REPORT: Activists charge that METRO is creating ‘transportation deserts’ by Robert Stanton
As Houston METRO rolls forward with plans to revamp public transportation in the city, some community leaders are fighting to save traditional bus routes in inner-city neighborhoods.
Reimagine Houston Transit, an 18-month-long project spearheaded by the Metropolitan Transit Authority, seeks to transform transit as Houstonians know it.
Key to the change is a proposed reworked bus routing system that will increase coverage of the Houston area while boosting ridership by 20 percent over the next two years (once the new system is implemented), according to the Citizens’ Transportation Coalition. - http://www.ctchouston.org/wordpress/METRO-transit-system-reimagining/
Results of a Reimagine Houston Transit study are expected to be released this month. (August)
Not everyone, however, is gung-ho about METRO’s plans.
Houston businessman Paul Magaziner said that minority communities are getting the short end as METRO focuses its efforts on light rail, its Park and Ride program, and its signature bus program along Bellaire Boulevard and the future Uptown area.
“What they are not into,” he said, “is providing the historic current local bus routes. They’re going to be eliminating them. In 2012, METRO eliminated seven routes, and now they’ll be eliminating more.
“They want to remove bus routes in black neighborhoods and on the East Side, and in effect they are creating transportation deserts,” Magaziner said. “It’s going to be a terrible impact.”
METRO spokeswoman Carolina Mendoza said that bus routes “are streamlined and made more understandable by reducing excessive turns and keeping the service on major streets.
“Some individuals may have to walk a short block or two to access the new network, but frequency of service is generally better, and weekend service is dramatically improved over existing levels,” she stated in an email.
“The proposed new network more than doubles the number of people who are within a 1/2 mile of frequent service,” she stated. “And still, 93% of existing riders system-wide will continue to be able to access the new bus network at the same bus stop they do today.
Both the Southeast and East End communities “will be seeing new rail lines open with significantly improved frequency and span of service, seven days-a-week,” she added.
Tracy Stephens, a retired supervisor at the Houston Public Works and Engineering Department, said that physically impaired Houstonians are being adversely affected by METRO’s decisions.
Stephens said that a federal Title 6 complaint has been filed against METRO, alleging the agency has not provided enough covered shelters for wheelchair bound Houstonians and those who use scooters to get around.
“At a majority of bus shelters, a person on a wheelchair or scooter can’t access under the shelter because of the way it is constructed,” he said. “The bench to sit on stretches all the way across, so there’s no room to roll a wheelchair under the shelter.”
As a result, handicapped riders “are forced to be out in the elements,” Stephens said. “Some of METRO’s buses arrive every 60 minutes, and even 30 minute in 100 degrees is too much – especially for someone with a disability.”
Stephens said he has asked METRO officials how many bus shelters are inaccessible to the disabled – in effect a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act – and was told the agency was looking into the situation.
Mendoza, of METRO, said that most of the city’s bus shelters are accessible to handicapped riders.
“We are currently assessing our shelters to get an accurate count on how many are not (accessible),” she stated in the email. “We hope to have an idea of the number and the costs to improve them sometime next year.”
Mendoza said that METRO plans to build more bus shelters to accommodate the growing number of riders in the city.
“For the past few years METRO has installed about 100 bus shelters per year,” she stated. “The 2012 METRO referendum provided more funding dollars for bus improvements beginning next year. So we expect to increase the number of shelters being built.”
Houston community activist Charles X. White said that it’s crucial that Title 6 complaints are filed against METRO in order to keep the agency accountable to the people who use public transportation.
“It’s important to file a Title 6, and file it properly,” he said. “Then an investigation will ensue that will afford the citizens and the taxpayers to have oversight with METRO, where there is no oversight with metro now.
“The fox is guarding the henhouse w the way it’s set up now,” White said. “If the investigation is done, that means the fox has got to leave the henhouse.”
