Metro to Consider Moving Weslayan bus to Buffalo Speedway

September 2, 2014

The controversial bus route that was proposed for Weslayan Street through West University Place has been re-routed by the staff of METRO — right down Buffalo Speedway.
Nearly 240 residents of West U accounted for 21 percent of the 1,109 public comments received by the Harris County Metropolitan Transit Authority about its proposed new Transit System Reimagining Plan. The complaints from West U far outnumbered comments from any other group in the Houston area.
In addition, the West U City Council sent METRO’s Board of Directors a resolution recommending another route.
But the revised route could set up another battle — this time from West U residents who live along Buffalo Speedway.
West U Mayor Bob Fry said, “Who knows? We may very well have some people do that. I don’t think it’s a valid concern.”
Fry said the issues are different because Weslayan is a narrow, two-lane street with lots of traffic congestion. Buffalo Speedway, on the other hand, “is a major network thoroughfare,” Fry said.

Metro staff proposes this new bus route in West U

Metro staff proposes this new bus route in West U

The METRO staff last week presented the Board with proposed changes to the massive Transit System Reimagining Plan, which is aimed at boosting bus ridership throughout the Houston region.
The Board will consider the public comments, staff recommendations and submit its feedback. The Board is scheduled to take a final vote on September 25.
West U resident John Cutrer, who brought the proposed Weslayan 48 route to the attention of his neighbors and the City Council, alerted a group of West U residents who protested the Weslayan bus route to the City Council and to METRO.
“Good news! METRO has revised their Reimagining Plan to remove our stretch of Weslayan from Route 48,” Cutrer said in an email. “ The revised route travels south along Weslayan (in Houston), turns east on Richmond (through Greenway Plaza), south on Buffalo Speedway and east on University to the Med Center.”
“ This is obviously a welcome outcome for us that live near or travel along Weslayan, but also makes a world of sense for METRO since it is now serving two large employment districts with this route,” Cutrer said. “A big thank you to all who contacted METRO and our West U officials.”
Fry said that he was not surprised by the staff recommendations to the METRO board.
The resolution passed last month by the West U City Council simply urged the METRO Board to consider an alternate route to the proposed bus route on Weslayan, between Bellaire Blvd. and Bissonnet.
Fry said that he was not surprised by the staff recommendations to the METRO board.
“It’s doesn’t surprise me. I said all along that people on the Metro board needed to listen. And I felt sure they would listen to our case and would do something,” Fry said.
“Let’s face it, Weslayan was not a good option because it’s just two lanes, and there is a lot of traffic congestion.”
Fry credited the West U residents who attended a public hearing, hosted by the West U City Council for METRO board members.
“It just goes to show you. I give credit to all of our citizens who went to the public hearings, and who took the time to contact METRO,” Fry said.
In its recommendations to the Board, the METRO staff noted that there are some benefits, as well as some downsides, to the proposed revised route.
The new route 48 “would serve Greenway Plaza on Richmond, connect the Northwest Transit Center and Greenway Plaza directly to the Texas Medical Center, extend service further south on Kirby Drive, and better serve the Rice Village area. However, the revised route “eliminates a simple straight route connecting the West Loop Transit Center to the Greenway Plaza area, reduces service on Stella Link below existing levels, and would cost an estimated $75,000 annually,” the staff noted.