Last week the Chronicle‘s Tom Manning filed this story on the final Metro University line meeting:
Tuesday’s third and final public meeting on the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s revised options for the University Rail Line did little to bridge the gap between advocates for a Richmond Avenue line and its opponents.
Metro has faced strong opposition to the plan from business owners and residents who live along Richmond west of Shepherd, most notably residents of Afton Oaks, just west of the Loop. While a crossover at Greenway Plaza or other locations would keep the line from traveling through Afton Oaks along Richmond, those opposed to having any portion of the line run along Richmond remained vocal Tuesday.
Metro plans show that eight properties along the route would be absorbed into the project, with 82 other instances of right of way widening.
Daphne Scarborough, who owns a business in the 2000 block of Richmond just east of Shepherd, said the Mobility Coalition for Quality of Life polled 204 residents and business owners along Richmond between Main Street and Shepherd, and that 200 of them opposed a Richmond line.
Christof Spieler, a board member of the Citizens Transportation Coalition, a group that has supported the Richmond rail line concept, said that while a Greenway Plaza crossover may seem like a logical crossover spot, the line would better serve the Plaza if it remained on Richmond past it to the tracks.
“If you want to truly serve the Greenway Plaza area, you’ve got to go (along Richmond) to the railroad tracks,” he said. “Landowners in the Greenway area want it on Richmond.”
If that’s the standard, then residents of The Woodlands should be able to overrule Heights residents, in the ongoing I-45 widening debate, right? And those who hanker for the Grand Parkway’s F-2 segment to be completed so their trip between Katy and The Woodlands will be a breeze, should be given the final say over any objections Spring residents might have.
As for Metro’s eminent domain plans, how many of those “right of way widening” opportunities will practically destroy the property? If the main part of the property is a business and Metro takes the front parking lot for “right of way widening,” what does that do for the business’s future?
Maybe folks who are outraged about what might happen to the River Oaks Theater could get a little worked up about what surely will happen to businesses along Richmond. And the trees, too.