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  #401  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2008, 4:57 PM
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Wow, the naysayers are out in force. I'm very glad ROMA suggested this. With dedicated lanes. I'd love to see it going down Congress. It's not liked parked cars and traffic is scenic or anything.

Amen brother!
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  #402  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2008, 5:20 PM
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This is truly the last best hope for urban rail we've got. It's got substantial flaws - like attempting to run reserved guideway in the right lane in places; and it doesn't go where it needs to go (Guadalupe), but this is all we're going to get, and unlike commuter rail, it doesn't preclude doing more/better down the road (what little is left to do - i.e. going up Guadalupe to the Triangle).

I just hope there's enough residential demand in Riverside and Mueller to make up for not going by the Triangle and West Campus. I don't have a lot of confidence that this is likely to be the case.
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  #403  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2008, 6:07 PM
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I like the idea of LR but I'm not keen on this plan. I really like the monorail option, especially if the LR solution is $50+ million per mile. That's very close to what it would cost for monorail. Then you would have all the benefits of monorail and not have to lose anything unlike LR. It would also keep Austin weird.

But just about anything is better than nothing. I would like to see future extensions being planed out before a vote in November.
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  #404  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2008, 6:10 PM
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The Triangle just cries out for light rail. It's still way too car-centric right now. Too many cars driving through it. We went into one parking garage that dead-ended in the basement with no turn-around to speak of. That was fun.
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  #405  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2008, 6:15 PM
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Monorail will never ever happen here - Seattle and Las Vegas have, in fact, probably killed it everywhere else in this country as well. Not surprisingly, the optimistic but naive projections were completely wrong, and the sum total of decades of actual working knowledge of transit systems was more accurate.

It's _not_ any cheaper than elevated light rail; it's significantly less reliable; and _not_ any less expensive. You can safely remove it from the list of options at this point unless you're a car guy trying to sow confusion (as many supposed monorail fans really are).
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  #406  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2008, 7:16 PM
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The Riverside aspect is the strongest part of the proposal because it's an area of town that can undergo the greatest amount of development over the next decade. The whole "apartment city" from Oltorf -> Riverside -> Lake Shore could be torn down and massively redeveloped with 6-10 story buildings.

North of the Lake, it becomes deeply flawed, in parts.

Above 11th to MLK (8 blocks) there's literally nothing to serve. The state owns all the land, and there's nothing but parking garages. This is literally the most grey, lifeless area of all of Austin. Will the state give up that land so that development can occur there? I doubt it.

Through the UT Campus-- San Jacinto is poor choice, except for the 6 days of the year there are football games. Speedway would have been a better option, but probably too much swallow given that it's no longer a real street. The problem with the proposed route through campus is that it's too far from The Drag. Tourists/Day Visitors will have to walk 10 minutes uphill to get to where the "action" is.

26th(Dean Keeton)-> Manor -> Mueller. There's potential here (but nothing like Riverside), but will the city be able to force the necessary zoning +/- 6 blocks? In order for the system to make sense, there will have to be massive VMU up-zoning along Manor and MLK. That means deep into SFH streets. If they will rezone the area then the system will make longterm sense; if the up zoning is strictly along Manor and and MLK, it'll never really be populated enough to justify.

It's too late to upzone Mueller itself I guess... but they should if they could.
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  #407  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2008, 8:42 PM
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http://austin.bizjournals.com/austin/stories/2008/04/21/daily18.html?jst=b_ln_hl

Tuesday, April 22, 2008 - 3:31 PM CDT
It's baaack: A proposal for light rail
Austin Business Journal

A light rail system proposal from ROMA Design Group, a consultant hired by the city of Austin, will be unveiled tonight during a public meeting.

The proposal calls for a light rail system, not the streetcar system Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority had recommended, that would run 14 miles from the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to downtown, through the University of Texas campus and toward the Mueller development, says Austin Council Member Brewster McCracken.

