On March 28, we collaborated with Councilmember Jerry Davis’ office to organize 14 advocates from the Eastex-Jensen community to speak at the METRO Board of Directors’ monthly meeting to urge the decision-makers to improve much-needed bus service in the area.

Prior to the Board meeting, parents of students from Patrick Henry Middle School petitioned METRO to improve transit service to and from the school, an important neighborhood destination. Many families in the area do not own private vehicles and do not qualify for school-provided transportation, making the daily trip to school difficult.

“We need transportation in our area. I often see children walking to school, and they get chased by dogs,” said community member Noria Medina. Karin Rivas with Patrick Henry Middle School notes that lack of viable transportation options create attendance and learning problems, which contribute to neighborhood problems long-term.

Business leaders from Little York Shopping Plaza also expressed frustrations with lack of transportation. With many community members having no private vehicles, the lack of public transportation means that they are not able to easily reach commercial areas. This hurts business and creates issues for families who can’t access goods and services they need.

To address these needs, LINK Houston and Eastex-Jensen community members asked METRO to:

  • Develop a circular connector (with a fixed route – not an on-demand service) that can provide public transportation for students to destinations such as Patrick Henry Middle School, the Little York Shopping Plaza and other important places of interest within Eastex-Jensen;
  • Extend or modify the #79 or #83 routes to provide improved north-to-south access in the Eastex-Jensen community, including along Little York Road at its portion east of the Hardy Toll Road.
  • Create new stops to accommodate community residences such as apartments and homes (properties noted include complexes located at 2000 Tidwell Road and 10300 Shady Lane);
  • Create a new stop along Little York to reach the shopping center, or as a direct inlet into its parking;
  • Include existing Northeast Houston bus routes in METRONext proposed BOOST corridors.

Board Member Jim Robinson agreed that the community needs improvements and witnessed poor-quality bus stops in the area on a recent visit. Other METRO Board members also acknowledged the lack of amenities at bus stops in Eastex-Jensen and committed to coordinate with community leaders and Houston Independent School District on public transportation in the area.

METRONext Moving Forward is not finalized yet. There is still time to push for improvements in your community. The next METRO Board meeting is on Thursday, April 25, 2019. For information on how to sign up for public comments, take a look here. Please contact us if you need help with your remarks. We’ve got the data that can support your story!

LINK Houston
APRIL 17, 2019