On Nov. 6, four bus stops on Congress will close as part of a pilot program to try to improve travel times and safety on Congress.
Here are the stops:
Riders of routes 1L/1M, 2, 5, 6, 7, 20, 30, 101, 127, 142, 174, and 990 who board/get off the bus at one of the four stops will find their stops within one or two blocks proximity.
You might be asking, Why, Capital Metro? Why?
Congress Avenue poses many challenges to Capital Metro. There’s a ton of bus traffic (and every other type of traffic) on Congress between Cesar Chavez and 11th Street. Right now there is even more traffic than usual because of the construction on Brazos. A comment was made by a couple of people over here, including CEO Linda S. Watson, that you can sometimes (often? always?) walk down Congress faster than you can ride a bus down Congress. Our buses stop at every block, resulting in “stacking” of the buses.
Angled in parking down both sides of Congress also creates a hazard for transit. Cars backing into buses, ladders and other stuff hanging out of the back of trucks, bus mirrors clipping each other–they’re all a cause for concern on Congress. A significant number of minor collisions involving a Capital Metro bus occur along Congress.
Many bus stops on Congress are not ideal for customers, either, often squeezed in between intersections, sidewalks and parking–not always the best customer experience.
So, we’re trying this pilot out, which in theory will speed up your travel time down Congress and reduce the number of collisions that cost us money and slow you down. If the pilot program is successful at reducing collisions and improving travel time along Congress, Capital Metro may consider making the closures permanent, as well as closing additional stops along Congress to coincide with the January 2011 service change. Capital Metro will work with the City of Austin and other organizations to improve bus stops and amenities at the remaining stops.
Although riders may have to walk farther to get to their stops or to make transfers, the tradeoff will be a faster, safer ride. What do you think? Is the tradeoff worth it?