Sunday, June 29, 2014

Christof Spieler asks a question. I respond more-directly than perhaps he can.

In a recent guest article by METRO Board Member Christof Spieler on METRO's 'Write-In' blog, he asks the question, "Why, people have asked me, didn't METRO do [System Re-imagining] long ago?"
I'm not sure if the METRO Board has ever-before boasted someone who is the particular sort of civic architect Christof is.  Add to that a Mayor who actually cares about mass-transit being something more than just trains, trains, and more trains, with a Board chairman and seven other Board Members who are genuinely-receptive and we have a potent combination.

Jim McConn helped preside over the creation of METRO in 1978, making Houston's first appointments to the Board.  Kathy Whitmire was 'monorail', 'monorail', and more 'monorail', but did we ever hear about better bus service?

Bob Lanier?  Not sure about him.  I suppose he was prudent, and in my memory of him, bus service did not get worse, and maybe got better?  People will need to enlighten me about Mayor Bob.

Lee Brown was obsessed with trains, trains, and more trains at the expense of everything else.  (I've discovered then-President-CEO Shirley A. DeLibero was actually forward-thinking on better-integrating buses with rail.)  Bill White put people on the Board who helped turn the agency into a laughingstock.

Finally, Houston gets Annise Parker who has come the closest of any of our mayors (save McConn, perhaps) who in terms of transit actually 'gets' it and who has turned out to be the best mass-transit Mayor Houston has ever had.

The past twenty years has been about the turning over of old ways of doing things for more ergonomic and holistic ways of thinking.  The rise of the consumer internet has, in-part, fostered this.   And 'The New METRO' has bought into this fad and eternal truth - to the betterment of our community - hook, line, and sinker.

Of course, my great fear is that the people of Houston will in 2015 elect a mass-transit-do-nothing Mayor and that it will be Bill White-appoints-Board-who-allow-Frank-Wilson-to-flourish all over again.

God help us all.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Seemingly-scatterbrained versus hyper-focused

The wake of the Frank Wilson era at METRO was a time begging for answers, a time begging for new competence and an abiding desire for a renewed hope for tomorrow.  Upon taking office in April 2010, the Annise Parker METRO Board of Directors appointees led by new Board Chairman Gilbert Garcia with George Greanias as METRO's Interim and soon-to-be permanent President and Chief Executive Officer had more than a few parting gifts from Wilson to deal with.

The year 2010 was about cleaning up messes, damage-control, and (what a novel thing!) damage-repair.  2011 saw a revitalized METRO ready to look forward.

Enter METROVision, the agency's long-term mass-transit plan shared ca. 2011 in over thirty public meetings and designed to lay out METRO's wish-list for transit for the next few decades.  George talks more about this plan HERE.  In the wake of Greanias' departure in December 2012 and the fractious debate earlier that year over the renewal of the General Mobility Program, the METRO Board of Directors decided it was best to put the broad-looking METROVision on-hold for an indefinite period of time and focus on something far-more tangible and in direct spirit of what METRO hoped to be: the local bus system had not kept up with the times and needed to be re-worked from scratch.

METROVision was like one wanting to clean up his entire office and the entire office floor without his cleaning his own desk first.  METRO needed to focus on its trees first before going on to its forest.  Hence, System Re-imagining.

I look for METROVision to be scrapped permanently.  Certainly in the next two years as System Re-imagining is implemented (we hope) and as the agency takes a good and hard look at how it's faring, METRO will be, frankly, too busy to take that long-term look at where it wants to be, say, a half-century from now.  That will be for a future Board of Directors to do as the Parker-Garcia Board has less than two years before Houston's next Mayor, with their own agenda for whatever-it-may-be, takes office and presumably immediately puts in (with Houston City Council confirmation, of course) their own five appointees who will hopefully steer the Board in the same direction of competence, genuine empathy with the community, and good humor this Board has.

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And what would I want out of a long-term vision?  Well, in this process of System Re-imagining, I've learned just going out and haphazardly placing routes and rail hither and yon does not work.  We need a system that breathes.  We need a system that is flexible (the re-imagined bus grid gives us that).  We need a system that can evolve as the city and region evolves, reacting to and anticipating, hopefully, the demographic happenings to come.

