Creative Action: Change Through Art in Austin Schools

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Somewhere out there in the whole wide world you may wish there were an organization doing after-school, in-school, and community-based programs that teach the arts, build community and help kids develop socially and emotionally.

You’re in luck.

There are organizations doing important work like that in schools. Here in Austin, one that’s doing great work is Creative Action.

Capital Metro has partnered with AISD’s Lee Lewis Campbell Elementary Media & Performing Arts Institute and Creative Action to ask students to create environmentally focused art to adorn Austin’s first pair of zero-emissions electric buses. We spoke with Christa Berry, Creative Action’s Chief Marketing & Development Officer, to learn what Creative Action does and how the Electric Bus Artwork Contest came to be.

What is the role of Creative Action in the Austin Community?

Every Creative Action program uses arts learning to help young people become creative artists, critical thinkers, courageous allies and confident leaders so they may contribute to and live in a more equitable world.

Creative Action is the largest arts education organization in Central Texas, leading the way for the innovative application of the arts to support positive youth development.

We deliver more than 800 weekly programming hours in six urban, suburban and rural area school districts, reaching more than 20,000 youth annually and the adults who care for them.

Since our founding in 1997, we have reached 200,000+ youth and adults; delivered 250,000+ hours of arts enrichment programming; employed 600+ teens to produce original art; held 1,000+ performances; and employed 800+ local artists.

How did this partnership between you and CapMetro come about?

CapMetro is a long-time supporter of Creative Action and has been particularly supportive of Color Squad, our visual arts teen program.

Each year we choose a different social justice issue or theme and launch a youth-driven, arts-based collective impact project as part of our mission to help young people become courageous allies who stand up for equity and use their creative voice to make a difference in the community.

This year, our efforts will focus on climate change and environmental justice, inspiring students and community members to DREAM GREEN by practicing sustainability at school and at home and advocating for environmental justice.

CapMetro’s zero-emissions electric buses came about in parallel with our DREAM GREEN impact project, so we saw it as the perfect alignment to expand our existing partnership.

Can you tell us about the opportunity you saw to merge student art with the launch of Capital Metro’s first pair of zero-emissions electric buses?

We saw the opportunity to help launch CapMetro’s zero-emissions electric buses as a way to merge arts-based learning with your vision for a sustainable future.

Students at our Spark School, Lee Lewis Campbell Elementary Media & Performing Arts Institute, will use their artistic skills to design bus wraps for the new buses while learning about environmental sustainability.

This collaboration illustrates what can come from an innovative application of creative expression.

Students involved will further develop their 21st century skills and social and emotional competencies, critical skills for developing personally and making positive contributions to their communities.

What matters most when working with children to create art?

What matters most is the sense of freedom and possibility that’s sparked through art-making.

Watching each child create, you see them expressing something unique about themselves, their personality, their thinking, their culture and their place in the world.

While they are working, experimenting, revising and crafting, children are free to make hundreds of choices about innumerable details, using their senses, feelings and ideas to create a work that is entirely new, vibrant and vital.

The nature of art-making and collaboration reminds us that we are all learners regardless of age, and that the most exciting discoveries are when we learn more about ourselves and our community.

If you had one wish for the Austin Community – what would it be?  

For us, the arts provide young people with a dynamic pathway for developing the academic, social and emotional skills for success.

As participants express themselves and build critical 21st century skills through hands-on creative projects, they also connect with their peers, their local communities and the global community beyond Austin.

Our one wish would be that all youth in the Austin community have equal access to arts education.

The new Capital Metro bus electric fleet launches this month.

Learn more about Creative Action!

5 Ways our New Electric Buses Make for a Positive Future

Electric BusCapital Metro is working with Austin Energy to introduce new all-electric buses to the city early next year. Students at Campbell Elementary are helping to design the look of the buses as a way for us to celebrate the future of Austin.

Austin Energy is our partner in assuring these buses will run on reliable, cost-effective, sustainable, clean energy. Austin Energy, like CapMetro, is committed to helping Central Texas become a cleaner, healthier place by powering our buses with zero-emission, renewable energy sources.

