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KevinFromTexas Aug 12, 2007 5:03 AM

AUSTIN | Transportation Updates
 
There's a lot of talk all over the forum on transportation issues in Austin. These conversations are spilling over in the city compilation threads and individual building threads and getting those threads off topic. Those threads are intended to be a compilation of updates to the skyscraper projects. A little discussion about transportation issues is fine, but they have a way of getting way out of hand and throwing the thread off topic.

So I've posted this thread which we can use to talk about transportation in Austin. These can be updates to highway projects or new ones and rail projects. And we can even use it to talk about transportation that is attached to certain projects such as the Seaholm project.

Please keep the discussion on topic and keep it civil. No name calling is allowed. This is not a place to argue. Please do discuss and debate, but no arguing.

The posts below were moved to this thread out of the 'Austin - Seaholm site prep work has started' thread since it was getting that thread way off topic from the subject of Seaholm.

DrewDizzle Aug 14, 2007 7:05 PM

Quote:

More than anything else, Seaholm will further shift the heart of downtown to the west. While downtown life used to center around 6th street between Congress and red river, the warehouse district, 2nd street district, and Whole Foods have shifted the balance. With Seaholm, the downtown action will increasingly be centered between Congress, Lamar, 5th, and Town Lake.
Not to be Debbie Downer but they're shifting the 'heart' of downtown farther away from the commuter rail's 'downtown stop'.

JAM Aug 14, 2007 11:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrewDizzle (Post 3009769)
Not to be Debbie Downer but they're shifting the 'heart' of downtown farther away from the commuter rail's 'downtown stop'.

Is the heart or the soul?

GoldenBoot Aug 15, 2007 2:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrewDizzle (Post 3009769)
Not to be Debbie Downer but they're shifting the 'heart' of downtown farther away from the commuter rail's 'downtown stop'.

I don't want to start another rail argument in this particular thread, but Cap. Metro. and the City knew this when they were designing the Leander Commuter Rail line!

M1EK Aug 15, 2007 2:24 PM

Cap Metro "designed" this line with Mike Krusee; the city of Austin had nothing to do with it (and, in fact, are similarly skeptical of their claims of choice commuters loving shuttle-bus transfers).

Kevinb Aug 15, 2007 3:24 PM

Well, if planners really want a street car system, than creating an environment that demands it would necessitate that goal...

It's very interesting to watch all of this unfold!

M1EK Aug 15, 2007 3:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kevinb (Post 3011438)
Well, if planners really want a street car system, than creating an environment that demands it would necessitate that goal...

Other than for tourism, streetcars have no major advantages over buses - stuck in the same exact traffic (unlike light rail, with which they are often purposefully confused). So, no, you can't "create demand for streetcar" by doing this any more than you can "create demand for buses" - the only real way to do either is to attract the transit-dependent rather than the choice-commuters, and I doubt very much whether the condo developers have that in mind.

MichaelB Aug 15, 2007 6:56 PM

Back to the question of a shifting downtown. Good question. I "think" it will balance out in the long run. Don't forget there is a great deal of new ( and planned) development on the east end as well. Joining the Milago soon will be the Shore, Legacy, Hotel Van Zandt, 21c, Red River Lofts, The Orsay, 5th and Sabine conversion, Brazos Lofts conversion..... and that;s off the top of my head. I "think" that with so much going on the east edge of downtown and the growing population east of 35 that we will no longer have such a small "center" of downtown. It seems to be speading in all directions! I like the fact that different areas of the CBD actually have different feelings.....

thoughts?

JAM Aug 15, 2007 8:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MichaelB (Post 3011822)
Back to the question of a shifting downtown. Good question. I "think" it will balance out in the long run. Don't forget there is a great deal of new ( and planned) development on the east end as well. Joining the Milago soon will be the Shore, Legacy, Hotel Van Zandt, 21c, Red River Lofts, The Orsay, 5th and Sabine conversion, Brazos Lofts conversion..... and that;s off the top of my head. I "think" that with so much going on the east edge of downtown and the growing population east of 35 that we will no longer have such a small "center" of downtown. It seems to be speading in all directions! I like the fact that different areas of the CDB actually have different feelings.....

thoughts?