What we don't need are light rail routes that turn out to be frequented more by tumbleweeds than people.  What we do need is a system that will work well with the perhaps-coming Houston-Dallas high-speed rail service.  We need a system that will play nicely with our airports.  We need a system that is safe.  We need a system that is intuitive and easy to figure out.

And to all of this, System Re-imagining is a really good start - indeed, the perfect beginning to the sort of system of mass-transit that will mitigate and make a real difference in the coming population-growth-traffic nightmare our region will inevitably become.

Friday, June 20, 2014

METRO System Re-imagining public meetings and a future timeline

Top: The Draft Re-imagined Network Map on display at METRO's System Re-imagining public meeting #5 held on 16 June 2014 at HCC Northwest - Spring Branch Campus - Photo by METRO

Bottom: Here I am (in the green polo shirt) talking with fellow citizens at this same meeting
Photo by METRO

To the end of reaching out to the community and addressing any concerns it might have over the Draft Proposed Re-imagined Transit Network, METRO has scheduled throughout June and July a series of public meetings.  Location and schedule (including ten days out-of-town) prevent me from attending most of these sixteen events, but I been able to go to this week's events at HCC Northwest - Spring Branch Campus and HCC Northwest - Alief Campus

The presentation at one of these meetings is the same for all of these meetings: a fifteen-minute overview of the project: rationale, goals, and execution.  This presentation is book-ended by an open-house/meet-and-greet format where you will be able to at your leisure look at the draft network map and compare it to our existing network.

The meetings listed on METRO's System Re-imagining website start at 6pm with the meet-and-greet with the main presentation at about 6:30pm or so followed by more meet-and-greet, which is scheduled always to end at 8pm, but at last night's meeting at the HCC Alief campus, there were no more people around, and the METRO staffers were packing up by 7:30pm.  Don't come to these meetings past 7:30pm as you may find tumbleweeds instead of maps and people!

I plan to attend next week's meeting at the Ripley-Baker Neighborhood Center east of Sharpstown near Bellaire @ Hillcroft, and I encourage all of you to attend these meetings not only for the maps and presentations, but also for the cool citizens who make it.  Last evening, I met a board member for the Alief Independent School District.  She and I attended the same high school, and I'm sure we both knew the same teachers and other staffers.

I go to multiple meetings for one reason only: gauging public feedback.  In my two meeting attendances, I've found people are happy for the overall project, but as is the case in all of creation, everyone has their pet routes and routings they will defend.  In Spring Branch, it is that of the current  131 Memorial, which is in the draft map being split into multiple routes.

New service extermination, rather than old service preservation, is the aim of a number of West University residents regarding the proposed 48 Weslayan.

Another concern that could raise its ugly head is that of the route re-numbering scheme METRO wishes to use: numbering routes roughly in a clockwise direction giving the route-numbering a far-more logical approach, particularly for the many new people coming into Houston all the time, especially those from other countries for whom I'm sure our current spaghetti-bowl network must be as confusing as all-get-out.

The people of Acres Homes have to a point adapted the current numbering of the current 44 Acres Homes into part of their cultural fabric, go so far with some to nickname Acres Homes, the '44'.  How long has the 44 been numbered as such, I do not know, but I imagine it to be the original numbering of METRO routing in that particular part of town, but I do expect there to be some political pushback concerning the numbering of the proposed 94 Acres Homes / Montgomery.

METRO staffers have said to me things to the effect that increased ridership is the over-arching goal of all of this, and that if reconsidering numbering on some routes will get people riding the bus, METRO will certainly consider accommodating.

Nothing in this Draft map is set in stone.  It is a draft map, the public comment on which will be taken from now until 31 July 2014, at which point METRO will no longer accept public comment (as far as I know) and will set to work on gathering together all the public input it gets and incorporating into the map as much as is practically possible, I think, without cratering the reasons behind this entire project into the creation of a Final Proposed Map that will be presented to the METRO Board in about August.
The Board will during late August through early-to-mid September consider this map, and there may be more changes arising from this, but I cannot be sure.  What I am sure of is that METRO's staff hope to have the Board give the nod at its September Board Meeting and approve the System Re-imagining five-year transit plan, thereby adopting the map and new network, thereby giving the green light to Kurt Lurhsen, Jim Archer, Tom Lambert, Andy Skabowski, Russ Frank, et al to commence with actually implementing this thing.

