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First Downtown Bike Lane Delayed
 

Woman riding bike in a bike lane

Earlier, we blogged that the city's first downtown dedicated bike lane would be ready by fall. Now it's been delayed because the only company that can furnish the humps that separate the lane from main traffic is overwhelmed with orders.

The city's Department of Public Works and Engineering had promised work would start on the on-street bicycle lane in September and be completed in a few weeks. But the rubberized humps - called "armadillos" - that would separate vehicle lanes from the nine-foot-wide bike lane is supplied by a European company, the sole supplier of "armadillos." Now they're on back order, and the city hope to have the lanes by year end.

The 11-block bike lane will connect Discovery Green on the east of downtown to Sam Houston Park on the west, giving cyclists easy access to nearby trails. The two-way bike lane will take about six to seven weeks to convert and will be painted green as a visual warning for drivers to stay off.

"It shows the city is evolving and moving to the next step in terms of the built environment for cyclists," Michael Payne, executive director of Bike Houston, told the Houston Chronicle.  

 

Celebrate Halloween with Zoo Boo
Kids in Halloween costume
Bring your little ghosts and goblins to Houston’s biggest family-friendly Halloween event. Get decked out in your scariest – or prettiest – outfit and enjoy Zoo Boo at the Houston Zoo. Wander through a pumpkin patch, choose your favorite pumpkin, then paint it into a jack-o-lantern. 
Wander through animal-themed stations for some trick-or-treating and satisfy that sweet tooth. Monsters aren’t just in your imagination. Color them in a monstrous mural. Check out the Tatzoo Parlor for a temporary tattoo, then visit the Candy Cave where you’ll see larger-than-life peppermints and lollipops.
Zoo Boo is on Friday, Oct. 24, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Getting there by bus: 1 Hospital; 34 Montrose Crosstown; 8 South Main; 298 Addicks/Northwest TC; 292 West Bellfort/Westwood.
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Getting there by METRORail: Take the Red Line (North Line) going southbound, exit Memorial Hermann Hospital/Houston Zoo Station.
METRO Wins AdWheel Award
 

Award-winning rail safety banner 

METRO captured First Place in the 2014 Annual AdWheel Awards competition last week.

Equivalent to Hollywood's Oscar, this prestigious award recognizes outstanding work and creative excellence among public transportation systems in advertising, communications, marketing and promotion.

METRO received the award for the METRORail University of Houston safety banner, submitted under print media for transit agencies with greater than 20 million annual passenger trips.

"It was a great honor to win the award for the second year in a row," said Michael Martinez, director of Stakeholder Affairs at METRO. "This reflects METRO's commitment to educating the public regarding rail safety and providing them with first-class safety information."

METRO received the award at a special ceremony on Oct. 13 during the American Public Transportation Association's (APTA) 2014 Annual Meeting & Expo at the George R. Brown Convention Center. More than 500 entries competed this year in the five categories of print, electronic, campaign, special event and social media.

"We salute the creative efforts put forth by the award winners to market public transportation and communicate the many benefits it provides to individuals, as well as helping communities grow," said APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy.

Click here to see a list of all the 2014 APTA AdWheel winners.



A Lost Wallet and a Bus Operator
 

 

Walter McBride, bus operator who took the time to find the rightful owner to a lost wallet on the streetWalter McBride was driving to work when he saw an expensive-looking wallet laying on Holcombe Street in the Medical Center.

A METRO bus operator for 37 years, McBride stopped his car and picked it up. "It looked valuable. There was a contact number - in case of emergency," he recalled.

It was Sept. 25 when Andre Humphery received a call from McBride. The wallet belonged to Humphery's 84-year-old father, James ("Bo") Humphery.

"My dad told me he went to a Shipley's Donut shop and left his wallet on top of the car," said Andre Humphery.

McBride said he thinks the wallet had been run over once. "He had a bunch of credit cards in there. I was trying to catch (the owner) before he canceled them," said McBride.

