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ATXboom Nov 1, 2007 8:03 PM

http://www.statesman.com/blogs/conte...n_wynns_r.html


More details needed on Wynn’s rail concept
By The Editorial Board | Monday, October 29, 2007, 04:51 PM

Will Wynn swerved from his largely ceremonial second term as Austin mayor last week by leading a call for a major mass transit project to connect the airport and important nodes of the city by passenger rail.

Wynn made his pitch before an approving audience, the Downtown Austin Alliance, which has been eager for mass transit alternatives in the core city. Unquestionably, the idea of linking Austin-Bergstrom International Airport with downtown, the University of Texas and the Mueller redevelopment is a good one.

Austin sorely needs a mass transit system that can move residents and visitors quickly and easily around major centers of interest, entertainment and employment. The problem is the cost and how to pay for it. Wynn was somewhat vague on that issue, though he said he wants a task force to study ways to make his idea a reality.

Certainly it’s an ambitious plan, and we applaud the mayor for stepping forward with it. However, the devil will be in the details - including financing, involvement of other government entities and the technology to be used. It is such a complicated project that Wynn’s timetable for placing the issues before voters looks much too quick.

In announcing the proposal, Wynn said he would like to have the necessary questions on the ballot by November 2008. Capital Metro’s commuter rail between downtown Austin and Leander will barely have begun by then, and pushing a complex ballot issue before voters so soon could backfire.

Why not give local residents who will pay for the line a chance to experience commuter rail before saddling them with another multi-million dollar bond issue for another rail line? Commuter rail has been a hit with voters in most localities, and if the Austin-Leander line works well, it will provide more incentive to add another line to the airport.

Some local leaders believe Wynn sprung the project on them rather than exploring it in depth first, which is another reason not to rush the vote. And at this point there are only vague ideas about how to pay for a passenger rail system that will be costly because it must cross the Colorado River, Interstate 35 and several major highways.

In just 12 months, local leaders will have to figure out the route and right-of-way needs, the financing and the technology - light rail, electric rail, diesel power - and sell it to voters. That’s a tall order that risks the entire project if worried or cautious taxpayers vote it down.

As the mayor described it, the project’s financing could be a strange brew of city and county bonds, airport revenue, federal transit money and help from private developers. He said he would like to see the line built without having to raise property tax rates. Obviously, funding this new proposal will be the deciding factor in whether voters support it or not.

Austin needs a mass transit alternative from the airport to downtown and the university, but it should not be rushed. We eagerly await more details on the cost of Wynn’s proposal and how to pay for it.

Permalink | Comments (33) | Post your comment Categories: Top Editorial

arbeiter Nov 1, 2007 8:16 PM

I don't trust referenda - the average voter doesn't really understand the necessity of infrastructure investments. I don't understand why we let people vote on things like trains but not on things like roads.

M1EK Nov 1, 2007 8:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tildahat (Post 3139932)
A side issue to this discussion, but I thought Mueller could increase density by 40% if there was a rail line going through. (And I don't think it matters what type of rail.) Could be wrong though.

Mueller is essentially already planned out. I've seen that comment too, but don't think it means much at this point, and it was stupid anyways (rail which isn't attractive enough to ride won't result in fewer car trips).

paulsjv Nov 1, 2007 9:06 PM

Maybe M1EK is right and the commuter rail is doomed before it gets started and the Mayor wants to put something in the works before the commuter rail is seen as a failure? hm. :)

ATXboom Nov 2, 2007 6:23 PM

iday, November 2, 2007
SH 130 retail boom3M total square feet planned near toll road
Austin Business Journal - by Kate Harrington ABJ Staff
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BEACON AVIATION INC.
The projects planned around the new SH 130 toll road would post retail far ahead of residential growth.
View Larger Related News
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Northeast Austin is poised to see more than 3 million square feet of mixed-use development at the intersection of State Highway 130, Parmer Lane and U.S. Highway 290.