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And implementing this map will be an enormous challenge, but one for which our METRO has been preparing for the last two years.

Consider a METRO bus stop.

In System Reimagining, 93% of METRO's current bus stops will still be serviced - a herculean achievement and triumph of logistics and planning.  This means most of our box-shaped bus shelters will not need to be moved to other locations or removed entirely.  However, the bus stop signs like this one will need to be replaced.

Let's consider this particular sign, in that it tells us just how much work will be involved.  Consider first the parts of this sign:

1. The information strips: The two routes (75 Eldridge Crosstown and 131 Memorial Express) plus that for METRO Police and METRO information/website, plus that for METRO's logo...

Think on this...  At minimum, a bus stop sign services one route.  This means the logo strip, the route strip, the police info strip, and the METRO info strip.  4 information strips on every single stop - all nine-thousand of them: at minimum...thirty-six thousand strips that will need to be replaced all over METRO's service area.

2. The vertical metal strips holding the info strips to the sign pole...  At minimum, a bus stop sign will have twelve nuts and bolts holding all together and to the pole: one on either end of every route strip, two on each end of the METRO logo and METRO Police strips.  Twelve minimum nuts and twelve minimum bolts = 432,000 nuts and bolts undone and re-done and perhaps replaced.

3. The pole.  These along with shelters will be mostly-retained, I think.  Unless damaged or unless they need to be moved somewhere else or removed entirely, poles and shelters will remain as-is.

4. Maps and schedules on shelters.  Some shelters will have these posted, and how much METRO wants to plaster its network with these things on its shelters considering they would theoretically need to be replaced with every service change (three times a year), I don't know.  But every train station will be fitted with new schedules and bus maps for sure as well as shelters at high-ridership stops.

5. Trash cans.  Yeah, some may need to be replaced entirely or moved.  I expect METRO will do what it can to beautify as many bus stops as possible.  After all, a truck with crew will be visiting every single one of these, anyway!

Let's now consider that truck...having to be loaded with the exact-correct signage for each and every stop on its proffered schedule for the day...and with a crew of at least two people and with orange cones and all to divert traffic, plus METRO cops for really bad parts of town, if needed.

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Let's then consider that truck stop:

1. Braking - 1 minute min.
2. Disembarking of crew and setting of cones

Of course, the truck will make one stop for multiple bus stops.  Walking to each bus stop will take an average of one minute.  Three bus stop serviced at every truck stoppage.

3. Replacement of signs: three minutes for each sign: let's say ten minutes for the complete truck stop.

Poles and trash cans will have to be replaced by separate crews - and yes, we need to determine which poles need servicing, of course!  Yikes, this will be a mess to do!

The logistical complexity makes my head hurt.

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And let's talk about the design of exact timetables for scheduling!  Until the Board approves the map in September, METRO really cannot being in earnest to start doing this.  Can't do anything until the routes are set in stone for the coming June 2015 service change.

There will be about 270 bus schedules. About 90 routes with time schedules for weekdays, Saturdays, and Sundays...  It's all about coordinating reliability and speed of connections for transfers, on which this new network relies heavily.

Now my head really hurts...

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There is one thing going for METRO: the operations for signage-changes will occur during the cool months of the year.  Late September and early October for Houston are still hot, but by mid-October, things start to cool off, and will not be back to hot temperatures until mid-April or early May.

I expect most of these operations will take place from January through April 2015.  But wait -- isn't implementation scheduled for June 2015?  Yes, but METRO can tape over the new signage with old route numbers that will serve for the duration of the old network and remove them when it is time to turn over to the new network.

As to the turnover to the new network, METRO wishes to do the switch-over in one fell swoop: Saturday 6 June 2015 will see the buses after their day's trips pull into the garages.  When the last bus pulls in for the night, the route network that has served this city in one form or another since the 1870s will cease to exist.