McBride and the younger Humphery played phone tag before meeting at the Texas Medical Center Transit Center at Fannin and Pressler to return the wallet. Everything was intact.

"I think it's just admirable. How many times in this day and age do you have this type of ethics when no one is looking? It's amazing he did it," said Humphery. "These are the core values that METRO or any other employer cannot teach. You can try to train an employee at this point, but an employee must hold these types of core values innately. I think it was awesome, and McBride was an incredible guy for returning the wallet."

For McBride, it was simply doing the right thing. "I believe in treating people like you want people to treat you," he said.

And there's a personal connection to this story of the lost wallet. It turns out the senior Humphery, a coach in the Houston Independent School District for 40 years, had coached McBride's brother decades ago. The former coach and student still keep in touch, said Humphery.

Partial Rail Shutdown & Building Implosion
 

 

METRORail Rider Alert signThis weekend, you'll need to allow extra time to travel if you're downtown.

First, the Houston Club Building at 811 Rusk is scheduled to be imploded early Sunday morning.  METRO will detour select bus service in the area today from 7 p.m. through Sunday, Oct. 19, until 2 p.m., or until it is safe for operations to resume.

Click here to find out if your route is affected.

Second, METRORail will be partially shut down on Sunday, Oct. 19, from the start of service until 5 p.m. This service will stop between the Downtown Transit Center and the Northline Transit Center due to construction activity related to METRORail expansion.

We'll have dedicated "700 Rail Shuttle" buses every 10 minutes during regular rail service hours. If the work cannot be completed by Sunday at 5 p.m., the bus "rail shuttles" will continue through Monday, Oct. 20.

Thanks for your patience as we build your light-rail system.

 

Need Money? Speak Up and Complain
 

 

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx at APTA meeting in HoustonTransit service depends on federal dollars  - and local transit stakeholders need to raise their voices and "get loud" to demand more funding.

That was the message from the nation's top transportation official, speaking on Tuesday to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA ) Expo & Annual Meeting at the George R. Brown Convention Center.  U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said that a lack of investment in infrastructure is diminishing the economic health of regions like Houston.

"We have a responsibility collectively to remind this country, when the wheels of transportation grind to a halt, so does its economy," said Foxx.

The most recent six-year federal transportation bill expired in 2009, and many transit agencies are left limping along, trying to plan long-term projects.

"Given the great needs we have as a country when it comes to infrastructure, given the growth that we see coming down the pike, given the backlog of maintenance needs, why are we not doing more? If the American people are swiping their Metro cards and passing through turnstiles in record numbers, why aren't we investing more to meet their needs?" asked Foxx.

Read more of Foxx's comments here on his Fast Lane blog.

Day 3 of APTA

Scenes from APTA Expo 2014

On a picture-perfect fall day, hundreds of APTA Expo conference-goers stayed inside the George R. Brown Convention Center to stroll through hundreds of exhibits.  This was Day 3 of the world's biggest transportation showcase with more than 800 vendors displaying their most innovative products.

Two double-decker buses were parked inside. There was a train simulator by Alstom. I got to drive a light-rail car in the simulator,Mary at train simulator screeched on the brakes and still missed the passengers standing at the station, then slammed right into a vehicle crossing in front of me. Driving the simulator was lots of fun and helped me develop a new appreciation for our rail operators.

Not all the demos were about technology. One vendor gave away a service that required two hands and muscles - chair massages. It was a great way to top off the afternoon.

Watch this brief video to meet some of the attendees who came to Houston from around the nation - and around the world - to experience this event. If you have issues viewing the video below, please go to You Tube. http://youtu.be/ReGwzIBN6Zo

<a href="/images/write_on/Apta_Day3.wmv"><img src="/Themes/default/images/video.gif" border = "0" width="498" height="280"></a><br /><a href = "/images/write_on/Apta_Day3.wmv">View Video</a><br />Format: wmv<br />Duration: 3:43

Creating Infrastructure
 

Allen Watson, METRO Board vice chairmanWhat's the connection between good infrastructure and public transportation?

