OffIcials with the Metropolitan Transit Authority will attend a meeting of the West U City Council on Monday, June 23, to hear from West U residents about a controversial new bus route on Weslayan, between Bellaire Blvd. and Bissonnet.
West U officials confirmed that Metro officials will attend the council’s workshop meeting at 5 p.m. Monday.
“This is a chance for our residents to express their concerns to METRO board members and representatives of METRO staff. I am sure they will listen and respond to the concerns and any ideas for alternatives and improvements our citizens can provide,” West U Mayor Bob Fry said in a message posted on the city’s website.
“I am supportive of the overall plan METRO has presented and I think our citizens will find it superior to the service METRO now provides. While we have valid concerns of the traffic conditions on Weslayan, I am sure METRO will factor those issues into its final plan long before its implementation,” Fry said. “ We have time on our side. Any proposed changes will not begin until the second half of 2015 and will take years to fully implement. Please come to the workshop on June 23. Listen with an open mind and express your concerns and ideas.”
METRO spokesman Jerome Gray said the transit agency welcomes public input and comments about the proposed 5-year draft plan for new bus routes across Harris County.
The Draft Reimagined Network Plan was unveiled by METRO in early May. It is aimed at improving service and increasing bus ridership by as much as 20 percent.
“We do want people to know what is being proposed, and we want as much feedback from the community as possible,” Gray said.
Metro has already held three public hearings and will hold 13 more hearings on the bus route changes. Metro wants public feedback, before the Metro board reviews the proposed changes and considers whether to approve them.
Gray said that Metro’s transit system designers could make “tweaks” to the proposed plan after receiving public input. The Metro board could vote on the plan as early as August or September. Changes to bus routes would take about one year.
West U resident John Cutrer, who lives right off Weslayan, has been circulating a letter about the Metro bus plan since attending a Metro public hearing a few weeks ago. That meeting was held at the Multipurpose Service Center on W. Gray.
“Since I live off Weslayan, I already see the traffic stacked up well in excess of three blocks at rush hour. With a bus stopping every two blocks, it would just become a nightmare,” Cutrer said.
“Mostly, I’ve just been going door-to-door with this letter and asking people to give their feedback,” Cutrer said.
Cutrer said that Metro’s redesigned bus system “looks like a much better plan regionwide.I’m not a traffic engineer, but this plan is probably a big improvement over what Metro has now.”
A real estate developer, Cutrer recently moved to West U.
However, Cutrer said he thinks Metro “has done a pretty lousy job of making this public. This really has not been very well publicized.”
So, Cutrer said he decided to inform his neighbors about Metro’s proposed route #48, which would travel from the West Loop transit center, down Stella Link, through Weslayan and eventually end up at Metro’s Northwest transit center.
“I do know a lot of them (neighbors) have spoken with Metro, or responded on Metro’s web page,” Cutrer said. Since the rest of the hearings “are not really that convenient” to West U residents, Cutrer said he is glad to know that the city of West U will hold a local meeting.
“Getting someone from Metro there will be really helpful,” Cutrer said.
West U residents who cannot attend the June 23 meeting at West U City Council may submit written comments to Metro on its web-site, at http://transitsystemreimagining.com/web/feedback-on-the-plan/.