Comment of the Day: Stuck at the West Belt Crossing in the East End

COMMENT OF THE DAY: STUCK AT THE WEST BELT CROSSING IN THE EAST END “As long as some of those trains take at that awful crossing at Cullen, some people have probably died of old age waiting for the crossing arms to come up (though if you know the neighborhood, all you have to do is get to Milby from behind the old Fingers and you can cross under at Polk. You’re welcome.) That said, while it’s nice that everyone is suddenly so aware of the inconvenience and potential danger of these trains, it isn’t as though this were a new thing. That one Union Pacific line parallel to Harrisburg is just as unpredictable and twice as loud as the one in the article; it runs immediately adjacent to homes for miles. I know; I’ve lived by both. It did this for decades before I got here and no one has done anything about it that I know of, but I suppose that’s the price paid when the neighborhood’s skin isn’t quite as light and its homes aren’t quite as expensive. I understand, though; when the town-home dwelling white folks aren’t happy, nobody’s happy.” [Chris, commenting on Headlines: Waiting for Trains in the East End; Waiting for Dunkin’ Donuts in Montrose]

22 Comment

  • There is very active rail line running north and south along the border between West University and Bellaire, where the homes and town homes are very expensive indeed and where there could be a higher proportion of white folks than is usual. No need to make this a class or race issue.

  • Excubitor….so if not, why was it the first track in the city to get a “quiet Zone” designation and the significant investment that took in tax dollars?…..just sayin…..

  • It was the first track in Houston on a technicality – it was actually Bellaire and West U’s mayors sitting on the Houston mayor until he finally agreed to join the agreement. But the effort took more than a decade.

  • Getting the “quiet zone” designation is more about knowing whom to whine and complain to. There would probably be a little red tape since the federal government is involved.

    Tax dollars spent on “quiet zone”? I really don’t expect much to be spent on physical infrastructure. It seems the no-horn zones are more about changing policy and procedure.

  • sjh, the East End got two light rail lines, and the poor North side got one too before Uptown got theirs. Even without the hubbub from Afton Oaks, Uptown wasn’t supposed to get one until later.

    I like reading about transportation stories. White guilt – not so much, but those are the kind that get picked for top comment around here so c’est la vie.

  • agreed, it’s not a race issue whatsoever so there should be no mention of white guilt. it’s a simple economic issue, why wouldn’t cities want to cater to and make itself appeal most to rich folks? as to why white folks still predominantly make up sizable portions of the upper classes with little to no mobility in the lower classes, that’s a national policy issue that voters don’t think off as being a priority.

    however, i’d just note that all parties (east end, north, uptown) got their choo choo’s at the expense of some others losing bus options.

  • I dont know if you noticed but Lawndale, Telepone, Polk,Sherman, Brady, Canal and a few others have already been designated as part of a quiet zone. Workers are out there closing a few of the crossings.

  • Mr. Bob Dobalina is amazed you transplants don’t get it: Where 17 railroads meet the sea.

  • Usage of the word “choo choo” will always negate any and all credibility of an individual, unless that individual is my twenty-two month old son, who is still learning how to speak.

  • I’d heard that income inequality an underemployment were very much on the minds of American voters. It’s good to be set straight. Also, forgive my ignorance, but is choo choo a technical term? I see and hear it frequently in regards to the light rail system.

  • Commenters, please note this story is about freight train traffic and noise. Nothing to do with light rail or Metro.

  • Blake, actually there are significant dollars attached to the quiet zones. Changes in the type of crossing arms, the road modifications….that is why there is currently a list of 37 or so areas in Houston that are waiting. The city is “prioritizing” each request, though I don’t know what measure they are using to prioritize. But, nuff said about quiet zones. I wasn’t intending to create a new topic, just expressing a thought.

  • Why make this a race issue–it makes your whole article seem like a rant on white people–I’m surprised Swamplot with it’s allergy to any comment dealing with race allowed this–I guess because it’s bashing whites it’s perfectly fine–I’m sure if it had been derogatory about blacks or Hispanics it would not be comment of the day but waiting to me moderated —

  • “Mr. Bob Dobalina is amazed you transplants don’t get it: Where 17 railroads meet the sea.”

    Back when trains started here there 1) weren’t many people and 2) there were people who protested (I know because the landowners who owned my house had a shotgun standoff around 1900 over here).
    The city and it’s population has grown up. Trains haven’t much. Time for it.

  • Trains can be an inconvenience and danger–so can massive trucks carrying cargo on our roads. There is expectation that the Port of Houston will see increased traffic due to the Panama Canal widening. The cargo will get to the port one way or the other.

    I grew up on the southern edge of Chicago and rail crossings were 3 or 4 tracks. Amazingly enough, people stopped at track crossings when gates came down and signal lights flashed (otherwise one was a likely candidate for a Darwin Award), no train horn blasts necessary.

  • Since Houston is a sea port and goods at some point must stop floating and start rolling, I guess we could tear up all the railroad tracks and pave the southeast side of town with freeways for trucks and sprawl everyone out to Wallis. Yessir, that will get rid of those noisy trains.

    There are some cities that have very quiet rail lines near residential areas. Where the urban utopia coexists with quiet heavy rail. Detroit comes to mind.

  • The railroads should have to trench the railroads and cover them like they did in Los Angeles.
    But, if not turning these into quiet zones is what keeps Heights-like NIMBYs from moving into the area, who can I protest so that these never become quiet zones? last thing I want is someone thinking they can move into my neighborhood and whine about what trees I have in my yard, or what color I paint my front door, or what type of windows I have.
    I admit it, I’m a NIMBY NIMBY.

  • Dana- thst’s just more of the “Houston is terrible, deal with it” mindset developers and their apologists like to throw around. Yuck. I am hopeful that more voters will come to the same conclusion you reached- it’s time to change.

  • toasty – “I’m a NIMBY NIMBY.” Love it.

  • Dude, what?

    “The railroads should have to trench the railroads and cover them like they did in Los Angeles.”

    That may be proposed for new rail lines, like high speed rail, but I’m pretty sure they’ve not had to trench and cover existing freight lines.

    Citation needed?

  • Toasty, I didn’t even consider that. I do like my neighborhood more or less the way it is. If it’s the horn blasts that have kept it that way, here’s to loud trains.

  • matx:

    Yes, it is logical and easy to stop when the lights are flashing, and the gates down. Then we get the Channel 11 story last night showing the train barrelling across a busy street, crossing arms still up, no signals flashing.

    What’s a mother to do???