The proposals for the relatively barren part of Central Texas reverse the long-held notion that retail must follow rooftops.

Endeavor Real Estate Group LLC has increased its land holdings to include 600 acres northeast and northwest of SH 130, and plans to build a mixed-use project similar, but bigger than, its Southpark Meadows development in South Austin. The project will eventually span more than 2.3 million square feet. The still-unnamed development will include retail, multifamily housing, office space and a hotel, says Andy Pastor, managing principal with Endeavor. Pastor declines to say how much the project will cost or what a timeline looks like for groundbreaking, but says Endeavor is in discussions with potential retail tenants.

Across U.S. 290 from Endeavor's planned project, a New York developer is partnering with Austin's SCC Development Co. LLC to build 1 million square feet of retail -- tantamount to a regional mall such as Barton Creek Square. Eastbourne Investments Ltd. of Williamsville, N.Y., closed on the 124-acre tract in mid-October for an undisclosed amount. Eastbourne and SCC plan to break ground in late 2008 or early 2009 on the development, dubbed Wildhorse Crossing, a $80 million retail project at the southeast intersection of SH 130 and U.S. Highway 290. Johnson Architects of Dallas is the project's architect and Austin's Jones & Carter Inc. is doing the engineering.

Eastbourne is no stranger to the area. In June 2006, the group purchased another 390 acres at the intersection of SH 130 and State Highway 71 for $29 million, with plans to work with Boise, Idaho-based Retail West Properties to build a project called Eastbourne Crossing. That project will include 1.4 million square feet of retail space and up to 1,200 residential units. Eastbourne President Frank Egan says the company also holds approximately 500 acres around the SH 130 corridor for which the company has no immediate plans, but will likely turn into projects similar to Wildhorse Crossing or Eastbourne Crossing.

Egan says Wildhorse Crossing will be a retail-only 'power center' anchored by a big-box store. He declined to say which retailers Eastbourne and SCC are talking to, but says they are in early negotiations with potential tenants.

"We've been very active down in Austin for the last three years and identified it as a growth market," Egan says. "We have sought out opportunities specifically along SH 130 ... [In the] near term, it is a great site and, long-term, it's an even better site. That intersection is very rapidly going to develop into a retail area."

Egan and Kelly Shaw, principal with SCC, say the interest in the SH 130 corridor, especially at key intersections, has picked up noticeably in the last year. While developers are cognizant that rooftops haven't spread to the area yet, Pastor says the confluence of the new toll road, U.S. 290 and Parmer Lane make the area a regional location with huge growth potential for housing and future corporate relocations.

Developers are going farther and farther outside city cores to achieve the type of power centers that appeal to big retailers, says David Simmonds, senior vice president of The Weitzman Group. That need for large sites has set off a reverse trend of rooftops following retail in some cases, he says.

"They're banking that, in the years down the road, [the area] will grow," Simmonds says. "The question is, if you build it, will they come?"

That depends in part on which anchors retail centers like Wildhorse are able to attract, he says. Simmonds says Target and JC Penney are the most sought-after anchors nationally, and if Eastbourne and SCC can sign a well-regarded anchor, the center could be a success.

Travis Waldrop, retail specialist with NAI/Commercial Industrial Properties Co., says there is a risk of overbuilding an area that hasn't yet seen demand.

But he says since developers with large retail projects tend to build out slowly and in phases, as Endeavor has done with Southpark Meadows in Austin, there's also a good chance that Austin's growth will have reached key SH 130 corridor intersections by the time the retail projects are on the ground.

"While the overall picture may look unrealistic to a certain extent, when you put it in the context of 10 to 20 years on the horizon, those things can become more palatable."

kharrington@bizjournals.com | (512) 494-2523

JAM Nov 5, 2007 2:49 PM

Toll road contract includes reward for lowering I-35 speed limit
 
SAN ANTONIO — The state's deal with private contractors to build and operate a new toll road from Austin to Seguin would reward the state for lowering the speed limit on Interstate 35.

