Rail Safety Poster Winners

Tonight, at the AISD board meeting, 12 Central Texas students will be honored for the artwork they submitted in the Capital Metro Rail Safety Poster Competition.

Becca Coplen, an eighth grader at Canyon Vista Middle School, is the grand prize winner for the middle school category.

Earlier this year, Capital Metro and its volunteer coalition GROW (Grassroots Rail Outreach Working Group) invited students to submit artwork in a rail safety poster competition. Three winning designs (one each representing elementary, middle and high school campuses) will be printed and hung in every school campus and public library located within two miles of the Capital MetroRail tracks.

Kayleigh Treanor, a senior at Austin High School, won the grand prize in the high school category.

Six first-place and six second-place designs were chosen. First-place winners will each receive a laptop computer donated by Dell. Second-place winners will each receive a pair of running shoes donated by RunTex.

Cindy Carrosco, a fifth grader at Blackshear Elementary School, won the grand prize in the elementary school category.

The poster contest is part of an ongoing rail safety effort that began more than two years ago and has blanketed the community with messages about rail safety. When the Capital MetroRail Red Line begins service on March 30, train traffic along the tracks will increase significantly, and MetroRail trains are faster and quieter than freight locomotives.

1st Place Winners

Kayleigh Treanor, Austin High School, Grade 12
Becca Coplen, Canyon Vista Middle School, Grade 8
Cameron Henderson, Kealing Middle School, Grade 6
Cindy Carrosco, Blackshear Elementary School, Grade 5
David Hernandez, Blackshear Elementary School, Grade 3
Jaylin Mason, Blackshear Elementary School, Grade 1

2nd Place Winners

Rene Salazar, San Juan Diego Catholic High School, Grade 11
Kristin May, Running Brushy Middle School, Grade 8
Gustavo Lang, Running Brushy Middle School, Grade 6
Gerardo Torres, Blackshear Elementary School, Grade 5
Jonathan Garcia, Blackshear Elementary School, Grade 3
Stella Behal, Maplewood Elementary School, Grade 2

Honorary Participant
Cristal Garcia Marchan, Metz Elementary School, Grade 5

The students will be recognized today, March 9, at 6:15 p.m. (before the AISD Board Meeting) in the Board Auditorium at the Carruth Administration Center, 1111 W 6th. St., Room B-100.

During the Citizen’s Communication portion of the Board Meeting (roughly 7:15), Capital Metro will acknowledge the contest winners and their schools.

Welcome to Crestview Station

In addition to the event at MLK, Jr. Station today, we’ll also be at Crestview Station from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., showing off the MetroRail train, helping people navigate the station and the new ticket vending machines, and generally getting Austinites ready to ride!

Eight of the nine MetroRail stations are ripe for transit oriented development, and a TOD is already up and running at Crestview Station. Midtown Commons is the transit oriented development adjacent to the Crestview Station. The development is still in progress. You can already lease retail/office space there, and the leasing office for the residential units has just opened.

When you swing by today to tour the train, you can sign an apartment lease to live next door!

Crestview Station Open House
6920 North Lamar Blvd.
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
very limited parking available at the adjacent TOD

Welcome to MLK, Jr. Station

Capital Metro continues the MetroRail Station Open Houses today. Today you have your choice of two stations: MLK, Jr. and Crestview, both from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Yesterday the group of Capital Metro staff who are volunteering at the open houses took a bus to MLK, Jr. Station to be trained on the use of the ticket vending machine and to tour the station. I snapped a few photos–it’s beautiful!

This station has a musical theme, with musical notes portrayed in the metal guardrails and on the glass canopy shelter above. The station paving stones are made to look like piano keys.

The MLK, Jr. Station is one of two stations that will have rail connector bus routes direct to major centers of employment. There will be two connectors from MLK, one to UT and another serving the Capitol Complex.

MLK, Jr. Station Open House
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
1719 Alexander Ave.
very limited parking along Alexander

Welcome to Plaza Saltillo

Welcome to Plaza Saltillo!

Today Capital Metro welcomes the community to beautiful Plaza Saltillo Station to tour the Capital MetroRail train, pick up schedules and learn to use the new electronic ticket vending machines.