Here are just a few positive things electric buses will do for our growing city.

  1. Zero emissions!

Electric buses produce zero emissions. No harmful smog forming exhaust, no air pollution, no tailpipes. Fewer emissions keep our skies clear, our water clean, the earth green and the critters safe. We share this planet with plants and animals, and we breathe and drink the same air and water. Doing our part means embracing new technology that can help our local city and our overall planet.

  1. Electric buses are cleaner from beginning to end.

Clean has a nice ring to it. Not only do the new buses produce no emissions once they’re on our roads. But, because they’re powered by renewable Austin Energy Green Choice electricity (which comes from the sun and the wind, not fossil fuels), they avoid damaging the environment at the source too. So you can enjoy the breeze and know that it’s also helping to make smarter energy and transportation a reality.

  1. Electric buses are quieter.

Whether you’re riding in an electric bus or outside near them, you don’t hear the motor running, which reduces noise pollution. You can hear the air conditioner and other mechanical noises, but they are significantly quieter inside and out for people and animals.

  1. Electric buses emit less heat.

Less heat can be a good thing, especially in the middle of July.  Standing next to an electric bus at a bus stop will be cooler and more comfortable.

  1. Electric buses produce less waste.

Using less oil, fluids and coolants means less waste product to dispose of. This not only makes maintenance easier, it also means there are fewer chances to spill and pollute local waterways.

* * *

The new CapMetro bus fleet launches in January. It will be backed up by 100% Texas wind power, courtesy of Austin Energy.

5​ ​Halloween​ ​Costume Ideas from CapMetro

Halloween’s a coming and you gotta get it right, we know. CapMetro’s focused on serving the customer, and so we’re here to help in whatever way we can.

And, so, here’re some options for you next week! (Modeled​ ​by​ ​CapMetro​ ​buses​ ​themselves,​ ​naturally …)

Homemade Ghost

Ghost BusA cheap costume that somehow never gets old. While there are lots of ghosts to choose from throughout the history of pop culture (Casper, Slimer, Samara, etc.), there’s something so simple and classic about just cutting some eye holes in a white sheet, throwing it over your head and calling it a day. And hey, if it’s good enough for Charlie Brown and Michael Myers, then it’s good enough for us all.

Scoops Ahoy, from Stranger Things

Scoops Ahoy BusAfter the release of the third season of Stranger Things, you can bet we’ll see a bunch of its most iconic costumes out in the streets. And while you might think the Scoops uniform would be pretty easy to recreate, good luck replicating Steve “The Hair” Harrington’s luscious locks. No amount of volumizing shampoo or lifting spray can clone those genetics. We know. Life just ain’t fair.

Daniel Johnston Homage

Hi How Are You BusAssuming you don’t have the vocal and/or songwriting chops, there’s no better way to pay homage to Daniel Johnston than a shout out to his Hi, How Are You frog. A pioneer of lo-fi sound and a staple of the Austin music scene, there’s bound to be a few out there “Walking the Cow” in honor of this legend.

Detective Pikachu

Pikachu BusYou don’t need to be a detective to know that Pikachu will be the cutest costume this season. Double points to the dude who turns his Pokémon costume into a pun by carrying around a bowl of yellowfin tuna, thus evolving into the ultra-rare “Poké Man.”

Classic Zombie

PRM 191001 DT Sponsored Content Halloween BusesJust like the genre itself, zombie costumes will never stay dead. Come Halloween night, we’ll be sure to see a bunch of Tallahassees, Wichitas and other “insert iconic city names” roaming the streets. But after a night of imbibing, don’t join the heard of the walking drunk. Just “Double Tap” the CapMetro App and hop a safe ride home.

More People Are Riding CapMetro! 

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Our focus at CapMetro is on the customer. We serve the people of Central Texas and, to do the job right, we’ve got to provide a positive rider experience. 

