Urban Rail http://kut.org en Austin City Council Unanimously Backs Urban Rail Proposal http://kut.org/post/austin-city-council-unanimously-backs-urban-rail-proposal <p>By a unanimous vote – Austin city council endorsed<a href="http://www.austintexas.gov/edims/document.cfm?id=212285"> a package of proposed transportation projects</a> Thursday night, including a <a href="http://kut.org/post/project-connects-14-billion-proposal-austin-urban-rail">$1.4 billion dollar urban rail line</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>The Austin City Council limited public comment on urban rail to 30 minutes for each side, which angered some public transit advocates who support the concept of urban rail but reject the <a href="http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/kut/files/201405/LPA_MAP.jpg">proposed route</a> of the plan.&nbsp;</p><p> Fri, 27 Jun 2014 01:02:43 +0000 Nathan Bernier 10690 at http://kut.org Austin City Council Unanimously Backs Urban Rail Proposal Council Holds Key Vote on Austin Urban Rail: A Look at What's at Stake http://kut.org/post/council-holds-key-vote-austin-urban-rail-look-whats-stake <p>A proposal to build a $1.4 billion urban rail line in Austin faces a key vote today in the city council. The 9.5 mile urban rail line would run from Riverside Drive and Grove, through downtown to Highland Mall.</p><p>Supporters of the plan say that route is going to see a lot of growth over the next few years. Opponents wonder why it’s not going in where things are already happening. Like, along Lamar or Guadalupe.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/156132940&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Thu, 26 Jun 2014 15:48:29 +0000 Nathan Bernier 10683 at http://kut.org Council Holds Key Vote on Austin Urban Rail: A Look at What's at Stake Cap Metro Mulls Airport Route for Phase Two of Urban Rail http://kut.org/post/cap-metro-mulls-airport-route-phase-two-urban-rail <p>Capital Metro voted Monday to move forward with recommendations from&nbsp;<a href="http://kut.org/post/project-connects-14-billion-proposal-austin-urban-rail" target="_blank">Project Connect</a>. The next steps are deciding who will govern its potential&nbsp;urban &nbsp;rail operations and where some of the funding will come from. The City of Austin and Capital Metro are both major players.</p><p>But while Project Connect moved a step forward, there was a push from the Cap Metro board to take a step back.</p><p>After dozens of public meetings and <a href="http://kut.org/post/urban-rail-supporter-wants-you-reject-austins-current-proposal" target="_blank">no shortage of criticism</a>, Project Connect arrived at a proposed route for its urban rail that would go from Riverside to Highland Mall. On Monday, Capital Metro Board Chair Mike Martinez asked for analysis on a whole new route, from Austin-Bergstrom International to UT.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/155793692&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe> Tue, 24 Jun 2014 13:21:00 +0000 Joy Diaz 10663 at http://kut.org Cap Metro Mulls Airport Route for Phase Two of Urban Rail Ahead of Key Vote, City Council and Capital Metro Meet to Hear Austin Rail Proposal http://kut.org/post/ahead-key-vote-city-council-and-capital-metro-meet-hear-austin-rail-proposal <p>The Austin City Council and the Capital Metro Board met today to learn more about a proposed urban rail route that needs approval from the council –&nbsp;and ultimately, Austin voters. There are still concerns about how to pay for the project.</p><p>Project Connect is looking at adding rail, buses and other options to the transit system in Central Texas. But the project's proposed plan for downtown Austin is still contentious because it favors a route that would bring urban rail through East Riverside and up to Highland Mall at a cost of almost $1.4 billion.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/154811115&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe> Tue, 17 Jun 2014 21:36:49 +0000 Joy Diaz 10625 at http://kut.org Ahead of Key Vote, City Council and Capital Metro Meet to Hear Austin Rail Proposal Advisory Group Gives Urban Rail Green Light http://kut.org/post/advisory-group-gives-urban-rail-green-light <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">A proposed urban rail line is one small step closer to becoming a reality after a panel of local officials, business leaders and citizens voted overwhelmingly to recommend the <a href="http://kut.org/post/project-connects-14-billion-proposal-austin-urban-rail">$1.38 billion proposal</a>. The <a href="https://austintexas.gov/department/project-connect-central-corridor-advisory-group">Central Corridor Advisory Group</a> voted 13-1 in favor of&nbsp;<a href="http://projectconnect.com/">Project Connect</a>'s 9.5 mile plan. </span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">"The last time we put this option before voters was 14 years ago," Mayor Lee Leffingwell said. "I've been conscious all along that we had to put a good and appealing project before the voters. I think this recommendation will do that."