Although Houston has been expanding outward for decades, its bus system has hardly kept up. This is not surprising given the track record for many American cities where cars take precedence over public transit. But what is unexpected—to the point of being radical—is a proposal that will grant greater, more efficient access to Houston’s commuters for not a penny more than its current cost. [beforeafter] [/beforeafter] How do these numbers run? Proponents of the plan explained that their efforts will not be to add to or subtract from the bus system so much as gut and rewire it completely. As it stands now, Houston’s Metro is terribly inefficient. It eats up most of its money in duplicate routes and lines that cater to the needs of a few instead of servicing the greater public, the group asserted. The new proposal wants to recalculate the routes for higher commuter accessibility that would lead to higher traffic and maximum fiscal efficiency. The current system is heavily oriented towards the downtown area, despite the fact that Houston has steadily decentralized for decades. Most of the proposal relies upon the realignment of the lines through neighborhoods that would use them. Although some people would no longer have ready access to the bus—with “ready” being defined as having to walk a quarter mile or more—the plan compensates for their toil by offering other nearby transportation outlets. The only catch, if it can even be called that, is that the plan’s completion is strongly contingent upon community support and approval. Public planning consultant Jarrett Walker pointed out that people who like the plan “falsely assume it will happen anyway.” Walker went on to emphasize that the plan will not happen without strong community vocalization. So go ahead! If you live in the Houston area, weigh in. If not, your comments are always welcome here.
Posts tagged with "Busses":
Like many major tech companies in Silicon Valley, Apple provides free transportation for its employees living in the Bay Area. About 28 percent of Apple employees do not drive to work, instead taking employer-owned biodiesel shuttles, biking, or walking. In an effort to bring that percentage up to 34 percent (a figure that will help get their new Norman Foster–designed campus in Cupertino approved), the company is expanding its fleet of buses and building a dedicated transportation center. With an annual budget of $35 million—that's approximately $21,000 per employee—the Transportation Demand Management program, as it is formally called, provides an average of 1,600 employees a free ride to work each day. Shuttles owned and operated by companies such as Google and Apple have sparked recent protests, prompting the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to approve a new plan: company shuttle buses will have to pay $1 for every stop made, every day. The proposal is set to go into effect this July and raise $1.5 million over the first year and a half. More info at the Los Angeles Times.
The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey has big plans for Manhattan's West-side bus terminal. In an attempt to cut congestion on the hell-forsaken crowded streets of Hell's Kitchen, the authority is planning a $400 million bus annex a few blocks from the main 42nd Street Bus Terminal. And to improve that hell-forsaken battered terminal, they are reportedly resurrecting plans to build a tower on top of it—the funds from which would be used to improve the facility. The new Galvin Plaza Bus Annex, which would rise on an Authority-owned lot, could accommodate 100 busses and tens of thousands of daily riders. The new space should significantly cut down on travel time by giving busses direct access to the Lincoln Tunnel. As DNAinfo reported, “The proposed facility would allow buses to be parked and ready to go, letting officials feed them into the bus terminal one after another instead of clogging up city streets or looping around the cavernous terminal.” If plans are approved, the annex should be up and running by… 2020. Rome wasn't built in a day. And, according to Capital New York, the Port Authority will release an RFP later this year for a terminal-topping tower. This comes about three years after plans for a 40-story Richard Rogers–designed tower on the site were scrapped.