HOUSTON (KIAH) — Major changes are coming for the transit lanes in downtown Houston, and the streets are getting a new look. Soon, all the transit lanes will be red.

In fact, the changes have started. Some of the lanes located outside the METRO station are already red. These lanes will be designated for bus-only or car-pool lanes.

The goal of this new project is to create a faster, more reliable commute is coming to downtown Houston.

The new markings, striping, and signage will impact the dedicated bus and carpool lanes along with Milam and Travis. This includes an overlay of existing diamond lanes on both streets to distinguish them from regular traffic lanes.

According to the federal transit administration, “Red lanes improve traffic flow by having designated lanes for public transit vehicles. dedicated transit lanes can also improve safety for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians – making streets more equitable for all.”

There are many benefits to having red lanes. According to the federal transit administration, there’s an improvement with traffic flow, safety for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians – making streets more equitable for all.

If you’re wondering, “what are red lanes?”, I have an answer for you. Since 2005, certain lanes in Downtown Houston have been marked with a diamond symbol. These “diamond lanes” are for transit use only. 

METRO says they will be converting them to “red lanes”. This means, painted and striped in red, with new signage and pavement markings that clearly designate these as bus-only or carpool-only lanes.

You can only use the bus-only lane if you’re making a right turn. The carpool lane is for vehicles with two or more passengers or a vehicle transitioning to make a turn. Pay attention to the lane markings and signage.

Also, there is absolutely no parking in the designated red areas. These rules apply seven days out the week. This applies 24 hours a day.

Lastly, METRO wants passengers to know there won’t be a major impact on their travel through downtown due to a potential reduction in travel times and a more efficient public transit service.

The project is expected to be finished by the spring of 2022. For more information on the red lane changes, visit the METRO website.

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