MetroRapid Update

You may have not heard much about it lately, but Capital MetroRapid is progressing. We’ve been working hard the past several months on a revised proposal that could earn some federal funding.

At the end of the month, we’ll hold three public meetings to explain the proposal and gain some feedback. Just recently we submitted an initial findings report to the Federal Transit Administration. After community outreach, we plan to submit a formal proposal through the Very Small Starts Program.

Initial service will include two routes: North Lamar/South Congress and Burnet/South Lamar. This is just the first phase in the plan to have as many as 10 routes in the next 20 years.

Click here for more information on MetroRapid. Once the meetings have been set up, we’ll post the details online.

10 thoughts on “MetroRapid Update

  1. M1EK

    Rapid Bus continues to be a complete waste of time and money – our council members were right to put the kibosh on it the last time through. Investing this much money on a half-baked solution for the most important transit corridor in Austin is stupid, especially since this particular solution won’t actually work here (too many times the traffic backup goes far beyond the light immediately in front of the bus in question).

    In other cities, and in a smarter Austin, we’d be seeing packed light rail trains run down Lamar and Guadalupe by now. There is no way rapid bus can provide enough mobility benefits here to be worth a tenth the investment you’re going to dump into this dead-end technology; and I hope our council members cut this program off again.

    It’s time to demand that the residents of Austin, who provide almost all of Capital Metro’s funds, get some rail transit rather than spending our money providing train service to suburbs like Cedar Park that don’t even pay Capital Metro taxes. Rapid bus is an insult to the taxpayers of Austin, and it’s not going to be rapid.

  2. Don Dickson

    I’ll hope you’re wrong and keep an open mind. The proof of the pudding will be in the riding.

    It’s hard for me to think of any “new” transportation option in Austin as being a “bad” one. I’ll use anything and everything that they give me to use.

    Whether it turns out to be good-better-best….we’ll see.

  3. M1EK

    Don, the problem is that this investment precludes rail from being built on this corridor – where it desperately needs to be built – and the investment of money in ridiculous engineering studies (on a project which ought not require much engineering) takes money away from rail projects that can be built in the short-term to help the Austin taxpayers who fund essentially all of Capital Metro but are getting absolutely nothing out of commuter rail.

    (I refer to the CAMPO TWG rail plan here; which, although not ideal as it doesn’t run on Guadalupe, at least provides some benefits to Austin residents).

    Every dollar invested in Rapid Bus is therefore a waste in several ways: it crowds out rail on that corridor _and_ it can’t be spent on rail in another corridor we’re practically ready to go on. To say nothing of the fact that a better short-term investment at this point might just be a bunch more regular buses.

  4. Erica McKewen

    M1EK, I hope you can make it to one of the public meetings we have planned about rapid bus. It should be a lively discussion!

  5. M1EK

    There’s really no point; the only way to ‘improve’ the Rapid Bus plan is to cancel it – and spend the money on rail transit for Austinites.

  6. Computer Support

    Funny how Austin (pop 750K) is planning a “rapid bus line” that will be inferior to Eugene, OR (pop 150K) in that Eugene’s rapid bus has its own lane… while ours will not (I’m guessing).

    Not that I’m defending the pursuit of rapid bus transit without light rail. I’m w/ m1ek… we need light rail w/ dedicated lanes first and foremost. Don’t waste time/money on other pursuits until that’s done.

    You won’t find new transit riders if they have to sit in traffic (whether it be in a streetcar or in a rapid bus).

  7. Andreas

    Of course light rail would be better but that’s not going to happen for a long time, if ever. The only hope of a change is frankly a big push in Washington to 100% fund light rail systems around the country. That’s not out of the question of course with gas being so high.

    RapidBus does have the advantage in that the buses can always be moved to a different line and the built mini-stations be converted to light rail, should that ever happen.

    The fact is the population along the #1 line continues to increase and ridership is overtaking the ability of the #1 and the #101 to handle it during peak hours. While yet more (and longer) buses are being added, the route would benefit from the much higher capacity and the signal-timing advantages.

    In addition, even more dense residential development will follow if the system works well. Not like would happen with light rail, but still an effect regardless.

  8. M1EK

    Andreas, precisely zero of the infrastructure planned for Rapid Bus could be reused for LRT (different lanes on the street, for one thing) – and, no, it will not help conditions on this corridor either (holding the signal in front of you for a few seconds is useless when traffic is backed up from the next 4 or 5 traffic lights ahead of that one).

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