In our third Houston Transportation Series YPT Houston and American Society of Civil Engineers met with METRORail on April 17 to discuss and tour their current downtown project “New Downtown: Changing how people connect with downtown.”
This grand and expansive project will focus on adding three lines to the existing Red Line which is currently responsible for carrying over 40,000 passengers a day per mile, the most in Texas and second in the nation, to Boston’s light rail system. The additional lines: North Line, East End and Southeast Line, will connect the existing Red Line with destinations in the east, southeast and north of downtown for a total of 15.2 added miles to the system.
This project not only benefits the ridership and connectivity of Houstonians in the downtown area but the surrounding businesses as well. Roberto Trevino of METRO notes that contrary to popular believe, construction of the rail has not decreased the surrounding economy but attracted a large amount of development as many of the older buildings are being renovated for new retail venues. Trevino also notes that many businesses are focusing their efforts around the upcoming rail lines with the expectation of increased pedestrian traffic in those areas, resulting positive economic opportunities.
Project director Matt Strother, HRT spoke of the many construction challenges faced including the relocation and/or updating of several utility lines throughout the entire rail corridor. Ultimately, this project will result in the improvement of countless utility lines throughout downtown Houston, an additional benefit of this project.
Board Memeber, Christof Spieler, P.E., LEED AP offers this advice to young professionals:
Get involved with local civic groups, they can use your expertise and chances are they are already working with transportation projects in the area. The great thing about Houston is that it is very easy city to get involved in. No one cares where you came from or who your father is, we’re all just working together for the same cause.
METRO’s Linda Trevino notes:
Get involved with your communities as well, there are over 26 active communities just in the east side of town and 20 in the North who deal with transportation issues within the city everyday. There are also several coalitions city wide that you can become a part of.
This project is yet another example of transportation in action – seeking the better the lives through connectivity in Houston. You can read more about the METRO RAIL projects and updates at www.gometrorail.org.
YPT Houston would like to thank ASCE for coordinating this event and for METRO Rail for their great presentation and tour! For more pictures of this event visit our previous events page!