</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The lone dissenting vote was from public transit advocate Julie Montgomery of <a href="http://aura-atx.org/">AURA</a>. </span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Among her concerns is that parts of the proposed route are not in areas where urban rail is in high demand.&nbsp;</span></p><p></p><p> Sat, 14 Jun 2014 00:14:13 +0000 Nathan Bernier 10608 at http://kut.org Advisory Group Gives Urban Rail Green Light Searching for More Specifics on Austin's Urban Rail Proposal http://kut.org/post/searching-more-specifics-austins-urban-rail-proposal <p><em style="line-height: 1.5;">Disclosure: Project Connect is a sponsor of&nbsp;KUT.</em></p><p>When was the last time you were at Highland Mall? For many&nbsp;Austinites, the retail ghost town isn’t on their hot list of places to hang out. But city planners are counting on that to change, and they’re willing to place a bet on it, to the tune of $1.4 billion.</p><p>That’s the estimated price tag for the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.projectconnect.com/sites/default/files/Central%20Corridor%20Urban%20Rail%20Recommendation%20050214.pdf">urban rail line</a>&nbsp;recommended by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.projectconnect.com/">Project Connect</a>, a group of regional transit agencies working on mass transportation. To justify it, Project Connect has&nbsp;<a href="http://keepaustinwonky.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/letter-to-council-on-project-connects-transparency/">projected explosive growth around Highland Mall</a>, at a rate much faster than the city of Austin as a whole is projected to grow over the coming decades.</p><p>How did Project Connect come up with these numbers?&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/154123230&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Fri, 13 Jun 2014 16:30:20 +0000 Terrence Henry 10590 at http://kut.org Searching for More Specifics on Austin's Urban Rail Proposal Why is Project Connect Handing Out This Inaccurate Urban Rail Map? http://kut.org/post/why-project-connect-handing-out-inaccurate-urban-rail-map <p><em style="line-height: 1.5;">Disclosure: Project Connect is a sponsor of&nbsp;KUT.&nbsp;</em></p><p><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 15px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; line-height: 22px;">Update</strong><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 22px;">: Project Connect has issued a new flyer. Scroll to the bottom of this post to read it.&nbsp;</span></p><p><strong>Original story:</strong> If you were out and about in Austin this weekend, you may have met someone from the outreach team of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.projectconnect.com/">Project Connect</a>, a multi-agency group working on mass transit options for the region. In an effort to promote a series of meetings regarding <a href="http://kut.org/post/project-connects-14-billion-proposal-austin-urban-rail">an urban rail proposal</a> that will likely end up before voters this fall, the outreach team was passing out flyers showing the proposed first rail line in Hyde Park.&nbsp;But those flyers don’t accurately show what that proposed line is, and now one neighborhood advocate is accusing Project Connect of misleading the public.</p><p>A few hundred Austinites got a flyer (above) from a Project Connect outreach team this weekend showing its overall long-term transit vision for the city. At the bottom right corner of the flyer, a big orange bubble screams, “Let’s Get Moving!” The flyer shows rail to the airport, rail along the major corridors of Lamar and Congress, and along the MoPac freeway. In essence, rail lines that have the potential to replace lots of cars on the road. The map is titled "Proposed First Line of Urban Rail." There is no legend indicating what the various routes depicted are.&nbsp;</p><p>But if you were to actually pass out an accurate map of the proposed first line that voters may decide on this fall – which in its latest iteration would run along East Riverside, through downtown and&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">tunneling under and then paralleling a portion of&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.capmetro.org/metrorail/" style="line-height: 1.5;">the existing&nbsp;MetroRail&nbsp;line</a>&nbsp;up to Highland Mall – it would actually look very different.