West U Council resolves to oppose Weslayan bus

July 14, 2014

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.