On the morning of Sunday 7 June 2015, pending Board approval of the re-imagined network in September of this year, the 82 Westheimer will be no more.  In its place, there will be the 8 Westheimer (assuming proposed route numberings hold).  The 52 Scott / Hirsch will be replaced with the 62 Kelley Scott, 62 Cullen Hirsch, Flex zones, and other things I'm sure I've missed.  The mighty 45 Tidwell will be replaced with the 25 West Tidwell and the 26 Tidwell East.  The 2 Bellaire will be replaced with the 5 Bellaire.  The 46 Gessner will be replaced with the 40 Gessner.

And so on, and so forth...

On the morning of Sunday 7 June 2015, the new network will be implemented in the same brute-force and necessary way right-side driving was done in Sweden in 1968.

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And then, METRO sits back for a few years with maybe a few tweaks here and there, but with no major route changes, additions, or (hopefully) discontinuations, and sees how this new network fares.

Of course, this network and any new transport network, if left untended, will become in time no better for our city or any city than our current network.  This is the reason for the new paradigm of thinking of our network as a grid.  It's very easy to put new rungs on the grid ladder or remove them.  Our city, particularly the west and southwest, is built on a rough grid, and the grid is the mathematically-best way of going about making our bus network the best it can be.

This grid-thinking will allow METRO to make easy modifications to our network as demographics and traffic patterns change.   System re-imagining is the cleaning-up of our own desk in preparation for the clean-up and refurbishment of our office and home.  It is a fundamental and technical re-doing of our transport infrastructure foundation that will hopefully set the tone for future boards to follow: community involvement, efficiency, competence, forward-thinking, daring to implement that which is patently-workable and terribly-needed, pragmatism, proper frugality in the proper places, continued shuttles for our bus operators back to their cars at the garages from their Downtown route termini, etc., etc.

This network is a five-year plan.  How METRO will address things come June 2020 when the five years are up, I do not know.  That is for a future METRO Board to decide.  But what this METRO Board has concocted is a thousand times better than what we have and what we have had, and it's a step in the right direction in mitigating as much as possible the coming Houston traffic nightmare when we become like Austin, a city whose infrastructure has in no way kept up with its population growth.

This network is a winner.  It deserves your constructive criticism.  It deserves your support.

Take a look at the Draft Proposed Reimagined Transit Network.

Give your feedback.

Come to these METRO System Re-imagining public meetings.  Get involved.  Don't just watch the parade, but get involved and make our parade even bigger and better!

Is Jeff better than Karnak, the Magnificent? Part 2 - Podcast on hiatus for a time.

First off, an apology for having been incommunicado for about a month.  I've been busy iwth 'real life', and I have not been able to until this week make any of METRO's System Re-imagining public meetings.

As for the podcast, I'm having audio issues with my computer that have necessitated my putting the podcast to bed for a time.  The podcast is on hiatus, but this blog and HoustonOnTheGo in general are still very much a going concern.  I know a number of you enjoy the podcast very much, but I'm not able to produce audio work at this time that is up to my standards.  Podcast will come back, though, as quick as can be!

Thanks, as always, for listening, and thanks for reading this blog!

Now, for what you have been waiting way too long...

My predictions for System Re-imaging from Episode 26 of the podcast went pretty well, but a few things METRO put on the map caught me by surprise.

1. Montrose will be far-more-frequent and will be better integrated into the network than before.

CORRECT: The 54 Airline Montrose combines routings of the old 56 Airline, long a north-side warhorse, and the old 34 Montrose, the frequency of which is currently no better than a half-hour.

The new 54 is a frequent route with an evening headway of 30 minutes and a mid-day headway of 15 minutes with a 19-hour span of service. It also hooks up to the north side.

2. The Westheimer route will turn back at McGowen Station instead of at the Convention Center. A new route of some sort will serve the Convention Center, though the 412 Greenlink will continue unchanged as it is not funded by METRO.

PARTIAL - The 412 Greenlink remains as-is.

The current 81/82 Westheimer services Louisiana and Smith with a turnback at the Geo. R. Brown Convention Center. The new 8 Westheimer will serve Travis and Milam, offering better connectivity to the Red Line, and will turn back at Franklin, serving the coming Central Station in the meantime. A part of me wonders if it makes METRO rail a bit redundant, but were the 8 to stop at McGowen, riders in order to get to the East and Southeast Lines would have to transfer to the Red Line. By taking the 8 all the way to the Central Station, the transfer to and from the Red Line to get to the Green and Purple Lines is negated.

