Danger Train ridership below projections; crashes exceed expectations

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In an earlier post, Neal Meyer noted that METRO’s expensive new rail lines are failing to meet the transit organization’s ridership projections, which doesn’t really come as a surprise.

However, the new rail lines may have contributed to a significant uptick in Danger Train collisions with traffic/pedestrians/bicyclists.

Many local journalists stopped reporting on Danger Train collisions years ago, as it’s not the sort of reporting that their institutional sources tend to like or encourage. However, the METRO board and committees do receive monthly updates on the carnage, and the numbers for June aren’t pretty: There were 17 accidents involving the Danger Train and vehicles/pedestrians/bicycles for the month (see METRO documents one and two for the grim news). METRO had a “goal” target of “just” 11 accidents for the month, so at least the organization is exceeding one of its targets for the rail system (sort of)!

We have noted the problems of at-grade rail (and the folly of building more of it) many times, so we are not at all surprised at the elevated number of accidents. Indeed, we would expect the new downtown rail segments to contribute to an increase in both accidents and traffic congestion as the year progresses (probably exceeding even METRO’s projections for a big increase in accidents).

PREVIOUSLY: Coming soon to downtown: A train-traffic-pedestrian-infrastructure adventure only METRO could love, Take Two: A downtown train-traffic-pedestrian-infrastructure adventure only METRO could love

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Kevin Whited is co-founder and publisher of blogHOUSTON. Follow him on twitter: @PubliusTX