Allen Watson, METRO Board Vice Chairman, talked with KUHF's Gail Delaughter yesterday at the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Expo, a giant triennial event featuring the latest solutions and technology in transportation.

Watson addresses the issue of obtaining funding for large-scale transit projects.

Click here to listen to the report.

Transit Pros from Around the World
   

Scenes from APTA Expo 2014 

Step inside the George R. Brown Convention Center, and you'll find the world's largest showcase for public transportation with hundreds of vendors displaying the latest technology on Day 2 of this three-day convention.

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA)'s Expo features a wide range of public transportation products and services that help transit systems operate more efficiently.

Watch this short video to see American's first 60-foot, articulated battery-electric bus - and a fare system that uses laser detection to capture images of passengers to improve security. If you have trouble watching the video below, please go to You Tube and view it.       http://youtu.be/MWtTpP7TfDw

 

<a href="/images/write_on/APTA_Day2.wmv"><img src="/Themes/default/images/video.gif" border = "0" width="498" height="280"></a><br /><a href = "/images/write_on/APTA_Day2.wmv">View Video</a><br />Format: wmv<br />Duration: 2:45

Welcome APTA Expo!
 

Today is the first day of the transit industry's biggest event - the APTA Expo.

Thousands of transit professionals from 65 countries, as well as hundreds of vendors, are meeting at the George R. Brown Convention Center where trends, products and services will be highlighted.

METRO is proud to be hosting this event - and we extend a warm welcome to all our transit visitors to the Bayou City. Please check out Facebook page to see snapshots of some of the activities, and read our tweets.

Weekend Events and Getting There on METRO

 

 

Two elephants playing"Wings of the City," the breathtaking, bronzed statues by famed Mexican artist Jorge Marin have been installed throughout Discovery Green. These magnificent sculptures of angels show deep emotions - from anguish and sadness to courage. There's whimsy, too.  A fun winged angel consists of two large wings mounted on a pedestal. The open space is for you to step up and pose as an angel.

Where: Discovery Green

When: On exhibit through Feb. 8, 2015

Bus:  Take the 412 Greenlink downtown shuttle,  81 Westheimer-Sharpstown, 82 Westheimer - West Oaks, 52 Hirsch/Scott; 85 Antoine Limited; 131 Memorial, 37 El Sol Crosstown or 48 Navigation.

METRORail: Take the Red Line and exit Main Street Square, then walk four blocks eastbound.

Untapped Indie Music & Beer Festival - This festival prides itself on curating the best indie local bands, along with must-taste brews. Some of the bands featured include: Toadies, Bright Light Social Hour, Robert Ellis, and Los Skarnales. Listen while sampling among more than 65 breweries and 200-plus beers.

When:  Saturday, Oct. 11; 3:30 - 10 p.m.

Where: Discovery Green

METRO: See above.

Houston Zoo - Want to meet a tiger? Buy a ticket for a behind-the-scenes tour. The Cat Training Window with lions or tigers is on Sundays from 12 - 12:45 p.m. Elephants never forget, and you won't forget this tour with them on Fridays, 12-12:45 pm. Or take a walk on the wild side with rhinos on Saturdays, 12-12:45 p.m.

Where: Houston Zoo at Hermann Park

METRORail: Take the Red Line and exit at the Memorial Hermann Hospital/Houston Zoo Station.  You can park at Fannin South Park & Ride, then hop aboard the rail for $1.25. Kids are half price.

Bus: Take 1 Hospital, 8 South Main, 34 Montrose, or 11 Almeda/Nance

"Shadows on the Wall" - View 50 evocative images created with light and chemistry - but without the use of a camera - at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The photographs range from a few inches in size to 25 feet and involve a variety of techniques.

When: On view through Nov. 30

METRORail:  Take the Red Line and exit at the Museum District Station.

