Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Project Connect leaders lay out major decisions ahead in critical year

Dean Keeton Street currently ends at The Drag, but under Project Connect designs it would extend one block further west to San Antonio Street.
Dean Keeton Street currently ends at The Drag, but under Project Connect designs it would extend one block further west to San Antonio Street.
Will the new Blue Line light rail line pass underneath the intersection of Pleasant Valley Road and Riverside Drive or come up to street level to a station with a new rail and bus plaza?

Will The Drag, the strip of Guadalupe Street next to the University of Texas campus, be reserved exclusively for rail and bus transit, or will it include a traffic lane for buses and cars?

These are some of the critical decisions in front of the Austin Transit Partnership board of directors, Austin City Council and the CapMetro board of directors over the next nine months. All three entities met March 2 to lay out the choices ahead for 2022, a year staff called critical in delivering the multibillion-dollar remake of the Austin area’s public transportation system. You can find the presentation from the meeting here, and video of the meeting is available here.

Leaders from the three agencies in charge of Project Connect said 2022 is such a critical year for the transit overhaul because they are seeking consensus and alignment in December. That is when City Council, CapMetro board and the ATP board are scheduled to approve Project Connect designs at the 30% benchmark as well as the “Segment Phasing Plan” – or the schedule for future steps in the process.

That consensus among city leadership will help staff then go forward into 2023, when they are scheduled to seek approval for funding from the Federal Transit Administration.

There are already some elements of Project Connect that staff are aligned behind, including removing vehicle left-turns along light rail lines that fall between intersections with traffic signals and extending Dean Keeton Street one block further west to extend from The Drag to San Antonio Street.

Staff emphasized that all these important decisions will come after hearing extensively from the community. A dozen community workshops and conversations are scheduled between March and June, including:  
  • Rail Maintenance Facility location: March 2022
  • Blue Line Bridge at Lady Bird Lake: April 2022
  • Crestview Station Orange Line and Red Line: April 2022
  • Riverside/Pleasant Valley Blue Line station design: May 2022
  • The Drag street design and Orange Line integration: May 2022
  • Vehicle and systems design: June 2022
You can find more information on upcoming community meetings here.

Blue Line MetroCenter Station Virtual Meeting: Tuesday, March 8, 5:30pm | Register Here
Join us for a virtual meeting to discuss the Blue Line light rail and the MetroCenter station and Park & Ride. The Blue Line will run from the airport along East Riverside Dr. to downtown Austin. During this online meeting, the Project Connect planning and design team will discuss and hear your feedback regarding the development of the MetroCenter station, planned for East Riverside near Yellow Jacket Lane.

Project Connect Updates on the Blue and Orange Light Rail Lines: Two meetings are scheduled:
Tuesday, March 29, 5:30 pm | Register Here 
Thursday, March 31, 12:00 pm | Register Here
Join us for these public meetings to talk with the project teams about the Orange and Blue light rail lines, and how the designs are incorporating community feedback. Breakout sessions at the meetings will cover environmental considerations, how transit services will connect our community, anti-displacement investments, and traffic impacts. 

All meetings will be broadcast in English and Spanish. For other language translations or accommodations, please call 512.904.0180 at least three working days prior to virtual scheduled meeting date.

July 4th, 2022: Independence Day Holiday Closures

  Several City of Austin offices and facilities will be closed today, Monday, July 4 in observance of Independence Day Parks and Recreation ...