Happy New Year LINKers!
We may only be one month into 2023, but it sure has been busy. Earlier in January we released our Equity in Transit 2022 report at the Burnett-Bayland Community Center in Gulfton to a crowd of volunteers, elected officials, community members, and other stakeholders.
The report explores how transit has, and should, connect people to opportunity in Houston. A community research team of residents, bus riders, and civic leaders in the Gulfton area guided LINK Houston’s work to understand how transit can be better and support Houston’s, especially Gulfton’s, growth. Our findings included recommendations from bus riders of the following priorities for METRO and other transit stakeholders to equitably improve transit services:
#1 Top Priority: Reliable Information and Services
METRO must prioritize the BOOST (Bus Operations Optimized System Treatments) network to improve reliability through optimized stop locations and traffic signal priority. METRO should re-double any existing efforts to align printed, online, and day-of schedules so riders can reliably plan and execute trips. When changing or adding stops, METRO must ensure all new transit stops exist in online trip planners and real-time information.
#2 Priority: 15-minute Frequency
METRO must fully restore the frequency of transit and prioritize METRONext implementation of projects involving the local bus network (including BOOST improvements on local bus corridors). METRO and local government partners should coordinate with schools to ensure that sufficient transit capacity and safe, practical paths for walking and biking exist for students (i.e., around high schools like Wisdom High School).
#3 Priority: Create Shaded, Safe, Clean, and Comfortable Transit Stops
METRO must make more stops comfortable, functional, green, and safe to improve bus riders’ experience. METRO and local governments should partner with community organizations and nonprofits to create more shade and shelter. Local governments must maintain stormwater drainage to prevent standing water next to bus stops and install sufficient street lighting to promote the safe use of transit services. METRO must maintain and clean stops more consistently.
Our team plans to co-present these findings with community members to officials from the City of Houston, Harris County, Houston METRO, and others to demand fast, equitable change in pursuit of a system that benefits all Houstonians.
LINK Houston gratefully acknowledges the important leadership and contribution of each of the following community researchers in the Community Research Team in Gulfton (in alphabetical order):
- Nataly [Noelia] Fadic
- Jaime González
- Douce Manishatse
- Mike McMahon
- Anitha Muthu
- Sandra Rodriguez
- Dr. Aisha Siddiqui
- Anne Whitlock
- Gislaine Williams
- Azeb Yusuf
LINK Houston also thanks the following volunteers who joined our staff, interviewing bus riders in the September heat or assisted in other ways:
- Sarah Davidson
- Mairalina Gonzalez
- Douce Manishatse
- Miguel Martinez Arellano
Transit Equity Day 2023
Transit Equity Day is celebrated on February 4th each year in honor of civil rights icon Rosa Parks’ birthday and serves as a National Day of Action recognizing public transit as a civil right. We invite you to join us in observing this occasion and encourage you to walk, roll, bike and ride transit this week leading up to February 4th. Additionally, we ask that you share your experiences on social media with #TransitLINKs, tag @LINK_Houston in your posts, and follow us as we chronicle our trips.
Community Engagement is Key – Make Your Voice Heard
The Gulfton Corridor project is part of the METRONext Moving Forward Plan aiming to add a METRORapid line of transit in the Gulfton neighborhood. METRO is holding a series of community input meetings in February in Gulfton to present the project as it currently stands and gather public feedback. You can find out more information on the project website. The first round of meetings will be held next week:
Tuesday, February 7th from 6-8 pm at the BakerRipley Gulfton Sharpstown Campus (Reunion Hall / Gym) located at 6500 Rookin St. Houston,TX 77074 in English.
Thursday, February 9th from 6-8 pm at the BakerRipley Gulfton Sharpstown Campus (Reunion Hall / Gym) located at 6500 Rookin St. Houston,TX 77074 in Spanish.
Saturday, February 11th from 10 am-12 pm at the Burnett-Bayland Park Community Center located at 6000 Chimney Rock St. Houston,TX 77081 in English and Spanish.
LINK Houston is looking for a talented individual to serve as our Director of Community Engagement.
The Director of Community Engagement will be responsible for overseeing the organization’s connection in community groups, in coordination with our communications and policy and planning teams as well as directly through meetings, coalition, and capacity building. The Director of Community Engagement will develop partnerships in line with the organization’s mission and goal to promote safe, accessible, multi-modal, and sustainable transportation. They will embrace community based participatory research principles and democratic organizing methods, as part of understanding that research and advocacy without the alignment of community furthers the mentality of colonialism, exploitation, and extraction that LINK Houston fully resists. You can view the full posting on our website.