Cap Metro Achieves PTC Milestone

PTC

By Dave Dech, VP of Rail Operations

Capital Metro has been working to put in place a positive train control (PTC) system along the 32-mile MetroRail line. We have now met an important threshold by completing all of the statutory requirements to qualify for an extension to the federally mandated deadline of Dec. 31.

PTC is a technological upgrade of the nation’s rail lines designed to create an additional layer of safety to rail. Congress mandated the improvements back in 2009 and gave rail operators until the end of this year to implement PTC.

The good thing is that Capital Metro has met all of the statutory requirements, which enables us to request the extension. Essentially, that means we’ve demonstrated sufficient progress on the project to convince the government that we’re on our way to full implementation. The Federal Railroad Administration is now reviewing our request, and we expect to receive notice of approval within 90 days. Until then, Capital Metro will continue to operate and continue work on PTC implementation. That means that customers will still occasionally experience disruptions to MetroRail service during this work.

Cap Metro is among many rail operators across the country to request this extension, including Caltrain in the San Francisco Bay area and New Jersey Transit. It allows the agency another two years to fully implement the PTC system, a goal that we are committed to reaching.

For the People Who Live Here

Transit Design Guide

Austin’s growth is a tough one. We all know its double-edged nature.

New people and new growth are great. They make for lots of fun and cool things to do and see. But they also make it super expensive to live here and hard to get around. Dealing with that growth requires deliberate thinking and planning. The temptation is just to build quickly and to do so thinking of today’s problems while leaving tomorrow’s for later.

Capital Metro’s Transit Design Guide brings together standards and best practices for how to build a place designed for the people who live here now and for the ones to come. So often, our answer has been simply to build more and build more and build more.

More houses further out.

More and bigger roads to get there.

More offices and shopping centers and apartment complexes wherever we can fit them.

The Transit Design Guide helps guide our thinking, to make sure that the region grows thoughtfully and efficiently. Topics addressed include:

  • Transit-Supportive Street Design
  • Bus Stop Design
  • Transit Lane Configuration
  • Rail Station Design
  • Park & Ride Design
  • Security
  • Transit-Oriented Development & Place-making

It’s about integrating people and place in planning. It’s about thinking — as we’ve been saying all along with Project Connect — of how to get people from here to there rather than how to fit more cars on that road. This sort of inclusive design builds a region that people want to live in, can afford to live in and that is safer to live in. (Cars are dangerous, y’all.)

As we continue to expand our transit system and look for ways to accommodate this growth, things like the Transit Design Guide and our TOD Tool provide a framework for facilitating consistent high-quality transit service and supportive land use. The guide is available with our Service Guidelines.

Project Connect – How a Vision Becomes the Community’s Plan

By Capital Metro Board Chairman Wade Cooper

Earlier this month, Capital Metro rolled out a vision for what Project Connect will bring to Central Texas. This vision was the product of a transparent community-centered process. It was conceptual in nature and identified the most important corridors that the community and Cap Metro feel are important to create a more connected and livable city. We have also stated that as we undertake the next phase of program development and engineering that even more community engagement will be needed. Now, we want to talk about what that will look like. Continue reading “Project Connect – How a Vision Becomes the Community’s Plan”

October 27 = Super Saturday

Halloween_BannerThe Saturday before Halloween is always pretty great. It gives you an extra shot to show off that amazing costume. You get to head downtown for drinks and/or fun. And you don’t have to wake up early the next day and head into work with a candy hangover.

This year, it’s gonna be even better because Austin is in full-on festival mode. There’s so much happening that weekend, and Cap Metro is here to make it easy to get around.

So, if you’re headed to Soul Food Truck Fest or the Austin Film Festival or the Texas Book Festival or the Viva la Vida Parade or downtown for Halloween festivities … or whatever else might be going on the last weekend in October … Cap Metro can get you there and back for free!

Like we’ve done a few times before, we’re partnering with the Austin Public Library to provide Park & Ride services at a few different branches. Park at the library, pick up your free Day Pass & pre-vetted trip plan and then hop on the bus! It’s super easy.

Park & Ride Locations

Capital Metro and the Austin Public Library invite you to make it a SUPER SATURDAY! Park for free at 6 different branch library locations and ride for free with a Transit Day Pass — so you can spend more time at the festivals and less time circling downtown for parking.

