Why don’t we have more mass transit in Austin? It’s a question that comes up a lot. We look to other cities and think, why don’t we have a subway, or a bunch of trains crisscrossing the city?
Well, here is your opportunity to help bring more transportation options to Austin. Capital Metro has recently relaunched Project Connect, a planning effort aimed at bringing new high-capacity transit projects to the Austin area.
Recognizing that a large amount of transportation plans and studies have already been conducted (but never actually funded), Project Connect’s approach is to gather all of those disparate studies and then to ask the community which they like best, as well as which corridors they prefer to see served with high capacity transit. That’s step one and it actually just wrapped up.
Step two involves actually determining the mode of transportation that could be implemented along each corridor. This could be anything from trains, to bus rapid transit, to a high tech autonomous vehicle solution. The idea is just that they move a lot of people as quickly as possible and have their own dedicated roadway or track. This is the stage we’re entering into right now and Cap Metro is celebrating with “Traffic Jam Ala Mode” on Wednesday, July 26th from 5:30pm to 8pm at Huston-Tillotson University‘s King-Seabrook Chapel.
The event is meant to educate Austinites about the second stage of Project Connect before the next round of public input begins. Guest speakers will be sharing information about the benefits and drawbacks of a wide variety of different transportation modes, as well as describing which modes work best where. Oh, and as a special treat, ice cream will be served. More info>>
Stay tuned for additional opportunities for public input in stage two as well as stage three, which involves actually securing the funding and prioritizing spending for the projects the community chooses. This money could come from the federal government, bond elections, or a variety of other creative sources. Austin Mayor Steve Adler has already indicated that he is ready for Austin to go big on planning (and potentially spending) on the city’s transportation infrastructure.
One last thing – one reason why previous high-capacity transit bonds have failed at the ballot box is because too many Austinites haven’t liked the final project (be it the route, mode, design, or price tag). One way to prevent that from happening again is to get involved now and help to shape the transportation package that everyone gets to vote on when Election Day finally comes around.