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Archive for the ‘transit planning’ Category

0021-Brio PhotographyCapital Metro’s new MetroRapid Route 803 fleet will hit the streets of Austin in full force on Tuesday, July 15, in preparation for the launch of the second line of MetroRapid service on August 24.

The field test will take place from 4:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and will cover the entire 15-mile length of Route 803. The distinctive red and silver vehicles will travel along North Burnet and South Lamar from The Domain to Westgate Mall via UT and downtown. Although the vehicles will stop at all stations (12 shared downtown with Route 801), passengers will not be able to board.

Destinations along the future route? The UT Research Campus (JJ Pickle), The Domain, Central Market North, Seton Medical Center, the museum district, ACC Rio Grande, downtown Austin, the University of Texas main campus, the State Capitol, Barton Springs/Zach Scott Theater, Seaholm and Westgate Mall.

Route 803 will complement the existing service on Route 3, providing more frequent service to the same area, and convenient connections to MetroRapid 801 service and other bus routes downtown. Features of the service include covered and well-lit high-tech stations offering real-time arrival information, and upgraded vehicles with enhanced interiors and free onboard Wi-Fi.

MetroRapid Route 801 North Lamar/South Congress began service Jan. 26, 2014 and operates using 60-foot vehicles.

For more information about MetroRapid service, its amenities, route maps and more, visit capmetro.org/metrorapid.

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June2014-Proposed-Service-Change-Web-BannerBy Celso Baez, Community Involvement Specialist

We’ve recently heard some feedback from our riders about our proposal to move MetroBus routes currently operating on Congress Avenue onto the Guadalupe/Lavaca corridor. Most of us have experienced congestion on Congress Avenue, whether on a bus or in a private automobile. Sometimes it’s faster to walk to get through downtown due to all the traffic, especially during a special event.

Why are we considering route changes on Congress?

Congress Avenue has several challenges that hamper safety, bus operations, and the comfort of our customers. Our goals for improving downtown service are based on Service Plan 2020, our long range plan for improving service.

Angled Parking

Angled parking and chronic congestion along the Congress Avenue corridor make it challenging for our vehicles to operate safely. Safety is our number one priority at Capital Metro, and moving most MetroBus routes off of Congress Avenue and onto Guadalupe and Lavaca streets would make service safer for our customers by reducing collisions with private automobiles.

june-atstopFrequent Stops

Many of our customers have experienced the high number of stops on Congress that make it difficult for our vehicles to pass—leading to a wall of buses slowly moving down the street. By moving all remaining routes, except Route 100 MetroAirport Flyer, from Congress Avenue, Colorado and Brazos streets onto the Guadalupe and Lavaca corridor, local service will be able to move through downtown Austin several minutes faster, utilizing the transit priority lanes. In addition, transfers would be made easier while improving connections with MetroRapid and MetroRail.

Ridership

Approximately 13,000 bus passengers travel to downtown Austin on a daily basis. About 80 percent of those passengers transfer to another route. Downtown Austin is the final destination for the remaining 3,200 daily passengers (20 percent), with about half of those coming from commuter or flyer routes. A large number of commuter and flyer route customers walk from Guadalupe Street / Lavaca Street to Congress Avenue. A large number of routes through downtown Austin are “through-routed”, i.e. they do not terminate in downtown but continue from one end of downtown to another. Approximately 3,600 daily passengers travel through downtown on a through-routed bus. Moving most MetroBus routes onto the Guadalupe/Lavaca corridors would make the majority of downtown trips easier for our customers. We realize that for some, walks would be made longer; however Capital Metro has tried mitigating the impact by realigning routes 7, 20, and 17 to better accommodate our riders. With projects like Austin B-cycle, which provides a network of 24 hour/day, on demand bicycle stations to the urban core and the City of Austin’s Great Streets initiative which aims at improving the quality of downtown streets and sidewalks, walks to Congress Avenue from Guadalupe and Lavaca streets and vice versa are much more pleasant.

Special Event Detours

We all know how congested Congress Avenue becomes during a special event. Special event detours significantly disrupt transit service for our customers who rely on our system to get to work, school, and other priority destinations. Operating all local routes on the G/L corridor would reduce special events detours; alleviate congestion on Congress Avenue, thereby making service more efficient. This was evidenced by how successful service operated during SXSW and Formula One, when Capital Metro moved most MetroBus routes on the G/L corridor.

Stop Amenities

Historic and landmark preservation measures on the Congress Avenue corridor prevent Capital Metro from enhancing our existing bus stops. While the sidewalk is wide, there are no additional passenger amenities we are capable of providing. Moving most MetroBus routes onto G/L would allow us to add amenities such as benches and shelters otherwise not possible on Congress Avenue, providing a better customer experience for our riders.

forumHow to Share Your Feedback

Please keep giving us your feedback and commenting on our proposals—we want to hear from you! All riders are encouraged to participate in our public involvement opportunities listed below. Capital Metro will conduct a series of public meetings, and a public hearing. See our service change webpage for schedule details. Become involved, join the conversation and comment on specific proposals in efforts to provide effective services that meet the Austin area’s transportation needs!

