Archive for the 'campaign' Category

HBJ profiles RichmondRail.org

Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

Oops! We somehow overlooked this story about us when it ran on the front page of the Houston Business Journal back in August:

City Beat
Rail PAC forms to get Richmond on right track
Houston Business Journal - August 4, 2006

Adversaries of light rail on Richmond Avenue have been very vocal in their opposition.

Now a new group is making noise from the other side of the tracks.

RichmondRail.org is a political action committee created by activists who want the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County to route rail along Richmond from Main Street to the Galleria area.

The PAC has gathered at least 1,200 signatures in support of rail on Richmond, saying this is the most logical path to serve people and businesses with this sort of mass transit.

Foes of a Richmond alignment for the University Line claim a protracted construction schedule will disrupt neighborhoods, hurt future mobility and damage commerce in the area.

RichmondRail.org board member Dan Barnum doesn’t agree.

“Their fears are not founded,” says Barnum, a principal of Hall Barnum Lucchesi Architects.

The pro-Richmond PAC founders teamed up while working on rail issues in other capacities. They join the fray after weeks of debate as a final decision prepares to come down the track.

The PAC is making up for lost time in a visible way by posting signs that say “Where the people are: Yes to rail on Richmond!”

Many of those signs have been taken down, say organizers, apparently by the anti-rail folks.

“We just put out more,” says Barnum.

Metro is expected to have a final recommendation on the University Line’s alignment on Aug. 8.

The Federal Transit Authority is expected to make a decision on funding the rail line by the end of 2007. - Jennifer Dawson

Thanks to Dan for working with HBJ to get this story out, and thanks to all of the rail supporters who are hosting yard signs and talking to friends and neighbors! There are still thousands of Houstonians who don’t understand why rail on Richmond makes good sense, so keep up the good work!

Making new friends (April wrap-up)

Saturday, May 6th, 2006

Wow!

We asked you to come out with us and speak up for Houston’s rail future, and you responded! From our thunderous half of a packed lecture hall at Rep. Culberson’s April 12th “town hall,” to the hundreds of us who attended the series of City Council forums, a LOT of people have showed public support for putting rail on Richmond Avenue!

We want to offer sincere thanks to Houston City Council Members Anne Clutterbuck, Ada Edwards, and Pam Holm. Over the course of four weeks in April, they hosted nine meetings (Anne hosted six!) that allowed more than 1,300 Houstonians to come out and ask questions about METRO’s rail project. We were also impressed that METRO CEO Frank Wilson personally came out to answer our questions at almost all of these meetings.

If you missed any of the forums and you’re wondering what we learned, you’re in luck. A court reporter captured every comment at these meetings — from the informative to the profound to the inflammatory to the inane — for posterity. METRO has posted the transcripts here for public use.

While public meetings can be a real drag, the highlight of these was making new friends. From one end of the University corridor to the other, we met homeowners, condo-dwellers, office workers, restaurant owners, shopkeepers, clergy, teachers, students, and others who are excited about getting rail access along Richmond Avenue.

Each of them has a personal reason why they’re ready for rail down Richmond. We’ll share some of their stories here, soon. And we can share yours, too. If you want to tell us why you support rail for Richmond Avenue, send your story to support@richmondrail.org.

A good first week

Saturday, April 8th, 2006

We appreciate everyone who came out to the meetings this past week. Our green “I want to ride the train to…” name tags were prominent in the audience. We think we made it clear that there many in the neighborhood who want a well-designed rail line on Richmond and who would ride it to places like the Medical Center, the Menil, and Pappasito’s.

We were also pleased that the tone of the meetings was different than we’ve seen before. Thanks to the format — questions with answers by METRO staff — the focus was on facts, not vitriol (though there was some of that). The same anti-rail people we’ve heard from over and over at these meetings were there. But they didn’t make up most of the audience; there were also people there who had concerns but were open to how those concerns could be dealt with, and there people who want better transit and are willing to speak out for it.

You will see us at more of these meetings (list at http://metrosolutions.org/go/doc/1068/113162/) But we’re still organizing, and we can use your help. Email us at doug@richmondrail.org to join us in fighting for neighborhood-friendly rail. And tell us where you’d like to ride the train.

Welcome!

Sunday, April 2nd, 2006

We are a group of residents, business owners, and others who live, work, study, or spend time along Richmond in Neartown and Greenway Plaza. We love this neighborhood, its residential streets, its varied businesses, its restaurants, its stores, its art galleries, its cultural institutions, its trees. And we’d love to have a better way to get around it.
METRO is studying options for an east-west rail light rail line that would serve UH, TSU, the Third Ward, Neartown, and Greenway Plaza. This is part of a system that would link all these areas to Post Oak, Downtown, the Medical Center, the Museum District, and Reliant Park. We want those trains to stop in our neighborhood so we can ride them and get around without worrying about traffic or parking.
We believe a well-designed rail line will improve our neighborhood. We’re concerned about green space, traffic, flooding, safety, and the impact of construction on businesses. But we know there are ways to deal with these issues.
We’ve been watching for months as rail opponents have gone from expressing valid concerns — concerns that can and must be dealt with — to spreading hyperbole and misinformation. They don’t speak for us, and we want our voice to be heard, too.
We don’t work for METRO. We’re voters and taxpayers, so METRO works for us. We want rail on Richmond, and we want it done right, with stations in the right places, with landscaping that will make our street more, not less, attractive, and with good connections to the rest of the city. We will insist on that.
You will hear more from us as time goes by. And we’d love to hear from you, and to see you at public meetings. Email us at turnout@richmondrail.org with your questions or comments and to join our mailing list.