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MESSAGE FROM AUBREY R. TAYLOR: The featured reports in this edition of Houston Business Connections Magazine are provided by Aubrey R. Taylor, Robert Stanton and Stacy Swimp. The featured reports are: President Barack Obama Amnesty Would Hurt African Americans; Federal Probe Into HISD Moves Forward; United States Senator Thad Cochran a GOP Moderate Lands Black Votes to Seal Victory in Mississippi; and The Candidates Who Are Asking for Your Vote In The 2014 Midterm Elections in Harris County. Election Day is Tuesday, November 4, 2014.
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This "FREEDOM" acronym has been developed by Aubrey R. Taylor Communications, the publisher of Houston Business Connections Magazine for people of faith; but it can be used by anyone looking to make an informed and empowered decision in any given election.
All candidates should be open to debates. Debates are also a very good way for us to identify how a candidate we're thinking about supporting responds under pressure; how quickly they can think on their feet; and whether or not they're knowledgeable and well-rounded. If you select the best debater, you could very-well be getting the person you want to be speaking on your behalf on issues near and dear to your heart.
Why We Should All Go Vote in the Tuesday, November 4, 2014 Midterm Elections
By Pastor Robert L. Thomas
I know many of us will say the old cliché’ “Our forefathers died for this right!,” which is very true; but that alone as an argument to motivate us to do what we should already be excited to do – just isn’t enough.
Why we have to extol the virtues of voting to a people just a few decades removed from one of the worst atrocities ever perpetuated against mankind in the detestable act of slavery is really beyond me.
It really boils down to this: if you are interested in having a better quality of life – you should go out and vote; if you want your children to be able to afford to attend college – then go vote; if you think your taxes are too high for the services you receive – go out and vote; if your school system is not what you want it to be – yep, you should get up and roll to the polls.
It really is true – your vote is your voice! We have to be stronger in voice, so that what we say, when we say it, matters – and we are responsible for doing that at the voting booth. Elected officials work for the taxpayers, not the other way around, and as such, they should not be able to tell us what they are going to do…they are to push forward the positive agendas for bettering our safety, opportunities, prosperity and quality of life.
The choice is yours, accept things as they are, or vote and seek the systemic change we all so richly deserve!
Be Safe, and Stay Informed!
Robert L. Thomas, Jr.
Robert Thomas Ministries
Senior Pastor of Olivet Missionary Baptist Church
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The Rights and Freedoms of Americans
OWN PRIVATE PROPERTY
MANY OTHER FREEDOMS
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United States Representative District 2
United States Representative District 7
United States Representative District 9
United States Representative District 10
United States Representative District 14
United States Representative District 18
United States Representative District 22
United States Representative District 29
United States Representative District 36
Governor of Texas
Comptroller of Public Accounts
Commissioner of the General Land Office
Commissioner of Agriculture
Chief Justice, Supreme Court
Justice, Supreme Court, Place 6 (Unexpired)
Justice, Supreme Court, Place 7
Justice, Supreme Court, Place 8
Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals Place 3
Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals Place 4
Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals Place 9
Member, State Board of Education, District 4
State Senator, District 7
State Senator, District 15
State Senator, District 17
State Representative House District 126
State Representative House District 127
State Representative House District 128
State Representative House District 129
State Representative House District 130
State Representative House District 131
State Representative House District 132
State Representative House District 133
State Representative House District 134
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State Representative House District 137
State Representative House District 138
State Representative House District 139
State Representative House District 140
State Representative House District 141
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State Representative House District 143
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State Representative House District 145
State Representative House District 146
State Representative House District 147
State Representative House District 148
State Representative House District 149
State Representative House District 150
