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We want your feedback on the Project Connect Regional High-Capacity Transit Vision.  Download the full-size detailed map and give us your feedback! 

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The Project Connect Vision is a plan for a Central Texas where all of us are well-connected to the places we live, work, learn and play, via high-capacity transit. The Vision is realistic - in fact, some of the projects are already funded and underway. So what questions do you have?

29 Responses

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Mike Dahmus about 1 year ago

Seeing as how the densest corridor in the city with the most obvious current and future transit demand is the Lamar/Guadalupe/South Congress corridor, why is urban rail being delivered there only in the 2040s under this plan? Even today, these areas have far more density than Mueller will have at build-out.

3 Votes
 
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Ladi Dadi about 1 year ago

There is a considerable amount of vehicle traffic, presumably from commuters traveling from locations south of Austin into the city in the weekday mornings. Why is there only one Park and Ride solution to accommodate this traffic? (South Austin Transit Center) Further, why is the location of this transit center only a few miles outside of downtown?

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Will Will about 1 year ago

So the Downtown Austin Alliance can get it's kickbacks, probably

Ask Council member Chris Riley about that one!!! .

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Ma Ma about 1 year ago

Reveiwing this plan makes one seriously wonder at whether the needs of the entire city (and surrounding areas) were taken into account. It would appear from this plan that there is very little population south of Ben White and almost none in the Southwest quarter of the city. While there are known environmental issues around the Edwards Aquifar, the high volume of traffic in this quarter would indicate to me that this should be a high priority area to minimize possible aquifar contamination. There are plans for express lane for Mopac. But once again these lanes do not extend to the SW quarter of the city. As it is currently proposed, that these will be toll lanes and their use will be determined on the willingness and ability of people to meet these daily costs. The fact that plans reaching out 15+ years do not include the SW quarter of Austin, make one wonder why voters in this quarter of town would continue to support addtl. transportation bonds. Hopefully the new plans for changes to city government by area representation will aid in this regard.

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David x about 1 year ago

They also miss a very large section of NorthEast Austin and the entire Pflugerville area.

1 Vote
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Denise Beier Zuniga about 1 year ago

I live in NE/Pflugerville area - I would love to ride the train to work, but I work on Lake Austin Blvd and the bus connection doesn't work for me. I would have to get to the depot by 5:00 or 5:30 AM just to get to work by 7:30

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Roger L Cauvin about 1 year ago

I would like to see a more courageous push for the design aspects needed to ensure success: dedicated lanes for transit and prioritizing transit where the greatest density and congestion currently exist.

What needs to happen before our leaders will consider a bolder plan? What steps can we as individual stakeholders take to stimulate consideration of a bolder plan?

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Will Will about 1 year ago

Monopolies are never good, and I opposed this monopoly. You want to run this transit agency like a business? Well then divest your bus service, I want to have more than 1 provider, so customer service and the customer wins, not the special interest groups.

I don't why we must throw millions of dollars down the hole for another stupid rail road project, while I-35 needs to be widened. Mopac also needs to be widened. But these plans won't go to the voters, oh no let's shove more rail down our throats rather we like it or not. Makes me ashamed to be an American right now. (parroting the words from Rush Limbaugh) DON'T RAIL ROAD US!!!!

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David x about 1 year ago

It would be helpful to have urban rail or commuter rail stops at TechRidge. There is already a bus station close to there but more people would be inclined to ride a rail system than a bus given the option.

1 Vote
 
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Daniel Perlaky about 1 year ago

I think this plan has potential but frequency, speed, and bike transport might need to really be considered to make it a viable option.

I'm certain the reasons many urban centers' transit systems get such high adoption rates are because

  1. they come often enough to not have to time things so much and potentially miss the ride.

  2. the ride is reliably quick and doesn't get stuck in traffic

  3. personal transport bikes are easy to bring width in case the commute doesn't end near a station.

  4. treating the transit hub holistically – to incorporate bike sharing and car sharing nodes at transit terminals to give people options.

Aside from safety, the above are really the keystones I think that allow one to truly not need (or even prefer) to take the car into the downtown core.

