Cap Metro field updates on Project Connect

At the July 19 meeting of the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors, members hosted a discussion and presentation regarding the Connect project. The presentation covered important dates; Updates to the blue, orange and red railway lines; and updates to MetroRapid bus lines.

The Orange Line will run north to south through the city center, sharing several stops with the Blue Line after crossing Lady Bird Lake. The blue line begins at the airport and runs east to west along Riverside, until it crosses the river around I-35 (including a stop at Travis Heights). Notable Orange Line stops include South Congress Transit Center, St. Edward’s, Oltorf, and Auditorium Shores, while notable Blue Line stops include Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Montopolis, and Rainey Street. Major stops shared between the two lines include Republic Square Park, the Capitol, Hyde Park and the Triangle.

“We’ve started the final design of McKalla station and on Broadmoor they’re finishing some of the parts that have to do with drainage and environmental considerations. We also have Leander at Lakeline where we are looking at parking fees and how ridership will play out going forward, ”said David Couch, Program Manager at Project Connect.

Couch mentioned that the funding is in place for MetroRapid and that Capital Metro is moving forward with the 30% design phase.

“The (Federal Transit Administration) is now assigned to the prime contractor responsible for overseeing the management of the project; they’re looking at all the documentation we have, ”Couch told the board.

The blue line is still in the 15 percent design phase.

“We coordinated with the city and stakeholders to get feedback and review each one. We are currently in the process of developing the resolution, ”Couch said, adding that the process of moving from the 15% design phase to 30% is“ not the time to add new elements. , now is the time to develop it to a greater level of detail. “

Seven of the 10 boreholes required for the Blue and Orange tram lines have been completed. Couch estimated that the 30% design and cost estimate for the blue and orange lines will be complete by summer 2022.

Regarding audience input, Couch mentioned the audience’s desire to incorporate local artwork into the design of the station and seamless integration with the park system.

“We also heard from some people about the availability of food trucks and other amenities,” he said.

During the public comment period, Zenobia Joseph, a longtime activist and northeast Austin resident, called attention to the apparent dedication of Capital Metro executives to equity and diversity, a gap between their language and their actions. While the council brief mentions equity 83 times and diversity 87 times, Joseph pointed out that black people in northeast Austin still routinely wait more than 60 minutes for the bus.

“And so, I understand you have the right words on paper. To the Federal Transit Administration – unless they come to Austin and do an investigation – it will look like everything is fine in Austin when it is not, “Joseph told the board of directors, while members looked at screens and played with writing tools. “You have language here saying that you are committed to connecting people and communities to jobs and opportunities, when in fact you have eliminated connectivity north, east and west on routes 392, 323, 325. Walmart at Walmart. “

Joseph specifically pointed to an August 7 resolution passed by Capital Metro’s board of directors last year that left many people with longer wait times.

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