</p><p> Tue, 10 Jun 2014 19:37:15 +0000 Terrence Henry 10570 at http://kut.org Why is Project Connect Handing Out This Inaccurate Urban Rail Map? This Urban Rail Supporter Wants You to Reject Austin's Current Proposal http://kut.org/post/urban-rail-supporter-wants-you-reject-austins-current-proposal <p>Some die-hard public transit supporters say Austin’s 9.5 mile,<a href="http://kut.org/post/project-connects-14-billion-proposal-austin-urban-rail"> $1.38 billion urban rail proposal</a> is misguided, too expensive, and follows a poorly traveled <a href="http://www.projectconnect.com/connect/sites/default/files/Central%20Corridor%20Urban%20Rail%20Recommendation%20050214.pdf">route</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>"Why would a city our size put in something that is so pricey on a very weak route?" former Capital Metro board vice president <a href="https://twitter.com/LHenry_rch">Lyndon Henry </a>says. "This is insane."</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/151752482&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Thu, 29 May 2014 00:12:52 +0000 Nathan Bernier 10511 at http://kut.org This Urban Rail Supporter Wants You to Reject Austin's Current Proposal This is Project Connect's $1.4 Billion Proposal for Austin Urban Rail http://kut.org/post/project-connects-14-billion-proposal-austin-urban-rail <p>Austin officials unveiled plans today for the city's first urban rail line.</p><p>The 9.5 mile long line would run along East Riverside Drive and turn north near the Austin-American Statesman building, cross Lady Bird Lake via bridge, continue through downtown and the University of Texas and end at Highland Mall. The plan also calls for four park &amp; ride areas, two each toward opposite ends of the line. &nbsp;</p><p>The project cost is estimated at $1.38 billion. Officials with <a href="http://projectconnect.com/">Project Connect</a>, the working group of city, Capital Metro, and other regional transportation officials that made today's recommendation, say they believe the federal government would pay for half of that estimated cost.</p><p> Fri, 02 May 2014 21:08:26 +0000 Nathan Bernier 10349 at http://kut.org This is Project Connect's $1.4 Billion Proposal for Austin Urban Rail As Austin Nears Urban Rail Decision, Proof Traffic's Always Been Awful http://kut.org/post/austin-nears-urban-rail-decision-proof-traffics-always-been-awful <p>Austin is inching its way towards the creation of a possible new rail line.</p><p>Later today<a href="http://projectconnect.com/" style="line-height: 1.5;">, Project Connect</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, a group of regional transportation officials including the City of Austin and Capital Metro, is widely expected to unveil a proposed route for urban rail. </span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The announcement is a further refinement of preliminary findings tapping </span><a href="http://kut.org/post/highland-and-east-riverside-austins-best-spots-urban-rail" style="line-height: 1.5;">the East Riverside and Highland Mall regions</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> as prime corridors for investment – a finding many </span><a href="http://kut.org/post/why-highland-urban-rail-advocates-question-project-connect-process" style="line-height: 1.5;">Austin transit advocates found fault with.</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> Once set for the ballot by the Austin City Council, citizens will vote on whether to approve rail funding in an election this November.&nbsp;</span></p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/147575061&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true"></iframe> Fri, 02 May 2014 16:53:50 +0000 Joy Diaz & Wells Dunbar 10348 at http://kut.org As Austin Nears Urban Rail Decision, Proof Traffic's Always Been Awful City Council Update: Dogs Banned From Auditorium Shores ‘Event Lawn’ http://kut.org/post/city-council-update-dogs-banned-auditorium-shores-event-lawn <p>In its final meeting of the year, the Austin City Council approved a full slate of items.</p><p>Among the measures passed was a decision restricting where dogs are permitted at Auditorium Shores. More than a dozen speakers took to the council floor to argue against the change, which would prohibit&nbsp;dogs from<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;lingering on the so-called "Event Lawn" on the east end of Auditorium Shores.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Parks and Recreation Director Sara Hensely said the department took community suggestions under advisement when revising the $3.5 million plan for the parkland. But under a new amendment, dogs are only allowed on the event lawn when traveling from a parking lot to the neighboring areas where dogs are allowed. (No one on Parks staff or the City Council bothered to explain just how that would be enforced.)