Here’s a whizzy reel showing what the new Metro trains and stations on 4 upcoming light-rail lines are supposed to look like. Dowling St. in the Third Ward, the Edloe Station in Greenway Plaza, the Moody Park Station on the North Line, MacGregor Park Station on the Southeast Line, and Lockwood Station on the East End Line each get about 30 seconds of CGI treatment, from a low-flying camera buzzing some extremely lifelike — though torpid — pedestrians.
Christof Spieler finds a few flaws:
The Third Ward footage seems to be out-of-date; it shows the old alignment crossing Dowling on Wheeler, not the new route that switches to Alabama. But other details are correct: the stations shown are the new prototype station design (by Rey de la Reza Architects), minus artwork.
It’s nice to be able to visualize what these lines might look like. But it’s also a reminder that it’s important to get the details right. At Edloe, for example, the trees integrated into the canopy are nice, but there’s no crosswalk at the west end of the station platform, which means a 500-foot detour for some riders. The Moody Park and MacGregor stations do show that crosswalk, and the sidewalks look pretty good, too. But in all the images, the overhead wires are suspended from their own poles in the middle of the street, not from the streetlight poles on either side, as on Main Street. That makes for more poles and a more cluttered streetscape.
Just a few blocks north of the site of the new Houston Texans YMCA, the University of Houston has bought 43 acres immediately southeast of its main campus.
The new UH land looks like it’s part of MacGregor Park, but whether it is — or was — was a matter of intense . . . legal interest. The property was originally part of a larger 110-acre parcel that was donated by the MacGregor family to the City of Houston in 1930. More recently, the donors’ heirs sued the city for violating the terms of that gift, which required that the city turn the land into a park. By 2002, the MacGregor heirs had won back rights to the wooded 41 acres between MLK and Spur 5, on the north side of Old Spanish Trail.
The MacGregor heirs’ sale of the property to UH for $25 million closed in February, according to a report by Jennifer Dawson in the Houston Business Journal. The new UH property is south of the gigantic Wellness Center, across BuffaloBrays Bayou.
The land gives UH a possible new entrance on Martin Luther King Blvd., but it’s also likely to give the campus a fifth light-rail station: a MacGregor Park stop will be the second station on the Southeast line, which begins at the new transit center planned for Palm Center.