Thanks Daniel

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Woodley about 1 year ago

I didn't get notice of this meeting till after the meetings.

Is there an error in your Picture? It shows Urban Rail along the Metro Rail Line. Urban Rail is the Large Bus not an actual train.

Also, is this Proposal planning to Eliminate the Howard Station and move it to the McNeil Junction or does it include both?

I agree with including outlying cities along the freight rails to be allowed to bring passengers to and from Austin and other outlying cities. Is there not a railroad to Frederickburg along 290 west?

I would like to know why my Proposed Plan from over a year and a half ago is not in this plan to create a Loop around Austin and Extend the rail to Bergstrom Airport. I see ROW preservation along the old warehouse railroad which should be extended to ABIA and actually used rather than preserved. https://capmetro.granicusideas.com/ideas/extend-the-rails-to-reach-both-sides-of-austin-and-the-airport

I am against Express Lanes for TOLL. There are plenty of room along Mopac and IH-35 to expand the Roads. Some places might need restructuring such as choke points like going under the Cazsar Chavez Bridge on IH-35. IH-35 needs to be a 6-8 Lane each side and or with plans for building a by pass downtown bridge. That express downtown bridge should be eliminated and converted into bypass route due to the nature of IH-35 as a through fare interstate Highway.

183 Should be Expanded not waste room with "express lanes"

Are there any Plans for Highway 71 west at least to Bee Cave and RR 620?

ALL RAILS should be expanded to Include Bikes and other forms of transportation without overcrowding. Extend Train Stations Docks to allow Longer Trains to prevent dangerous overcrowding. Build upper and lower levels for 2 story passenger cars while remaining ADA compliant.

ALL RAILS Stations should have Public Restrooms PERIOD.

ALL RAIL STATIONS should have proper shelters from sever weather.

ALL RAIL STATION can be built with air-condition with sliding glass doors for safety and relief from TEXAS heat and sever weather. However TEXAS sever weather may also require sheltering for tornados away from glass windows and doors.

ALL RAIL STATIONS could be used as a police station for extra security of park & Rides.

ALL RAILS should have hike & bike trails running parallel to them. These will help keep pedestrians off tracks and allow more alternate safe routes for bikes.

Does Project Connect Have Bike Lanes and more Hike and Bike Routes planned for the entire Region?

I would think that these High Capacity plans would need Routes from Round Rock and Georgetown to Cedar Park and Leander.

Will the 31-day Regional Metro Rail Pass I buy at Cap Metro work with LoneStar?

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Grace Wilson about 1 year ago

When the "Project Connect Vision" design was created, was there some discussion (guess-timating?) about how residents in certain areas of Austin would be more likely to actually use public transit than others? And if so, is that how you decided where to place transit stations, etc.? I would agree that it doesn't make sense to spend money on mass transit to parts of the city where people aren't likely to use it.

I also agree that serious thought needs to be put into including bicycle transportation into the mix. Right now, combining a bus trip with taking your bike along is a great way to get around ... IF you can get your bike on the bus. Only two bikes per bus makes it a total loser.

I agree that frequency of service is a huge issue in whether or not people will take a transit option. I don't mind waiting 10-15 minutes, but beyond that it's just not convenient enough to sit around sweating in the hot Texas sun.

Would widening Mopac really relieve traffic congestion? If there were 4 lanes in each direction, how would that impact a person's commute in terms of minutes saved? It might not be worth the expense, but I don't know how to project that.

I like the Vision in that I think the only way to really help traffic congestion is to get people out of their cars if it's only one person per car. There's just not enough space.

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Denise Beier Zuniga about 1 year ago

I would like to see a commuter rail stop at Lake Austin Blvd. You would also have to ensure that where there is a rail stop that there is also an ON TIME bus connection

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Will Will about 1 year ago

No more rail... No more rail. All rail does is give you federal money to build it, and pocket some yourself. It's corporate welfare for the government. It is a dirty as a pig, no matter how you dress the pig, it is still a pig. I wants me a Brand new Cadillac. But unlike Capital Metro, I have to live within my means eating cold pork and beans or dried up zuchinni. Put this back in the mailbox like Fred G. Sanford said. If you reduce salaries of your administration, (no more government millionaires working at Capital Metro!!!) and add bus service where people can use it such as down steep hills to solve accessibility issues you will get more riders. Sell that ugly turd you call MetroRail to Bain Capital and let some other sucker buy it. But Capital Metro wants to be like the City of Detroit, in ruins. Think of our children capital metro, they don't want to share the burden of your recklessness and wanting not needing the train.

