A Simple Fix for Krystal Hersey

Houston Press leads with an article critical of Houston’s new bus network. The article spends most of its time on the plight of Krystal Hersey and other residents of the Wesley Square apartment complex, on the south side near 610 and Cullen.

Per Houston Press, Krystal’s apartment is “0.3 miles” from the old #87 bus stop, which is “right outside the gate.” Now that the #87 has been eliminated, she must walk “about a half mile.” Thankfully, there is an easy fix to this problem which doesn’t require modifying Metro’s bus grid.

Here’s the situation as it existed a month ago. Wesley Square’s sole pedestrian access is via a gate off the main entrance drive, resulting in the following walk routes for transit users:

We can reasonably assume that Krystal Hersey lives near the back of the complex. With the former Route 87 stop on Calhoun deleted, her walk route to the Route 29 stop on Cullen is this:

That’s certainly a long walk. However, the issue is less that the bus stop is too far away and more than there is no break in the fence, so residents are cut off from the most direct walk route.

Adding a pedestrian access gate to the northwest corner of the complex would yield the following walk routes:

Because Krystal Hersey lives near the back of the complex, this new gate will give her a shorter walk to the bus than she had under the old network. Other residents will have a slightly longer walk; for the complex as a whole, things will be about the same.

A pedestrian gate, video camera monitoring and a short sidewalk connection ought to cost around $2000, installed. That’s less than it costs to run a single bus for two days (assuming a 14 hour service span). Multifamily owner/brokers* are generally pretty reasonable guys. Before it starts rejiggering the bus network, METRO ought to give them a call and see if they can’t work something out.

*Wesley Square is managed by Marquis Management of Plano, and is owned by DM Real Estate, located at the same address.

2 thoughts on “A Simple Fix for Krystal Hersey”

  1. First, I understand why some people are complaining about the bus changes. If I lost my only means to work and running errands, I probably wouldn’t care a majority of riders are benefitting. Second, when transit service is your lifeline, it’s an immediate problem.

    Unfortunately this creates a dysfunctional political dynamic from the perspective of transit advocacy. Different groups of transit riders engage in a tug-of-war, fighting to improve, or at least retain their transit service, at the expense of others. So the Title VI claims take the most direct political path by appealing to take resources from other parts of the transit network for a remedy.

    A durable Title VI remedy would be fully committing to transit policy, through adequate funding and policy-support from other local agencies. From the litigation side, why are the suits always contained within the FTA-silo? Title VI claims accuse transit agencies of distributing resources in a discriminatory manner. Why are we not making Title VI claims that say the federal, state, and local governments (and MPOs) are distributing resources in a discriminatory manner? Why aren’t we building the onus of Title VI on the highway builders?

    Here are some Title VI targets:
    1.Federal surface transportation funding process
    2. Texas constitution and statutes that prohibit state fuel taxes and new debt to be used for anything other than state roads
    3. Metro General Mobility Program-about one quarter of Metro sales tax revenue is transferred to local governments

    Title VI claims should characterize super-sized highway building as taking resources away from transit agencies and from low-income Americans. Maybe there is no legal argument for this. But the moral argument sure makes sense.

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