The 'red' segment of the 10 Kirby Dallas Polk and the 11 Heights/Dallas/Telephone will offer the same service to the Geo. R. Brown as does today's 412 Greenlink Circulator.

3. Increased frequency on Scott.

INCONCLUSIVE - The current 52 Scott has maximum frequency 20 minutes with a 20-ish-hour span of service seven days a week. The new 62 Kelley Scott has a minimum frequency of 30 minutes with a max frequency of every 10 minutes at peak hours with a 20-hour span with 15-minute frequency at weekday-midday and during the weekend.

4. Bellfort and W. Bellfort will become more important to the system and will get more frequency. No longer will a Bellfort bus go to Greenway, Rice Village, or the Galleria, though by way of a new route, direct connectivity between those three places will be preserved and enhanced with more-dedicated service.

PARTIAL - The ride from the west side of town to Hobby Airport will hopefully not take as long, thanks to the straightness of the new 70 Bellfort, but it will not be as easy in that, depending on your point of origin, you may need to transfer to the Red Line to catch the 70 at its start at Fannin South P&R.

The East Line will get one to the 69 Harrisburg, which also services Hobby Airport, but one still has to make at least one transfer related to METRO rail to Hobby. Getting to Hobby will still not be a convenient proposition.

The routing of the 70 Bellfort commences at Fannin South P&R and concludes at Hobby Airport. Of course, as in the current network, this is on the frequent network. But at Fannin South, one can connect with a blue route, the new 1 West Bellfort, which takes one along W. Bellfort west all the way to West Bellfort P&R. West Bellfort gets full-blown routing for the first time with better frequency along the whole of that street west of West Bellfort P&R, while Bellfort proper gets more frequency as well.

As for the direct connectivity between Greenway, Rice Village, and Galleria currently provided by the 73 Bellfort - Galleria branch, that in the new network as currently proposed will no longer exist. Rice Village is served by the blue 10 Kirby Dallas Polk (with greater frequency than the current 73 provides), the Galleria is served by numerous bus routes with the 8 Westheimer being the east-west transport. Greenway will be served by the 7 Richmond, but again, there is no direct connectivity between these three major centers of activity.

5. The West Loop P&R will be used by more routes than currently.

CORRECT: Currently, West Loop P&R services the 261 West Loop P&R, 68 Brase Bayou, and 33 Post Oak. In the draft map, West Loop services the 261 plus routes 2 Brays Bayou, 45 Chimney Rock, 48 Weslayan, and 82 W. Airport Briargate.

6. The Gessner & Tidwell buses will somehow intersect for the first time.

CORRECT - Yes, indeed, the new 40 Gessner and the new 25 Tidwell West will meet at the W. Little York P&R. Looking at the current system map, the current 46 Gessner and 45 Tidwell were screaming at me to be joined in some way, but I did not think METRO would allocate the resources to have their spiritual descendants go to W. Little York, but as W. Little York services about eight routes, it makes sense.

7. Not nearly enough emphasis will be put on stop-spacing. METRO is focusing on routes right now. Too bad.

DEFECTIVE PREDICTION - What a thorny issue! METRO has through the years done a number of studies on this matter, and it really comes down, I believe, to people not being rational about walking distances, particularly in Downtown.

There are a number of cases in which there are truly-redundant stops, but my glorious desire to have literally half the stops in our system removed immediately will not be realized any time soon.

My prediction itself was, yes, defective. By 'emphasis', I meant wholesale hardcore stop-removal. And contrary to my prediction text, it is not 'too bad'. METRO is trying desperately to walk that fine line between the mathematical and physical certainty that fewer stops means faster buses and ridership tolerance for long or short walks to bus stops.

I am also more and more convinced that METRO, while it has an internal protocol for bus-stop spacing, has to deal with more exceptions and anomalies than the rule. What is clear to me, though, is that not enough has been done over the years to make sure that, when a new stop is put in, redundancy in nearby stops is not created.

