Closure notice of park and ride has residents upset

July 16, 2010 4:48:00 PM PDT
The sudden closure of a popular park and ride in Conroe has some people upset. Drivers were told earlier this week that the Conroe Park and Ride off Loop 336 near Owen Road was shutting down. It's slated to close in two weeks.

It's the only park and ride in Conroe and three buses come and go into downtown Houston each day.

"It has been a Godsend," said Wanda Stevens, who uses the park and ride.

"There's a lot of people using it," added Craig Arrant, who also uses it.

Arrant and Stevens are two of those people who are now angry because their ride to work is ditching them.

"All the things that mass transit is supposed to solve, we're reversing that. It just doesn't make sense," said Arrant. "All we see is a green notice posting that says, 'Due to funding cuts, this service will no longer be available' and we were all shocked."

Closing Conroe's only park and ride would force commuters to drive 20 extra minutes into The Woodlands to park and ride at another location.

"Our goal is to keep it open," said Conroe City Administrator Paul Virgader.

The Brazos Transit District told the city of Conroe they want to shut down the park and ride because it's not cost-effective.

Our calls to the district went unreturned.

"It may not be the numbers they need, but it is providing a service to not only the citizens of Conroe but the northern part of the county," said Virgader.

There are talks of a new park and ride off I-45 near FM 2854, which is about three miles from the site that's due to close. That's still far off from completion if it happens, leaving Conroe commuters stuck when it comes to figuring out how best to get to and from work.

"We have to have workers coming to downtown centers like this, and north Montgomery County," Stevens said. "We have people coming from Huntsville."

"Some people are trying to figure out car pools, van pools, and some people are just gonna be forced to drive into Houston," said Arrant.

Conroe city officials have a meeting with the Brazos Transit District Monday afternoon. We'll certainly follow up and pass along the outcome of that meeting.

You can read more about the park and ride changes and see maps of all the locations in the Courier of Montgomery County, our Houston Community Newspaper partner.


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