In a nutshell:

  1. Cut Salaries
  2. Fire some of your workload (that don't want to work)
  3. Let us vote for the Board of Directors, and the President via election, and prohibiting the use of campaign contributions. So ideas, not money or special interest groups run the board of the people and for the people.
  4. Use only BUSES. Yes BUSES.
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Marla Blank 12 months ago

I don't understand why connecting UT to Mueller is being rated as a higher priority than connecting UT to Crestview. The line from Crestview to UT will actually serve the UT student and faculty population. The UT student body expressed the same sentiment on April 24th when it unanimously passed a resolution endorsing a rail line on or near Guadalupe. They also stated that a line along or near Guadalupe would “directly serve students in their home communities, by building through the heart of residential student density.”

8 Votes
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Alex x 12 months ago

I support Crestview to UT as a higher priority than Mueller to UT

5 Votes
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Sula Earthowl Milstead 12 months ago

I support Crestview to UT as a higher priority than Mueller to UT

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Alan Hampton 12 months ago

Mueller is a logical priority because it has been designed from the ground up as a dense, urban development with a neighborhood center surrounding a rail stop - both a destination and origination point for riders. Dense development is not being fought in this neighborhood but is being actively built in. Here are a FEW places served by the short rail line thru east campus and Mueller, giving Austin the most "bang for its buck" for a new urban rail.

14-acre University of Texas Health Research Campus for medical research, Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas, Ronald McDonald House, Seton Hospitals Administration Building (Seton is Central Texas' largest private employer), Wildflower Terrace affordable housing community, Austin Children's Museum, St David's Hospital, The 140,000 sq. ft. Bill & Melinda Gates Computer Science Complex, University of Texas Performing Arts Center, UT sports stadiums, Frank Erwin Center, State Offices (the big buildings like the Employee Retirement System and Texas Workforce Commission are on the east side of the capitol complex), Brackenridge Hospital, Dell Medical School, Waller Creek redevelopment.

I'm also hopeful that a rail line east of campus will offer an alternative route to school for the hundreds of students that currently park on the streets of my neighborhood, Blackland. Students in west campus that feel they cannot walk across campus to catch the train in front of the football stadium already have a very well run free shuttle bus system that will take them to the rail stop.

1 Vote
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Marla Blank 12 months ago

While the Mueller line connects several destinations, it does not connect the riders where they originate to those destinations. The Lamar-Guadalupe line has much higher ridership potential by connecting West Campus, dense central neighborhoods, and the northwest suburbs to UT, the Capitol and downtown. While Mueller has been designed as a dense urban development and a rail connection would be nice in the future, Lamar and Guadalupe is where the population and the need exists NOW. The Mueller line does nothing to serve the heavy activity and alleviate the major traffic congestion on the Lamar-Guadalupe corridor, one of the city's heaviest inner-city arterial corridors, ranking within the top 100 congested corridors in all of Texas. The Mueller line would serve an area that has no perceptible traffic congestion. In order to reach Brackenridge and UT from Airport and Lamar in heavy traffic, I frequently drive to Airport and 45th and then take Red River because this route- the proposed and prioritized urban rail route- has no congestion. The proposed Mueller route on East UT also avoids the busy commercial corridor of The Drag and the ultra dense West Campus area which has the 4th highest population density of any neighborhood in Texas. The Lamar-Guadalupe line would take a greater number of Austinites from where they live to where they go to school, work and play because it serves a greater number of both origins and destinations. This line would also connect the discretionary income of West Campus, Triangle, and communities up and down Guadalupe and Lamar to downtown entertainment and recreation venues.

