Mapping the Future

TOD_BannerGrowth happens. You can’t change that. What we need to do is to manage how Central Texas grows, direct where that growth takes place and ensure that everyone benefits from our growing region.

The city of Austin is attempting to do just that with CodeNext, its rewrite of the city’s development code. It’s a massive undertaking and you’ve probably read much about it since the draft version was released in January and maps were put out last month showing how the proposed code would affect different parts of the city.

What city leaders are trying to do is figure out how Austin will grow. We all know that the people will come regardless; that’s not in doubt. The outstanding questions are: Where are they going to live? How are they going to get around? And how much will it cost all of us to continue to thrive in Austin?

Capital Metro is asking these questions, too. We’re working with regional partners, including the city of Austin, Travis County and CTRMA on Project Connect — a multiyear-long process that will help identify high-capacity transit projects designed to move people into, out of and around Central Austin.

A big part of both efforts will be fostering transit-oriented development (TOD). These are locations designed to encourage the use of — and take advantage of — the benefits of transit. They tend to be denser developments that are walkable and that feature residential, commercial and retail properties in close proximity.

Cap Metro has devised a new TOD Tool that will enable everyone to explore the region and think in new ways how Central Texas can look. It’s for transit and city planners or real estate developers, sure. But our hope is that all kinds of people will take a look through the tool and see the many possible futures that could be realized.

It’s maybe a bit intimidating at first. The tool, when printed out, is 200 11×17 pages and kind of dense. Luckily for those planners, developers and everyone else, we’ve got it online, too, where you can pick and choose what you want to look at. (You can also get a PDF version of the TOD Tool if you’re so inclined.)

The TOD Tool allows you to dive into any of our 9 MetroRail and dozens of MetroRapid stations and explore their neighborhoods. With the tool, you can look into demographics, topography, population density, access to transit, infrastructure and a whole lot more. It will let you discover more about your neighborhood, compare different parts of the region and think a little bit more about what kinds of development fit best along South Lamar as opposed to Tech Ridge, for instance.

It’s a crazy busy time to live in Austin and the surrounding area. A LOT is going on, and it’s best to be informed and educated about what’s being talked about and what it all means.

Capital Metro is trying to help everyone along in the process.

The Best Month on Two Wheels

0137_Brio PhotographyLike a Matryoshka doll designed to get you out of your car and onto two wheels, this month nests a special day inside a special week inside a special month. May is National Bike Month, next week is National Bike to Work Week and Bike to Work Day is May 19.

Capital Metro is doing its part to help make it all happen. We’re proud of the fact that the League of American Bicyclists has rated Capital Metro as a Gold-Level Bike Friendly Business and are doing our best to improve on that rating.

All of our Local and MetroRapid vehicles have bike racks. Our MetroExpress buses have compartments to store two bikes each. MetroRail trains have racks for four bikes in each compartment for a total of eight, plus plenty of room to stand with your bikes (though admittedly that will be tougher during peak times). We also have seven permanent, secure bike shelters located at MetroRail and MetroRapid stations that allow you to leave your bicycles behind if the train or bus is too full, or for when we get you close enough to walk to your destination.

These are great and convenient things, it’s true. But Cap Metro is also working with the city of Austin to make getting around without your car even easier. We’re well on our way to implement big changes in the Capital Metro transit system, which will begin to be put in place this summer and really kick into gear in 2018.

  • The August 2017 Service Change will see increased frequencies for our two MetroRapid routes, which will run every 10 minutes throughout weekday peak times and add late-night service, too. This will make it even more convenient to leave your car at home when traveling the city’s busiest corridors: North Lamar to South Congress and Burnet Road to South Lamar.
  • We’re putting the finishing touches on several improvements to MetroRail that will enable Cap Metro to add capacity to that service. While we won’t be able to fully double frequency and capacity until our new Downtown Station is completed, these first improvements will let us run more trains by 2018.
  • Next year is also when Connections 2025 changes are scheduled to really ramp up. The successful High-Frequency Network will add another dozen routes, probably in 2018, bringing more convenience and connection to our east-west service and throughout the system.

