Houston Bucket List - 100 Things to Do in Houston Before You Die: The Death Train

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Photo by Jeff Balke
The Houston Press is presenting a series of posts leading up to a feature story in the print edition of the 100 Things to Do in Houston Before You Die. Each blog post contains one of our top 10 bucket list items along with nine others in the top 100. To narrow our list, we chose only items unique to Houston -- or items to which Houston provides a unique twist -- and everything on the list must be in or occur within 30 miles of downtown Houston (so, nothing from Galveston, for example). We welcome your suggestions in the comment section.

Moving millions of people around a city big enough to fit several cities inside its boundaries isn't easy. Houston has some of the worst commute times in the country and the time we spend in our car contributes to our regular ranking as one of the fattest cities in America. Despite the clogged freeways and angry drivers, we still don't have very many options. You can't build a subway under a swamp. Buses offer as much confusion as they do transportation. And scientists have yet to invent a teleportation device to beam us from our bedrooms to our cubicles. In this fifth installment of the Houston Bucket List, we suggest a polarizing option for escaping the gridlock...even if it is just for a few miles.

Ride METROrail.

From it's very beginnings, it was a controversial topic. So many failed fits and starts just to get a single, six-mile track laid between downtown and the medical center. And when light rail finally came to a city with some of the least helpful mass transit in the country, the complaints continued: the construction killed business, cars were running into it with regularity. Yet, it is still one of the most patronized sections of light rail in the country and after even more gnashing of teeth, it is expanding north, east and south into underserved areas that will no doubt use it like crazy.

It's fascinating that a city the size of Houston has shunned usable mass transit for so long. We all love our cars, but does anyone actually love the traffic? At every turn we shoot down referendums, sue the city and demand that our U.S. representatives pull funding from this boondoggle. Still, people keep on riding and more will follow suit when the new lines open next year. Look, if Dallas can build and maintain a light rail system, Houston sure as hell can.



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10 comments
sherylgonzales
sherylgonzales

Jeff, as long as you and most Houstonians find the bus system "confusing" the traffic in this town will stay the same/get worse. Funny, the little Guatemalan iimmigrant lady with the 4th-grade education doesn't find it "confusing" at all.

Username
Username

The EZ-7 is a drainage ditch. (And this should be the last item on your list.)

skquinn1
skquinn1

Two things:

1. The current Red Line is actually 7.5 miles long, not 6 as claimed in the article.

2. "Death train" is a bit over the top. Certainly, I don't think any passengers on board have died in a METRORail accident to date. I concede that METRORail's safety record, particularly in the first three years, left a lot to be desired, but since then, from what I've been told, accidents have been the exception not the rule.

ShannonGreen
ShannonGreen

Wait. There's only 9 this time. There was the METROrail thing then it said 9 more in no particular order but there weren't 9 more. There were only 8. Nevermind why I would even bother counting. The fact is I did count and I got cheated out of a bucket list item. Does that mean there will be 11 in the next post? This is totally screwing up my chi.

Margo Sivin
Margo Sivin

It's a myth that you can't build subways below sea level. Amsterdam is below sea level! It's just more expensive.

Carol Rodriguez-Sentonnian
Carol Rodriguez-Sentonnian

I need to check out the hindu temple! I have done most on the list. The Mercer Arboretum is gorgeous. Also I have been wanting to go to Froberg's in Alvin to pick berries.

h_e_x
h_e_x

@John Thunderdimples Villarreal Whatever you need to tell yourself.

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