The map keeps changing

This map is a snapshot of an ever changing picture: as METRO’s lines get close to construction stations shift slightly, junctions get figured out, and line routings are clarified. Meanwhile, the HOV bus system expands, too.

Click on the map above for a large version, or click here to download pdfs: 8.5×11 of the urban core, 11×17 of the whole system.

What’s new this time:

  • I’ve seen multiple METRO documents showing through-running betwen the Uptown and University lines, so that’s on the map now.
  • METRO has finally settled on an alignment for the Downtown section of the East End and Southeast lines. It swings around the future soccer stadium on Texas, then squiggles onto Capitol (the westbound track) and Rusk (the eastbound track), passing Discovery Green, Minute Maid Park, and the Convention Center. At Main Street, a new station on the Main Street line allows for fairly easy transfers between the lines (unlike the old plan). At the same location, connection tracks allow East End Line trains to swing north onto the Main Street track, serving Preston and UH Downtown before terminating at the Intermodal Center. Southeast Line trains don’t make this turn; they continue on to the Theater District.
  • There are new and changed stations all over the system: there’s a new station on the Uptown Line north of Memorial Drive, but no Memorial Park station; there’s a station added in the Uptown area; there are new stations on the University Line in Gulfton and at Eastside; and the North Line has two more stations, shown in the new SEIS, just released by METRO.
  • The METROExpress system just opened a new park-and-ride at the Grand Parkway in Katy.
  • Express bus service from Downtown Transit Center to Intercontinental Airport starts in August. Looking at this map, I hope that it will have a few stops added in 2012 — perhaps at Wheeler and Discovery Green — so that it connects to more of the light rail lines.

One thing isn’t changed: I’m still showing the East End Line going to the Magnolia Transit Center, not stopping short of the railroad tracks. That’s definitely the long-term plan, and it looks like the city, METRO, and the Freight Rail District will figure it out for 2012. But it bears watching, as does the University Line between UH and Eastwood: METRO’s under continual pressure to cut costs, and the map could change again. Then again, maybe you want it to change. Tell us in the forums.

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