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Read on for the latest news:

Public Hearing July 18th on University Transit Corridor Streets and other MTFP amendments

July 13th, 2013 by Kay

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Proponents of better mobility options for Houston and the University Line in particular have another opportunity to influence their public representatives to “do the right thing” to support good transit for our city. Houston’s Planning Commission is holding a hearing on July 18th to take community input on the 2013 proposed amendments to Houston’s Major Thoroughfare and Freeway Plan (MTFP). Included are requests to designate the segments of Richmond Ave., Westpark, and the other streets that make up the University Corridor as “Transit Corridor Streets.” (More info on MTFP amendment request process.)

You can express your support at the public hearing, as well as online using the City’s comment form. Reference amendment applications #20-29 University Corridor - METRO.

What: Houston Planning Commission MTFP Public Hearing (notice -pdf)
When: 2:30 pm, Thursday, July 18, 2013
Where: City Council Chambers, Public Level, City Hall Annex, 900 Bagby Street

METRO Workshop Presentation

RichmondRail.org strongly supports these Transit Corridor Street designations (and has been pushing for them to happen sooner rather than later). This will better enable the City and METRO to ensure that new development/redevelopment along the corridor (like that happening on Richmond right now) accommodates the future transit line and needed pedestrian amenities. For example, the “Transit Corridor Ordinance” (info) that will apply to development on the Transit Corridor Streets, as well as to key streets leading to the future transit stations, call for sidewalks providing a minimum pedestrian clear space 6 feet wide by 7-1/2 feet high. Performance standards enable property owners who wish to “opt in” to provide a 15-foot pedestrian realm, along with related amenities, in exchange for reduced building setback. The Transit Corridor designation also enables the City and METRO to address right-of-way requirements in advance of new development.

For more information, contact support@richmondrail.org.

University Corridor in the hopper for classification as Transit Corridor

July 2nd, 2013 by Kay

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This summer, the parts of Richmond Avenue and the other streets that make up the University Light Rail Corridor are up for consideration to be officially classified as Transit Corridor Streets in the City of Houston Major Thoroughfare and Freeway Plan (MTFP).  That’s great news, because it means that the “Urban Corridor” ordinance that was adopted by the City in 2009, can be applied to future new development along these street segments as well as key intersecting streets.  The ordinance establishes performance standards for property owners who “opt in” that begin to define an urban pedestrian environment, specifying a minimum 15 foot pedestrian realm with provisions for what can be in and adjacent to the pedestrian realm.

The City Planning and Development Department is hosting an open house to provide more information on all of the requested amendments to the MTFP:

MTPF Open House

6:00 - 8:00 pm, Tuesday, July 2, 2013

United Way Community Resource Center, 50 Waugh Drive, 77007

For additional details, including a timeline for the approval process, visit the City Planning website on the 2013 MTFP Requests.  Materials submitted by METRO on the University Corridor request can be viewed here:  Preliminary Report, Workshop Presentation.

Respond to survey and tell Congressman Culberson you support rail on Richmond Avenue

March 14th, 2013 by Kay

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At RichmondRail.org, we think it’s important that the public have input on the future of our city. We’ve learned recently that US Congressman John Culberson is soliciting input regarding the planned METRO rail line on Richmond Avenue. While the Congressman has directed his request to property owners and occupants on Richmond Ave., rail transit on Richmond would have an impact throughout Houston. We believe it’s important for as many people as possible to share their thoughts on this matter. So we encourage you to take a couple of minutes to provide your opinion by downloading and filling out this short survey: PDF, DOC. (To ensure your responses are saved in the form, please save the blank form to your computer, fill in the saved form, save again.)
Please send your completed survey as an email attachment, or print and fax or mail, as soon as possible but no later than the end of March, to Lindsay Pepper in John Culberson’s office at:
Email: lindsay.pepper@mail.house.gov
FAX: 713.680.8070
Mail: 10000 Memorial Drive, Suite 620, Houston, 77024-3490
We’d also like to know what you think — please copy your responses to
support@richmondrail.org.

RRail GPAC endorses candidates who will work for neighborhood-friendly rail on Richmond Avenue

October 26th, 2011 by Kay

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The RichmondRail general political action committee (RRail GPAC), a separate sister organization of RichmondRail.org, has endorsed candidates in the 2011 City of Houston elections. The endorsements take into account candidate responses to a questionnaire and, where appropriate, incumbent records of support. This year, the candidate questionnaire focused on the role that City officials can play in making Richmond Avenue a neighborhood and pedestrian friendly transit corridor and securing funding for the transit line.

Neartown Transportation Forum happens Saturday September 17

September 13th, 2011 by Kay

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Neartown Association is hosting a Transportation Forum on the University of St. Thomas campus. Representatives of METRO, the City of Houston, and the community will be on tap to talk about the state of transportation and mobility in the Montrose area and the surrounding city. Come and discuss mobility challenges, hear the latest on plans in the works, and do a little dreaming about what could be!

What: Neartown Transportation Forum
When: Saturday, September 17, 2011, 9:00 am to 12:30 pm
(Registration and coffee/breakfast treats start at 8:45)
Where: University of St. Thomas, Scanlan Hall
(second floor of Jerabeck Athletic Center)

METRO invites community to share in shaping vision for transit

May 6th, 2011 by Kay

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METRO is looking beyond current expansion plans to understand future needs for transit services in the region. Over the next two months (May 10 - June 30) the agency is hosting a series of public workshops throughout the METRO service area to gather community input for this long-range vision. You can find details on dates and locations of the evening (6-8pm) workshops at www.ridemetro.org/metrovision.

