Michael Padon" />
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Thursday, September 21, 2023


Metro needs to get back on track

Editorial cartoon drawn by Dick Hite Jr.

While many view MetroRail’s expansion to the UH campus as a good thing, the project has already seen its fair share of controversy.

Metro presented plans Feb. 4 for the addition of two lines, Southeast and University. The latter will connect UH, Texas Southern University and the University of St. Thomas to the original line on Main Street. The Southeast line will come from the heart of downtown and connect UH to the Main Street line just northwest of the U.S. Highway 59 and TX-288 split.

The initial meeting between UH students and staff and Metro was somewhat underwhelming; Metro’s representatives were unprepared to answer questions, particularly about issues that directly affect the University.

Former Faculty Senate President Dan Wells stated the general opinion best when he said, “We have concerns about the details. You seem to be ignoring the details.”

The logistics of implementing the proposed University line were also questioned. After seeing the demolition along Wheeler, however, it seems the answers are obvious, but not necessarily easy to swallow.

To run the MetroRail through Wheeler Avenue, the UH Child Care Center would lose its playground, Cougar Place would lose its backyard and the campus police station would lose its main entrance.

Also, to make way for the Southeast line, part of the back side of Robertson Stadium would need to be carved up, as well as the football practice field; either that or Metro would have to buy all the fast food locations on Scott and tear them down, which seems highly unlikely.

Another issue raised during Metro’s presentation was how to deal with the traffic that construction will produce.

Metro has learned much about rail construction from the line on Main Street and plans on working with the University to create as little congestion as possible, but some cannot be helped in a major road-construction project.

Students should remember that MetroRail is a long-term project designed to bring a more efficient and more sustainable, mass-transit system to UH.

The University is currently pushing to alleviate parking problems and is trying to reduce the need for students to make long commutes to campus.

UH can no longer build out; it must build up, and construction of parking garages can cost between $9,000 and $12,000 per space. Such construction would greatly increase parking rates, since the Parking and Transportation services office must generate its own funding due to the fact that it receives no money from the state.

According to Metro’s Web site, the final plan for the rail system is to provide “smarter, more energy-efficient transportation options in the form of five new rail lines. The lines will connect citizens and visitors to every major activity center in our metropolitan area,” such as eventually connecting UH to the Galleria area and even Memorial Park.

When completed, MetroRail will connect UH to the rest of the city; students will be able to easily commute to the campus through more than just carpooling or waiting for the bus.

But for future meetings and forums, Metro needs to do more to explain this than simply showing up with a handful of talking points.

Michael Padon is an engineering sophomore and may be reached at [email protected]

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