I completely agree. Actually, I was thinking the same thing a few days ago when the article came out, but didn't have the energy to express those thoughts in writing. I definitely think the "heart" of downtown was overstated in the article. Probably just a nice catch phrase to use, the author probably really didn't give it much consideration. The heart of downtown is always going to mean different things to different people.

M1EK Aug 15, 2007 8:45 PM

Generalizations have their purpose - in this case, it's clear to me that the stuff on the east side of downtown is not going to be an attractor for commuter rail passengers from outside downtown (i.e. there's no offices and no major retail going in there). Seaholm might end up being that kind of attractor (more retail and some office?) but the rail doesn't go anywhere near it, as noted. Those differences are, in fact, worth talking about rather than just getting vague and insisting that it's all one place even though you'd never walk from A to B on a daily basis.

JAM Aug 15, 2007 9:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M1EK (Post 3012043)
Generalizations have their purpose - in this case, it's clear to me that the stuff on the east side of downtown is not going to be an attractor for commuter rail passengers from outside downtown (i.e. there's no offices and no major retail going in there). Seaholm might end up being that kind of attractor (more retail and some office?) but the rail doesn't go anywhere near it, as noted. Those differences are, in fact, worth talking about rather than just getting vague and insisting that it's all one place even though you'd never walk from A to B on a daily basis.

I live on the east side. Maybe I'm just an anomaly, but I walk from A to B on a daily basis. In fact, I just rode my bike up Shoal Creek to 15th this morning to conduct business. I regularly walk all over downtown to conduct business or dine out. Wish I could do my shopping too, but I'm not into womens dresses :) As soon as the train is available, I will be using it to get up north and return home, because I loath getting trapped in traffic after 4:30. The train will be my savior and it can't be completed fast enough for my needs. I don't take the bus, because I may as well be taking the car, they are both stuck in traffic. The train hopefully will not have this problem.

M1EK Aug 15, 2007 9:26 PM

Yes, if you're willing to walk more than 1/4 mile per day to/from a transit stop, you are an anomaly and, frankly, irrelevant to the discussion about how to get choice commuters to ride the thing. I used to walk from my condo in Clarksville downtown (even to Red River for shows), but I was under no illusion that the typical person would ever do so.

MichaelB Aug 15, 2007 9:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JAM (Post 3012080)
I live on the east side. Maybe I'm just an anomaly, but I walk from A to B on a daily basis. In fact, I just rode my bike up Shoal Creek to 15th this morning to conduct business. I regularly walk all over downtown to conduct business or dine out. Wish I could do my shopping too, but I'm not into womens dresses :) As soon as the train is available, I will be using it to get up north and return home, because I loath getting trapped in traffic after 4:30. The train will be my savior and it can't be completed fast enough for my needs. I don't take the bus, because I may as well be taking the car, they are both stuck in traffic. The train hopefully will not have this problem.

UH OH.... two anomalies! Must pass you on the street. I walk the entire CBD for work, meetings, food, fun, excersise and shoping all the time (and I don't wear dresses! :tup:)

GoldenBoot Aug 15, 2007 9:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M1EK (Post 3011339)
Cap Metro "designed" this line with Mike Krusee; the city of Austin had nothing to do with it (and, in fact, are similarly skeptical of their claims of choice commuters loving shuttle-bus transfers).

Yes, it's Cap Metro's deal...Nonetheless, what I was trying to say was that the City knew what was going on (as you just mentioned) Anyway, let's move on, shall we...

Lincoln Aug 16, 2007 7:10 AM

It's not that far to Seaholm from Congress. It's kinda like walking from the bus stop of Esther's Follies or something.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think it's crazy to think people will walk if there is no parking.

If there is parking, people won't take PT. I think that has more to do with ridership than distance to destination from the stop.

