Saturday, May 23, 2015
METRORail Green and Purple Lines FINALLY Open Today
The METRORail Red Line has been wildly successful, with ridership projections four years ahead of schedule. After a successful 2003 referendum to expand the system to four lines, construction on the 5.3 mile (8.5 km) Red Line North Extension, the 3.3 mile (5.3 km) Green and (6.6 mile (10.6 km) Purple Lines began in 2009 with an original target date of 2012 completion for the Red Line extension and 2014 for the Green and Purple Lines.
The Harrisburg bridge that will carry the Green Line over freight rail tracks and to the Magnolia Transit Center just broke ground in March and won't be completed until 2016.
The Gold Line through the Galleria area is being built initially as a bus rapid transit lane which will be able to be easily converted to light rail service in the future. That will allow it to be operational in 2017, while the needed east west University Line is on hold pending funding.
But the long awaited day is here, and METRO is celebrating with a free Railfest concert at BBVA Compass Stadium featuring Ne-Yo Frankie J and a fireworks finale. BBVA Compass Stadium sits at the junction between the Green and Purple Lines.
And just as was done when the North extention opened, rides on the rail system will be free all day.
The opening of the Green and Purple lines means that as of today, METRORail is not just one rail line, but a system spanning much of my hometown, with hopefully future expansion to Hobby and Intercontinental airports and the addition of a commuter rail component.
But until then, I'll take advantage of my free rides that start up in a few hours..