When you couple this improved transit service with infrastructure improvements the city is beginning to make, you get ever closer to a truly multi-modal transportation system that will let all of us get around more safely, more conveniently and with less hassle.

And, just to remind us all that riding your bike is a fun thing to do, there’s gonna be a Bike to Work Day after-party at the Google Fiber Space May 19. So, saddle up, ride to work and then head downtown to the party.

Metro Security Vehicles Get New Look

Security Vehicles
Capital Metro Interim Director of Security John Jones is flanked by Assistant APD Chief Joseph Chacon (left) and Commander Darryl Jamail (right).

Capital Metro’s Security force presented its rebranded vehicles to the agency’s board of directors at its meeting last week.

The vehicles were rebranded to more closely resemble the Austin Police Department’s fleet of black and white patrol cars. As retired APD Sgt. John Jones says, they “act as a force multiplier for the Austin Police Department.” Jones is Capital Metro’s interim director of security.

Capital Metro employs 160 off-duty APD officers to serve as the agency’s security force. That’s a significant increase from the four off-duty APD officers originally hired to staff its security department in 1988. Cap Metro is the largest employer of off-duty police officers in the region.

The Metro Security officers work more than 45,000 hours each year and provide 24/7 coverage of our 535-square-mile service area, as well as the 132-mile rail corridor. The officers respond to service calls on buses, trains and paratransit vehicles, in addition to seven Park & Rides and nine rail platforms.

West Austin Studio Tour 2017 | May 13-14 & May 20-21

Go WEST!

West Austin Studio Tour is one of the great things Austinites look forward to each spring. Now in its sixth year, 309 participants will open their studios, workshops and galleries for two weekends of self-guided art, exhibition tours, hands-on activities, and more, for visitors of all ages. With only a limited amount of time it’s hard to see it all but, with help from your art-loving friends at Capital Metro, we can help you discover dozens of creative spaces across South Austin.

Capital Metro is providing FREE Day Passes so you can spend more time looking at art and less time circling for parking! Join us for one (or both) Transit Adventures:

REGISTER TO ATTEND: WEEKEND #1 (May 13): South Austin Tours
Take a guided tour on the #803 MetroRapid with stops at:

  1. Austin Art Garage
  2. Dimension Gallery
  3. Doughtery Arts Center
  4. Mexic-Arte Museum

REGISTER TO ATTEND: WEEKEND #2 (May 20): North Austin Tours
Take a guided tour on the #7 MetroBus + MetroRail with stops at:

  1. Blue Genie Art Bazaar
  2. Elisabet Ney Museum
  3. Co-Lab Projects
  4. Mexic-Arte Museum

Help Us Honor and Celebrate East Austin!

12th and Chicon_Flyer

We need your feedback! Capital Metro and its community partners are asking for feedback on a proposed art installation celebrating the African-American community of East Austin. The art will be installed at the bus stop located on the southeast corner of 12th and Chicon.

Capital Metro is working hard to improve all of its bus stops to keep the Austin community beautiful and accessible to everyone. The bus stop at 12th and Chicon has gone untouched since 2003. The framed images and historical information installed at this bus stop celebrate the African-American community of East Austin, honoring Austinites like brothers E.H. and L.C. Anderson. Unfortunately, the mini history exhibit has weathered and faded over time. The new art installation will help preserve the rich history of the neighborhood and help tell the story of East Austin and its people.

Before we move forward, we want to hear from you! Join us for a community event to share your voice and hear about the plans our community partners have for the site. The event is on Tuesday, May 2 at Huston-Tillotson’s Dickey-Lawless Auditorium, 900 Chicon St., from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served. Huston-Tillotson is served by Local Routes 2, 4, 21, 22 and 320. Parking is also available at the Huston-Tillotson west lot located on Chalmers Street.

For more information, please contact Jordan Smith.

Thanks to our community partners:

  • Austin Community College
  • Austin History Center
  • Austin Revitalization Authority
  • East 12th Street Merchants Association
  • Greater Austin Black Chamber
  • Huston-Tillotson University
  • Six Square
  • SOULY Austin
  • Urban Land Institute

You can also share your input in the comments section of this post.

Learn more about the history of this neighborhood.