Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Comments on Greater West Houston Sub-Region Mobility Plan, presented at TPC on 8/28/15

Comments on Greater West Houston Sub-Region Mobility Plan, presented at TPC on 8/28/15

The main challenge facing Greater West Houston is one of basic math and geometry; there is no more room for automobiles on the roadways, given the way we have used automobiles in the past, which has been in single occupant mode.

Adding more capacity to support VMT is not a measure of success in the war against congestion, any more than buying a bigger pair of pants is a measure a success in the war against obesity, as Stephen Klineberg points out. 

Harris County, METRO, the Management Districts, and nearby cities like Katy have to collaborate, design, fund, and execute a multi-decade strategy to bring higher-density transportation solutions to West Houston. Transit also demands pedestrian and bicycle friendly infrastructure. We have very little of that.

I have lived in unincorporated Harris County for almost 23 years, and have been paying METRO taxes all that time, and I see nothing in the way of local transit after paying all of that money, which I think is shameful. METRO is to blame for the way it has operated over the decades, and local governments and politicians are also for blocking and bleeding away funding that might have gone to expanding the transit network. There is plenty of blame to go around.

I refuse to believe that “suburban transit” is an oxymoron. I recently rode from Denver to Boulder and back again, on Denver's RTD suburban motorcoach, and the bus was full at 10 pm on a weekday.

Sitting at the Wiehle-Reston East METRO train and bus station near suburban Herndon, Virginia this summer, I watched buses bring in people from the suburbs who then make their way by train to their jobs at Tyson's Corner, or anywhere in and around Washington DC. The train will be built out all the way to Dulles Airport. Where is the train to Bush Airport, or to Hobby?

Denver and Washington DC had plans, conceived decades ago. We have no plan for suburban transit in West Houston. It's high time to get one.

Transit in Houston has degraded into a “divide and conquer” political symbol or device, wielded by both between Democrats and Republicans, who tend to live inside Loop 610, away from us “common folk”. We who live in the suburbs are not interested in politics, we just want solutions. Thank you.