A Controversial New Bus Line May Be Coming to Hillcroft

A Controversial New Bus Line May Be Coming to Hillcroft
Image Credit: METRO

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Don’t let the name “Gulfton Corridor Project” fool you. The latest proposed route for METRO’s new high-speed bus line runs on Hillcroft, right between Gulfton and Sharpstown.

As a METRORapid line, it would have its own dedicated lanes. In other words, unlike typical METRO buses, METRORapid buses do not have to share their lanes with regular traffic. In theory, this allows them to travel faster than typical buses and stay on schedule.

The original proposed route, the solid red line in the image below, was Renwick. But METRO planners decided against that route because they wanted the line to reach the Southwest Multi-Service Center in east Sharpstown, according to METRO representative Taylor Marcantel.

Image Credit: METRO

The latest proposed route is displayed in the image below. It would begin at Bissonnet, then follow Hillcroft to Gulfton St., Gulfton St. to Chimney Rock, and Chimney Rock to Westpark Dr. Then, it would run along the south side of Westpark Dr. to the Westpark/Lower Uptown Transit Center.

Image Credit: METRO

There, the route would link to the already-constructed Silver Line, which runs past the Galleria and Memorial Park, all the way to the Northwest Transit Center. The Silver Line is currently the only example of a METRORapid bus route in Houston.

The proposed “Gulfton Corridor” route would also pass Burnett-Bayland Park, several ethnic restaurants, and more. The proposed stations along Hillcroft are at Bissonnet, Bellaire, and Sands Point.

According to Douglas Delony from the METRO Press Office, the line is designed to help riders “connect to employment and other opportunities in Uptown as well as to connect to other major activity centers such as downtown, Greenway Plaza and the TMC [Texas Medical Center] via connections with other lines that will intersect this project.”

However, the project is controversial. At the Sharpstown Civic Association meeting on Thursday, May 25, 2023, METRO representatives Wilfredo Santamaria and Taylor Marcantel presented the project to over forty community members. Several voiced concerns.

A woman in a blue shirt asked if METRO would create the bus-only lanes by taking away regular traffic lanes. That drew a “Boo” from a man in the audience, and the woman agreed: “Boo, yeah.” Another woman said, “You’re gonna end up with two lanes, and that’s just not gonna work.”

Mr. Marcantel responded, “We’re looking at alternatives that do not take lanes out.”

However, on June 6, Mr. Delony wrote in an email, “METRO is considering re-purposing existing medians or inside traffic lanes, depending on traffic conditions.” So it’s possible that the project would narrow Hillcroft from three regular car lanes to two in some areas along the east border of Sharpstown.

METRO’s board is scheduled to vote on the proposed route this summer, likely in June or July. The next board meeting is scheduled for 10:00 AM on June 29 at 1900 Main St.

What do you think about the proposed bus line? Let us know by commenting below or emailing us at sharpstownsharpener@gmail.com.

Image Credits: METRO