The state's privatization contract for the 40-mile stretch of Texas 130, which will run parallel of I-35 to the east, includes the option for the state to earn credit, though not payment, for pushing traffic to the tollway. That includes by lowering I-35 speed limits.

But a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Transportation said the agency won't do that, even for financial gain.

"We don't expect to be reducing speed limits on I-35," spokeswoman Gaby Garcia said. "They are set by traffic engineering studies and not by economic gain."

The state signed the Texas 130 deal in March with a consortium made up of Cintra of Spain and Zachry Construction Corp. of San Antonio.

Under the deal, Cintra-Zachry will finance, build and operate the $1.3 billion tollway in the hope of eventually turning a profit. The company expects to start construction in the next two years and open the roadway in 2012.

The contract includes a provision that the transportation department would pay Cintra-Zachry for lost profits if some state projects interfere with Texas 130 toll traffic over the next 50 years.

For example, the state would be penalized for widening or building competing roads.

Critics fear the deal will result in interference with regular traffic on I-35.

"Our highways are being hijacked for private interests," said Terri Hall of Texans United for Reform and Freedom. "Who's going to rein in this agency? It just baffles me."

Garcia said speed limits are not are not arbitrarily set.

The department changes speed limits after studying motorists' driving patterns and safety conditions.

The contract requires the department to pay Cintra-Zachry for any toll losses if the speed limit on I-35 is increased.

Conversely, the private company would have to pay the transportation department more for higher speed limits on the toll road.

Cintra-Zachry will pay the department $25 million upfront if the limit is set at 70 mph but will increase the offer to $92 million for 80 mph and $125 million for 85 mph, according to the contract. The department could opt instead to take a bigger portion of the profits.


Find this article at:
http://www.statesman.com/news/conten...mpetition.html

ATXboom Nov 5, 2007 4:17 PM

Friday, November 2, 2007
Funding options pondered following rail system proposalAustin Business Journal - by Kate Harrington ABJ Staff
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After Austin Mayor Will Wynn's recent call for a 2008 downtown rail system election, many questioned how the proposed system would be financed.

Wynn and Austin City Council Member Brewster McCracken say there are three front-running funding possibilies that stand out so far:

Using value-capture-like tax-increment finance zones on land that stands to see future development.
Leveraging surplus equity from the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
Using a combination of public and private dollars.
Whatever the combination, Wynn says he wants to get a downtown rail system up and running without any new taxes.

McCracken says the rail proposal will start to move quickly after Nov. 8, when the city awards a contract for the redevelopment of the East Riverside Drive corridor and creates an interjurisdictional team to pursue funding partnerships.

Lee Walker, chairman of the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority board, says he's concerned about Wynn's assertion that the city will cover capital costs for the proposed rail system and Cap Metro will cover operating costs. Cap Metro may have the money to start the new system, he says, but a value-capture system like a TIF has to be part of a long-term funding strategy.

McCracken says the city harnessed tax revenue from new development to pay for $50 million worth of infrastructure for the Mueller redevelopment. If the city pursues a similar value-capture scenario for the rail, McCracken says it would likely encompass the Toomey Road area, parts of East Riverside where a line may run and land around the Triangle development if the state is willing to sell it.

Scott Polikov, president of Gateway Planning Group, says TIFs usually work well for rail funding because rail tends to create an additional tax base. Glenn Gadbois, a board member with the Alliance for Public Transportation, says value-capture methods like TIFs also tend to work well because they can guarantee a generalized revenue stream even before a project's developer is in place. Pursuing private contributions may be more difficult, Gadbois says, because it means asking property owners to give money toward a project on the front end, before any increase in value or development actually occurs.