You mentioned connecting The 140,000 sq. ft. Bill & Melinda Gates Computer Science Complex, University of Texas Performing Arts Center, UT sports stadiums, and Frank Erwin Center, . All of these connections would still exist, they would just be a walk across campus. The connection to State Offices (the big buildings like the Employee Retirement System and Texas Workforce Commission on the east side of the capitol complex) and the Capitol Complex would still exist on the Lamar-Guadalupe line. In addition to these the Lamar-Guadalupe line would connect

The Drag on Guadalupe Pease Park/Shoal Creek Greenbelt Villas and Venue student living communities on Guadalupe Seminaries, Adams Park North Drag IBIZ District Wheatsville North University, Hemphill Park, Sparky Park, Seton and Area Medical Offices The Gables and Central Market Park Austin State Hospital Hyde Park Shipe Park, The Triangle School for the Blind Intramural Fields Winters Building State North Austin Complex Department of Health Lamar Activity Corridor (2.8 miles of redevelopment) State DPS Crestview Station Midtown Commons- a 73 acre apartment and retail village which is adding 250 apartments and single family homes Crestview City Homes- 30 acres of housing units currently being built with some already completed and on the market Upper Airport Redevelopment New ACC Highland campus North Lamar Transit Center

Seton Midtown, the Heart Hospital, and associated medical office complexes can be served with a station less than a half-mile walk, reducing pressure on nearby streets. Brackenridge hospital will also be served with a half mile walk from the downtown connection, as would Waller Creek and Waterloo Park. Should Dell Medical School be built on part of the campus or near Brackenridge it would also be served by this line.

The massive difference in both destination and origination points alone should be enough motivation for the city to prioritize the West Campus-Lamar-Guadalupe line. Keeping in mind that the whole point of this costly rail project is to alleviate congestion in our rapidly growing city, I say once again, I can not understand why the Mueller line would be placed as a higher priority. The development at and around the Crestview station (Midtown Commons, Crestview City Homes, ACC) will only increase the present congestion. The transit city vision should prioritize alleviation of the critical congestion in the Lamar-Guadalupe corridor and I would really love someone from the Project Connect team to explain why they are not doing so.

6 Votes
 
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Scott Morris 12 months ago

In terms of the overflow parking issues, it sounds like a very similar problem that all campus area neighborhoods face. There are effective tools to address it in the Residential Parking Program and Parking Benefit District program.

On the urban rail destinations you list along the proposed Mueller Development alignment, many of those would also benefit by being connected to the population densities and employment centers in the North Lamar corridor, all the way up to 183 and beyond.

On the Mueller alignment, from which residential areas are these trips originating to the destinations you have identified? What are the populations of those residential centers, and what is the ridership count going into the CBD from them? How many people will take the train from these residential centers to the hospitals and supporting medical uses (doctor's offices), the football stadium, and entertainment and civic venues on a daily basis?

How can a line that does not break though to the Central Austin ring of congestion serve the commuters in Austin's outlying communities trying to access the CBD? How will it take cars off the inbound and outbound highways for the commuters? The rail studies in ASG, FCS, and CATS led to the conclusion that Mueller was the closest activity center never looked north of 51st Street for some unexplained reason.

How is equity, of all people of all socioeconomic levels, including those who need transit in their daily lives, being served by this first investment?

Can an alignment deliver full trains of discretionary spenders to the central business district every night of the year to ensure downtown's continued vitality? Which alignment will deliver tangible economic effects of dollars circulating 3x in the local economy and the sales tax that generates on that multiple?

Will it be the optimal decision in regard to environmental benefits? Residential density and economic growth?

A successful alignment will need to connect where people live to what they do 250 times a year, be an expandable backbone, and work within the context of a regional transportation plan.

These are all questions, in one form or another, that need to be asked and answered of the Guadalupe/North Lamar alignment as well. A proper FTA-sanctioned Alternatives Analysis of the north corridor, as it was done in 1999, should shed light on the comparative strength of each alignment. This has not been done for Guadalupe/Lamar in the current process. But, such a study would identify the populations and employment centers served, and the social end economic benefits returned to the whole city and its outlying communities.

