Possible compromise on METRO rail route

July 10, 2008 9:05:13 PM PDT
Residents on the east end may have found a compromise with METRO over the upcoming rail expansion. METRO officials are considering moving part of the route. Take a walk down historic Wheeler Avenue and you know what neighbors think about METRO rail.

"I ride the rail," said Sheila Deslandes. "I like the rail. I just didn't like it coming down the front of my street."

Deslandes and her husband both grew up on Wheeler and like so many of their friends, have mixed feelings about what they see as necessary mass transit.

"I think they could have chosen a better street than the coming down Wheeler Street," said Cedric Deslandes.

For a long time, homeowners have advocated locating a portion of the rail line onto West Alabama instead of historic Wheeler Street, and now it looks like METRO will finally be listening.

"It's going to avoid that part of Wheeler that's historic," said Houston city Councilwoman Jolanda Jones. "And that's good."

Jones attended a closed door METRO meeting Wednesday, where METRO proposed moving part of the Wheeler line off that street near Dowling. The new plan will have it run along West Alabama before reaching Texas Southern University.

"We're still talking to them," said Raequel Roberts with METRO. "The general feedback was that they really appreciated it."

The change isn't a done deal, but if the full METRO board approves, the rail line will be extended a tenth of a mile longer and avoid a neighborhood that desperately wants to avoid light rail.

Ratification is expected in the next month or so.

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