Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Silly bus stops, Volume 3

As the world waits with bated breath for the 11 February revelation of what should/will be our mass-transit network going forward into the next five years, let's reflect on some more bus stops in dire need of 'reimagining'.

Consider Westheimer between Weslayan and Kirby, inclusive.

Eastbound from Weslayan, the necessity for a stop at the large St. Luke's United Methodist Church is clear.  Any bus stops servicing such places in addition to hospitals, nursing/retirement homes, schools, etc. must be retained and the rest of the bus stop system built around these 'sacrosanct' stops such that there are no redundancies.

The stops between St. Luke's and Weslayan/Willowick??  Not so sure about those...

The stops at Eastgrove & Sutton Ct. are only ca. 925 feet from Weslayan/Willowick are perfectly illustrative of the problem of the segment of Westheimer from Weslayan to Buffalo Speedway: no crossings with lights and existing stops serving few people.  The same holds true for the stops at Timmons westbound and eastbound (right at the Whataburger).

By car, Westheimer between Weslayan and Buffalo Speedway is only 0.70 miles.  Solution: jettison the stops at Sutton Ct., Eastgrove Ln., and Timmons.  To serve St. Luke's, we have to keep the ones at Timmons, unfortunately.

'Unfortunately', because we have Buffalo Speedway, which may or may not under the re-revised Reimagining map to be released 11 February be a part of the new local bus network.  METRO has not put a stop at Buffalo Speedway going east on Westheimer, and it was correct to make that omission - Bravo, METRO.  No bus, I think, has ever gone up and down that portion of Buffalo Speedway, and I strongly suspect the neighbors on Claremont would object somewhat to having METRO on that street - horrors!

Google Maps has the westbound Buffalo Speedway stop farther east than it actually is.  This stop is appropriate for now, though as the stops at River Oaks serve Lamar High School as well as the large St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, they are sacrosanct and must be retained.  Those River Oaks stops can also serve the St. John's School, negating the need for stops at Buffalo Speedway.

And then, there's this:

This stop is located eastbound Westheimer between River Oaks and Buffalo Speedway. This and its across-the-street opposite have no logical, moral, or metaphysical reason to exist. Remove the shelter to a more-profitable location and scuttle these stops permanently.

But they serve St. John's School!  Not really.  Going Eastbound, the kids still have to walk around a fence and through a gate.  They are just as safe getting off with the Lamar kids at River Oaks.

If you are looking at this post soon after it goes up, you will see April 2014 Google Images.  Look at how METRO still has this eastbound bus stop as active even though street repairs make bus-stopping there impossible.  Yet, I'm sure some fool passenger will still want to get off there, and will complain to METRO when the Operator obeys the dictates of safety and common sense and lets them off at River Oaks, instead.  Solution: deactivate this stop during construction and use the opportunity to shut it down once and for all.

Finally, on the 0.70 mile stretch of Westheimer between River Oaks and Kirby, we have stops in both directions at Virginia, both of which serve small shopping centers, but in the greater interest of the literally thousands who bus along Westheimer every day of the week who do not care one whit abut Chuy's or Avalon Diner, the latter of which I highly recommend, the consigning of these two bus stops to the dustbin of history needs to happen.

I would take out the two at Bammell, but they serve Bethany Christian Church.

With all of that, we have this...

Between Weslayan & Kirby, inclusive, on Westheimer eastbound we currently have ten bus stops.  Ten!!  Westbound, we also have ten.

Getting rid of extraneous dross reduces things to six stops both ways.  Still a lot of bus stops, but that's because of the presence of houses of worship, the locations of which prevent a single set of both-way stops serving both at once while still taking in Lamar Elementary while serving the exacting standards of minimum-walking worshippers have along with necessary safety concerns with students.

Westheimer between Gessner and Fondren...  Westheimer between Kirby and Weslayan...  How many other spots like this have we in the METRO service area?  How many more posts like this will I need to make ere METRO wakes up to the fact the number of bus stops in our system could probably be reduced by at least forty percent while still giving seniors, the disabled, and everyone else the same standard of service they have today?

System Reimagining seeks to revolutionize local bus service and how it fits into the rest of our network.  Bus stops are the hardening of the arteries.

They, too, need some 'Reimagining'.

No comments:

Post a Comment