ATXboom Nov 5, 2007 5:35 PM

11 34 am



Wynn to resurrect light rail
10/25/2007 10:26 AM
By: News 8 Austin Staff



Austin Mayor Will Wynn is calling for a November 2008 election to build a Central Austin passenger rail system.

The announcement happened at the Mayor's annual State of Downtown luncheon on Thursday.

"Every peer city that's worth their salt has passenger rail service," he said.

The proposed rail line would connect Austin Bergstrom International Airport, downtown and the University of Texas, along with the Triangle and Mueller developments.

Back in 2000, voters shot down a plan for 52 miles of light rail.

"It took a lot of political courage for him to stick his neck out and make this proposal," Nancy Burns of the Downtown Austin Alliance said.

Under his plan, Wynn said there would not be a need for a new tax to pay for the trains. Instead the system would be paid for and run by a committee of city agencies, developers and private entities. Wynn also hopes the airport, which is doing well financially, can help with the burden.

"It benefits passengers, it benefits employees and I think the airlines and the airport operation will recognize the value," he said.



WATCH THE VIDEO



Light rail

Despite being defeated in 2000, Mayor Wynn hopes Austin voters will approve a light rail in 2008.







Wynn wants to assign a task force to come up with the cost, technology and logistics.

Creative financing between public and private entities would avoid a property tax increase.

Wynn hopes the task force can complete its projection in six months so an election can be held in 2008.

This light rail proposal through Central Austin is completely separate from Capital Metro's commuter rail line through Williamson County down to Austin.

Voters approved a commuter rail in 2004 and the trains are set to launch in Fall 2008.

RobDSM Nov 6, 2007 3:57 AM

On the Road…Again

Transportation engineer’s plan could relieve
roadway crowding by encouraging trips at off-peak times

Motorists have to pay a fee at certain times of day to drive in parts of London, Stockholm and Singapore.

Those cities have adopted a concept called congestion pricing, in which motorists pay to enter crowded parts of the cities at busy times of day. Those who don’t want to pay find alternate, perhaps cheaper forms of transportation.

The cities’ programs vary by degree. In London, it’s a flat rate and once inside the restricted area one can drive around all day. In Stockholm, the fees vary by time of day. In Singapore, the downtown restrictions are complemented by variable tolls on the surrounding freeway network.

The result in each city is less densely packed streets, better traffic flow and less pollution.

These are examples of how metropolitan areas are trying to cope with the increasing problem of congestion by regulating access to scarce road space.

Motorists spend increasing amounts of time and fuel sitting in dense traffic. Traffic congestion is a top problem in urban areas throughout the United States and the world. Traffic congestion costs the U.S. economy $100 billion a year in delays, wasted fuel and other losses.

Kara Kockelman studies traffic solutions as an associate professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin.

She wants to make pricing policies even better with an idea called credit-based congestion pricing. Drivers receive credits they can spend to drive on crowded roads during peak times. Or they can spend the credits more judiciously by traveling at off-peak hours.

“It’s everybody having a piece of the road system,” she said. “How you want to use it is up to you.”

Under credit-based congestion pricing, everyone would get a piece of the network in the form of a monthly credit.

It's everybody having a piece of the road system. How you want to use it is up to you. Dr. Kara KockelmanThose who drive at non-peak hours or take alternative transportation can end up even or with extra credit. Those who must travel at high-traffic times—and do so often—would use their credits and then pay into their toll tag accounts. There also could be a system in which people trade credits.

The idea, Kockelman said, is to give people financial incentives to stay off the roads at peak times or to take public transportation or carpool.

Of course, congestion isn’t the only reason to charge roadway users, said Kockelman, a William J. Murray Jr. Fellow in Engineering at the university.

“The infrastructure itself is rather costly to provide—and then maintain,” she said. “And communities may want to impose different prices on different types of vehicles. Not because they damage the pavement, but because they emit different levels of noxious pollutants and greenhouse gases, and consume more space.”

