davis High School, 1101 Quitman.
The 250 people who attended Metro's second and final public hearing on the plans were equally split among those who want the project to move forward as quickly as possible and those who oppose Metro's proposals.
Opposition concerns ranged from the line's proposed route from the Main Street light rail line to Northline Mall and its effect on northside neighborhoods.
They also questioned why the light rail line, initially proposed for the corridor in the Metro Solutions referendum of 2003, had been changed to a bus rapid transit line.
Moses Villalpando, president of the North Lindale Civic Association, said the change from light rail to bus is one of the reasons he is protesting the current plan.
"We voted for light rail, not for buses," Villalpando said.
Current alignment options begin at the University of Houston's downtown campus and head north on Main Street, stopping at a new intermodal facility at Burnett.
The line would continue north on Main to Boundary, then head east to connect with Fulton.
The next segment of the line would either continue north on Fulton or Irvington. The Irvington alignment would turn west on Cavalcade and connect back to Fulton. It would then follow Fulton north to Northline Mall.
Each bus would carry a maximum of 90 passengers. Light rail trains have a 200-passenger capacity.
A number of residents expressed concern over the Irvington alignment, and lobbied for the line to follow Fulton from Boundary to the mall.
"We do not need Irvington Boulevard destroyed," said Virginia Duke, a Lindale Park resident.
Said North Lindale resident John Buck, "Fulton would have significantly less of an impact on the neighborhood."
Despite concerns about the proposed route, safety and the potential taking of property, many voiced support for the North Corridor.
They included U.S. Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, and Gene Green, D-Houston, and At-Large Houston City Councilman Peter Brown.
"This is a safe, quiet, fuel-efficient alternative," Brown said. "It's good for neighborhoods, it's good for property values and it creates jobs."
Said Northside resident Mary Almendarez, "We voted for this, we need it and we want it. We need to find a way to make people happy."