The Lights of Post Oak: Two Dozen Stops Along the Uptown Line

Once the new Metro Uptown light-rail line is built, Post Oak Blvd. could feature more than 23 stoplights along its 1.7-mile stretch between Richmond Ave. and the 610 Loop, reports the River Oaks Examiner‘s Mike Reed. A report prepared last October by the group of companies contracted to build the new Uptown Line lists 21 stoplights and 7 stations.

But that information’s got to be out of date, right?

. . . in response to questions, a Metropolitan Transit Authority spokeswoman said Tuesday that since the report was written, the number of potential signals has increased to 23, with an additional traffic light and an additional pedestrian light under consideration.

While the proposals contained in such reports are subject to change, the original document indicates the scope of the project combined with the density and development in the area would make substantial alterations to the plan difficult at best.

Reed also reports a few details on the rebuilding of Post Oak:


North of Richmond Avenue to Interstate 610, Post Oak Boulevard will be widened to compensate for the narrow median space. Existing lanes will undergo full-depth reconstruction.

Gated crossings will be required at five locations, including the intersection of Post Oak and the Interstate 610 southbound frontage road for both through-traffic and the U-turn lane near the south portal area. Pedestrian gates are added at two locations.

Map: River Oaks Examiner (PDF)

25 Comment

  • This sounds like a nightmare, one that we’re going to have to live with for decades. It’s a clear example of a situation where grade seperation would’ve been beneficial to multimodal regional mobility.

  • If you think the light rail through the Med Center is mess, then this will be a complete disaster!

    P.S. The Med Center is still in a big lawsuit with METRO for impacting utility lines from the stray current. Buildings in downtown are starting to be affected too.

  • They must be smoking high-grade crack to come up with this. If you thought that there were too many accidents after the downtown choo-choo was put in, just wait until this boondoggle starts up. This is a great way to get people NOT to shop at the Galleria.

  • ^ yes, but its a great way to bring the poor in to window shop!

  • CarrrriP!!!

  • Who cares Metro can do anything they want…they have too many of Houston “elite” paid off anyway…but culberson, delay,lanier the trifecta of Douchbags…Suwooop!

  • I agree that this seems like a lot of traffic signals — but I’d point out that signals don’t necessarily imply a traffic nightmare. If these are properly timed — and I don’t see any reason to believe they won’t be, especially in a district that can afford decorative stainless steel halos — most drivers probably won’t even notice them.

  • Seriously, THREE stops between Westheimer and San Felipe?!! I know it gets hot here and Houstonians are seriously lazy… but come on, that entire stretch is only ~ 0.6 miles, and not dense at all. I wonder if metro has access to aerial imagery? Three stops is just overkill for that area. Maybe one day all three will be needed, but not in the near future. Wow, just wow.

  • Never mind light rail, will there ever be a pedestrian bridge across the Westheimer/Post Oak racetrack?

  • I agree with urbannomad, there are too many stops on this line.

  • @ Ian:
    I just drove up Main Street towards the HAIF Happy Hour at Warren’s this evening and abandoned the route after about four blocks of poor signal timing. If Main Street’s poor signal timing is any indicator, Post Oak Blvd. is going to suck monkey balls.

  • Worse than the signaling: imagine no no left turns on Post Oak.

    I think the graphic may be a bit off: there is already a signalized crosswalk where proposed signal number 8 is.

    Why would they not put a stop on the same block as the Galleria?

  • Niche, Main Street is a bit of a special case. Gory details: because there are plenty of north-south alternatives, Main Street was timed almost exclusively for the trains with the idea that it would be used by vehicle traffic solely for access to adjacent properties. So the signals along Main were pretty much planned to stink from the begining. Then, when drivers kept making illegal left turns in front of the trains, the lights were retimed to address that problem at a further cost to vehicle capacity. Post Oak (and Richmond, for that matter) will be timed with through traffic in mind. Additionally, my understanding is that the City isn’t letting METRO time the signals along the new light rail lines.

  • I don’t think anything Metro does will reduce traffic congestion. Adding trains at street level will just make it a lot worse than it already is. Maybe that’s the plan? Why don’t they just elevate the rail line along Post Oak? It’s what other cities have done.

  • if money wasn’t an issue, i wish we’d invest in a monorail. elevated high above the traffic. that would be so cool!

    again…if money wasn’t an issue.

  • Cars, light rail, bus lanes, monorail…let’s think outside the box. How about dedicated travel lanes for people on pogo sticks? The whole stretch between Richmond and 610 could be re-named from Post Oak to Pogo Stick. South Pogo Stick Lane, North Pogo Stick Road, Pogo Stick Park, etc., anchored by the Boingtown Park shopping center. Hotel Granduca could keep a supply of pogo sticks behind the front desk.