Kockelman said credit-based congestion pricing is more equitable for low-income drivers than conventional congestion pricing. “They may end up with extra credits at the end of each month, cash these out, effectively, and buy things they value more, including bus passes, food and health care,” she said. Especially hard-hit populations could apply for additional credits.

Implementing credit-based congestion pricing won’t be a Sunday drive. Every vehicle would have to be equipped with a transponder in order to be detected by roadside readers.

But much of the technology is being used today. It’s what allows motorists to drive on toll roads without slowing down or stopping to pay tolls.

Kockelman and a former student used data collected by the North Central Texas Council of Governments and computer modeling to see what might happen if credit-based congestion pricing was used in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The study showed it would reduce overall vehicle travel by 7 percent, but raise speeds by 20 percent. That means people could get to their destinations faster. So even most of those who end up paying out of pocket can perceive a net benefit.

The researchers estimate the start-up cost of the system—transponders, cameras, computers and administration—for the Dallas-Fort Worth area would be $53 million, or $11 per resident. Recurring costs would be $260 million a year, or $54 per resident.

Dallas-Fort Worth area residents are already paying $560 a year as the cost of congestion, according to Texas Transportation Institute’s annual Urban Mobility Report.

Getting people to buy into congestion-based credit pricing will take time, Kockelman said. There is a lot of education of government officials and residents to do.

In a survey conducted across Texas a few years ago, 56 percent of the respondents were in favor of converting existing roads to tolled roads if credit-based pricing were used.

Kockelman has briefed Texas legislators about the concept and has delivered talks to transportation groups about it.

There is at least one group that likes the idea.

The American Society of Civil Engineers has awarded Kockelman the 2007 Harland Bartholomew Award. It cites "her many planning contributions, including her novel credit-based congestion pricing theory, which has the potential to revolutionize roadway operations by eliminating recurring traffic congestion and allocating scarce roadway space in a equitable fashion."

Kockelman is one of several engineering professors at the university who work on solving traffic problems. She is part of one of the top programs in the country, a program that rivals those at the University of California, Berkeley and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

By Tim Green
Photos: Christina Murrey

http://www.utexas.edu/features/2007/traffic/

Saddle Man Nov 6, 2007 9:47 PM

The commuter trains apparently have a 300ft turning radius, so they can't make hard turns. I get that. So would the turning radius allow the trains to cross downtown on 4th up to Guadalupe, and then turn left (45 degrees get or take) to cut diagonally across the parking that I believe AMOA owns to the corner of 3rd and San Antonio. From there they could travel on 3rd to Seaholm. Perhaps the city, AMOA, CapMetro, and a developers could all partner to get a highrise built that would contain something for everyone. I know it could work if the state garage wasn't there.

Mikey711MN Nov 6, 2007 10:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kingkirbythegreat (Post 3149957)
The commuter trains apparently have a 300ft turning radius, so they can't make hard turns. I get that. So would the turning radius allow the trains to cross downtown on 4th up to Guadalupe, and then turn left (45 degrees get or take) to cut diagonally across the parking that I believe AMOA owns to the corner of 3rd and San Antonio. From there they could travel on 3rd to Seaholm. Perhaps the city, AMOA, CapMetro, and a developers could all partner to get a highrise built that would contain something for everyone. I know it could work if the state garage wasn't there.

Oh the memories... :rolleyes:

As I vividly recall, I raised this same technical question to M1EK in a rather tumultuous discussion. As he would later maintain, it wasn't a technical conundrum as much as a political one.

Anyway, strictly speaking of the technical aspects, you could probably manage the geometry by snaking a rail line through that offset, but not likely enough to the extent that you could straighten it out along the hypotenuse of that block...at least my original thought/idea/fantasy was to put a platform there and use the block as a public-private multi-modal facility (think Citicorp station just north of Union Station in Chicago). But I think some sort of S-curve is all you could squeeze in there even if, for example, you swung the trackline out wide, i.e. to the northern edge of 4th and southern edge of third, but that would be a difficult traffic management situation that would render it untenable.