JAM Aug 16, 2007 1:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M1EK (Post 3012118)
Yes, if you're willing to walk more than 1/4 mile per day to/from a transit stop, you are an anomaly and, frankly, irrelevant to the discussion about how to get choice commuters to ride the thing. I used to walk from my condo in Clarksville downtown (even to Red River for shows), but I was under no illusion that the typical person would ever do so.

I am a choice commuter. I just happen to commute in the opposite direction. Regardless, it is still one less vehicle on the road, and one more rider on the train. Count my wife and that makes two.

So has Cap Metro decided where this thing is going to terminate downtown? It seems to have been a moving target. Have there been recent discussions to bring it to Seaholm? In the spring, the planning commission meeting indicated Austin Electric would go up for sale and discussions indicated that the Austin Electric land could be used to provide the proper turning radius.

M1EK Aug 16, 2007 1:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JAM (Post 3013259)
I am a choice commuter. I just happen to commute in the opposite direction. Regardless, it is still one less vehicle on the road, and one more rider on the train. Count my wife and that makes two.

So has Cap Metro decided where this thing is going to terminate downtown? It seems to have been a moving target. Have there been recent discussions to bring it to Seaholm? In the spring, the planning commission meeting indicated Austin Electric would go up for sale and discussions indicated that the Austin Electric land could be used to provide the proper turning radius.

The station is at the Convention Center. Always was, always will be; an extension even just to Seaholm would require an additional vote.

M1EK Aug 16, 2007 1:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lincoln (Post 3013030)
It's not that far to Seaholm from Congress. It's kinda like walking from the bus stop of Esther's Follies or something.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think it's crazy to think people will walk if there is no parking.

If there is parking, people won't take PT. I think that has more to do with ridership than distance to destination from the stop.

(This is for both of you guys):

If you're willing to walk that far to take rail transit, you could just walk a much shorter distance and take an express bus (one-seat ride) that goes the same place today (Guadalupe/Lavaca stops for the 98x series express buses which go to the same suburban park-and-rides plus hit a few better spots like the Arboretum). Here's a hint: if you don't, you're (in aggregate) not going to take the "walk 1.5 miles to rail stop" option either, because the 1.5 mile walk takes long enough that it's basically the same trip length as the bus would have been, if not longer (same goes for the shuttlebus, which would entail a wait and then a slow, stuck-in-traffic, bus ride to the Convention Center).

Wishful thinking can't override transit research from all over the friggin' country.

JAM Aug 16, 2007 2:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M1EK (Post 3013279)
The station is at the Convention Center. Always was, always will be; an extension even just to Seaholm would require an additional vote.

I could have sworn that the Convention Center termination point is still in flux. to be precise, the exact GPS coordinate has not been resolved?

JAM Aug 16, 2007 2:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M1EK (Post 3013288)
(This is for both of you guys):

If you're willing to walk that far to take rail transit, you could just walk a much shorter distance and take an express bus (one-seat ride) that goes the same place today (Guadalupe/Lavaca stops for the 98x series express buses which go to the same suburban park-and-rides plus hit a few better spots like the Arboretum). Here's a hint: if you don't, you're (in aggregate) not going to take the "walk 1.5 miles to rail stop" option either, because the 1.5 mile walk takes long enough that it's basically the same trip length as the bus would have been, if not longer (same goes for the shuttlebus, which would entail a wait and then a slow, stuck-in-traffic, bus ride to the Convention Center).

Wishful thinking can't override transit research from all over the friggin' country.

Call it what you may, but that is not an express bus. It sits in traffic just like the cars. If there was a dedicated HOV lane as Houston has, then I would agree with you.

Lextx97 Aug 16, 2007 2:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JAM (Post 3013324)
Call it what you may, but that is not an express bus. It sits in traffic just like the cars. If there was a dedicated HOV lane as Houston has, then I would agree with you.

Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. We have a winner.

M1EK Aug 16, 2007 2:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lextx97 (Post 3013340)
Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. We have a winner.

"express" just means "fewer stops", and yes, it does sit in traffic with the cars - but it'll still get you to the Northwest Park-and-Ride quicker than a 1.5 walk to the train station + train ride will.

