Cap Metro & City Create New Transit & Bike Lane

bus & bike lane 2This month, a stretch of West 5th Street will debut a big change for Central Austin: a bus & bike-only lane that will speed transit service into downtown and encourage people to get out of their cars and onto the bus.

The new lane on 5th Street west of MoPac is similar to the bus-priority lanes on Guadalupe and Lavaca Streets. Working with Cap Metro, the Austin Transportation Department is converting a bike lane that ran all the way to Lamar Blvd into a dedicated bus & bike lane for a half-mile section between West Lynn and Baylor Streets.

The bus & bike lane will have signal priority for the traffic light at West 5th & Baylor. That means while all other traffic is stopped at a red light, buses and bicycles will be allowed through the intersection. Bikes will continue in the same lane, and buses will be free to switch lanes as they proceed toward the busy Lamar & 5th Street intersection.

The reason we’re doing this is to save time for our customers by allowing buses to travel free from other traffic, just as we did last year when MetroExpress routes began to use the MoPac Express Lanes. Currently during peak traffic times, it takes our buses between 7 and 10 minutes to go from MoPac through the Lamar & 5th Street intersection. We expect this change to cut that time in half!

Five routes operate on West 5th St.:

Those five routes send roughly 20 buses through that corridor per hour during peak commute times. And now they’ll be doing so in half the time.

This is just the start, too. Capital Metro and the city of Austin have long worked closely together, and that partnership is getting stronger. Later in the spring, we’ll have more to announce on this front.

More Savings For Commuters

I blame the economy for just about everything these days. Can’t sleep at night? It’s the economy’s fault. Weight gain? It’s the economy’s fault. Healthy food costs more; so, I don’t eat as well as I should. Wardrobe suffering? It’s the economy’s fault. Not that I was ever a fashion plate before – but, I’m certainly not one now. In short, the economy affects pretty much everything. What we purchase. How we purchase. How much we purchase.

Many of you are like me – living one day at a time; trying to make the wisest choices and decisions for our pocketbooks and lifestyles. I don’t know about you, but every time I have a small victory against the economy, I love to share it. Take this morning for instance.

I had the privilege of sitting next to a woman from Leander. She was a first-time rider who had opted to take MetroRail downtown for a seminar. I asked her how she felt about spending six dollars for her fare. She replied that the fare was less expensive than she would have paid for gas and parking downtown. She commented on the comfort and atmosphere of the train. Being that it was a later-morning train, she was surprised by the number of passengers that were aboard. Knowing that she was probably a one-time rider, I left my questions at that. Then, Ms. Leander started questioning me…  Continue reading “More Savings For Commuters”