Metro plans Park and Ride garage in Katy area

By Bryan Kirk

The Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority has announced plans to add a parking garage next year to a congested Park and Ride facility at Interstate 10 and the Grand Parkway.

Through an agreement with Metro, NewQuest Properties is in the final stages of designing the garage and plans to break ground in the first quarter, said Margaret O’Brien-Molina, Metro’s media relations manager. The 1,650-space garage would open late in the year, she said.

“I would imagine this would be good for mobility,” said Lance LaCour, president/CEO of Katy Area Economic Development Council.

The garage has been in the planning stages since summer, when Metro’s board began looking at ways to add more parking for the growing number of riders in west Houston.

Since 2007, Metro has a maintained a lease with NewQuest for 423 parking spaces at the Cinemark Theatre on the site.

On Oct. 26, Metro announced the addition of 448 new parking spaces, boosting the number of spaces to 871. But demand for parking far exceeds space available.

Plans call for the garage to be constructed on the west end of the theater, replacing the open air spaces Metro is leasing. Motorists park there for free and pay as little as $1.25 for a one-way trip to destinations. Rates vary per destination and discounted rates are available for seniors and students.

Previously, Metro considered other options, such as partnering with the Texas Department of Transportation to use space beneath the parkway to create a Park and Ride facility, but the idea was hindered by the traffic configuration and level of congestion.

Metro looked for other sites but could not find a viable solution. One of the roadblocks was the cost of right of way and lack of interest by property owners to sell or lease.

The six-story garage will cost $21.1 million and will be owned by NewQuest, which will lease the facility to Metro at an annual cost of $1.16 million.

Full Story at Chron.com

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