Bus: 8 South Main, 1 Hospital, 65 Bissonnet or 34 Montrose

Weekend Events and Riding METRO to Get There

“Wings of the City,” the breathtaking, bronzed statues by famed Mexican artist Jorge Marin have been installed throughout Discovery Green. These magnificent sculptures of angels show deep emotions – from anguish and sadness to courage. There’s whimsy, too.  A fun winged angel consists of two large wings mounted on a pedestal. The open space is for you to step up and pose as an angel. Angel sculpture

Where: Discovery Green

When: On exhibit through Feb. 8, 2015

Bus:  Take the 412 Greenlink downtown shuttle,  81 Westheimer-Sharpstown, 82 Westheimer - West Oaks, 52 Hirsch/Scott; 85 Antoine Limited; 131 Memorial, 37 El Sol Crosstown or 48 Navigation.

METRORail: Take the Red Line and exit Main Street Square, then walk four blocks eastbound.

Untapped Indie Music & Beer Festival – This festival prides itself on curating the best indie local bands, along with must-taste brews. Some of the bands featured include: Toadies, Bright Light Social Hour, Robert Ellis, and Los Skarnales. Listen while sampling among more than 65 breweries and 200-plus beers.

When:  Saturday, Oct. 11; 3:30 – 10 p.m.

Where: Discovery Green

METRO: See above.

Houston Zoo – Want to meet a tiger? Buy a ticket for a behind-the-scenes tour. The Cat Training Window with lions or tigers is on Sundays from 12 – 12:45 p.m. Elephants never forget, and you won’t forget this tour with them on Fridays, 12-12:45 pm. Or take a walk on the wild side with rhinos on Saturdays, 12-12:45 p.m.

Where: Houston Zoo at Hermann Park

METRORail: Take the Red Line and exit at the Memorial Hermann Hospital/Houston Zoo Station.  You can park at Fannin South Park & Ride, then hop aboard the rail for $1.25. Kids are half price.

Bus: Take 1 Hospital, 8 South Main, 34 Montrose, or 11 Almeda/Nance

Shadows on the Wall” – View 50 evocative images created with light and chemistry – but without the use of a camera – at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The photographs range from a few inches in size to 25 feet and involve a variety of techniques.

When: On view through Nov. 30

METRORail:  Take the Red Line and exit at the Museum District Station.

Bus: 8 South Main, 1 Hospital, 65 Bissonett or 34 Montrose.

Bayou City Art Festival Downtown  – The Art Colony Association has gathered hundreds of artists, along with music and food, to produce a festival that has raised more than $35 million benefitting arts education. Check out 300 artists, 19 disciplines and 16 non-profits.

Where: Downtown. Enter at Walker and Bagby by City Hall, walk through Sam Houston Park, then follow inbound and outbound Allen Parkway.

When: Saturday, Oct. 11; 10 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 12; 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Bus: 6 Jensen/Tanglewood, 40 Pecore/Telephone,  37 El Sol Crosstown,  36 Kempwood/Lawndale,  50 Harrisburg/Heights or 18 Kirby.

METRORail: Take Red Line and exit at Main Street Square Station, then walk eastbound six blocks.

 

Transit Industry's Biggest Event Coming to Town
 

APTA logo

Next Monday, thousands of transit professionals will be in Houston, attending APTA Expo 2014, the transit industry's premiere showcase of technology, products and services.

The APTA Expo will be at the George R. Brown Convention Center from Oct. 13-15.

If you're a transit enthusiast, this is the expo for you. More than 800 global suppliers will be displaying products and services for public transit agencies worldwide. The APTA (American Public Transportation Association) Expo occurs every three years, and this year, attendees are expected from 65 countries.

METRO is pleased to be hosting the event, including five technical tours.

"The city is on a roll, and we want to show off the agency and the many ways we facilitate business and community," said METRO President & CEO Tom Lambert. "METRO Ambassador volunteers will assist with the thousands of visitors. It is truly an agency-wide, all hands on deck. We'll be showing off everything from buses to bike racks for attendees from across the world."

The nation's top transportation official, Anthony Foxx, is scheduled to speak on Oct. 14.

