Houston METRO Expands Access By Removing Seats

Sometimes expanding access to transit can be as easy as reexamining
assumptions about riders’ needs. That may be the early lesson from
a 30-day experiment Houston METRO is conducting on 11 trains. The transit
authority has removed four benches — or eight seats — from cars on those trains in a bid to increase comfort for users who need extra space.

The move is a win
for a diverse group of transit riders, from cyclists to wheelchair users to parents with young children,
explains Dean Hall at NEOHouston:

This is a boon for bicyclists who can use the open space for their bike
while holding on to the new overhead straps.  The open area can also be
utilized by persons in wheelchairs.

However, I think the biggest gains will be for parents who transport
their infants and toddlers in strollers.  Previously, only the smallest
umbrella-style strollers could easily negotiate an LRT car’s narrow
center aisle. I have a personal experience trying to manage one of the
larger style strollers and I received looks from other passengers who
had to make room for me and the stroller that was convenient for me,
but an imposition to those around me…

So, thank you, METRO. By taking something away, you’ve improved options for three types of riders.

Also on the Network: m-bike wonders if sharrows are the right
prescription for Detroit; Publicola criticizes the Seattle Times’
handling of a story about a road diet scheduled for 125th Street; and
the transportation director at the Central Texas Council of Governments
asks Dallas residents how to move forward on transportation funding via
the Dallas Morning News’ Transportation Blog.

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