The cost of the proposed system is still unclear, and could range from $5 million a mile to roughly $30 million a mile, he says. After a heated campaign, voters rejected a light rail proposal in 2000, though that plan differed from the one to be laid out Tuesday night.

ROMA's proposed route is similar to potential routes the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization's Transit Working Group has been discussing in recent months. That group has been talking about a Central Austin transit system since October, and Mayor Will Wynn has said he would like to see a transit system on a November ballot.

The proposal will be unveiled during a meeting at Austin Energy's headquarters, 721 Barton Springs Road, at 5:30 p.m.
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  #408  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2008, 9:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Kropotkin View Post
Through the UT Campus-- San Jacinto is poor choice, except for the 6 days of the year there are football games. Speedway would have been a better option, but probably too much swallow given that it's no longer a real street. The problem with the proposed route through campus is that it's too far from The Drag. Tourists/Day Visitors will have to walk 10 minutes uphill to get to where the "action" is.
Not to be argumentative, but I think San Jacinto is fine for the light rail alignment. That area of campus is not as dead as a lot of you seem to think. Unlike Guadalupe, San Jac actually goes thru the campus, with academic buildings and other UT facilities to the east (fine arts, law, LBJ) as well as the west. God forbid someone might have to walk 10 minutes! I can easily imagine getting off the train and taking the pleasant walk up 21st Street, the East Mall, or 24th Street to get to the campus core. Just like thousands of campus shuttle riders, as well commuters on the No. 7 bus and others, are already doing.
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  #409  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2008, 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by priller View Post
The Triangle just cries out for light rail. It's still way too car-centric right now. Too many cars driving through it. We went into one parking garage that dead-ended in the basement with no turn-around to speak of. That was fun.
I don't know if this true, and least not yet. I live at the Triangle. It's about 60-70% students and they heavily rely on the city bus and UT-IF route to get around. The students don't need to get beyond MLK and Guadalupe, unless they are going to 6th street or the Warehouse district. I work in the Uptown area and take the bus every so often. Incidently, lots of retail is finally opening at the Triangle and the landscaping is coming along nicely. The foot traffic is really picking up around the development.
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  #410  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2008, 1:43 AM
Kropotkin Kropotkin is offline
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Originally Posted by Lextx97 View Post
I don't know if this true, and least not yet. I live at the Triangle. It's about 60-70% students and they heavily rely on the city bus and UT-IF route to get around. The students don't need to get beyond MLK and Guadalupe, unless they are going to 6th street or the Warehouse district. I work in the Uptown area and take the bus every so often. Incidently, lots of retail is finally opening at the Triangle and the landscaping is coming along nicely. The foot traffic is really picking up around the development.
Is The Triangle really that many students? If so, I suspect it's a temporary effect due to the fact that dozens of apartment complexes have been demolished in West Campus. There will be new housing for about 6000 students in West Campus as about 10 buildings finish this August; at least 5 buildings will come online in August 2009.

The building in West Campus totally eclipses what's happening downtown by 2x-3x based on occupancy result; it's just that none of the buildings are that high, save 21 Rio.

Part of my disappointment with the rail line on San Jacinto is that it's not close enough to where most students live; of course, bus service is good however.
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  #411  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2008, 2:33 AM
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Is The Triangle really that many students? If so, I suspect it's a temporary effect due to the fact that dozens of apartment complexes have been demolished in West Campus. There will be new housing for about 6000 students in West Campus as about 10 buildings finish this August; at least 5 buildings will come online in August 2009.

The building in West Campus totally eclipses what's happening downtown by 2x-3x based on occupancy result; it's just that none of the buildings are that high, save 21 Rio.