Chief Justice, 14th Court of Appeals District
Justice, 1st Court of Appeals District, Place 3
Justice, 1st Court of Appeals District, Place 5
Justice, 14th Court of Appeals District,
Justice, 14th Court of Appeals District, Place 7
District Judge, 55th Judicial District
District Judge, 113th Judicial District
District Judge, 157th Judicial District
District Judge, 180th Judicial District
District Judge, 182nd Judicial District
District Judge, 183rd Judicial District
District Judge, 184th Judicial District
District Judge, 185th Judicial District
District Judge, 189th Judicial District
District Judge, 190th Judicial District
District Judge, 208th Judicial District
District Judge, 209th Judicial District
District Judge, 228th Judicial District
District Judge, 230th Judicial District
District Judge, 232nd Judicial District
District Judge, 234th Judicial District
District Judge, 245th Judicial District
District Judge, 246th Judicial District
District Judge, 247th Judicial District
District Judge, 248th Judicial District
District Judge, 257th Judicial District
District Judge, 262nd Judicial District
District Judge, 263rd Judicial District
District Judge, 269th Judicial District
District Judge, 270th Judicial District
District Judge, 280th Judicial District
District Judge, 281st Judicial District
District Judge, 295th Judicial District
District Judge, 308th Judicial District
District Judge, 309th Judicial District
District Judge, 310th Judicial District
District Judge, 311th Judicial District
District Judge, 312th Judicial District
District Judge, 313th Judicial District
District Judge, 314th Judicial District
District Judge, 315th Judicial District
District Judge, 334th Judicial District (Unexpired)
Harris County District Attorney (Unexpired)
Harris County Judge
Judge, County Civil Court at Law No. 1
Judge, County Civil Court at Law No. 2
Judge, County Civil Court at Law No. 3
Judge, County Civil Court at Law No. 4
Judge, County Criminal Court No. 1
Judge, County Criminal Court No. 2
Judge, County Criminal Court No. 3
Judge, County Criminal Court No. 4
Judge, County Criminal Court No. 5
Judge, County Criminal Court No. 6
Judge, County Criminal Court No. 7
Judge, County Criminal Court No. 8
Judge, County Criminal Court No. 9
Judge, County Criminal Court No. 10
Judge, County Criminal Court No. 11
Judge, County Criminal Court No. 12
Judge, County Criminal Court No. 13
Judge, County Criminal Court No. 14
Judge, County Criminal Court No.15
Judge, County Probate Court No. 1
Judge, County Probate Court No. 2
Judge, County Probate Court No. 3
Judge, County Probate Court No. 4
Harris County Clerk
Harris County Treasurer
County School Board Trustee, Position 5, At-Large
County School Trustee, Position 7, At-Large
County Commissioner, Precinct 2
County Commissioner, Precinct 4
Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1, Place 2
Justice of the Peace, Precinct 2, Place 2
Justice of the Peace, Precinct 3, Place 2
Justice of the Peace, Precinct 4, Place 2
Justice of the Peace, Precinct 5, Place 2
Justice of the Peace, Precinct 6, Place 2
Justice of the Peace, Precinct 7, Place 2
Justice of the Peace, Precinct 8, Place 2
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THIS MESSAGE BY BISHOP ALLEN
The American Dream Is Ours...So Let's Go Get It -- You have authority to walk in dominion. So don't let anything stop you from doing what you've been called to do. We must bring our community at large to another level of existence. To do this we must put some principles into perspective and practice.
We must put people into office who are not afraid to stand up for righteousness, and walk in the authority given to them by God.
We must put entrepreneurs in their rightful place as leaders in our communities and the marketplace. We must do this by making sure that we support our businesses. But we must also make sure our banks are supporting our businesses and empowering them to be competitive in the marketplace.
We must also educate and empower our communities on the concept of how the economy and free market really works.
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LISTEN TO BISHOP ALLEN
The American Dream - This is an inspirational hip hop message from Bishop Anthony A. Allen and Billy Cook a legendary hook singer and rapper. Bishop Allen and his wife Matishe, are the founders of Anthony Allen Ministries and one of the "FEATURED SPONSORS" of the Houston Business Connections Magazine "Celebrating Freedom" series June 2014 - January 2015. Billy Cook has been featured on over 500 records including Chamillioanire's "The Sound Of Revenge". He's worked with just about every big name rapper in Texas. Bishop Anthony A. Allen is an apostolic leader who also serves the community at large as a businessman, entrepreneur, investor, author, and entertainer. He is the founder and president of Anthony Allen Ministries, a ministry called to serve the urban community.
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