Missouri City’s new $70 million Metro-exclusive parking garage for Metro’s Park and Ride is now officially under construction.
It will replace the current parking garage, located in a shared lot with a Kroger supermarket. The new 1,750-space parking garage, exclusively for Metro’s use, will be near State Highway 6 and the Fort Bend County Toll Road.
Metro officials, community leaders and representatives from NewQuest Properties met Wednesday morning for the groundbreaking ceremony, during which U.S. Rep. Al Green presented a symbolic check for $5 million for the federal funding that Metro will receive.
Metro will pay NewQuest up to $59.8 million to build the garage for use as a park and ride location, and then pay $325,000 annually to lease the land, according to the 40 year agreement which was approved by the Metro board on May 25.
The new facility will serve as an anchor in Phase 3 of NewQuest Properties’ Fort Bend Town Center, a mixed-use lifestyle center.
Metro projects the facility will be completed by the first quarter of 2025.
Why is a new parking garage needed?
The move to expand public transportation options was driven by Fort Bend County’s burgeoning population.
“The value of a one-seat, safe, reliable, frequent accessible transportation option is going to become even more important as our region goes from about 6 million people to 11 million people,” said Sanjay Ramabhadran, METRO chair. “You think traffic congestion is bad? Imagine what’ll happen when you add 5 million more people to the mix.”
Citing research from Rice University’s Kennedy Institute for Urban Research, Green said Houstonians lost 74 hours of time in traffic each year, which amounts to $1,257 lost per driver.
Metro CEO Tom Lambert said the new transit center will remove around 2,000 cars from highways, leading to improved air quality and providing people with additional quality time to spend with their families
Who is expected to use the Metro facility?
The new commuter bus services will run between the Texas Medical Center and Missouri City, and provide access to to downtown Houston on weekdays only.
The target users are residents of Missouri City who regularly travel to the Texas Medical Center. Services begin as early as 5 a.m. The last trip may end as late as 10 p.m., with buses arriving every 15 minutes.
The new transit center will offer passenger pick-up and drop-off, as well as passenger facilities including a covered waiting area, ticket vending machines, schedule information and restrooms.
How much does it cost to use the park and ride?
Routes are divided into different zones. Since Missouri City falls in Zone 1 and Zone 2, the regular fares are $2 and $3.25 respectively.
For students, seniors or people with disabilities who aren’t METROlift customers, there is a discounted fare of $1 and $1.60 with a discounted fare card.
The facility will also provide connections to Metro’s existing curb2curb service.
What is Metro curb2curb?
Metro curb2curb is an on-demand rideshare service which provides transportation on the hour within specific zones.
“We can bring people from the curb2curb service at this facility, which gives suburban commuters another option to save on fuel, vehicle maintenance and parking fees,” said Lambert.
Original Press Release: Houston Chronicle.