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West U Council resolves to oppose Weslayan bus

July 14, 2014 By:Anne Marie Kilday

Local News

The West University Place City Council directed city staff on Monday to prepare a resolution opposing the Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority’s proposed bus route on Weslayan, and also urged city staff to continue looking for a traffic engineer to study the impact of the proposed route.

The council will consider the resolution at its next meeting on July 28.

The proposed Weslayan Route #48 is a part of METRO’s Transit System Reimagined plan, which is aimed at boosting ridership and increasing mobility throughout the Houston region.

Councilman Dick Yehle talks to West U resident Jon Cutrer about the Weslayan bus route.

Councilman Dick Yehle talks to West U resident Jon Cutrer about the Weslayan bus route.

But many West U residents are concerned that a bus route down narrow, two-lane Weslayan would only add to traffic congestion, noise and pollution, and disrupt the quality of life throughout their neighborhood.

West U Mayor Bob Fry said he had received “dozens” of emails from residents opposed to the proposed Weslayan route.

“I have had more emails on Metro’s plan than on any other issue in my two terms as mayor,” Fry said.

West U resident John Cutrer, who alerted his neighbors to the proposed bus route on Weslayan, told the council that METRO’s overall transit system update was a good plan.

But, Cutrer said, “This is an opportunity to help METRO improve their plan, both in terms of ridership and mobility.”

Several of his neighbors also urged the city council to approve a resolution to send to METRO.

Vernon Tyger said the new bus route would not only increase traffic congestion on Wesleyan and other nearby streets, but that the impact of buses using the street for 18 hours a day as frequently as every 15 minutes would damage the street.

Michelle Moore said she likes the idea of a resolution from the city to METRO, but suggested, “I think we would have more success if you come up with an alternate solution. If you can point out Buffalo Speedway as the solution, I think we would have more success.”

Darren Ackerman told the council that he had shortened his vacation in order to speak at their meeting.

“What you’re seeing is our collective desire to have the council and mayor take a position for us. What we need is for you to advocate for us. We need a collective voice, and a resolution is a good idea,” Ackerman said.

Fry urged all West U residents to let METRO know their opinion on the Transit System Reimagined plan. Residents can make comments at: http://transitsystemreimagining.com/

The mayor and other council members also encouraged City Manager Michael Ross and Director of Public Works Chris Peifer to continue a search for a traffic engineer to study the impact of METRO”s plan on West U.

During a workshop session before the council’s meeting, Ross said that it has been very difficult to find a traffic engineer in the Houston area who does not work for METRO. One potential traffic engineer who was contacted by the city suggested a fee of about $60,000, Ross said.

The council also directed city staff to use the city’s Code Red emergency alert system for a “public service announcement” reminding West U citizens to contact METRO to give their opinions about the transit plan.

5 Responses to “West U Council resolves to oppose Weslayan bus”

  1. Sandpiper@aol.com Says:

    Having a hard time believing that anyone who lives on Buffalo Speedway rides the bus to “work”. Just turn up your thermostat in your big house and buy a Prius.

  2. Lucille Says:

    In the old days, West U residents volunteered their help and from what I have seen they still do. My dad had an insurance agency and advised the city on those matters. I’ll bet there are retirees with the background to serve as a traffic engineer.

  3. Donna Field Says:

    Dear Michelle, I appreciate your attempt at alternative solutions to Metro’s decision, but I think it might be more considerate to ask the residents of Buffalo Speedway how they see things. We have always had traffic but in the last 4 years there has been a definite change in the type of traffic. Since there are currently no restrictions on the type of traffic that graces our street, it would be nice to ask us how we feel before you hand us that which you don’t want? We have large, dangerous 18 wheelers all day and night. We have large open clanging landscape flatbbeads. I wonder about the personal safety. of our residents and am concerned about the day when a mom turns around to look at her kids in the back seat or a teenager accepts a cell phone call. There is a difference in being hit by a car and an 18 wheeler.

    That having been said, if adding Metro routes to Buffalo reduces carbon emissions, impacts the greater good, gives us a way to go to work that doesn’t involve paid parking, impacts climate change…..well then bring it on. Currently, the American Lung Association gives the City of Houston an F in ozone emissions and particle pollution. Some people take air quality seriously.

    Maybe Weslayan should take a few bus routes and Buffalo Speedway should take a few, but before you go to make those suggestions, I think the residents of Buffalo should be notified that you intend to involve them in your solutions. There are 113 houses on Buffalo between Bissonnet and Holcombe. Perhaps our opinions matter.

  4. GoldBacon Says:

    Congratulations, and thank you, to the neighbors that spearheaded this effort. Hopefully METRO listens and either reroutes this proposed bus line or eliminates it altogether.

    I don’t believe that hiring a traffic engineer is worth the expense. The case is already strong enough.

  5. Nice Neighbor Says:

    To the extent that anyone at METRO is reading them or even cares, I would suggest that everyone take a moment to go to the link mentioned in the above article and leave feedback.

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