IIRC, there are owners of two separate parcels on that block, one of which may be the State itself. Ergo the political tangent.

IMHO, the City has accepted the fate of having two separate N-S commuter rail corridors running into the downtown area (sound familiar?). The operating theory then, which I will abstain from making an argument about leaving it to M1EK to comment, would be to have circulating service between, say, the Seaholm station (for ASA trains), the Convention Center station (for the line under construction), and the Capitol grounds (with all points in between).

Mikey711MN Nov 6, 2007 10:47 PM

P.S. The tech specs of the CapMetro trains are available here. (pdf)

M1EK Nov 7, 2007 1:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kingkirbythegreat (Post 3149957)
The commuter trains apparently have a 300ft turning radius, so they can't make hard turns. I get that. So would the turning radius allow the trains to cross downtown on 4th up to Guadalupe, and then turn left (45 degrees get or take) to cut diagonally across the parking that I believe AMOA owns to the corner of 3rd and San Antonio. From there they could travel on 3rd to Seaholm. Perhaps the city, AMOA, CapMetro, and a developers could all partner to get a highrise built that would contain something for everyone. I know it could work if the state garage wasn't there.

Mikey addressed most of it - but the key here is that this S-turn doesn't buy you very much for the trouble anyways. Downtown workers don't want to go to Seaholm; they want to go to 6th and Congress. It might be worth the trouble if it got the train up to the Capitol and UT, but just to Seaholm, at a cost of losing an entire downtown block?

Cities fall way too much in love with this intermodal crap. Nobody wants to transfer as part of their daily commute. A fraction of possible commuters will put up with it, but that's an argument for avoiding these things, not for trying to route traffic to them.

BTW, Brewster McCracken's office finally wrote back. I'll be summarizing in the other rail thread when I get some time (not today).

Saddle Man Nov 7, 2007 2:34 PM

You wouldn't have to lose the whole. The train could go through the first floor ne to sw, which would leave building entrances on the nw and se corners. It would be complicated, but it would work. It only takes some vision. It would get commuters to Congress, it would allow future ASA rail passengers access into downtown via Seaholm, and would cross a future north-south line (which would connection UT, the capital, and things north and south like the 2000 proposal). I see a lot of benefit, like getting that 1/4 of a mile walking rule closer to things people would be willing to walk to.

M1EK Nov 7, 2007 3:11 PM

There isn't going to be a lot of interest in transferring from one DMU to another DMU. And the ASA rail isn't going to happen. And, of course, it doesn't help with UT and the Capitol (unless magical fairy dust lets us build reserved-guideway rail up/down Congress and Guadalupe even though it never hits the burbs). And of course, it's not feasible to have stops that close together with DMUs.

Other than that, it sounds good. (How was the play, Mr. Lincoln?)

Guys, if I sound like a broken record it's because you don't listen: the decision to go with DMU technology and that commuter rail route has precluded a lot of other good things from ever happening.

Mikey711MN Nov 7, 2007 3:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M1EK (Post 3151394)
There isn't going to be a lot of interest in transferring from one DMU to another DMU.

Actually, it's interesting you bring that up because I asked myself the same question while writing my last reply. Anyone riding the ASA, as proposed anyway, isn't particularly interested in heading much further east of downtown. That's a good point, and entirely valid in the discussion of the circulator's function.

Be that as it may, hypothetically speaking and for sake of discussion, what does a "reserved-guideway rail up/down Congress and Guadalupe" do to enhance regional transit connectivity other than provide [significantly] higher daily ridership for a starter line and/or not automatically "precluding a lot of other good things from ever happening"? On the one hand, if accepted in whole, those are pretty solid reasons in and of themselves, but like it or not, Cap Metro has a regional responsibility and jurisdiction. Did they sell themselves out with this DMU-based line? M1EK, I will give you that. But I would argue that a simple LRT line running N-S along Congress and Guadalupe would be seen by the remainder of the region as a "city thing", thereby further casting mass transit as a resource-sucking government program catering almost exclusively to the urban masses. If anything, the potentially imminent failure of the new MetroRail line will be at least, in part, attributable to the suburbs as well.