Ride free by parking at one of these neighborhood libraries and checking in with a librarian to pick up your Day Pass:

  • Recycled Reads | 5335 Burnet Road | Routes 3, 803
  • Pleasant Hill | 211 East William Cannon Drive | Routes 1, 801
  • Little Walnut Creek | 835 West Rundberg Lane | Routes 1, 801
  • Ruiz | 1600 Grove Boulevard | Route 20
  • Carver | 1161 Angelina Street | Route 2
  • Cepeda | 651 N. Pleasant Valley | Route 4
  • Southeast | 5803 Nuckols Crossing Rd | Route 7

 

Drop in & Learn about Cap Metro’s 2019 Budget

Budget Outreach

Capital Metro operates on public funding, and we take that responsibility seriously. Part of maintaining financial transparency includes letting the public see our budget to ensure we are using your money wisely

And beginning next week we’re going to do just that, and you’ll have four chances to hear about our proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2019 and ask questions. Wherever you are — north of the river or south, downtown or on the internet — we’ve got an option for you to participate. So please do!

We posted the entire budget online last week, and you can review it in full. So, come prepared with questions and comments. Members of our staff will be there to answer your questions, either about the budget or just about anything else Capital Metro does.

Cap Metro Helps You Get Ready for School

Back to SchoolSummer’s still in full effect, but school’s coming up quick. AISD is holding its Back to School Bash tomorrow at the Palmer Events Center. It’s a fantastic event that helps families get ready for the new year, and Cap Metro wants to help you get there.

That’s why we’re thrilled to work with the district to help families get down to the shores of Lady Bird Lake and the event.

The festival takes place from noon to 3 p.m., and we’ve got a lot of routes that serve Palmer. Even better, it’s easy to connect to those routes from your neighborhood school. So, if you want to avoid the traffic, the parking fees and the headaches, hop on a bus.

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve distributed free Day Passes at 10 Austin schools that will also provide free Park & Ride services for the bash. If you got a pass, ride free to the event. If you didn’t, take Cap Metro down to Palmer and avoid the hassle of parking and traffic.

  1. Bedicheck | 6800 Bill Hughes Rd, 78745 | Routes 10 & 333
  2. Mendez | 5106 Village Square, 78744 | Routes 7 & 331
  3. Reagan | 7104 Berkman Drive; 78752 | Routes 10, 300, 337
  4. Ann Richards | 2206 Prather Lane; 78704 | Routes 3, 103, 300, 803
  5. Harris | 1711 Wheless Ln; 78723 | Routes 10, 337
  6. LASA/LBJ 7309 Lazy Creek Drive; 78724 | Routes 20, 233, 337, 339
  7. Lamar | 6201 Wynona Ave; 78757 | Routes 3, 337, 803
  8. Lee | 3308 Hampton Rd; 78705 | Route 10
  9. McCallum | 5600 Sunshine Dr., 78756 | Routes 1, 337, 801
  10. St. Elmo 600 W St Elmo Rd; 78745 | Route 10

To plan your trip to the Back to School Bash (or anywhere else), visit capmetro.org/planner.

Will You Go to Prom with Us?

Pride Prom

Pride Month is here, and the Austin Public Library is jumpstarting it with Pride Prom next Thursday, June 7. It’s gonna be great.

DJ Girlfriend will be there for the dancers, and there’ll be a Drag Makeup Station for anyone wanting to get dolled up. There will also be a Lip Synch for Your Library competition that somehow let’s people pretend to sing Carly Rae Jepsen or Janelle Monae in support of their local library branch? (Sign up for that here, it sounds cool.)

You can also get your picture taken at the traveling photo booth and even register to vote. But, while you’ll be able to glitter-sticker a pronoun button when you walk in, the library respectfully requests that you “Please do not bring loose glitter into the library or wear glitter-showering items.”

Still, all of that will lead into a drag show with M.C. Honey St. Claire and performers Eaton Johnson and Althea Trix, and that’ll be cool too.

The reason you’re reading about it here the Cap Metro Blog though is because there’s no need for you to rent a limo for this prom night. Cap Metro is working with Austin Public Library once again to arrange for park-and-ride services for those going to prom. All you gotta do is park at one of the three library branches listed below, go inside to request your free Local Day Pass, hop on a bus and then get yourself down to the new Central Library. (Which is amazing.)

The event launches the library’s 2018 Summer Reading Program for adults and will be held in the new library’s 1st floor Special Events Center.

YOU MUST REGISTER FOR YOUR FREE RIDE AT ONE OF THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS:

Recycled Reads | 5335 Burnet Road | Routes 3, 803

Pleasant Hill Branch | 211 East William Cannon Drive | Routes 1, 801

Little Walnut Branch | 835 West Rundberg Lane | Routes 1, 801

To plan your trip to Pride Prom (or anywhere else), visit CapMetro.org/planner.