Part of my disappointment with the rail line on San Jacinto is that it's not close enough to where most students live; of course, bus service is good however.
Yeah, it's majority students. I was worried about that when I first moved in, but their relatively quiet (enough). I can't say whether it's a temporary thing, but you gotta remember that there are a number of other apartments, duplexes and houses for rent in the area typically occupied by students that are near shuttle bus stops and the Intermural Fields. The rents at the Triangle are likely comparable or cheaper than what will be seen in the new condos going up in West Campus and yet campus is still close enough and easily accessible from the Triangle. One thing you won't see a lot in West Campus is the green space like at the Triangle. It's become quite the place for the college kids to mingle while taking their dogs to roam around. Plus they have a farmers' market there each Wednesday and live free music frequently. Oh, and the Flying Saucer has a lot of beer on tap.
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  #412  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2008, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by mars-man View Post
I can easily imagine getting off the train and taking the pleasant walk up 21st Street, the East Mall, or 24th Street to get to the campus core. Just like thousands of campus shuttle riders, as well commuters on the No. 7 bus and others, are already doing.
Sure. Pleasant.

Yesterday I walked 20 minutes down Allen and Pinnacle to Walsh Tarlton at Terrapin, where I waited 15 more minutes for the #30 to take me to this meeting. In the hot sun. With no shade. Fuck if I didn't almost give up and walk back to the office.

Here's a tip: if all you're doing is measuring by what the people who are willing to take the bus today are doing, you will fail.

This is more of a general lesson than a specific retort - since there's no way to go up Guadalupe this time around (dedicated lanes were the whole point, and there's not enough potential traffic now that commuter rail ruined everything to justify taking away lanes on Guadalupe to get dedicated space), but still - keep it in the back of your head - while existing bus passengers are important to provide a good base to ridership, if the system is not attractive enough to reach out to those who won't take the bus today, the system will fail.

I'll be crackplogging this later today from my desk at the awful suburban office. If anybody else was there, I was the guy who asked the question about singletrack on Manor.
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  #413  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2008, 2:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Brewster McCracken from the article
The tracks, McCracken said, might take two lanes from the bridge over Lady Bird Lake, he said, although alternatively it could use the bridge space now taken up by sidewalks. In that case, a sidewalk alternative bridge, such as was added to the South First Street bridge, would continue pedestrian and bicycle access across the lake on Congress.
They're talking about putting the light rail across the Ann Richards/Congress Avenue Bridge. That's not a problem, though I won't be fond of overhead lines for skyline photos! However, the bigger problem is the quote above by McCracken, which talked of eliminating the existing sidewalks on the bridge to gain more right of way for the trains. Bad, bad idea. For one the city receives federal funding for the bridge since it's an historic landmark. If the bridge is altered in any way the city would lose that federal funding. Besides that, the bridge is hugely popular for pedestrians and bat watchers. Also have to wonder if any new construction there would disturb or harm the bats which have become an asset to the city. 100,000 tourists a year and all the bugs they catch. I'm really not liking the sound of them placing a pedestrian attachment to the bridge. Again, it would alter the bridge, thus taking away federal funding. My other gripe is that I love the sidewalk on the bridge as it is. It's such a nice relaxing place to view downtown and the river. Sometimes as I leave downtown on my bike rides I sit there for several minutes on the bridge just taking in the view. I hate the pedestrian bridge attachment on the South First Street Bridge. It's too narrow and feels claustrophobic. Too much concrete, I don't like the lamp posts. I fear they're going to mess up a good thing if they do this.
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  #414  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2008, 2:24 PM
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They're talking about putting the light rail across the Ann Richards/Congress Avenue Bridge. That's not a problem, though I won't be fond of overhead lines for skyline photos! However, the bigger problem is the quote above by McCracken, which talked of eliminating the existing sidewalks on the bridge to gain more right of way for the trains. Bad, bad idea. For one the city receives federal funding for the bridge since it's an historic landmark. If the bridge is altered in any way the city would lose that federal funding. Besides that, the bridge is hugely popular for pedestrians and bat watchers. Also have to wonder if any new construction there would disturb or harm the bats which have become an asset to the city. 100,000 tourists a year and all the bugs they catch. I'm really not liking the sound of them placing a pedestrian attachment to the bridge. Again, it would alter the bridge, thus taking away federal funding. My other gripe is that I love the sidewalk on the bridge as it is. It's such a nice relaxing place to view downtown and the river. Sometimes as I leave downtown on my bike rides I sit there for several minutes on the bridge just taking in the view. I hate the pedestrian bridge attachment on the South First Street Bridge. It's too narrow and feels claustrophobic. Too much concrete, I don't like the lamp posts. I fear they're going to mess up a good thing if they do this.
Hmmm, didn't even give all of that a consideration. I walk Congress bridge very regularly. Traffic comes over it high speed. I don't feel comfortable walking over it most of the time due to that. It is nerve racking. I have visions of cars flipping up into the sidewalk as I jump on my wife to push her out of the way. I like the 1st street bridge pedestrian attachment. It is serene, I can stop, and take in the sights w/o worrying about getting hit by some drunk driver coming home from So Co. I didn't like the lights the first time I saw them, but they grew on me. They have a London aire about them, and I like the way the moss grows in them. My only gripe about the lower pedestrian walk is it is a little scary at night. Someone could rob you down there while traffic was passing and no one would know. But that could happen anywhere. BTW- only west side seems to get used regularly. I wouldn't be opposed to leaving the sidewalks and removing an auto lane. But I never travel during biz hours, when the bridge backs up all the way across. Poor commuters.... they all go into work at the same time and leave at the same time.
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  #415  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2008, 4:20 PM
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http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/local/04/23/0423rail.html