I'm the last guy to be defending buses, normally, since I'm the light rail guy, but come on. You have to add that 1.5 mile walk time into your comparison. (Or, add in the stuck-in-traffic shuttle-bus ride to the train station plus the waiting time for _that_ bus).

At some point in the distant future, might a 1.5 walk to train station + train ride beat a direct express bus ride stuck-in-traffic? Sure. Do I think we'll ever get there? No. Downtown development would sputter if/when traffic got that much worse than today (with no real alternative to driving), and note that light rail directly to downtown destinations is off the table, thanks to idiots supporting commuter rail.

M1EK Aug 16, 2007 2:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JAM (Post 3013317)
I could have sworn that the Convention Center termination point is still in flux. to be precise, the exact GPS coordinate has not been resolved?

Whether it's in front of Brush Square or the CC itself is in flux - the fact that it's not going to be at Seaholm is not. I don't even think they could extend it to Brazos without another vote.

here's the current plan by the way - Brush Square.

JAM Aug 16, 2007 5:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M1EK (Post 3013368)
Whether it's in front of Brush Square or the CC itself is in flux - the fact that it's not going to be at Seaholm is not. I don't even think they could extend it to Brazos without another vote.

here's the current plan by the way - Brush Square.

So is one site option pretty much across the street from the other? What are the factors in what side of 4th St the downtown terminator will be placed? Seems like the convention center would provide better shelter from weather.

These appear to be the direct links to pdf files for the park side plan:

http://allsystemsgo.capmetro.org/dow...20plan%202.pdf

http://allsystemsgo.capmetro.org/dow...ite%20plan.pdf

ATXboom Aug 16, 2007 6:25 PM

Wow... that really creates a need to move the fire station and finally do something relevent with Brushy square!

I could see an outdoor market on the land plus the historical site itself.

KevinFromTexas Aug 16, 2007 6:57 PM

^ Yeah, you'd think with a proposed rail stop there so close to a fire station in downtown that that could be a safety issue with getting fire trucks out quick enough and safely around trains and a bunch of pedestrians.

M1EK Aug 16, 2007 9:10 PM

You know, I often get attacked for being a broken record on this stuff, but then, even here, where people ought to know better, I have to repeat:

We're talking about a train every 30 minutes during rush hour only, and one train in the middle of the day; with no trains at night at all. Not going to be a problem for the fire station, and not going to be a stimulus at all for Brush Square.

ATXboom Aug 16, 2007 9:48 PM

IF CapMetro wants to increase ridership its quite obvious if you run the trains as often as possible on UT game days and more importantly Friday and Saturday evenings from 6:30PM till 3:30AM they would get more folks on board than a weeks worth of rush hours...

What would prevent something like this from happening??

JAM Aug 16, 2007 9:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ATXboom (Post 3014311)
IF CapMetro wants to increase ridership its quite obvious if you run the trains as often as possible on UT game days and more importantly Friday and Saturday evenings from 6:30PM till 3:30AM they would get more folks on board than a weeks worth of rush hours...

What would prevent something like this from happening??

drunk idiots that have no respect for Austin's community property.

paulsjv Aug 16, 2007 9:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ATXboom (Post 3014311)
IF CapMetro wants to increase ridership its quite obvious if you run the trains as often as possible on UT game days and more importantly Friday and Saturday evenings from 6:30PM till 3:30AM they would get more folks on board than a weeks worth of rush hours...

I'll beat M1 to the punch! hehe... People still have to walk a long ways from the station to the game/club and according to M1, who I'm assuming knows of the studies that have been done people aren't going to walk very far. They'd rather drive.

What needs to happen is $20 per/gal gas. Then maybe people will start thinking differently towards transportation. ;)

Saddle Man Aug 17, 2007 12:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KevinFromTexas (Post 3013927)
^ Yeah, you'd think with a proposed rail stop there so close to a fire station in downtown that that could be a safety issue with getting fire trucks out quick enough and safely around trains and a bunch of pedestrians.

