Re: Stop METRO’s Unnecessary Construction of a Shelter in Southampton Place (“Southampton”)
I am writing to you on behalf of concerned residents, who will be adversely affected by the proposed METRO stop development plans in our Southampton Place and nearby neighborhoods, more specifically at the corner of South Shepherd Drive and Sunset Blvd (“Location”).
This expansion plan appears to be unnecessary as there are multiple, sheltered METRO stops two blocks nearby (a 4 minute walk) that have higher ridership, as shown in Figure 1.
Figure I: Metro Stop at Bissonnet Street & South Shepherd Drive with Cross Routes
The covered stops at the Bissonnet Street and South Shepherd Drive intersection are well placed in that the 27 Shepherd Route and the 65 Bissonnet Route intersect (Figure II: Point #2 on the 27 Shepherd Route Map) at that location, often necessitating METRO passengers to wait for a connection. This should be contrasted with the location of the proposed stop expansion at South Shepherd Drive and Sunset Boulevard, a location that only serves the 27 Shepherd Route and not any other bus cross routes. Thus, any bus riders at this Location should spend limited time waiting (< than 15 minutes), and therefore, a permanent bus shelter is not needed.
Figure II: Route Map - 27 Shepherd Route and 65 Bissonnet Route Intersect (Point #2)
Furthermore, the site plan fails to consider ridership data analytics, proper impervious surface limits, public nuisance consequences (e.g., graffiti, trash, property value degradation), and harm to large existing trees. Finally, the potential increased traffic and loitering would impair the core values of our beautiful Southampton neighborhood.
The Southampton neighborhood was established in 1923 as an enclave of 626 homesites and has been a peaceful, upscale, outstanding, single-family residential area for 98 years, primarily due to the deed restrictions which continue to be enforced today. Much of the neighborhood’s charm has been the green space for trees, as stated by the Southampton Civic Club:
“The trees that line our streets and those in Fleming Park help to make Southampton the livable and beautiful neighborhood that it is. Maintaining our existing trees and planting new ones where there are openings is important to the long-term uniqueness of our neighborhood.”
Currently, there is a discreet METRO stop at the Location that is infrequently used. Even at this smaller station, I as well as other neighbors have witnessed significant evidence of the public nuisance impact, such as those shown in Exhibit B. I used my own funds and time remediating these issues to improve the aesthetics of this very visible corner in our neighborhood.
My goal is not to impede the progress of public transportation means in the City of Houston, as I believe all people deserve proper access to affordable public transportation, but these efforts need to take into consideration the issues and values of the surrounding areas. Furthermore, I believe it is important to protect the core values, tradition, and safety of our neighborhood in Southampton. As parents of young children, I am invested in their safety, as well as other neighbors’ safety.
My appeal, which I carry forward on behalf of our entire neighborhood as shown in the Petition on Exhibit A and on stopmetrosouthampton.org, is very simple:
Please do not compromise our neighborhood’s traditions for a marginal development opportunity related to the proposed South Shepherd Drive and Sunset Boulevard METRO stop. As potential bus riders at this Location, we believe a shelter is not necessary since buses come no later than every 15 minutes.
In summary, this project will not only be an affront to our neighborhood values, but would also impact the privacy and overall quality of life of many nearby homeowners. I kindly and respectfully ask that you cease this project immediately.
I, and many of my neighbors, would be happy to meet and discuss alternatives that will better complement and build on our neighborhood’s values and history.