New light-rail plan rolls into Austin
Among many obstacles: What's the cost, and who pays?
By Ben Wear

AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A consultant hired by the city is recommending a 14-mile light-rail system for Central Austin, not streetcars as proposed by Capital Metro. The system would run from the airport to downtown, through the University of Texas and east to the emerging Mueller development.

The route is essentially the same one City Council Member BrewsterMcCracken and Austin Mayor Will Wynn have been talking about for the past six months or so. The proposal, finished just seven weeks after the council voted to pay ROMA Design Group up to $250,000 to produce it, comes as a "transit task force" formed by Wynn and state Sen. Kirk Watson moves into the final stages ofcreating a process to analyzerail proposals.

No one yet knows how the proposal, which likely will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, would be paid for.

That task force would almost surely analyze this proposal, and the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization board (chaired by Watson) would have the final say. But it is not clear whether such an examination could occur quickly enough for the light-rail proposal to be put before voters in November. Wynn has said he would like to have a rail vote this year, but there will be a number ofcomplicated questions about costs and benefits.

Watson, who was in South Texas on Tuesday, had not seen the proposal and had no comment. But Watson said that the process created by the task force "will allow any project to be fully vetted in a transparent, open, complete way."

McCracken, at least, said he think that the proposal can make it through that gantlet to a public vote in November, which he said would probably involve voters being asked to approve some sort of long-term debt.

"Yes, I think that's likely," McCracken said of getting the proposal onto the ballot in time.

Council Member Lee Leffingwell has his doubts. He said that only Wynn and McCracken, to his knowledge, had been briefed on the rail proposal.

"The key to this whole thing has been, how's this going to be paid for?" Leffingwell said. "If you just want to put the concept on the ballot in November, that would be one thing. But if you're talking about some sort of financial commitment by the city, I think it would be very hard to get there by that time."

Leffingwell and McCracken are often mentioned as likely candidates for mayor next year.

McCracken says he envisions the city taking the lead in building the line but that Capital Metro probably would run it.

"I don't see that anyone else knows how to do that," McCracken said.

But that would presumably mean that Capital Metro, which has said that running its current operations will require all of its revenue the next few years, would have to absorb what are likely to be substantial operating losses.

"How does that affect bus service now and in the future, which is the only means of transportation for many people in Austin?" Leffingwell asked.

The recommendation from ROMA did not include a specific cost estimate.

McCracken said the cost would be somewhere between $5 million a mile and $30 million a mile, depending mostly on how many underground utility lines would have to be relocated. That would put the total cost at between $70 million and $420 million.

