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Houston’s Mayor Announces Two More Appointments To Transit Authority Board

They say more needs to be done to help disabled riders access buses and trains.


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Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announces his appointments to Metro Board of Directors.
Gail Delaughter
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announces his appointments to Metro Board of Directors.

One of the mayor's picks is UT Health Sciences professor Lex Frieden, a nationally-known advocate for the disabled and independent living. He also helped write the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Frieden injured his spinal cord as a teenager and he's used a wheelchair for over 40 years. He's been a big fan of Metro's buses and trains, but considering the state of many of Houston's sidewalks, getting there safely is another issue.

"We really need to work on the infrastructure and assess it according to the needs of people who have mobility impairment," says Frieden.

Frieden says he'd also like to see improvements for MetroLift, the on-demand service for people with disabilities.

"We have obvious natural delays in Houston because of the traffic these vehicles pass through," adds Frieden. "But it should be possible to alert people that the ride is running late."

Also selected for the Metro board is Houston businessman Troi Taylor. He runs a construction management firm that specializes in healthcare projects. Taylor says the board shouldn't just listen to the concerns of the disabled, but really understand what they're going through.

"Those needs are there but they're silent needs," says Taylor. "And I think we need to actively go out and find out what works best for them. What's their pain, what's their headache, how can we help, as a Metro board, help make things more accessible."

The mayor has also reappointed current board members Christof Spieler and Sanjay Ram. He earlier appointed Houston attorney Carrin Patman as Metro's chairman. All of those appointments must now be approved by Houston City Council.