METRO offering new way to get around town

This weekend, METRO will be opening a new five-mile Red Line expansion
December 18, 2013 2:45:56 PM PST
Starting this weekend, you'll have a new option to get around town. METRO's North Rail Line opens to riders on Saturday and it couldn't come soon enough for some of those who live and work along it.

The North Line runs from the University of Houston in downtown up past Moody Park, under 6-10, and out to Northline Commons.

The gleaming trains and the pristine new stations mark an overdue milestone. Houston light rail is finally expanding, a decade after the first line opened.

"It's going to save a lot of time," said Rosio Aldana.

Aldana may be the ideal customer for the North Line expansion. She lives near Moody Park -- a new train stop -- and works downtown. But even her excitement is tempered with worries about a school nearby.

"I'm scared one of the kids may run and the train will come and there will be an accident," she said.

And that's been the challenge for METRO, even in neighborhoods that need more mass transit options. The building of the rail has been frustrating, especially for many small businesses stymied by the construction.

"I think it's beautiful and all, but honestly, if you're going to ask about our businesses, it messed up our businesses," said Casper Reyes, who works at a tire shop nearby. People can't cross the street without getting a ticket.

"There clearly had been challenges during this construction," said interim METRO CEO Tom Lambert .

METRO leaders are all too aware of the challenges, so this Saturday, it's reaching out with free light rail rides and a community party at Moody Park, hoping that businesses that suffered during construction will now reap its benefits.

"We're going to be there. We're going to be there selling things, with flyers, and coupons and I think it's going to be a good thing," said restaurant worker Giovanny Munoz.

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