Those figures, he said, would probably not include the cost of the cars.

The diesel-powered cars Capital Metro has purchased for its "red line" commuter service from Leander to downtown, set to open in a few months, cost about $6 million apiece, and the agency bought six of them to start with. Light-rail cars typically cost less than that.

John Lewis, a real estate developer who supported Capital Metro's commuter rail project after vigorously opposing a light-rail referendum in 2000 that failed, scoffed at McCracken's cost figures.

"We all know that there will be serious under-estimating of what this silly thing is going to cost," Lewis said in an e-mail. "What is guessed to be $400 million today will be $800 million when it nears completion. ... These routes being proposed have no user demand and will do virtually nothing to give taxpayers an alternative to their car."

Capital Metro officials have said they have no money left in the kitty to pay for more rail, so where would the money come from to build this?

McCracken envisions a funding scenario that includes using perhaps 15 percent to 20 percent of revenue from Capital Metro's 1 percent sales tax (although the agency has indicated it needs it all for current bus and rail expenses), contributions from the city and other local governments, from property taxes likely to be generated by new development along the line and, potentially, from airport bonds.

"We think it is possible to build this with no new taxes," McCracken said.

According to McCracken, the recommendation from ROMA will propose putting double tracks (allowing travel in both directions simultaneously) from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and west on Riverside Drive. The route would turn north at South Congress Avenue (although there could be a spur to the parking-poor Long Center, McCracken said, or even to Zilker Park), cross the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge and then go through downtown either on Congress or San Jacinto Boulevard.

Then it would pass through UT, turning east at Dean Keeton Street and going along Manor Road to Mueller.

A major criticism of the light rail that voters rejected in 2000 was that it would take street lanes away from car traffic. Not so, in this case, McCracken said, although the tracks would be in "dedicated lanes" segregated from cars. The space for the tracks, McCracken said, would come from available right of way on Riverside east of Interstate 35. Downtown, the tracks would run on pavement currently occupied by parked cars, he said.

The tracks, McCracken said, might take two lanes from the bridge over Lady Bird Lake, he said, although alternatively it could use the space now taken up by sidewalks. In that case, a sidewalk alternative bridge, such as the one on the South First Street bridge, would continue pedestrian and bicycle access across the lake on Congress.

The dedicated-lane concept was news even to Charlie Betts, executive director of the Downtown Austin Alliance. The alliance has been firmly behind the streetcar plan, in which the trolleys would share lanes with cars. To avoid reducing lanes on Congress would require tearing up the curb and sidewalk extensions that currently delineate the parking spaces.

"That's a new wrinkle, and we haven't had time to think about it," Betts said.

Pat Clubb, vice president for employee and campus services at UT, likes the Mueller connection. The university has a new research building there, and she anticipates that some faculty and staff will live in the residential community swiftly rising at Mueller. And she said having a rail line on San Jacinto, in the shadow of Royal-Memorial Stadium and near the LBJ Library and Bass Concert Hall, will help.

As for losing parking spots along San Jacinto, Clubb said that "losing any parking on campus is an issue" but that the university generally has been looking to move most of that to garages anyway.

bwear@statesman.com; 445-3698


Proposed light-rail line

Length: 14 miles

Cost: $70 million to $420 million, depending on cost of moving underground utilities. Does not include cost of cars.

Route: Would begin at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport; run along Riverside Drive to Congress Avenue; go north on Congress to either Fourth or Ninth streets, where it would cut eastward to San Jacinto Boulevard (the return from San Jacinto to Congress would be on 10th Street if the more northerly route were used); north on San Jacinto to Dean Keeton Street; east on Dean Keeton and Manor Road to the Mueller development just east of Airport Boulevard.

Is this an extension of the Capital Metro commuter rail line under construction?

No, although the tracks would cross in one place. These are electric-powered cars designed to run on city streets at speeds comparable to those of cars. It generally has a system of overhead wires connecting to devices on the cars called 'catenaries.' The commuter rail line is on existing rail, by and large, and not on streets. The commuter cars are diesel-powered.