That was the thinking behind our Cap Remap changes in 2018. We needed to give you a better ride, a more reliable ride for more people to try transitIf you need to get to work, we need to get you there on time. 

You’ve responded by taking us up on our offer of better service to the tune of a 4.5% increase in ridership for the year after Cap Remap. It’s continued with increases in the months since that anniversary too, with last month charting a better than 8% increase over September 2018!

That focus on the customer is also what’s driven a lot of what we’ve done over the past year or two: new bus shelters, better technology that powers our real-time data, more timely and accurate information and messaging to our customers, opening the new Westgate Transit Center … and the list goes on. 

In the coming year, you’ll see even more from us, with new Pickup service zones, more than 100 new bus shelters to provide better shade and protection from the elements and the new CapMetro App with its better experience. 

Thanks for your confidence in us. Thanks for making us a part of your daily experience. And, thank you for riding. 

Llegando más alto: Noticias y puntos destacados recientes

Reaching Higher

¡La cantidad de pasajeros aumenta!

Un año después, Cap Remap ha cumplido lo que prometió: crear un sistema de autobuses más frecuente, más confiable y más conectado. Ha mejorado la experiencia de los usuarios al triplicar la cantidad de rutas que pasan cada 15 minutos, los 7 días de la semana, y al mejorar la accesibilidad de las paradas de autobús mediante nuevas aceras y más marquesinas de autobuses para las comunidades que anteriormente carecían de servicio.

Cantidad de pasajeros desde Cap Remap:

  • Aumento del 8.9 % en julio
  • Aumento del 4.5 % durante todo el año
  • Hasta 11 de 12 meses

Austin & Manor Get a Pickup

El servicio Pickup llega a Austin y Manor 

Llevamos el tan solicitado servicio de transporte Pickup a los usuarios de Capital Metro en Austin y Manor.

Los residentes de cuatro vecindarios de Austin se beneficiaron de los siguientes servicios Pickup en agosto:

  • Pickup East ATX
  • Pickup Exposition
  • Pickup Northeast ATX
  • Pickup Walnut Creek

El servicio Pickup en Manor cubrió una ruta de transporte de enlace de bajo funcionamiento y fue un éxito inmediato: ¡aumentó la cantidad diaria de pasajeros de la ruta eliminada en un 600%!

Electric BusUn 2019 lleno de trabajo logra excelentes resultados

Ha sido un período increíblemente productivo para Capital Metro, con una combinación positiva de trabajo duro y grandes recompensas:

  • Aprobó la compra de los primeros cuatro autobuses eléctricos en el centro de Texas.
  • Recibió una subvención de 2.6 millones de dólares que nos permitió aumentar la flota a 10 autobuses eléctricos.
  • Inició la construcción de una nueva cochera de autobuses para los autobuses eléctricos, con estaciones de recarga con capacidad para 214 vehículos.
  • ¡Innovó en nuestra nueva estación del centro!
  • Agregó nuevas vías y otras mejoras que duplicarán la capacidad de MetroRail.
  • Se asoció con la Fundación Austin Parks para ampliar el servicio de verano en Barton Springs.
  • ¡Fue nombrada Agencia del Año 2019 por la Asociación de Tránsito de Texas!

OCCY lo éxitos continuaron

¡El transporte en el centro de Texas se encuentra muy activo! ¡Eche un vistazo a esto!

  • Inauguró el primer carril en sentido contrario solo para autobuses en asociación con la ciudad de Austin.
  • Proporcionó viajes gratuitos para los empleados federales durante el cierre del gobierno.
  • Abrió nuevas estaciones de MetroRapid en ambas líneas, incluidas Broken Spoke y 31st Street.
  • Volvió a inaugurar el programa MetroBike Shelter sin costo anual.
  • Construyó un nuevo Centro de Control de Operaciones, para que las operaciones de los autobuses sean más eficaces y efectivas.
  • Recibió el premio nacional de seguridad de la Asociación Estadounidense de Transporte Público.