The firetrucks use 5th to go east, Trinity to go north (some times 5th and then Red River to go north), Trinity and then 6th to go west, and 5th and then the 35 feeder to go south. The trucks never go on 4th when leaving. I've watched them leave multiple times a day every day for the last year. The train won't affect to firetrucks at all.

Jdawgboy Aug 17, 2007 1:46 AM

Look I was in downtown yesterday with a friend, we parked way over in the west end because there was no parking near the Second street district wich is where we were going and we did not have a problem with the walk from 10th and Rio Grand to 2nd. I always walk from one end of downtown to the other because I find it quicker than to wait for the bus. M1EK you say that it is an anomaly for people to walk from one end to the other in downtown but I find it the oppososite I know a great many people wo prefer to walk than to wait for a bus or try to fight traffic in a car. And honestly people in this city are more health oriented and know that its better to walk a mile and a half than to sit in a car or bus.

M1EK Aug 17, 2007 1:32 PM

JDawg, we're talking about an office worker who currently drives to work; not a partygoer going to 6th street (the train won't run for them anyways).

arbeiter Aug 17, 2007 4:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M1EK (Post 3014233)
We're talking about a train every 30 minutes during rush hour only, and one train in the middle of the day; with no trains at night at all. Not going to be a problem for the fire station, and not going to be a stimulus at all for Brush Square.

WE KNOW!

Saddle Man Aug 17, 2007 4:51 PM

/\/\/\ It often doesn't seems like people know though.

ATXboom Aug 17, 2007 6:16 PM

Its not going to be... but it could. With the right motivation and vision it could transform the square - in fact all down town parks could be much more packed if there was more VMU tightly wrapped around... give people areas to lunch outside, etc.

The potential is there... even without light rail... Frequency and timing must be changed.

Drives me nuts not seeing something live up to its potential.

M1EK Aug 17, 2007 6:44 PM

Say it with me, including you, arbeiter: IT'S NOT, NOR WILL IT EVER BE, LIGHT RAIL.

arbeiter Aug 17, 2007 7:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M1EK (Post 3016195)
Say it with me, including you, arbeiter: IT'S NOT, NOR WILL IT EVER BE, LIGHT RAIL.

oh, i know this. I left Austin years ago and one of the seven or eight reasons was because light rail failed. Austin is not a progressive city in most senses of the word, at least in the 21st century. It is a highly delusional large suburb with decent high-tech and university presence.

M1EK Aug 18, 2007 12:24 AM

Seaholm has been discussed as an intermodal transportation hub; and many people still think commuter rail is going there. In this case, somebody pointed out that the center of 'downtown' was moving even farther away from the one lonely corner where the commuter rail line will actually stop.

JAM Aug 18, 2007 5:42 AM

:previous: IMHO, I feel the rail is relevant to the Seaholm area. It may be a major transport junction in the future. Analogous to Grand Central Station of New York, but of course, one or two centuries behind. I appreciate M1 and his consistent belief and expertise in the rail matters. He has educated all of us. Don't under estimate his knowledge, even though you may not like it or agree. Even though he can be abrasive, he is educational. I respect his opinion. I do wish he was a little more optimistic, but understand his stance in the matter. In any regard, that is why this board exists, to learn from one another. If we all conform, then we may as well be running the establishment. I will never give up as an optimist - that is my weakness. In my mind, this rail design is only a small step in the evolution of what will become a total mass transit plan for the Austin metro area. And am looking forward too it!

M1EK Aug 18, 2007 5:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JAM (Post 3017163)
In my mind, this rail design is only a small step in the evolution of what will become a total mass transit plan for the Austin metro area. And am looking forward too it!