METRO CEO Highlights Goals

This article appeared on Oct. 6, 2014, in “Passenger Transport, “ a publication of the Association of Public Transportation (APTA).  It was written by METRO’s President & CEO Tom Lambert.

Tom Lambert, METRO CEO & presidentRide METRO! You will hear it in the announcements on our rail system. You will feel it when a smiling operator greets you on one of our 1,400 buses. You will find us on the Internet with that “easy-to-remember” request.

 Ride METRO is a common invitation from the largest public transit provider in the Houston region. And 370,000 times a day, people accept the invitation to hop aboard safe, affordable public transit.

We are buses, light rail, vanpools, park-and-rides, paratransit, HOV/HOT lanes and much more. Our annual systemwide ridership tops 110 million boardings. As we look toward the future, the wheels are in motion on the streets and in our various METRO departments to redesign our local bus network.

The METRO Board of Directors just approved a plan that will create more direct bus routes and more frequent service, including expanded weekend trips. We call it System Reimagining. 

When we implement the plan next summer, the new frequent network will connect one million people to one million jobs. We expect to see a 20 percent increase in ridership within two years as a result of the changes. The plan also provides a strong foundation for future growth.

The anticipated new bus network will be integrated with our expanded light-rail system, which will soon triple in size, operating about 23 miles of track with the soon-to-open Southeast (Purple) and East End (Green) Lines. METRO launched its North (Red) Line extension in December of last year, and each month since then, the line has exceeded ridership projections.

Our original 7.5-mile Main Street Line has surpassed 115 million boardings since it opened in 2004.

Opening three new rail lines in about a year’s time is ambitious. Redesigning an entire bus network is also challenging, but wait … there’s more. From USB ports on new commuter buses to interactive maps, we are placing public transit at riders’ fingertips. The METRO T.R.I.P. app puts scheduled and real-time bus arrival info on their smart phones. METRO 360 is a great way to try us before they ride. It’s available at www.ridemetro.org.

Houston is the fourth largest city in the country, and our ridership growth is projected to increase by about 94 percent between now and 2035. The big factors: population and job growth in the Houston region. Accommodating the growth with reliable public transit today – and in the future – is key. 

A Bus Stop of Culture and Commuity
 

Montage of colorful bus stop

The following is a guest post by Carolina Mendoza, METRO media specialist.

At the corner of Navigation and North Live Oak, tucked between a neatly manicured garden and the street pole , you'll find a bus stop unlike any of the nearly 10,000 bus stops METRO operates.

It radiates color, culture and community.

 "The customers that come off the bus and the customers that leave, they're taking pictures left and right," said Juan Hernandez, owner of Doña María Mexican Café, located directly behind the stop. "They say it's a really pretty bus stop."

Hernandez, along with his wife Ana, have maintained the bus stop since 2007 when he became a volunteer of METRO's Adopt-a-Stop program and took this stop under their care.  Since then, the restaurant owner planted a lush garden with vibrant flowers but wanted to add a splash of culture representative of the East End community he calls home.

"That's why I'm doing it; to keep the tradition, the culture going," said Hernandez.

Six months ago, he commissioned a local painter who goes by the name Saldaña to bring the stop's bench to life.  Pleased with the work, Hernandez asked Saldaña to do something with the entire area of the bus stop -and even paint inside the restaurant.

The bus stop's concrete pad features a man wearing a sombrero and sarape, serenading a young lady.  The bench, drenched in turquoise, displays flowers and Aztec patterns.  The ironwork at the stop - frogs, roosters and donkeys - form part of the bus stop experience.  Even the trash can dons the same vibrant color scheme.

Saldaña is a Denver Harbor resident and avid METRO rider; it's how he moves about the city.  When he immigrated to the United States in 1964, he says there weren't a lot of Mexican restaurants or businesses in the area.   In his native Monterrey, Mexico, he worked as a commercial artist and upon arriving in the U.S., he found work at a neon sign shop where he honed his craft in signs.  