  • A few thoughts:

    The lights on Post Oak are already incorrectly timed (particularly those lights north of San Felipe to 610); there is no way that adding a gazillon additional lights is going to make the traffic lights sync up better.

    There are way too many stops pictured, but it looks like each stop is trying to roughly correspond to each major office and shopping complex on Post Oak. Okay, maybe that’s nice to have, but it is going to make the rail line very slow going.

    I really do not see how Post Oak is going to get widened. There isn’t a lot of room on either side of the street to expand, unless the road is going to take half of every building’s first floor.

    And, while on the topic of street widening, how is it that every year Post Oak gets ripped up and rebuilt, and yet the street still floods and there are still no visible lane markings just north of San Felipe? And…for that matter…why are street crews rebuilding the sidewalks at Post Oak and San Felipe, if they are going to get torn up again in a few years? This city has some serious planning issues….

    All in all, the whole concept is a horrible one. I can’t figure out if the plan is to make rail user-friendly (which this plan does not seem to accomplish), or if it is make people hate rail so much that no one asks for it to be put in their neighborhood (which, from this plan, may turn out to be the case).

  • Random Poster,

    It’s rarely the city tearing up Post Oak and San Felipe. Most of the time it’s the Uptown Management District. The last tearing up of Post Oak was for waterline installs and only affected some parts of the pavement. It wasn’t a street repair and drainage project.

    The San Felipe widening did include some drainage improvements, but that won’t ever stop the flooding. Pretty much every curb and gutter street in the region will flood when more than 2-inches per hour of rain fall. For reference, a 100-year storm is 4-inches of rain in 1 hour or about 13-inches in 24 hours.

    The volume and intensity in rain is so much compared to say Dallas that we could only provide 2-year storm sewers. Our 2-year is similar to a 10-year storm in Dallas. Our 2-year is similar to a 100-year storm in Chicago or Milwaukee. That’s why Houston will pretty much always flood (whether development exists or not).

  • Not to get off track here, but Post Oak floods (particularly around the San Felipe intersection) because the road is poorly designed and graded. Any discussion regarding high-rainfall-per-hour amounts, or the frequency of rainfall in Houston, is beside the point.

    Quite simply, Post Oak floods because it is poorly designed.

    Oh…and the last “tearing up of Post Oak . . . only affected some parts of the pavement”? The last major construction project that I am aware of affecting Post Oak was done within the last year, in which the entire Post Oak/San Felipe intersection was torn up. How does an all-in rebuild of an intersection constitute only affecting “some parts of the pavement”?

  • On intersection being torn up is not tearing up all the pavement. That was part of the San Felipe widening and pavement rebuilding project.

    RP, it’s not easy provide improvements to drainage in a heavily developed area. The road can still flood and be considered improved. If the flood water stand in the street for less time, than an improvement was provided.

    It’s the difference between spending $15 million versus $4 million. There is also the issues of existing driveways that tie in to the roadway. ADA requirement severely affect driveway designs.

    The previous project along Post Oak prior to San Felipe was a major water line improvement to accommodate the increase in development along the roadway.

  • It may sound perverse, but the goal of the lighrail expansion is not to enhance mobility for cars. Thinking long term (ok, really, really long term), the goal is for lightrail to be a more efficient way to get around town. Houston’s urban population is growing and road expansion is limited, so the sooner we can get these headaches out of the way and starting changing behavior, the better.

  • bill, I agree w/ you. A successful rail implementation will displace auto traffic. It sure did on Main street. It actually just displaced all traffic one block east or west of the rail, but I agree: think long-term.

  • If they plan to put this thing right on Post Oak Blvd., what happens to the chrome halos??? Those need to stay!!!!! They should build this thing underground!!

  • Just another public works project gone haywire…they have a lot of money to spend and they are going to do it even if it makes no sense. I somehow doubt if the buyers of those condos will be riding metro’s choo choo. But I’ve been wrong lots of times before.

  • Bubba, you might wrong; given that 90% of Metro’s budget is subsidized, I’ll be able to ride down to the Galleria for next to nothing of what it should cost. Though I doubt I’ll be taking the light rail to Del Frisco’s – it pisses off the valets if you walk there. But you are correct, this is an unnecessary public works project with limited benefits (if you’re riding mass transit, should you be shopping at Nieman Marcus?).

    They’ve finally fixed most of the sidewalks and streets along Post Oak, why do we need to tear it all up?