Monday, March 15, 2010

What is wrong with Houston's METRORail?


This afternoon, the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County's METRORail experienced another crash with its fellow METRO Bus in downtown Houston.  The problem with METRORail is their long track records of collisions with either private vehicles and fellow METRO Buses in the Greater Houston area since the system's inception in 2003 prior to Houston hosting Super Bowl XXXVIII.   In the system's inaugural year of 2004, there were 61 crashes and on April 15, 2006, is where one turned fatal.  Now what I'm wondering what in the hell is wrong with this particular system?  Houston is a very automobile-oriented city and this one of the last major cities to implement rail transit into their public infrastructure.  However, those cities like Denver, Salt Lake City, and Charlotte have all introduced light rail transit (LRT) in the 00s, but in the case of Houston their LRT has mixed traffic right-of-way.  Interestingly enough, other cities with mixed traffic right-of-way, METRORail has been one crash after another hence their fucked up reputation.  Texas Department of Transportation (TDOT), like most southern state transportation departments, seems to be so gung ho to continue to build roads over public transit.   So this doesn't bode well for the system when they are in the midst of planning and implementing a massive expansion by 2030 the plans are on the table to have 5-line regional LRT system servicing most areas withing the I-610 (Houston) beltway.  I want MTA of Harris County needs to get it together on this and fix this shit because Houston is in the league of Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Washington as gridlock cities when it comes to commutes, so PLEASE GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER! 

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