Project Connect

Project Connect

Más opciones • Mejor tránsito • Servicio a más personas

Project Connect se desarrollará sobre Cap Remap y proveerá al centro de Texas un sistema moderno de transporte público confiable y eficaz.

  • 2 líneas de tránsito a prueba de congestión para transportar mejor a las personas en el centro de la ciudad y conectar el Aeropuerto Internacional de Austin-Bergstrom con el sistema más grande.
  • Más Park & Rides y servicio MetroExpress, además de puntos de acceso al transporte y servicio de transporte de enlace en los vecindarios de toda la región.
  • Flota de autobuses totalmente eléctricos que reduce considerablemente las emisiones y con tecnología moderna para mantener nuestra alta calidad de vida.

MetroRapidNuevas líneas de MetroRapid que brindarán servicio a toda la ciudad, incluidos los siguientes corredores:

  • Tech Ridge
  • Cameron/Dessau
  • Burnet
  • Loyola
  • Manor
  • MLK
  • Calle 7°
  • Pleasant Valley
  • South Lamar
  • Manchaca.

El plan de la comunidad

Para que Project Connect funcione, necesitamos su ayuda. Esto es lo que hemos estado haciendo en la comunidad:

  • Organizamos 101 reuniones comunitarias en 20 zonas postales.
  • Recibimos 2,288 visitas a nuestras juntas públicas virtuales.
  • Obtuvimos 595 comentarios de esas visitas.

Puede seguir la promoción de Project Connect mediante nuestros tableros de registro de participación en CapMetro.org/Participate.

In Action

Una visión a largo plazo en acción

¡Project Connect es una inversión generacional que ya está mejorando el centro de Texas actual!

  • El Centro de tránsito Westgate abrió sus puertas en junio, lo cual eliminó hasta 200 automóviles de la carretera.
  • En marzo, ¡la estación del centro comenzó las remodelaciones que aumentarán la frecuencia y la capacidad del servicio de MetroRail!
  • Una nueva instalación en el norte de Austin creará espacio para nuestra futura flota de autobuses totalmente eléctricos.

Reaching Higher: News & Recent Highlights

Reaching Higher

Ridership on the Rise!

One year in, Cap Remap has done what it promised — created a more frequent, more reliable and better connected bus system. It’s improved the customer’s experience by tripling the number of routes that come every 15 minutes, 7 days a week and by increasing bus stop accessibility, with new sidewalks and more bus shelters for previously underserved communities.

Ridership Since Cap Remap:

  • Up 8.9% in July 2019
  • Up 4.5% for the full year
  • Up 11 of 12 months

Austin & Manor Get a Pickup

We brought the on-demand service Pickup back for CapMetro customers in Austin and Manor.

Residents of four Austin neighborhoods got to benefit from Pickup in August 2019:

  • Pickup East ATX
  • Pickup Exposition
  • Pickup Northeast ATX
  • Pickup Walnut Creek

Pickup Manor replaced a low-performing circulator route and was a hit right away, already increasing the route’s daily ridership numbers by 600%!

Electric Bus

A Busy 2019 Brings Great Results

It’s been an incredibly productive time for CapMetro, with a healthy mix of hard
work and big rewards:

  • Approved the purchase of the first four electric buses in Central Texas.
  • Received $2.6 million grant enabling us to increase the size of our electric bus fleet to 10.
  • Began work on a new bus yard for electric buses, with charging stations for 214 vehicles.
  • Broke ground on our new Downtown Station!
  • Added new track and other improvements that will increase MetroRail’s capacity.
  • Partnered with Austin Parks Foundation to increase summer service to Barton Springs.
  • Named 2019 Agency of the Year by the Texas Transit Association!

OCC

And the Hits Just Kept on Coming

There’s so much happening with transportation in Central Texas! Get a load of this:

  • Launched the first bus-only contraflow lane in partnership with the city of Austin.
  • Provided free rides for federal employees during government shutdown.
  • Opened new MetroRapid Stations along both lines, including Broken Spoke & 31st Street.
  • Re-launched MetroBike Shelter program with no annual fee.
  • Built new Operations Control Center, for more efficient and effective bus operations.
  • Received national safety award from American Public Transportation Association.