</span></p><p> Fri, 13 Dec 2013 17:28:44 +0000 Wells Dunbar & Roy Varney 9365 at http://kut.org City Council Update: Dogs Banned From Auditorium Shores ‘Event Lawn’ Why Highland? Urban Rail Advocates Question Project Connect Process http://kut.org/post/why-highland-urban-rail-advocates-question-project-connect-process <p><em>Disclaimer: Project Connect is a KUT sponsor.</em></p><p><strong>Update</strong>: The Austin City Council unanimously endorsed two locations for urban rail last night: the&nbsp;<a href="http://kut.org/post/highland-and-east-riverside-austins-best-spots-urban-rail">Highland Mall region and East Riverside</a>. You can <a href="http://austintx.swagit.com/play/12122013-683/#27">watch citizen testimony and council action</a> on the recommendation.</p><p>As KUT reported, investment in those corridors was proposed by&nbsp;<a href="http://projectconnect.com/">Project Connect</a>&nbsp;– a working group of City of Austin, Capital Metro, and other regional transportation officials.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Project Connect named Highland and East Riverside after what it said was a robust, data-driven public input process – but many rail advocates present at the vote last night questioned the process and the decision.</span></p><p><strong>Original story</strong> (Dec. 12): To hear Project Connect tell it, they’re practically drowning in data. Project lead Kyle Keahey cited some 45 different measures of information and 11 indices when the group announced its recommendation. (You can <a href="http://www.projectconnect.com/connect/resources">look at lots of that data here</a>.)</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/124494381&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Fri, 13 Dec 2013 16:12:41 +0000 Wells Dunbar 9353 at http://kut.org Why Highland? Urban Rail Advocates Question Project Connect Process Highland and East Riverside: Austin's Best Spots for Urban Rail? http://kut.org/post/highland-and-east-riverside-austins-best-spots-urban-rail <p>The group advising the city on urban rail has come out with initial recommendations: a transportation investment that runs from the East Riverside Corridor, through Downtown and out to the Highland Mall region.</p><p>As <a href="http://kut.org/post/map-which-parts-austin-should-get-urban-rail-first">KUT previously reported</a>, the recommendations began by dividing Central Austin into 10 subcorridors – similar to compass points pointing out from a center, including Downtown and the UT campus.</p><p>In the end, they chose two subcorridors for investment: Highland and East Riverside.</p><p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/120350400"></iframe> Fri, 15 Nov 2013 22:41:24 +0000 Wells Dunbar 9200 at http://kut.org Highland and East Riverside: Austin's Best Spots for Urban Rail? Map: Which Parts of Austin Should Get Urban Rail First? http://kut.org/post/map-which-parts-austin-should-get-urban-rail-first <p>Now’s your chance to name the parts of Austin that should be served by urban rail.</p><p>This week, the City of Austin and its transportation partners are inviting the public to name the subcorridor that would benefit the most from urban rail.</p><p>Planners at <a href="http://www.projectconnect.com/">Project Connect</a>, the team coordinating the city’s rail and regional transportation efforts, have identified 10 subcorridors within central Austin. Not counting downtown’s core, they are (in clockwise order): Lamar, Highland, Mueller, MLK, East Austin, the East Riverside Corridor, South Congress, South Lamar, West Austin, and Mopac.&nbsp;</p><p> Wed, 06 Nov 2013 20:11:44 +0000 Wells Dunbar & Phoebe Flanigan 9111 at http://kut.org Map: Which Parts of Austin Should Get Urban Rail First? Austin Urban Rail in 7 Maps http://kut.org/post/austin-urban-rail-7-maps <p>It's no secret that traveling through Austin comes with a price: traffic.</p><p>However, the way Central Texans commute could change by the turn of the next decade as the region seeks a potential solution to traffic: urban rail.</p><p> Wed, 25 Sep 2013 15:59:36 +0000 Matthew Alvarez & Wells Dunbar 8729 at http://kut.org Austin Urban Rail in 7 Maps Experts Share Five Steps to Launching Urban Rail in Austin http://kut.org/post/five-steps-launching-urban-rail-austin <p>Austin doesn’t have urban rail – but it’s already suffering from an identity crisis.</p><p>That was one big takeaway from a presentation by urban planning experts on how Austin can get a rail project up and running.</p><p>Austin is one of four U.S. cities chosen as part of an <a href="http://www.uli.org/">Urban Land Institute</a> fellowship focusing on urban issues. The participating cities each chose a focus issue for a year-long study – and Austin chose rail.