It's a "step" in a total mass transit plan in the same way that driving to El Paso is the first step in your trip to New York City.

paulsjv Aug 18, 2007 8:50 PM

Well if the rail is even some what of a success maybe that will be the catalyst to actually build a light rail system! :) Of course it's pure speculation on my part but I think it would be served better to try and make the rail system we got a success instead of constantly saying it's going to fail. If the rail does fail it will hurt Austin a lot more so I'd rather do my best to make it succeed because it's success will more than likely spur other great transit things! So I may be in a minority when it comes to walking a few blocks to get to my final destination but I hope others will follow suit in order to make the rail a success and therefore have even better mass transit in the future! It's what we are going to get so constantly complaining about it like M1 seems to do doesn't really serve a purpose. However, JAM is right that his point of view is very valuable because now we know where the weaknesses of the current rail solution is and there can be ideas spurred from that to try and make it a success despite everything that M1 says and does to make it a total failure.

DrewDizzle Aug 18, 2007 9:30 PM

Quote:

Well if the rail is even some what of a success
What are the metrics for a successful rail line? Measuring 2,000 "riders" which may only be 800-1,000 actual people.

paulsjv Aug 18, 2007 11:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrewDizzle (Post 3017869)
What are the metrics for a successful rail line? Measuring 2,000 "riders" which may only be 800-1,000 actual people.

I don't know what the measures are but I bet M1EK does! :)

M1EK Aug 21, 2007 3:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by paulsjv (Post 3017829)
Well if the rail is even some what of a success maybe that will be the catalyst to actually build a light rail system! :) Of course it's pure speculation on my part but I think it would be served better to try and make the rail system we got a success instead of constantly saying it's going to fail. If the rail does fail it will hurt Austin a lot more so I'd rather do my best to make it succeed because it's success will more than likely spur other great transit things! So I may be in a minority when it comes to walking a few blocks to get to my final destination but I hope others will follow suit in order to make the rail a success and therefore have even better mass transit in the future! It's what we are going to get so constantly complaining about it like M1 seems to do doesn't really serve a purpose. However, JAM is right that his point of view is very valuable because now we know where the weaknesses of the current rail solution is and there can be ideas spurred from that to try and make it a success despite everything that M1 says and does to make it a total failure.

"a few blocks" is what you'd do with the quarter-mile rule. That's not what we built here. We're talking about a walk of about a mile to get from the Convention Center to Seaholm; and about a half-mile to get to the closest major office buildings in downtown.

The challenge is that our political leaders went on the record as saying "let's ride and then decide", so the work of guys like me who obviously would want a complete change of direction got even harder. In the meantime, if it somehow does exceed expectations (by carring 2000 riders per day instead of 1500, which is absolutely pathetic by light-rail standards, which is how Capital Metro's shills are branding this thing), the path for 'expansion' is to build a streetcar circulator. Remember, it is impossible to extend this commuter rail service to UT or the Capitol. Physically impossible. The vehicles can't turn on city streets - they're too porky..

And remember, too, wishful thinking is no substitute for transit research that has shown that most people won't walk more than a quarter-mile from station to endpoint, and most choice commuters will not accept a transfer (even to a second, good, rail line) in cities where parking doesn't command super-premium prices.

MichaelB Aug 30, 2007 5:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by paulsjv (Post 3017829)
Well if the rail is even some what of a success maybe that will be the catalyst to actually build a light rail system! :) Of course it's pure speculation on my part but I think it would be served better to try and make the rail system we got a success instead of constantly saying it's going to fail.

I appreciate your optimism. I don't even have a reason to ride what rail there will be, but I will, just to do it. ( I live downtown....north end.... and, yes, walk to Seaholm area and covention center all the time) It does not seem a likey route.... but I hope it has some success.

While I wish light rail would have passed..... it will. I am reminded of the non-built expressways Mopac (?) posted recently. Sometimes what seems like a good idea needs more time to perk..... I am sure when it finally happens (light rail...or whatever we will call it by then) it will be even better than what we turned down. Why? Because even more information and advancements will have taken place. Not how I planned it..... but I am sure that it will eventually happen ..... and probably benefit from the delay. It's just how things happen. Time will tell.....

M1EK Aug 30, 2007 1:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MichaelB (Post 3039732)
I appreciate your optimism. I don't even have a reason to ride what rail there will be, but I will, just to do it. ( I live downtown....north end.... and, yes, walk to Seaholm area and covention center all the time) It does not seem a likey route.... but I hope it has some success.