Project Connect

Project Connect

More Options • Better Transit • Serving More People

Project Connect will build on the foundation of Cap Remap and provide Central Texas a modern system of reliable and efficient public transit.

  • 2 lines of congestion-proof transit to better move people through downtown and connect ABIA to the larger system.
  • Fully electric fleet that provides dramatically lower emissions and modern technology to maintain our high quality of life.
  • More Park & Rides and Express Routes: Plus mobility hubs and neighborhood circulators throughout the region.

MetroRapid

New MetroRapid lines that will serve the entire city, including these corridors:

  • Tech Ridge
  • Cameron/Dessau
  • Burnet
  • Loyola
  • Manor
  • MLK
  • 7th Street
  • Pleasant Valley
  • South Lamar
  • Manchaca

The Community’s Plan

For Project Connect to work, we need your help. Here’s what we’ve been up to in the community:

  • 101 — community meetings held across 20 zip codes
  • 2,288 — visits received to our virtual open houses
  • 595 — comments collected from those visits

In Action

A Long-Term Vision Already in Action

Project Connect is a generational investment that is already improving Central Texas today!

  • Westgate Transit Center opened in June, removing up to 200 cars from the road.
  • In March, Downtown Station began renovations that will increase the frequency and capacity of MetroRail service!
  • A new facility in North Austin will make space for our all-electric bus fleet of the future.

Connections 2025: Routes 383 & 392 Update

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Long-term planning can be tricky, because it requires balancing the needs of multiple constituencies that change and evolve over time. This isn’t the case just in transit of course, but it’s something we run into all the time. The most recent example is our Connections 2025 Transit Plan, which has seen changes to some of the proposals that were included in the approved plan. That’s common with bus network redesigns.

We wanted to share with the community one of these changes, since we’ve heard concerns regarding the potential elimination of service on Route 392 north of Braker in Northeast Austin.

What was the original proposal? The approved Connections 2025 plan proposed combining Routes 383 and 392 into an east-west route operating from Lakeline Mall along Jollyville Rd. and Braker Ln. to Dessau Rd. Buses were proposed to operate every 30 minutes instead of every 35 – 40 minutes. Route 383 would no longer serve the North Lamar Transit Center, and the area north of Braker served by Route 392 would be modified into a Mobility Innovation Zone.

What is a Mobility Innovation Zone? Mobility Innovation Zones are areas where Capital Metro wants to look into mobility options other than a 40-foot bus by using various pilot projects.  That’s because the land use and road network in these parts of town make it very difficult to provide cost-effective service with a big bus. The pilot projects would likely leverage emerging technology and transportation options, whether that’s an on-demand service like Pickup , flex routes, partnerships with TNCs or something else, we’re not sure. Because these technologies and tools are emerging, we’re still exploring how the pilots would function. Staff will be taking the next 12 months to develop the pilot projects with community input before requesting board approval. When approving Connections 2025, the board instructed staff that fixed-route service north of Dessau must be retained until the Mobility Innovation Zone pilot projects have been developed.

How has the proposal been modified? In keeping with the board’s directive to maintain fixed-route service, the proposed Route 383 would travel from Lakeline Station along Jollyville Rd. and Braker Ln. When the bus reaches Dessau, it will travel along Dessau, Shropshire, Thompkins, Yeager and Parmer before ending at the Tech Ridge Park & Ride. This proposed service would operate every 30 minutes and remain in place until a Mobility Innovation Zone pilot project is ready for implementation sometime in 2019.

What’s next?  As with any Connections 2025 proposal, this modification will require public outreach and board approval before it can be implemented. We will seek public comment this fall and ask board of directors to vote on the changes toward the end of the year. Changes would be implemented in June 2018. More information about all the upcoming changes and ways to provide feedback will be available shortly after Labor Day.