Friday, June 7, 2013

One step closer to making Post Oak even more impassable

We're getting there:

Uptown transit plan back on the road. Dug Begley,

Uptown's plan centers on offering bus rapid transit service along Post Oak, between a planned Westpark transit center south of U.S. 59 and west of Loop 610, and the Northwest Transit Center near 610 and Interstate 10. Buses would run the route in special center lanes along Post Oak, then using either elevated lanes along 610, or existing city streets north of where Post Oak meets Loop 610.

There's a reason several business owners are in opposition to this (dissenting voices unsurprisingly omitted from the article) and it's because construction of these lines is going to eat into existing lanes for automobile traffic which is going to cut down on their potential exposure to customers during the construction phase.  Of course, the office tenants will be happy because, if they can force buy-in, then they can have their employees park in the off-site park-and-ride lots and save money on parking costs in building garages.  Building management companies (were they thinking clearly) would oppose it because they would lose said parking revenue.  However, my suspicion is that many will be for it because they've been convinced amenities such as BRT lines give a whiff of world classiness to the joint.

Never mind that, based on current estimates, construction is estimated to last 4 years. And while the district promises that there will be as many automobile lanes post construction as pre-construction, it's the interim that is always of concern.  As with any road/mass transit project, the controlling entity is basically asking their current tenants to survive on greatly reduced revenues for an extended period of time.  In many cases the businesses that benefit are not the ones that were in place when the construction started, especially when you're talking about smaller, locally owned stores who cannot just absorb the losses as can larger chains.

None of the above is a reason why it should, or should not, be done, it's just adding some context that was (sadly) missing in the Begley piece.  Too often, especially in ChronBlog, anti-mass anything opponents are criticized as spend-thrifts with a default "no" response to spending any money whatsoever.  That's frequently not the case, but there's no onus to present the issue fairly when you've already stated your position on the matter and abdicated your role as a news agency.

A larger conversation surrounding why this points to the failures of Metro should also occur, but those are only happening on the outskirts, and will not get full shrift in ChronBlog if history is any indication.  That's too bad, because there's fertile ground to plow but no one wants to plow it.

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