Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Streetsblog

Light Rail Expansion Signals an Urbanizing Houston

"Change comes hard, but things do change" -- those were the words of a Houston reporter almost 20 years ago, commenting on the stranglehold sprawl-oriented real estate interests had on the city.

Brian Wallstin of the Houston Press was referring to the highway-based model of growth that has come to characterize the region, a topic Streetsblog explored in a recent series.

false

But even back then, Wallstin implied, Houston's good-old-boy network was standing on shifting political sands. And he was right -- things do change.

The latest evidence comes from Michael Lindenberger at the Dallas Morning News' Transportation Blog. Lindenberger reports Houston has received $900 million to expand Metro light rail. The federal grant will further a $1.6 billion project to expand Metro's Red line and build a new 7-mile Purple line. It is the first time America's fourth-largest city has received a major federal grant for passenger rail, a major milestone for the city, he says:

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, was in Houston to hail the large grants. Hutchison has championed mass transit in Texas, and nationally, since she served in the Texas Legislature.

"This agreement is an important final step for the $900 million in federal support that we've worked to obtain over the past decade for the Houston METRO," said Hutchison. "We've traveled a long road to get here and during that time, Houston METRO has grown into a model for other cities across Texas and America. This event represents 35 years of bipartisan work in building an outstanding mass transit system."

Houston METRO officials say 30 percent of its commuters headed downtown or to the city's large medical district ride METRO to work and back.

Elsewhere on the Network today: M-Bike.org explains that while Detroit's suburbs might be terrible for cycling, the city -- with its grid system, light traffic and growing number of bike lanes -- has a lot to recommend it. Discovering Urbanism wonders what the rise of the "megalopolis," or amorphous mega-regions containing multiple urban centers, means for the future of urban areas. And Boston Biker cheers the expansion of the city's new bike sharing system, Hubway.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Komanoff: A ‘Noise Tax’ Can Ground NYC Helicopters

A proposed $400 “noise tax” on “nonessential” flights is a start — and it will work.

April 18, 2024

Thursday’s Headlines: Welcome to the War on Cars, Scientific American

Our favorite story yesterday was this editorial in an unexpected place. Plus other news.

April 18, 2024

Meet the MTA Board Member and Congestion Pricing Foe Who Uses Bridges and Tunnels For Free Every Day

Mack drives over the transportation authority's bridges and tunnels thanks to a rare perk of which he is the primary beneficent.

April 18, 2024

Randy Mastro Aspires to Join Mayor’s Inner Circle of Congestion Pricing Foes

The mayor's reported pick to run the city Law Department is former deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani and notorious foe of bike lanes and congestion pricing.

April 18, 2024

Donald Shoup: Here’s a Parking Policy That Works for the People

Free parking has a veneer of equality, but it is unfair. Here's a proposal from America's leading parking academic that could make it more equitable.

April 18, 2024
See all posts