View the recent webinar:

Share your comments and send any questions to feedback@capmetro.org.

Upcoming Public Involvement Dates:

Public Meetings

March 4, 12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m.

Capital Metro Transit Store, 209 W. 9th | Served by all downtown Local bus routes, MetroRapid 801

March 5, 12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m.

Capital Metro Transit Store, 209 W. 9th | Served by all downtown Local bus routes, MetroRapid 801

March 6, 3:30 – 6:00 p.m.

Capital Metro Transit Store, 209 W. 9th | Served by all downtown Local bus routes, MetroRapid 801

Online Discussion Forum

ideas.capmetro.org

Email

Feedback@capmetro.org

Social Media 

Facebook | Twitter

Public Hearing

March 17, 12:00 noon

Capital Metro Headquarters, 2910 E. 5th St. | Served by Local routes 17, 300

For more information on the proposed summer 2014 changes, including maps of the proposed areas, visit capmetro.org/summer2014. Details can also be found by viewing this video or by calling the GO Line at 512-474-1200.

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Capital Metro has partnered with other transit agencies in the central Texas region, like the City of Austin, CAMPO and the Lone Star Rail District to create a plan for regional high-capacity transit.

What would that look like?

Imagine a series of components like urban rail, commuter rail (like MetroRail), Rapid service, and express lanes where all services support one another in a network, easing access throughout the region.

Sounds nice, right? Well, it looks even better. Check out this detailed vision map with all the system elements to help you share our vision for how to create a connected central Texas.

vision_map

(Download PDF version)

Now, you too can view the full details of the Project Connect transportation plan and partnership at ConnectCentralTexas.com.

But, wait there’s more!

Well, now that the vision has come together, the partners want your feedback. What do you think?

It’s your chance to share your thoughts at any of the following opportunities:

Tuesday, Feb. 19, 5 – 8 p.m. Seton Medical Center Hays (Cafeteria), 6001 Kyle Parkway, Kyle, TX.

Wednesday, Feb. 20, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Austin Energy (Assembly Room); 721 Barton Springs Road, Austin, TX.

Wednesday, Feb. 20, 5 – 8 p.m. Williamson Conference Center, 209 N. IH-35 Frontage Road, Round Rock, TX.

Tuesday, Feb. 26, 12 – 1 p.m. Webinar – Register online at ConnectCentralTexas.com/get-involved.

The Project Connect partners also invite the public to participate in an ongoing online discussion regarding the regional transit vision.

Reasonable modifications and equal access to communications are provided upon request.  Please call 512-369-6201 or email info@ConnectCentralTexas.com for more information.

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Ride Capital Metro over to Harlem River Drive

…during Jazz at St James with headliner Bobbi Humphrey.


The 18th Annual Jazz Concert Series features the First Lady of Flute Bobbi Humphrey, John Mills Times Ten, James Polk Sextet Centerpiece, David Pulkingham, and Hope Morgan.

Schedule:

Friday, Nov. 2

5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Jazz Social Hour With David Pulkingham

7:00 p.m. Concert
Tickets $25 ($30 at the door) $10 for students with ID
The John Mills Times Ten followed by Bobbi Humphrey Quartet.
Doors open at 6:30.

Note: HT and UT students and alumni are encouraged to ride Capital Metro to Friday night’s reception and concert, with groups departing campus between 5:00-5:15 p.m.

  • UT students catch the #18 at 5:33 p.m. at 21st and Speedway (and ride free with your UT ID)
  • HT students catch the 5:28 p.m. MetroRail train at Plaza Saltillo (5th and Comal) and transfer at MLK Station to the #18 bus headed eastbound (HT students should see Ms. Ora Houston for transportation passes)
  • Please arrive to your stop at least 10 minutes prior to departure.

Saturday, Nov. 3

11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
FREE
Workshop and Informance

5 – 7:00 p.m. Dinner
$30 per person
Jazz Banquet With Hope Morgan

7:00 p.m. Concert
Tickets $25 ($30 at the door) $20 for students with ID
James Polk Sextet – Centerpeace Featuring Pamela Hart followed by Bobbi Humphrey Quartet.
Doors open at 6:30.

Sunday, Nov. 4

11:00 a.m.
FREE
Jazz Mass with The Bobbi Humphrey Quartet

All events take place at St James Episcopal Church, 1941 Webberville Rd, Austin TX, which is serviced by bus routes # 6, 18, and 323. Friday and Saturday evening MetroRail riders can easily transfer to the #18 bus at the MLK Jr. Station.

