Who can blame them for being concerned? It's Metro, after all

KTRK-13 has another story on residents in southeast Houston who aren't pleased a light rail line is coming to their neighborhood:

For more than 30 years, Rutha Hymon has lived in MacGregor Place.

"This is a quiet neighborhood, it's close to downtown, you know it's nice," she said.

She lives just a half block from Martin Luther King Boulevard. It's a long a stretch that METRO has selected for construction of a 1.2 mile light rail line between Old Spanish Trail and Griggs Road.

Hymon fears the line could leak stray electricity into the neighborhood and could endanger children who cross MLK to Peck Elementary.

"I don't welcome more problems," she said.

Others agree and say it is risky for METRO to put in a line near where children gather. There is fear that children don't always look both ways before crossing the street.

"They don't do it," said Baba Shango of the Sehah Youth Center. "Some will do it, some won't do it and that is too much of a chance."

Shango is one of a half dozen people who pled with METRO's board to move the route behind their neighborhoods. They also accused the board of not notifying the neighborhood residents concerning public meetings on the issue.

METRO's CEO says 14,000 door hanger meeting notifications were sent out before 140 meetings on the issue which took place over a six year period. He says METRO has been sensitive to the homeowner's concerns and laments that there is no way to please everyone.

"So it is our responsibility to make sure we disrupt the community as little as possible," said METRO's David Wolff. "We're sensitive to safety concerns and we make sure businesses continue to prosper and we are committed to that."

Certainly there is enough of a track record (literally!) along the Danger Train line that residents have plenty of valid reasons to be concerned. Metro's competence to build light rail is not a given.

KEVIN WHITED ADDS: KHOU-11 also has a story on this topic. Unfortunately, we will continue to see these sorts of stories so long as we are determined to build light rail at grade, down busy streets and along busy intersections. It's a dangerous, short-sighted way to build transit, and hardly world-class (when compared to the great transit systems of the world, which are not run down busy streets).

Posted by Anne Linehan @ 07/27/07 05:01 AM | Print |

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