METRORail Uptown Line
|Type||Bus rapid transit|
|Termini||Northwest Transit Center (north)|
Bellaire Uptown Transit Center (south)
|Opened||May 2019 (estimated)|
|Line length||4.7 mi (8 km)|
The Uptown Line is a planned bus rapid transit line in Houston, Texas, to be operated by METRO. Scheduled to enter service in May 2019, the line connects the Uptown area of Houston, with dedicated lanes on Post Oak Boulevard. It will serve ten stations in Uptown, with termini at Bellaire Uptown Transit Center and the Northwest Transit Center.
The line was originally planned as a 4.7 mi (8 km) extension of the METRORail light rail network. Due to lack of funds, it was announced in early 2013 that the Uptown/Gold Line will be constructed initially as a bus rapid transit line using three-door buses. The design will feature the ability to easily convert the line to light rail in the future.
The Uptown Line will begin at the Bellaire Uptown Transit Center, a new park and ride facility located on Westpark Drive near the intersection of the Southwest Freeway and West Loop (I-610). It will run in the median of Post Oak Boulevard through the Uptown area, serving eight intermediate stations, before reaching an interchange with the West Loop freeway. Buses will continue north on a two-lane elevated busway along the West Loop, which rejoins Post Oak Road near I-10. The line terminates at Northwest Transit Center, located at Katy Road on the north side of the I-10 interchange. The corridor is currently served by Route 33.
Following a statement in 2010 by Houston's mayor, Annise Parker, construction will commence at a time when funding can be secured for this line. Furthermore, due to the lack of infrastructure upgrades promised by the Uptown Management District, METRO will hold off on anything related to the line until a deal is arranged.
The light rail project was repeatedly blocked by Congressman John Culberson, based on concerns from constituents on Richmond Avenue. It was downgraded to a $177.5 million bus rapid transit project with dedicated lanes in 2013, under a plan promoted by Uptown developers to receive improved transit service sooner than the estimated 2025 arrival of light rail.
The following is a list of planned stations for the Uptown Line, listed in order from north to south. The initial line will contain 8 stations with the Four Oaks Station being added at an unspecified date in the future.
|Northwest Transit Center Station|
|Uptown Park Station|
|San Felipe Station|
|Ambassador Way Station|
|West Alabama Station|
*Note: this station is shared with the University/Blue Line in order to provide transfers.
Future expansion would include a 1.1 mi (1.8 km) extension northbound to Northwest Mall, as well as a westward expansion to the Hillcroft Transit Center.
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