Bus stops are like an episode of hoarders. With every bus stop request comes a new stop, but nearby and older stops are not being taken out and/or accounted for. This must be changed.

8. Buses will go up past Westheimer and onto Voss up to San Felipe for the first time.

CORRECT!! The new 42 Hillcroft will service the NWTC, Woodway, and the entirety of Voss for the first time. The bus will then go down Hillcroft almost all the way to S. Main. However, the route will not deviate to the Hillcroft TC, with METRO's thinking being that deviation takes far too long.

And looking at the Hillcroft TC, labeled in the draft map the 'Hillcroft P&R', I have to wonder if METRO is thinking of putting up another TC somewhere in the vicinity, perhaps closer to Sharpstown?

The only routes coming into the re-imagined Hillcroft P&R as currently proposed are the 150 (Peak-only express), the 151 and the 152 - and that's it! Compare this to today's servicing at the Hillcroft TC of the 47 Hillcroft Crosstown, the 81 Westheimer - Sharpstown, the 132 Harwin, and the 163 Fondren with its agonizingly-slow trek through the Sharpstown area.

Which brings us to... the new 41 Fondren! For the first time ever, we will have bus service all the way up Fondren to Westheimer. I've been hoping for these sorts of things for years.

There is more first-time service in-store. The 48 Weslayan will serve that street from the Northwest TC, through Willowick, and the whole of Weslayan and down to Stella Link until the loop where it ends at the West Loop P&R.

Kirkwood, interestingly-enough, gets service for the first time via the new 34, but I look for this route to be sacrificed to give more service to the Northeast quadrant of Houston due to pushback from that part of the city over no frequent service as well as the Flex zones.

In the re-imagined network, the Mission Bend P&R becomes an effective transit center for the Mission Bend area. The 150 ends here, and here one can catch the 32 Eldridge with direct service to West Oaks Mall, the 4 Beechnut that makes a major deviation to make this connection, the 5 Bellaire, and the 7 Richmond, the ascendant of both of which already service this P&R, which really should be called a Transit Center.

Indeed, METRO's thinking more and more is to have less and less distinction between a 'transit center' and a 'park & ride'.

9. The 32 Renwick will be reincarnated in the Re-imagining unchanged.

PARTIAL - The 32 Renwick's numbering will be gone, but the routing itself will continue to exist and will be combined with new service to San Felipe as well as routing from W. Gray to form the new 9 Renwick San Felipe W. Gray. The current 32 Renwick, the brainchild of long-time mass-transit activist Mark Hogue, will live on, though the current 32's turnback servicing a tiny bit of Woodway will be no more. The southern terminus of the current 32 will remain unchanged.

10. Telephone Road will still be a branched route, but will no longer sport the double-helix.

PARTIAL - We have the new 11 Heights Dallas Telephone with no branching, and yes, the double-helix is gone! The old Howard Street branch area is now a part of the 74 Evergreen and the 73 Southmore Park Place.

11. Startling changes will be seen in the area between the W. Bellfort P&R and Hobby Airport. There will fewer routes, but those routes will carry a lot more people and will get a lot of bang for the buck.

PARTIAL - Very vague predictions as to ridership, but the Hiram Clark TC is far more of a hub than ever before. And yes, the changes are quite startling in this area. The Post Oak bus will no longer run this far south: the new 47 Post Oak is a true Post Oak bus, the southern terminus of which is the southern end of Post Oak with no service to S. Rice.

S. Rice will be served in part by the new 45 Chimney Rock, but the route serving this far-Southwest area will be the new 82 W. Airport Briargate that starts at the W. Loop P&R, winds its way around to the old Court Road branch of the current 33 Post Oak, and ends up at Hiram Clark TC, taking in a lot of far-flung places along the way.

12. The greatest cosmetic changes will be in the East Houston area bordered by Clinton, Downtown, Almeda, and the south and east Loop.

INCORRECT, believe it or not. If the Flex zones in the north and northeast are adopted, the northeast quadrant of METRO's service area takes this prize, though the predicted area comes in a clear second-place.

13. METRO will unfortunately still use Westheimer @ Post Oak, and there will be continued years of Xmas-time Galleria traffic.

CORRECT - Route configurations for this intersection will not, unfortunately, change.