</p><p> Fri, 22 Feb 2013 22:59:34 +0000 Wells Dunbar 6722 at http://kut.org Experts Share Five Steps to Launching Urban Rail in Austin Cap Metro Talks to Residents About Urban Rail http://kut.org/post/cap-metro-talks-residents-about-urban-rail <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">If you’ve ever wondered why a bus line stops at a certain place, or why some parts of town have more transportation options than others, this week Capital Metro has been having </span><a href="http://www.capmetro.org/news-item.aspx?id=1995" style="line-height: 1.5;">a series of open houses</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> to answer those kinds of questions. Residents have shown a lot of interest in plans for urban rail.</span></p> Thu, 21 Feb 2013 11:26:00 +0000 Joy Diaz 6681 at http://kut.org Cap Metro Talks to Residents About Urban Rail Map: Could Austin Be the High-Speed Rail City Of The Future? http://kut.org/post/map-could-austin-be-high-speed-rail-city-future <p>Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell&nbsp;<a href="http://kutnews.org/post/live-blog-mayor-leffingwells-2013-state-city-address-0">has promised</a>&nbsp;a public vote on an urban rail system before he leaves office. Considering Austin&nbsp;<a href="http://kutnews.org/post/austin-traffic-slow-and-growing">was just ranked</a>&nbsp;the fourth&nbsp;worst U.S. city for traffic congestion, that news could make for a lot of happy commuters.</p><p>Meanwhile, a California group&nbsp;<a href="https://sites.google.com/site/californiarailmap/us-high-speed-rail-system">envisions a national high-speed rail system</a> that could transport a person from any major city to another in hours. And this vision has Austin as major train connection hub.</p><p> Thu, 07 Feb 2013 21:45:30 +0000 Tyler Pratt & Wells Dunbar 6488 at http://kut.org Map: Could Austin Be the High-Speed Rail City Of The Future? City Council Preview: Rainey St. Standoff, Urban Rail Funding, F1 Annexation http://kut.org/post/city-council-preview-rainey-st-standoff-urban-rail-funding-f1-annexation <p>The Austin City Council is tackling <a href="http://austin.siretechnologies.com/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=273&amp;doctype=agenda">a full agenda</a> today. While no one item looks to have the potential to grind the meeting to a halt, a clutch of smaller controversies have the potential to make this meeting a long one. Here’s what’s on the agenda:</p><p>The proposed sale of a plot of land on Rainey Street, next to the Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC), has likely been taken off the table.</p><p>As <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/view-rainey-st-city-plans-garage-spark-controversy">KUT News reported earlier this week</a>, a private group of investors had offered to buy the parcel and build a parking structure; today, the council was set to consider offers for the land.</p><p>The MACC’s board of directors protested that it was never consulted about those plans, which it said would impact the MACC’s view and future plans for the area.&nbsp;</p><p> Thu, 11 Oct 2012 15:05:45 +0000 Wells Dunbar 5309 at http://kut.org City Council Preview: Rainey St. Standoff, Urban Rail Funding, F1 Annexation Council Member Asks: Are Urban Rail Plans 'Putting the Cart Before the Horse?' http://kut.org/post/council-member-asks-are-urban-rail-plans-putting-cart-horse <p>The Austin City Council will consider Thursday whether to <a href="http://austin.siretechnologies.com/sirepub/agdocs.aspx?doctype=agenda&amp;itemid=16744">authorize an agreement with Capital Metro</a> to spend $5 million for urban rail planning. The bulk of the money ($4 million) will come from a federal grant that requires a local match of 20 percent ($1 million).</p><p>So why spend such a large sum when previous money hasn’t produced any visible results?&nbsp;That was a question raised by council member Bill Spelman at council’s work session Tuesday. “A lot of people are concerned that we are putting the cart before of the horse,” he said.&nbsp;“We are spending four million dollars when we really haven’t decided what to do”.&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>In May, the city released <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/city-unveils-recommended-urban-rail-routes">recommended routes for the first two phases of Urban Rail.</a> Robert Spillar is the director of the city’s Transportation Department, and he sees the release of the money as the next step.&nbsp;At Tuesday’s work session he said getting the city’s stamp of approval would allow the Transportation Department to “restart” the alternatives analysis.&nbsp;</p><p> Wed, 10 Oct 2012 19:26:56 +0000 Joy Diaz 5298 at http://kut.org Council Member Asks: Are Urban Rail Plans 'Putting the Cart Before the Horse?'