Metro Reimagines Rosalie & uRth!

HAUS Project members can ride their bicycles the 1.1 miles from one house to the other. It’s not easy. Sometimes it’s dangerous to ride on Almeda Road, which some motorists see as a drag strip with traffic lights on it. Also, not all HAUS Project members are avid cyclists, and Houston’s weather can daunt even the most intrepid among us. Because sustainability is part of our mission, and some of us don’t even own motor vehicles, if we can’t bike it, we carpool.

True, it has already been possible for quite some time to ride the 11 Almeda/Nance bus from one HAUS house to the other. The ride takes about five minutes and costs $1.25 each way—not too steep, but hardly worth it to go a mile. There is a bit of walking at the Rosalie end: Rosalites need to walk four blocks over to Fannin Street to catch the southbound bus to Wheeler Avenue or Blodgett Street. Northbound uRthlings walk a little less after they get off at San Jacinto and Elgin or Tuam.

Also, the bus comes every 50 minutes on Sundays, when members of houses dine together and the houses take turns hosting dinner. If you’re a minute late for the bus, you must be prepared to wait 50, and you can walk there in 20.

As of August 2015, however, the redesigned 11 Almeda/Lyons bus will travel past Rosalie HAUS on LaBranch (southbound) or Crawford (northbound), the streets at either end of the block.

More importantly, service will be more frequent, especially on weekends. The new route will run buses no more than 30 minutes apart (edit: between Fannin South Station and its northeastern terminus at 610 & Gellhorn).

Just last week, the almighty Houston Metro Board of Directors approved the Transit Reimagining route plan. Shepherded by Board member and wonk extraordinaire Christof Spieler, this new plan has been two years in the making. The process of implementing this plan included:

  • examining the effectiveness of each individual route
  • soliciting feedback and suggestions from riders, local merchants, and other stakeholders, both online and in neighborhood meetings
  • determining whether to improve and increase service on the most used bus lines or expand service (stakeholders opted for the former) and how to go about it
  • modifying routes based on studies of where people need to go for work, shopping, or recreation
  • working within the guidelines of not having funds for the new University and Uptown MetroRail lines and not increasing operating costs.

Naturally, Spieler heard from his friends at HAUS Project and convinced the Board to make it easier to travel between the houses, right? Don’t be silly. However, at least two HAUS members were among the stakeholders who suggested extending the 25 Richmond line beyond Wheeler Station, preferably to TSU and UH, and the Reimagining team agreed. (Before MetroRail, the 25 continued through Downtown to Northline.)

The reimagined 25 Richmond will terminate at Eastwood Transit Center, with easy connections to Hobby Airport.It will also make it much easier to get from Museum Park to Montrose, Greenway Plaza, Uptown, and points west. Rosalites can take the 9 Gulfton/Holman to Eastwood or out the Westpark corridor toward Sharpstown.

Spieler has been quite candid in acknowledging how inconvenient and outdated Metro’s current bus network is. Passengers wait longer than they should; missed transfers result in horrible delays; some routes don’t run on weekends, and some run on Saturday but not Sunday; there’s too much emphasis on getting Downtown when hundreds of thousands work in Uptown, Greenway, TMC, Westchase, Greenspoint, and other commercial districts. This plan should solve most or all of that, and can be adjusted to fix additional old or new problems.

When HAUS Project members retreat to the country next weekend for their Annual General Meeting, uRthling and Green activist David Collins will deliver a 15-minute presentation on how HAUSers can make their lives less carbon-intensive by riding public transit.

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