Relying on the FTA 1999 study data, estimated daily boardings in 2025 along the North Lamar corridor were 37,400. That was before the passage of the University Neighborhood Overlay, several neighborhood plans boosting density, and the Imagine Austin Plan that calls for 750,000 new residents in the urban core.

Our friends in the outlying communities are Austinites too. For you, the stakes are even higher. We only need remember that a gallon of gas in 1999 was $1.15.

I think Austin is ready to make this decision together. But it has to be the right one, and it has to have reach.

Incidentally, Mueller is no denser residentially than Hyde Park. Hyde Park was also designed for rapid transit, and was the first electric streetcar subdivision in the state in 1892 with track serving it from Guadalupe and Avenue G.

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Marie x 12 months ago

I support Crestview/N.Lamar to UT/Capitol Complex, where there is a CURRENT need, as a HIGHER priority than Mueller to UT.

3 Votes
 
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Sula Earthowl Milstead 12 months ago

I support Crestview to UT as a higher priority than Mueller to UT

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Jennifer x 12 months ago

I agree that connecting Crestview to UT should be a higher priority than Mueller to UT. I travel both areas but Lamar area alot more often, the congestion there is a lot higher than around Mueller.

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Alan Hampton 12 months ago

Sorry, but I'm trying to understand Marla's reply but it doesn't make logical sense to me.
I feel we can agree that urban rail is a needed piece of Austin's transportation solution, and that routes northwest, east, south and to the airport are all needed. However these comments are apparently a part of an organized effort to advocate for the route that would be of personal benefit to the commenters and not a positive discussion of which alignments benefit the city as a whole.

To address a few of the concerns raised:

"While the Mueller line connects several destinations, it does not connect the riders where they originate to those destinations". - Mueller's dense small urban lots, townhomes and apartments originate riders. The dense new condos, apartments, offices and hotels being built on the old Concordia site originate riders. The student apartments and housing along Red River, especially near Dean Keeton, originate riders. The huge cluster of dorms on the east side of campus - Jester dorm alone houses 3,200 students - originate riders.

"All of these connections would still exist, they would just be a walk across campus". - The thousands of students in dorms at UT would have rail at their doorstep while west campus is just a short walk (or free shuttle bus ride) away as you yourself point out.

Both Crestview Station and Mueller are transit oriented developments and both places are great for urban rail but you were asking for an explanation of priorities. Mueller's 711 acres is almost 10 times the size of Crestview, and it is quickly building out it 4,600 dense urban homes, 650,000 sq.ft of retail space and 4.2 MILLION sq.ft. of non-residential development for close to 10 times that of Crestview. Also, a lot of the places you mention such as ACC Highland campus are between both routes and would be served equally by either one.

I support urban rail up Lamar to Crestview Station, east to Mueller, south to Ben White (and to connect to commuter rail to Buda, Kyle, all the way to San Antonio if possible), and to serve the airport, but the route to Crestview doesn't really seem to have any special qualities that would prioritize it over these other needed routes.

1 Vote
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Marla Blank 12 months ago

When I am talking about ridership I think this best explains what I mean "CapMetro bus line servicing this route[Guadalupe-Lamar] - which is known as the "1" - is the highest ridership line in the bus system with roughly 15,000 weekday boardings.

In addition, the Transit Competitiveness Index (TCI) from CapMetro's 2020 Service Plan rates the Guadalupe Lamar route served by the "1" as having an average origin score of 75 and destination score of 52 compared to Mueller's origin score of 43 and destination score of 27.

CapMetro describes the TCI as a quantitative measure of a location's potential to support successful transit service. It combines transportation, land use, and socioeconomic characteristics that affect transit potential into a single, linear index. This index can be used to identify target markets to increase or decrease transit service. It was utilized to develop the bus service plan."