For directions, please use our trip planner, Google Maps, or call the Go-Line 512-474-1200.

For tickets and other information, please visit http://jazzatstjames.org, or download their flier for the event.

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Earlier this year, Capital Metro held community open houses to introduce Project Connect: North Corridor, a transportation study to address long-term mobility and access issues in the corridor that includes the communities of Georgetown, Round Rock, Pflugerville and central Austin.

Public open houses were held in two locations, including the Municipal JusticeCenter in Pflugerville on June 19th and Austin Energy’s Assembly Room in Austin on June 21st.

We want to hear from you!

While the community open houses were well attended, Capital Metro would like to expand opportunities for the public to provide input on the project through an online open house. In as little as ten minutes, you will learn more about the 18-24 month study and be able to provide feedback about the mobility challenges you experience in the North Corridor.

The online open house is accessible via the project website at www.connectcentraltexas.com and can be accessed now through Nov. 07.  Participants can view examples of high-capacity transit options, review a number of exhibits that explain the project, use an interactive map to draw in suggested transportation alternatives and complete an online questionnaire.

We encourage you to get involved and send us your thoughts on improving mobility and access issues in the North Corridor!

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Austin Mobility featured an article in their newsletter yesterday, describing the ongoing development in the east 5th area — around our MetroRail Plaza Saltillo Station. Check out the Austin Mobility to learn more about local Transit Oriented Development at: http://ow.ly/ealZv or read on:

E. Fifth St. transit oriented development underway

Projects near Plaza Saltillo are moving forward.

The 256-unit Corazon mixed-use project has begun construction, and will feature 9,400 square feet of retail, along with 6,400 square feet of restaurant space.

That project, the first to break ground at the Plaza Saltillo MetroRail station and transit oriented development east of IH-35, is expected to be completed by 2014.

The project is a step towards realizing the vision for Transit Oriented Development on Fifth Street.

Transit Oriented Development, or TOD, is a rapidly growing trend to create compact and walkable communities with high quality design centered around transit, and offering mobility choices.

The TOD vision was created by working with community members to address issues such as connectivity, open space, and design within the realities of economics.

The TODs have a complimentary regulation and zoning framework to facilitate compact and connected development, which is a key part of the Imagine Austin plan, passed by a unanimous City Council this month.

In addition to the private development, Capital Metro is making progress on about 10 acres it hopes to develop under future private-public relationships.

An environmental assessment of the land is close to being completed.

An upcoming report, by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and Environmental Protection Agency, will give planners an understanding of what remediation would need to occur to develop the land.

In addition, Capital Metro expects to begin design and engineering later this year to relocate rail along Fourth Street, which will free up land for mixed-use development.

That $5.4 million track project is funded 80 percent by federal funds, with a 20 percent match from Capital Metro.

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Last week, our board of directors adopted revisions to Capital Metro’s Service Guidelines and Standards. Originally created in 2009, this document is essentially a service planning tool that reflects the mission and goals of Capital Metro.  The guidelines provide a framework for how routes and stops are designed and allocated; and the standards include the process by which services are assessed.

The document was revised to include additional design and evaluation criteria based on best practices and recent service changes. In September, the Customer Satisfaction Advisory Committee reviewed a draft copy and provided valuable feedback that was incorporated into the final document.

Below is a summary of the revisions:


Introduction

All MetroBus and MetroRail services were classified into 3 primary groups (core, UT, special). Core routes are the backbone of our transit system and UT Shuttle routes are unique in terms of function and funding. Special routes serve very specific needs.

Guidelines

Population and employment density are primary influences on transit demand. Service coverage guidelines were updated to focus on areas or corridors with densities that support cost-effective transit. Transit demand also influenced by land use. Transit supportive land use patterns and destinations are discussed in the document. Transit-friendly street and sidewalk characteristics are also noted.

Demographic data such as Census 2010 and Capital Metro’s origin/destination survey help identify neighborhoods with high transit dependency and better understand our community. Household income and auto availability are key indicators. Elderly and youth population are also important factors.

Bus stop spacing guidelines and amenities criteria were simplified. Additional guidelines were added to bus stop placement, which involves a balance of customer safety, accessibility, and operations.

Standards

Service standards focus on schedule reliability, ridership productivity, and cost-effectiveness. Currently, routes are evaluated three times a year. A minimum productivity threshold and criteria for high-performing routes have been established.

The service change process has been added to the document. Service changes allow an opportunity to implement new services and modify route alignments, schedules, bus stops and facilities.


The revised Service Guidelines and Standards provide a more accurate reflection of existing conditions and agency goals. They also assist in identifying needs and evaluating service requests. Guidelines are now more rigorous and less complex. Along with ServicePlan2020, standards provide the basis for cost-effective service planning.

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