By the 1970s, Saldaña says he began to see more Mexican shops and businesses take off.  That's when he decided to branch off and work on his own.  "Everywhere I would paint, I would get one or two more clients," recounted the 84-year-old. He's worked all across the Houston area - Denver Harbor, the Northside, Magnolia.

"The first signs for Arandas, Los Molcahetes, Los Tepatitlan, Donerakis, all of those were the first signs I did when they first started to sell their first taco," joked Saldaña.  He never lost momentum. The retiree continues to paint.

 "I always have a brush in my hand," he said. Artist Saldana and Juan Hernandez, restuarant owner

His work typically includes restaurant facades and local shops, and interiors as well, but the stop at 2601 Navigation is a first for the man whose love of art began at the age of 6.  "I'll paint anything -  let's go!" said an excited Saldaña. "Nowhere in the Houston area have I seen a decoration like this, and many times, the location lends itself to the decoration."

If you want to venture out to see a beautiful bus stop, take METRO's 37 or 48 to this colorful corner.  Look closely and you'll notice one element missing - what is typically an artist's trademark signature.

The meek artist said he never places his signature on his work.  "I don't sign anything because the community knows how I work, the colors I use, and say, ‘That's Saldaña!'"

However, step inside Doña María's, and you'll find a Saldaña original. Look to the right bottom corner, and it bears the artist's signature - a rarity.  It was a gift to Hernandez.

Hernandez has had fun with this bus stop, and has already adopted another across the street, which he plans to beautify.

To learn more about METRO's Adopt-a-Stop program, please call 713-635-4000. This is a great program that partners with METRO Police to keep the location safe and clean, and in Hernandez's case, add a touch of art in transit.

METRO's Night Out Against Crime
 

National Night Out badge logo

METRO is joining communities across Houston in observing National Night Out 2014 tomorrow.

 National Night Out is a nationwide celebration, encouraging neighbors to get to know each other by turning front porch lights on and has expanded to include cookouts, block parties, parades, rallies, exhibits and visits from emergency personnel.

Here at METRO, several of our departments will be blanketing the community. The METRO Police Department is combining an "all hands on deck" night with National Night Out. Officers will be patrolling rail platforms, transit centers, Park & Ride lots - meeting and greeting patrons and handing out brochures on safety. The message: "If you see something, say something."

Over on the East End, Stakeholder Affairs will be participating in an event at Eastwood Park at 5000 Harrisburg Blvd. METRO's new Green Line (East End) is being built adjacent to the park, and rail safety is paramount, especially since so many kids play soccer and ride their bikes there.

Some rail safety tips METRO will be sharing:

  • METRORail trains are quiet. Stay alert.
  • Don't use headphones or cell phones near the tracks.
  • Never put anything on the tracks.

 "This is a great opportunity to continue our safety program," said Luis Garcia, Stakeholder Affairs representative of the Green Line (East End). "It's a great event and well-attended."

There will be food, games, and entertainment, including Tony Mendoza "El Principe" performing Mariachi songs, hapkido taekwondo with Gabriel Garcia, and a DJ and rapper. Hours are from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Public Affairs will be attending events hosted by area civic clubs and Super Neighborhood councils. One of the larger events is the Near Northwest Management District's annual event usually attended by 3,500 to 4,000 people.

This year, we'll focus on education and outreach efforts on System Reimagining, the redesign of our local bus routes, which will serve more patrons more frequently.

"This provides an opportunity for staff to not only share information about current METRO projects and services but also highlight some of the important things METRO is doing to provide a safe environment for our customers," said Tanya McWashington, senior director of Public Affairs.  "We'll have information about our  Adopt-a-Stop/Adopt-a-Shelter program and talk about some of the safety features on all our buses. METRO buses are equipped with two-way radios that can summon police, EMS or the fire department for a quick response in an emergency."

 

Rail Car Achieves Milestone
 

Rail Car 301

METRO's first CAF USA rail car 301 has just achieved a milestone.

It has successfully finished its burn-in period, recording the federally required 4,000 miles of travel.