As far as the comment on personal benefit to the commenters and not what benefits the city, each of our perceptions of what benefits the city is going to be colored by our personal circumstances. While I sympathize with your desire to cut down parking in your neighborhood on game days, I would hope that you could also sympathize with my desire for access to speedy public transportation as a member of one of many families in Highland neighborhood who only own one car. When I speak of ridership I am first thinking of those who NEED access to public transportation, whether that be due to lack of parking at UT, long travel times due to traffic congestion, or lack of a personal vehicle. The bus numbers indicate that Lamar-Guadalupe is where that need exists. I am thinking not just of my Highland neighborhood, or of Crestview, but of all the neighborhoods all the way down the line. I won't even be living there when the rail finally does come through, but took the time to research simply because the Mueller line didn't make sense to me. My interest began simply with the thought of 'huh, Mueller doesn't seem to make sense because that is not where the vast majority of UT students or UT staff live" The UT students agree. Yes, there are other destinations than UT and other riders than students and UT staff, but if Guadalupe-Lamar is where the bus ridership is in all of that traffic congestion, then it makes sense to me that this would be where the rail would be of most use to most people.

I have been able to find no information on any kind of comparitive analysis between the two rail lines, nor have I found where the city solicited public opinion on these two lines. All I am looking for, as I said in the last post, is an explanation from someone who had this transit vision of what information they used to make this choice.

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Sarah Bradley 12 months ago

Building rail in the Mueller corridor is a great opportunity for getting out in front of growth in a part of the city that is only going to continue growing, not to mention that it would serve the high-growth northeast area of the county as well. The lower segment of Airport Boulevard is not pedestrian-friendly to say the least and needs more transit options. Urban rail in this sector would encourage growth in a desirable and healthy manner.

3 Votes
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Scott Morris 12 months ago

In terms of getting ahead of growth, the Guadalupe/Lamar alignment has a 2.3 to 1 advantage against Mueller in future residential growth according to the city's Zoning Capacity and Redevelopment Analysis (V. 11) done for Image Austin last summer. http://goo.gl/maps/VpdxG

The Mueller PUD can accommodate 5,750 new units, the East Avenue PUD 1,450 and Hancock NPA 1,072, for a total of 8,272 NEW UNITS along that alignment north of downtown. These estimates were done prior to recent site plan filings which depleted acreage with non-residential and medium density development.

By contrast, 18,979 NEW UNITS are forecast for planning areas abutting the Guadalupe/Lamar alignment north of downtown:

BRENTWOOD 4,182 CRESTVIEW 1,374 CRESTVIEW STATION 1,654 GEORGIAN ACRES 1,219 HIGHLAND 4,709 HYDE PARK 384 NORTH AUSTIN CIVIC ASSOCIATION 1,462 NORTH LOOP 1,709 NORTH UNIVERSITY 311 TRIANGLE PUD 600 WEST UNIVERSITY* 1,375

*The report states, "The West University NPA is subject to permissive height regulations which allow for much greater density than what is stated here."

Not included in this estimate is the potential residential redevelopment of over 80 acres of state owned land in the North Austin Complex, including the Austin State Hospital, and an astonishing 40,000 units planned at the North Burnet/Gateway Planning Area. The State of Texas' North Austin Complex combined with the Capitol Complex and UT are our #1 and #2 employment centers in the city. The Guadalupe alignment connects tens of thousands of those workers to more homes and connects the complexes to each other. The proposed alignment continues north, activating 3.1 miles of corridor redevelopment and finally engages the entire bus transit system for the northern half of the city through its terminus at the North Lamar Transit Center. The adjacent city-owned 23 acres under elevated 183 at N. Lamar can be used as a maintenance and storage area.

To the north of 183 we have emerging employment centers to serve, new facilities by Apple, GM and Visa data centers, and high current populations in the 78758, 78759 zip codes.

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Rickw x 12 months ago

What I see here is the shorter. cheaper route comes first. It'll be no wonder that ridership will be low and future projects a harder sell. Let's take the actual necessary step and build a bridge downtown to connect North Lamar and South Congress, with UT and the Capitol in between.

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Victoria Wing 12 months ago

I support urban rail that would connect Koenig/Denson/Crestview with the University of Texas at Austin and the Capitol. The Highland neighborhood is dense with people who attend or work at UT and the Capitol area complex.

3 Votes