3/23/2006 Houston-- More than 500 West U. residents turned out at Metro's meeting Tuesday on the proposed University light rail line. Most residents said they want the line to be run along Westpark rather than Richmond Avenue. The meeting at St. Luke's United Methodist Church was held to give residents a chance to weigh in on the debate: Though the initial light rail referendum called for a line along Westpark, Metro has started thinking that Richmond might be a better idea. The agency is relying on a clause in the resolution that says the "final scope ... and other details" of the long-range rail plan would be based on "demand and completion of the project development process, including community input."

Metro Light Rail

Metro contends that running the line along Westpark wouldn't serve riders well because ... well, because there would be no reason for people to ride a light rail line along Westpark, as there's nowhere on Westpark people would want to go. Richmond residents and business owners say putting the line on their street would kill off businesses and make property values plummet.

Meanwhile, we're wondering if all this disagreement will mean we end up being stuck with a single nifty, but ultimately pointless, 7.5-mile rail line. As Mayor Bill White said at yesterday's meeting, "Without some agreement between the chair of Metro and its board and me ... there is not going to be some new rapid transit route in west Houston." Metro officials say a decision will be made on the line's alignment late this year.

(Contributed by the Houstonist)