University of Houston officials have asked Metro to move a portion of the Southeast Line, currently under construction, off its planned route — and off campus. Work on portions of the line on Wheeler and Scott streets near Robertson Stadium came to a standstill 2 months ago, West U Examiner reporter Michael Reed notes. Metro and UH officials have apparently been negotiating on the layout of the light-rail route since that time, but so far, according to Reed, there’s been no agreement.
Metro’s planned design for the line requires the transit agency to purchase a total of 4.48 acres of UH property, much of it in a strip along the eastern side of Scott St., just west of the stadium. A plan submitted to the Department of Transportation for funding last year shows the line and a Scott/Cleburne station on the east side of Scott St., on part of what’s currently a stadium parking lot. (The map, below, also shows that Metro adjusted the plan from a 2008 layout that would have eaten up more UH property.)
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But UH hasn’t agreed to sell any campus land to Metro, and it appears university officials think they have come up with a better route. A marked-up aerial photo of the area — used in the March meeting where university regents approved plans to rebuild Robertson Stadium on its current site — hints that UH would prefer the rail line and station run along the west side of Scott, which would be off campus (path is shown in green):
A UH spokesperson tells Reed the university already sold Metro homes the university owned along the south side of Wheeler, but admits that “it is likely that the Southeast line would require some acquisition by Metro of University of Houston property.” None of that has happened yet. Metro expects the Southeast Line to be running by fall 2014; if the impasse with UH isn’t resolved within a few months, it would likely affect that schedule.
- UH to Metro: Move light-rail off campus [West U Examiner]
- Previously on Swamplot: Goodbye, Robertson Stadium: Replacement UH Football Venue Gets Go-Ahead
Photo of Wheeler St. construction: West U Examiner. Plan: Metro. Aerial view: UH Board of Regents (PDF)