Austin Mobility: East Fifth St. Transit Oriented Development Underway

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.

Facebook Contest: Two Austin Film Fest Badges up for Grabs

You may have heard about our MetroRapid groundbreaking yesterday…maybe you’ve also been one of the early birds to watch our new YouTube video…below:

But, do you know that Capital Metro has two Austin Film Festival badges to give away? It’s true! How can you snag one? Click here Our contest is ongoing until Sept. 30!

We want to see your transit-inspired artwork. It doesn’t have to be fancy or require an extreme amount of work. Think about what transit means to you…Where do you ride to? How many places have you been to on the bus? Where are you looking forward to riding MetroRail? Take a picture, Instagram it, draw something, sketch, doodle, crayon, stamp, collage, etc. Anyway you want.

Once you have your idea and have a creation, take a picture of it and upload to our Facebook contest page. Take this for example:

Here’s an example I of a picture I took on 9/11 of a bus, then added filters. Preface: I have no artistic talent to claim!

It’s that simple. Capture a transit moment and submit it. After we have some entries on our Facebook page, others will be able to vote on each photo. The earlier you submit, the more time you have to wrangle-in those votes!
Start now!

We’ll award the top two entries. Each of our winners gets one Austin Film Fest badge! Each badge is worth over $100 bucks.

Now, go onto our Facebook page and look for the green tab at the top and enter your art baby.

Statesman Article says MetroBike is a good thing for Austin

Today the new Capital Metro bike shelters, MetroBike, were featured in a very positive Austin American-Statesman editorial “Capital Metro’s rail service welcomes cyclists.”

Here is an excerpt of the article: “The last thing most Capital Metro rail commuters want to see during morning or evening rush hours is a passenger boarding with a bicycle in tow. A single commuter who brings along a bicycle on the MetroRail takes the space of four people. When it’s standing-room only, as most trains are during peak hours, bicycles have had to yield…Bike shelters by themselves won’t address the Austin area’s growing demand for transportation alternatives. But they help expand options, and that is a good thing.

Capital Metro will be holding the MetroBike Grand Opening this Friday, Aug. 24, 2012, at 9:15 a.m. at the Kramer Station. We’ll be offering tours of the MetroBike shelter, guest speakers, and refreshments. Join us! Visit our MetroBike webpage for more details: http://www.capmetro.org/metrobike/.

To read the full Austin American-Statesman article, visit: http://ow.ly/d9CCS

Capital Metro to upgrade rail warning system at six crossings

Capital Metro Rail Operations staff recently completed an assessment of the handful of private crossings along the 32-mile MetroRail Red Line.

Today at the Capital Metro Operations & Planning Committee meeting, VP of Rail Operations Melvin Clark outlined the assessment and our recommendations. The good news is that all of the private crossings meet Capital Metro’s standards.

The better news is that the assessment gives us an opportunity to review and update our standards for private crossings. Melvin reported to the board committee our plans to standardize the private crossings and install flashing light warning signals, as well as pursue closure of several private crossings as part of its ongoing commitment to safety.

We will install flashing warning lights at six private crossings—one per year over the next six years. It costs an estimated $200,000 per crossing to install the lights. Although the Federal Railroad Administration does not require warning lights as private crossings, we’ve programmed these upgrades to enhance safety along the commuter line.

We are also standardizing the crossing surface of each private crossing along the Red Line to asphalt or concrete panels. Three private crossings in the assessment had a gravel (they call it ballast in the railroad industry) crossing surface, which requires more ongoing maintenance depending on the volume of motor vehicle traffic. One of the three private crossings has already been resurfaced with concrete panels, and the remaining two crossings will be resurfaced over the next two months.

Ultimately, it is still up to the driving public to obey public safety and traffic laws. Capital Metro has an ongoing rail safety education program to raise awareness of rail safety issues. This fall, Capital Metro will launch a rail safety campaign to reach rural communities along Capital Metro’s freight railroad. Learn more about rail safety.