It is my belief that nothing short of a re-do of the West Loop into an entirely-elevated highway, thereby connecting the broken bits of W. Alabama, thereby allowing buses to travel on that street, will alleviate this problem.

Hopefully, Uptown's scheme to put in Bus Rapid Transit along Post Oak will pan out, but it will not help east-west bus traffic.

14. Branded-Frequent bus service will be found on Bellaire, Westheimer, Gessner, Scott, Bissonet, Airline, and Richmond.

CORRECT on all counts: 3 Bissonnet, 5 Bellaire, 7 Richmond, 8 Westheimer, 40 Gessner, 54 Airline Montrose, and 62 Kelley Scott

15. Quickline service on Bellaire will remain unchanged, though I do wish it would go out to Mission Bend.

CORRECT - The coming June service change to the current 402 Bellaire Quickline with new all-day service was the give-away. This Quickline will be METRO's guinea pig as to bringing on new Quicklines elsewhere.

16. The 37 El Sol and 38 Manchester Docks are gone. They will not be reincarnated.

PARTIAL - Parts of the current 37 are coming back via the 16 White Oak Quitman, but the 38 Manchester Docks service will be no more, though its service on Harrisburg will be take up by the new 69 Broadway.

17. There will be continued P&R service to Baytown.

CORRECT - P&R service is hardly touched in this re-imagining, which tells us how well it has done through the years and how much more love METRO has given this part of its system relative to local bus service until now.

18. Kirby will continue its new routing on W. Dallas through Downtown and will receive far-more-frequent service.

CORRECT - This goes back to No. 7 in my wish-list regarding this street.

For many years, the current 18 Kirby took the easternmost part of Allen Parkway as a fast trip into Downtown. About a year or so ago, it was re-routed to take in job centers along W. Dallas, leaving Allen Parkway behind.

With the new 10 Kirby W. Dallas, that will continue.

19. Gessner will run later at night than ever before.

INCONCLUSIVE - At its greatest span, the current 46 Gessner gives us about a sixteen-hour span of service. The new 40 gives us 18, which will put (presumably) service starting at the 46's current 5:30-ish am at this same hour for the 40 with service ending at perhaps 11pm. How this will work on Sundays, I do not know.

20. No more service on Canal Street.

INCORRECT - Unbelievably to me, what I believe to be an uninterrupted stretch of mass-transit service on Canal street going back at least a hundred years will continue by way of the 12 Memorial Canal, which will start at San Felipe @ Post Oak, provide direct service to Memorial Park and continue on Memorial all the way to Downtown.

The route (it is a blue route) continues through Downtown, and makes its way to Canal street. At Canal @ 75th, it turns toward Navigation and takes in the southward turn of Navigation, turning west on Harrisburg and ends up at Magnolia TC.

21. The 42 Holman will no longer run west of Downtown. Instead, the Westheimer bus will go through McGowen and continue on Elgin all the way through UH and the Eastwood Transit Center. If METRO goes through with this, it had better remove about half the stops along the route lest it become unwieldy.

INCORRECT - This assumed the continuance of the 42 Holman in much its same routing. The old 42's routing is combined with Gulfton's to make the new 9 Gulfton Holman that does not take too much of a Holman deviation save to give Elgiin a bit of service.

The new 8 Westheimer, of course, does not continue on Elgin, and Elgin will continue to go without bus service, though I'm sure METRO thought about changing to Elgin from Holman, but I think they wanted to keep the half-mile walking between routes as much as possible between the 10/11 Frequent Segment and the 2 Brays Bayou.

22. I've heard there will be continued service on Navigation, though my prediction is the old 48 will be reincarnated without its circuitous north detour.

INCORRECT - The 48 Navigation is gone!!

The 12 Memorial/Canal will serve Navigation, though it will go on Canal street with the old 48's northward bent being served by other routes.

23. Quickline on Westheimer

INCORRECT - as much as I would have liked for it to have been otherwise, though in Christmastime, it would not have mattered anyway with Galleria traffic.

Of 23 predictions, I have 9 correct, 6 partial, 2 inconclusive, 5 incorrect, and 1 defective prediction. This gives me 15 of 23 that were at least partially-correct.