Plaza Saltillo is unique and beautiful. Inspired by the plazas of Mexican cities, and named for Austin’s sister city of Saltillo, Mexico, Plaza Saltillo was built in 1998 and boasts a beautiful courtyard and fountain, a space for outdoor vendors, and a bandstand. The city of Saltillo donated the ornate, traditional benches that are found throughout. Plaza Saltillo was a collaborative project between the city of Austin, Capital Metro, and an east Austin cultural group called Ole Mexico. Since 1998 it’s been the site of many celebrations, and today we can add one more to the list.

The presence of the bright red MetroRail steel framing for the platform–an identifying hallmark at every station–as well as the electronic ticket vending machines (not to mention the uber-sleek train itself), lends a modern edge to a plaza that is steeped in tradition and full of community memories. Soon it will serve as a gateway to downtown business, and as the first welcome to passengers who exit the train in east Austin.

Today you can be a part of it all, and be one of the first to see how fitting Plaza Saltillo is as host for Capital MetroRail. We’ll be there, as will the train, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Plaza Saltillo Station Open House
TODAY, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
412 Comal
Bus routes: 4, 320

Great Turnout in Leander

Wow! More than 1,000 people joined us today for the Capital MetroRail open house at the Leander Station. Visitors had the opportunity to tour the train, practice using the ticket vending machine and ask lots of great questions. With just a few weeks to go until the big grand opening event (Saturday, March 28– mark your calendar), it really was a amazing to see and hear how excited people are.

If you didn’t make it to today’s open house, we have more coming up this month. See Gerardo’s post for the complete schedule.

In addition to the MetroRail train, we also had an Express bus on display at today’s open house; and our friends at the Leander Fire Department showed off some of their trucks and equipment which were especially popular with the kids.

"This is only a test"

If you happened to be traveling on 183 through Leander last Thursday, you may have done a double take at the Leander Station. Several fire engines, police vehicles and ambulances were on the scene participating in a Capital MetroRail emergency preparedness drill.

The scenario: A car has collided with the MetroRail train at the Leander Station crossing. Eighty passengers onboard the train, as well as the driver of the car, have varying degrees of injury. Ready? And, go!

At 10:58 a.m., the train engineer called into dispatch to report the collision, and thus set in motion the drill. Within minutes the Leander Police Department was on the scene, followed by the fire department and EMS. The drill lasted almost four hours, and every angle of the response was analyzed and evaluated by safety experts.

What was the point? Obviously the main answer is to help us prepare for this kind of situation. “It’s new,” says Leander Deputy Fire Chief Bill Gardner. “It gives us a good opportunity to practice a unified approach.” If a crisis of this magnitude actually occurred, it would require the help of and response by multiple departments in surrounding communities.

Following the drill, the participants debriefed and got useful feedback from the evaluators. A few other drills are planned between now and the Red Line debut on March 30.

Here is some footage from the drill taken by Joe Wrubleski in Capital Metro’s training department. In the video, yours truly plays the part of newscaster. Note to self: don’t give up day job.

Come one, come all…

I hear the train a comin’, It’s rollin’ ’round the bend…….

Well not quite yet but we are preparing our community for MetroRail service starting March 30th by hosting five educational MetroRail Station open house events in February.

We are approaching very exciting times in our community with the ushering in of MetroRail service for our region. In anticipation, we are hosting community wide MetroRail Station open houses during February. At each open house event there will be a Capital MetroRail train for people to tour. We will help people understand the new ticket vending machines that will dispense rail and bus passes at each station. Capital Metro staff will be on hand to answer all of your questions about riding the train, including schedules, connector routes, riding the train with bicycles, and rail safety.

The open houses are free and open to everyone in our community. Stop by anytime during the event. Except for the Leander Open House, parking will be limited. Riding the bus or carpooling is encouraged.

Capital MetroRail Open Houses:

Leander Station – Saturday, Feb. 7
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
800 N. US 183

Plaza Saltillo Station – Saturday, Feb. 14
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
412 Comal Street
Bus routes: 4, 320

Crestview Station – Saturday, Feb. 21
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
6920 North Lamar Blvd.
Bus routes: 1L/1M, 101, 300, 320, 350
Access St. Johns for limited parking at adjacent development

MLK, Jr. Station – Saturday, Feb. 21
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
1719 Alexander Ave.
Bus routes: 18
Limited parking next to station

Downtown Station – Friday, Feb. 27
2 p.m. – 7 p.m.
401 E. 4th Street
Bus routes: All local and ‘Dillo routes