We’ve been talking a lot lately about the future of transportation in Austin. In particular, the possibility of a 2020 election that could allow Austin voters to decide whether or not we want a high capacity transit system. But it’s not all just about the Orange and Blue lines.
As part of this larger upgrade to our transportation system (called Project Connect), Capital Metro is proposing the expansion of its MetroRapid system… and they want you’re feedback.
Cap Metro currently runs two MetroRapid lines – the 801 and the 803. These are the routes that have those big red bendy buses on them and basically run from south Austin up to the Domain and the big tech companies up north.
MetroRapid buses do not necessarily get to drive in their own separate lane, but they do get traffic signal priority, have fancier stations, quick fare payment, and real time transit information.
Roadways where Cap Metro is thinking about establishing new MetroRapid lines include:
- Tech Ridge
- 7th Street
- Pleasant Valley
- South Lamar
How is this different than the Orange and Blue lines?
As you might remember, Cap Metro has also released proposed maps for an Orange and Blue line. If built, the Orange Line would run from the North Lamar Transit Center, south down Lamar, onto Guadalupe (and past Republic Square Park), and onto South Congress Avenue. The Blue Line would run from the airport, down Riverside, and all the way to the University of Texas.
What makes them different from the MetroRapid buses is that the Orange and Blue lines are meant to be high-capacity transit, which means they’ll run in dedicated lanes that are only for them. This could be bus rapid transit, which means buses that have their own lane (no other vehicles allowed), light rail (basically, a train), or it could be some sort of autonomous rapid transit. The exact “mode” for these two new lines has not yet been decided, but the idea is for them to provide a fast, reliable transit option and serve as the “spines” of Austin’s new transit system.
How can I get involved?
There are lots of upcoming opportunities for you to learn more about Cap Metro’s proposals (and to give your feedback). Now is an important time to get involved, because in November 2020, we will likely have to vote on whether or not we want to pay for this new transit system… so we should have a say in deciding what that transit system on the ballot is going to look like.
Here’s what’s coming up:
- MetroRapid Virtual Open House – now through December 6th
- MetroRapid Open House – November 5th from 5pm to 7pm at ACC Highland
- Orange Line Open House – November 6th from 5pm to 7:30pm at St. Elmo Elementary
- Blue Line Open House – November 6th from 5pm to 7:30pm at the ACC Highland Campus
- Orange Line Open House – November 7th from 5pm to 7:30pm at the North Austin YMCA
- Blue Line Open House – November 7th from 5pm to 7:30pm at Allison Elementary
- MetroRapid Open House – November 14th from 5pm to 7pm at University Hills Branch Library
- MetroRapid Open House – November 19th from 5pm to 7pm at Vesper
- MetroRapid Open House – November 20th from 5pm to 7pm at Mendez Middle School
- MetroRapid Open House – November 21st from 5pm to 7pm at the Austin Central Library
- MetroRapid Open House – November 25th from 5pm to 7pm at the Circle C Community Center
- MetroRapid Open House – November 26th from 5pm to 7pm at the Little Walnut Creek Branch Library