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METRO Considers Moving Transit Center From Bellaire to Gulfton

METRO’s Cindy Siegel addresses Bellaire meeting.

BELLAIRE, Texas – (By Michelle Leigh Smith for Realty News Report) –  Bellaire area business owners were encouraged by news from former Bellaire Mayor and METRO board member Cindy Siegel that finally, there are plans to relocate the Bellaire Transit Center where riders transfer to METRO buses.

The 1.2-acre METRO center is located in the middle of Bellaire Boulevard at South Rice Avenue, about a half-mile west of Loop 610.

METRO is considering a plan to relocate the transit center to the Gulfton area to land that METRO will acquire near Gulfton Street and Chimney Rock Road.

METRO’s transit center in Bellaire Boulevard opened in 1987 amid a wide, oak-lined esplanade in the center of the east-west boulevard.

 “I fought many years to see this transit station moved west of the city,” says Siegel. “Moving it further west will not only help Bellaire but it is also better for the METRO customer by putting the station closer to the Gulfton community that frequently buses.”

She and the METRO board’s Sanjay Ramabhadran, P.E. recently revealed plans for the METRONext Moving Forward at the Bellaire Business Association breakfast. Ramabharan says METRO will have to acquire land for the new location, which they have named “the Gulfton Transit Center.”

 “We know the Bellaire community wants to see it moved because it causes a lot of transit issues,” says Siegel. “From METRO’s standpoint, it makes sense to move it because it serves the transit-oriented population near Gulfton.”

Bellaire is an independent municipality surrounded by Houston.

Bellaire City Council first heard about the plan back at the March 18th when Siegel shared the draft of the METRONext Moving Forward Plan, and plans for a $3.5 billion METRO bond election. The 20-year plan provides for 20 more miles of light rail, 75 miles of high performing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) like the Uptown BRT line and 110 miles of two-way HOV lanes along freeways. The plan includes a series of high capacity investments such as Light Rail Extensions (a series of extensions of green and purple bus lines connecting to Hobby Airport and the courthouse and a proposed connection from downtown to N. Shepherd to George Bush IAH, connecting at Greenspoint, through a regional partnership with TxDOT). We also have an extension to the Uptown BRT line, down Westpark to a new proposed facility at Gulfton, says Priya Zachariah, Manager, Regional and Long Range Planning for METRO.

“We don’t have plans to move Bellaire Transit Center if we don’t build a Gulfton,” says METRO’s spokesman Jerome Gray. “Questions about land acquisition, budget, what to do with the Bellaire Transit Center will all have to be determined after the METRO Board adopts a plan, voters approve a referendum and the Board sets priorities. There’s a lot still to be worked out regarding timeline, etc.”

May 14, 2019 Realty News Report Copyright 2019

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