I think Mayor Wynn sees your writing on the wall, M1EK, in terms of the incompetence of Cap Metro to truly develop a functional mass transit system, and I personally applaud him for opening the discussion in advance of a highly anticipated election to raise the issue for the City to potentially move forward on this in association with other interests, e.g. private entities. As I've said on these boards before, the developing tollway system has opened a new chapter in this region's transportation history most crucially in one key area: assigning an actual tangible cost of movement of road-based transit. Skyrocketing oil prices only broaden that consideration that has, for generations, been largely considered free or at least an entitlement.

Expanding on that idea more philosophically, I would also argue that the 21st Century urban and suburban American's most ideal concept of "freedom" is, in fact, in their ability to move freely. Personally, I think this ideal goes a long way in explaining a lot of society's behaviors: road rage (when impingement of this fundamental freedom has reached a limit), congestion studies, "white flight", etc.

As a final comment, what is truly fascinating to me now is the news of significant development of mass transit in cities (1) in this very state that (2) have been, if not outright are defined by, traditionally heavily auto-centric: Dallas and Houston. In this way, if the City leaders have the moxie, they can drive the point home (no pun intended) that other larger cities have only now found the error in their ways and are spending large sums of money in their attempts to mitigate their issues, the very same ones this City may face should it continue down its path of primarily automobile-based expansion of transportation facilities.

M1EK Nov 7, 2007 4:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mikey711MN (Post 3151472)
Be that as it may, hypothetically speaking and for sake of discussion, what does a "reserved-guideway rail up/down Congress and Guadalupe" do to enhance regional transit connectivity other than provide [significantly] higher daily ridership for a starter line and/or not automatically "precluding a lot of other good things from ever happening"?

The 2000 line ran up Guadalupe/Lamar to Airport Blvd, then would have run in the same right-of-way as commuter rail out to Leander, so it would have hit most of the city's residential density and still hit the big suburban park-and-ride market.

I agree that full-blown LRT which doesn't go out to the burbs at all is unlikely to be viewed favorably. Metro (Houston) could do it without a vote; we can't (thanks to Krusee's asshattery).

BTW, McCracken wrote back quickly this time when I asked about the route, and he indicates he favors the "up Guadalupe" option rather than the "up UT's back end and out through Mueller" option as well. That was a pleasant surprise. Will wrap up sometime tomorrow morning I hope; am out due to family medical reasons rest of day.

Mikey711MN Nov 7, 2007 4:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M1EK (Post 3151540)
am out due to family medical reasons rest of day

Sadly, I know quite a few people who are confronted with these at the moment. Good luck with that. I'm interested to read about McCracken's reply upon your return.

As a sidenote, there was an article regarding Wynn's announcement that referenced a "52 mile LRT system" being shot down in the 2000 election, which I promptly dismissed as another detail the media got wrong. However, were there ever bigger plans laid out for that system for which the Congress line would be a starter line?

That was news to me. And unfortunately, I'm not able to find where I read that.

M1EK Nov 7, 2007 7:02 PM

Have a bit of wireless here now.

The 52 mile system in 2000 referred to running all the way up to Leander and all the way down to Slaughter, plus segments to airport and east Austin. The initial starter line would have been Ben White (Congress Avenue from there to near capitol) to Howard Lane (using ANWRR ROW from Airport/Lamar to there; new double-tracking - not using the existing track - so same place as commuter rail but not same track).

alexjon Nov 7, 2007 9:17 PM

So is Houston's flip-flop a good thing or just a sidenote in this whole thing, M1EK?


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