METRO promises that METRO Q® Fare Cards also will be available for purchase at the workshops.

 

Mayor’s transition team reports on METRO

April 19th, 2010 by Kay

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In March, the Mayor’s transition task force appointed to review METRO operations presented its findings to Mayor Annise Parker.  You can read the reports of the transition team and its committees using the links below.

Mayor’s Transition Task Force on the Metropolitan Transit Authority Report to the Mayor

Houston Tomorrow has also provided a brief summary of the reports: Parker task force announces METRO findings.

RRail GPAC announces candidate endorsements

October 21st, 2009 by Kay

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We are pleased to share the candidate endorsements announced by the RichmondRail political action committee (RRail GPAC), a separate sister organization that shares our vision for rail on Richmond. RRail GPAC has endorsed candidates in City of Houston races taking into account candidate responses to a questionnaire and, where appropriate, incumbent records of support. This year, with the debate on the Richmond Ave. alignment behind us, the candidate questionnaire focused on the role that City officials can play in making Richmond a neighborhood and pedestrian friendly transit corridor.

Election day is November 3rd and early voting has begun!  Be sure to check out the RRail GPAC endorsements and cast your vote in these City elections.

View the RRail GPAC 2009 Candidate Endorsements (pdf)

View the Candidate Questionnaire (pdf)

It’s time to be proactive about getting a pedestrian streetscape on Richmond Ave.

August 12th, 2009 by Kay

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We were thrilled to see METRO formally “break ground” on the North and Southeast Light Rail Lines in July. That means that work is underway on three of the five new lines planned for the expanded light rail system.  We’re looking forward to the day that construction begins on the University Line, but we understand that won’t happen for some time. METRO estimates that the University Line is at least a year behind the other lines.  In the meantime, METRO is planning the design of the line, and we’re thinking and talking about the things that will make a difference in how well light rail serves our community. 

For the coming light rail line to be a true asset to our neighborhoods, the streets leading to the transit stations must accommodate pedestrians more safely and comfortably than is typical for Houston streets outside downtown. If enacted, the proposed transit corridor ordinance (aka the Urban Corridor ordinance, which we hope to see on the City Council agenda for approval soon), would foster the evolution toward a more pedestrian-friendly environment as redevelopment occurs along the light rail corridors. That will take time. We believe that there is a near-term opportunity to achieve a better pedestrian environment along the University Line on lower Richmond Ave

Virtually all of the public right-of-way on Richmond Ave. from Spur 527 to Kirby Dr. is only 80 feet wide. When METRO builds the University Line, we anticipate that they will also need to rebuild the sidewalks along that stretch of Richmond. What better time to create a more pedestrian-friendly streetscape than when the rail line is being built? However, the right-of-way constraints do present challenges. 

RichmondRail has a solution: allocate the 80-foot right-of-way such that the street will safely and comfortably accommodate not only trains and cars, but also pedestrians. Allowing 10 feet for traffic lanes (2 in each direction) and a 23-ft trackway for the trains would leave 8 1/2 feet on each side — sufficient for 6-ft wide unobstructed sidewalks plus Richmond streetscapespace for street trees.  RichmondRail.org has put together a resolution outlining this and other proposals. In addition to the recommended right-of-way allocation for rail, cars and pedestrians, the resolution proposes specific provisions for pedestrian crosswalks, the placement of surface infrastructure and trees, the burying of utility lines and other important improvements. Take a look at our Resolution of support for a pedestrian streetscape on Richmond Avenue for more about our proposals and a streetscape cross-section. An important note — METRO appears to be trying to keep property takings to a minimum, with most takings on Richmond expected to be around the planned transit stations. Our recommendations focus on the streetscape on Richmond between transit stations, and we are not proposing any additional property takings

Both METRO and the City must agree to them for our proposals to become reality.  We know that there are hurdles — recently updated City standards call for 12-ft traffic lanes and frown on mid-block crosswalks; laying grass on the trackway isn’t likely to be approved without an agreement in place to maintain it; and burying utility wires will require an investment beyond what anyone has currently planned.  But the new light rail line and the the resulting streetscape will become an integral part of our community, one that will be in place for decades to come.  It’s critical that we invest in a plan that will enhance the livability of our neighborhoods and make the most of the investment in transit.  

A number of organizations and institutions along lower Richmond have signed on in support of the RichmondRail resolution, and we are continuing to meet with civic associations and others to share our ideas.  We’d love to hear from community organizations who are interested in learning more about our proposals –  contact us.

July 21st: Stella Chao on Sustainable growth in 21st century neighborhoods

July 21st, 2009 by Kay

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Tuesday July 21st, in lieu of our regular RichmondRail Tuesday Night Out, consider attending a free talk on sustainable neighborhoods, hosted by Houston Tomorrow!

Stella ChaoStella Chao directs the City of Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods. The Department of Neighborhoods works to bring government closer to city residents by giving them a central role in planning for the growth of their communities. It empowers residents to create healthy, safe, and vibrant neighborhoods by providing tools, education, and support, and brings more of Seattle’s underrepresented citizens into the process of civic discourse, planning, and action.

Ms. Chao will talk Tuesday about sustainable growth in 21st century neighborhoods. The event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to wendy.natt@houstontomorrow.org if you will attend, or call (713) 523-5757 with any questions.

What:  Houston Tomorrow distinguished speaker: Stella Chao (details)

When: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 reception at 6:30 pm, talk at 7:00 pm

Where:  United Way Community Resource Center, 50 Waugh Dr. at Feagan, Houston, 77007



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