While I wish light rail would have passed..... it will. I am reminded of the non-built expressways Mopac (?) posted recently. Sometimes what seems like a good idea needs more time to perk..... I am sure when it finally happens (light rail...or whatever we will call it by then) it will be even better than what we turned down. Why? Because even more information and advancements will have taken place. Not how I planned it..... but I am sure that it will eventually happen ..... and probably benefit from the delay. It's just how things happen. Time will tell.....

The implementation of commuter rail precludes light rail from happening. In other words, for light rail to "finally happen", we first have to admit that commuter rail was a disaster; tear up all the old stations; tear up all the old track; and build new LRT-capable double-track and infrastructure like we would have done in 2000.

Y'all wonder why I have to keep posting this. commuter rail is NOT, nor can it ever be, a step towards light rail; it is, in fact, about six steps the other direction.

JDSII Aug 30, 2007 8:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M1EK (Post 3040035)
The implementation of commuter rail precludes light rail from happening. In other words, for light rail to "finally happen", we first have to admit that commuter rail was a disaster; tear up all the old stations; tear up all the old track; and build new LRT-capable double-track and infrastructure like we would have done in 2000.

Y'all wonder why I have to keep posting this. commuter rail is NOT, nor can it ever be, a step towards light rail; it is, in fact, about six steps the other direction.

I disagree. Commuter rail can live harmoniously with light rail. Commuter rail serves long distances while light rail serves medium to short distances. Cities such as New York, LA, and Chicago have both systems and they feed off of each other. Although these systems may not be light rail, subway is essentially below ground light rail. We can't build subways in Austin due to the sensitivity of our water table and various underground caves. But to better prove my point, look at Dallas. Dallas has light rail (DART Rail) AND commuter rail (TRE). They work GREAT together and will continue to do so as DART expands their rail routes and services over the next 15 years.

M1EK Aug 30, 2007 9:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JDSII (Post 3040664)
I disagree. Commuter rail can live harmoniously with light rail. Commuter rail serves long distances while light rail serves medium to short distances. Cities such as New York, LA, and Chicago have both systems and they feed off of each other. Although these systems may not be light rail, subway is essentially below ground light rail. We can't build subways in Austin due to the sensitivity of our water table and various underground caves. But to better prove my point, look at Dallas. Dallas has light rail (DART Rail) AND commuter rail (TRE). They work GREAT together and will continue to do so as DART expands their rail routes and services over the next 15 years.

The only feasible light rail route in Austin would have used the exact same ground as the commuter rail route does for the northern 2/3 of its route and is not compatible with commuter rail service on the same track. Without that segment, it's not going to happen, barring some kind of sea change at the federal level. No, you can't get the Feds to fund a route which just keeps going north on Lamar up towards Rundberg - demographics suck and speed will be low; ditto with Burnet, etc.

The beauty of the original red/green route is that it hit BOTH the suburban park-and-rides AND the dense urban residential areas of central Austin, while delivering passengers directly to UT, the Capitol, and downtown. With just one or the other, there's no chance the Feds will kick in even one dollar (which is why Capital Metro decided against seeking federal funding for the commuter rail start despite early indications they would - they knew they'd get killed in a review).

As for the Dallas analogy - if TRE had started running on the same ROW you needed for the DART starter line, DART would never have happened, and you'd be facing the same craptacular dilemna we are - where a bunch of naive fools on this forum keep convincing themselves it's going to be butterflies and rainbows despite Capital Metro themselves telling them it's going to be 1500 people a day (MAXIMUM capacity 2000 per day!), and people like me have to hope it fails quickly so we can get on with tearing it up and doing the right thing.

tildahat Aug 31, 2007 3:45 PM

Anyone heard when the Rapid Bus is going to start? Yes, I know it's probably not enough of an improvement to justify the cost, but it will actually help my Battle Bend to UT commute, at least theoretically. (Though most of that improvement will come from 1) not stopping EVERY SINGLE BLOCK downtown and 2) making it plausible to connect from the #1 Battle Bend spur, which doesn't work with the 101.


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