Before a light-rail vehicle can operate with passengers, it must simulate regular service to test its safety and functionality. Since Car 301 is the first of the CAF rail cars on order, it had to undergo more miles of testing. The remaining light-rail vehicles coming will only need to complete 1,000 miles of burn-in per vehicle.

"This is a great step forward in the expansion of our light-rail program, and we look forward to working with CAF as the remaining vehicles are received, accepted by METRO and are ready for revenue service," said Tom Lambert, METRO president & CEO.

CAF USA, a subsidiary of Spain's Construcciones y Auxilliar de Ferrocarriles, is working to fulfill METRO's order of 39 light-rail vehicles for its rail expansion. We are building the Green Line (East End) and Purple Line (Southeast), both of which are expected to be open for service next April.

So far, 13 CAF light-rail vehicles have been delivered.

#METRORailExpansion

 

 

MPD Adds Five Officers to Force
 

New police officers

The METRO police force expanded by five new officers this morning in a swearing-in ceremony witnessed by family and friends.

The officers - three women and two men - represented novices to policing and experienced officers. They were:  Anum Baig, Zachary Cage, Reynaldo Rodriguez,  Lina Stevenson and Stacy Wells.

"Our focus is making sure we have a safe system," said Police Chief Tim Kelly. "Our officers are as much as ambassadors for the METRO system as they are police officers. We need to have good communication skills and know how to interact with the public. And they need to focus on making sure our customers have a safe and secure commute when they ride METRO."

Officer Stevenson said she has always wanted to be a police officer. "It was my dream," she said. "I used to work in the jail at HPD and would see officers," adding that she was attracted to the way they carried themselves with pride and honor.

Officer Cage is also a first-time officer and formerly in the Navy. Being a policeman was also a life-long dream. In high school, he attended the Law & Justice Academy. "Ever since then, I wanted to help people," said Cage. "I served my country, and now I want to serve my community."

Officer Wells has had six years of experience as a police officer with Precinct 5 in Harris County. She chose METRO's police force because she wanted the more structured police environment.  A married mother of two, Wells said she chose this profession because every day is different.

"I don't like sitting behind the desk. I like being out. You never know what a day will bring," she said.

Two other officers sworn in a few weeks ago and in field training now are Alex Molina and Ann Garza, bringing the MPD force to 138.

METRO Moves Forward with Redesigning Routes

The METRO Board of Directors last week gave the green light  - in principle - to redesigning our local bus routes.

This is not final approval of System Reimagining, but the decision authorizes the staff to develop schedules for the huge redesign while simultaneously reviewing concerns by the community and elected officials.

System Reimagining is a massive overhaul of our local routes. This revamping will make our system easier to use and understand. On frequent routes – the Red Network – buses will run every 15 minutes or better, seven days a week.

The plan extends METRO’s transit reach, connecting one million people to one million jobs. Under the modified project plan, 94 percent of our current customers would still be able to access the same bus stop they use now.

Read more details here. Staff will brief the METRO board again on System Reimagining in its regularly scheduled October and November meetings. 

Tell Us How We're Doing
 

We want to know what you think about our website.  What features of RideMETRO.org have you used?

Have you checked out our T.R.I.P. planner  on the home page? Or looked at our job openings?

Which features are most important to you? And how can we make using our website a better experience for you? We're redesigning our website and would love to hear your ideas to make it more inviting and easier to use.

Please take a few minutes to give us your feedback and take this short survey.  Thanks!

 

Construction Issues Trigger New Rail Opening Date

 

The opening date for METRORail’s new Green (East End) Line and Purple (Southeast) Line has been moved to April 2015.

The new date was triggered by a several factors: construction issues not related to METRO in the central business district; and the performance of equipment (axle counters) used to regulate METRO’s light-rail traffic.

At last week’s board meeting, METRO presented a list of factors affecting the new opening date:

·      A private utility chilled waterline rupture by a contractor for the new Marriott Hotel next to the George R. Brown Convention Center (GRB)

·      Construction on the GRB garage

·      Issues with the axle counters along the newly-built downtown light-rail segments.

 Read more here.

 

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