Would the light-rail cars share lanes with automobiles?

No. The line would have its own 'dedicated lanes,' separate from car lanes.


More on the proposed light-rail line

Would we lose car lanes on some major streets?

Not necessarily, Austin City Council Member Brewster McCracken says. On Riverside Drive, there is ample city right of way to put in the tracks outside of the existing street. On the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, existing lanes would be needed unless the sidewalk space were used and a new pedestrian bridge were built.


Who would run this railroad?

Capital Metro, McCracken says, although he says the city would take the lead in financing and building it.


Are there other possible extensions?

Yes. McCracken says a spur could extend west from Congress to the Long Center for the Performing Arts or even to Zilker Park. And a crosstown line from the Seaholm Power Plant development area west of City Hall to the end of the commuter line at Fourth and Trinity streets is a possibility, as is building commuter rail from a railroad junction in East Austin out to Manor and Elgin.


What's next?

The creator of the light-rail plan, ROMA Design Group, will take public comment and perhaps tweak the plan before taking it to the City Council on May 8. The plan is likely to go before Mayor Will Wynn's transit working group. The final decision would be made by the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization board, which includes Wynn and McCracken.
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  #416  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2008, 4:34 PM
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Light rail route outlined

http://austin.bizjournals.com/austin...ml?jst=b_ln_hl

Wednesday, April 23, 2008 - 10:32 AM CDT
Light rail route outlined
Austin Business Journal

At a public forum on Tuesday evening, city consultant ROMA Design Group outlined route details on its light rail proposal for Central Austin, but not specific financing options.

The proposed system is similar to a concept the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization's Transit Working Group has been talking about since late 2007, and would run from downtown to the airport, through the University of Texas and east toward the Mueller development.

The 14-mile system would hit major destinations like the state capitol office complex, Dell Children's Medical Center, Austin Convention Center the Saltillo Plaza district in East Austin and the downtown business district, Council Member Brewster McCracken says, with a possible extension to the Long Center, Butler Park and Zilker Park. It would also intersect with Cap Metro's red line, planned to open this fall.

McCracken emphasized that the rail proposal would also help serve those who need public transit the most and fit in with the city's efforts to mandate 25 percent affordable housing in developments like Mueller.

"This is not just about toys. With $4 per gallon gasoline coming, we need to be linked into the future," McCracken says.

The system would be built by the city, not the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, says McCracken.

But one major factor not discussed in the meeting were financing options. McCracken says he envisions a funding partnership that could include the city of Austin, Travis County and Cap Metro.

"We think it's possible to build this with no new taxes," he says. "Potential funding sources include property tax from development along the rail line, city fees and taxes such as parking fees or hotel taxes and Cap Metro's existing budget for capital projects, which comes from sales tax revenue."

ROMA's proposal didn't mention a specific cost for the proposed system, but did estimate that light rail could cost anywhere from $20 million a mile -- and maybe $5 million a mile if utilities are underground -- to $40 million a mile.

The proposed system differs from the 2000 light rail proposal that voters rejected in the way it would share street space with cars, McCracken says. ROMA's proposed system would use what McCracken calls dedicated lanes whose space, depending on the corridor, could come from available right of way or space currently taken by parking.

There are two possible exceptions to that -- on the Congress Avenue bridge over Lady Bird Lake the rail system could take two lanes and on a stretch of Manor Road the system could also take up two lanes, he says.

ROMA will present their recommendations to the city council on May 8 and to the Transit Working Group on May 12.
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  #417  
Old Posted Apr 24, 2008, 12:29 AM
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If anybody else was there, I was the guy who asked the question about singletrack on Manor.
I know! And it was about the stupidest question I heard all night...

I mean think about it. Single track the entire length of Manor would mean that you could not operate more than a single vehicle on that segment without causing major bottlenecks at each end and disruptions to the schedule of the entire system. The round trip between UT and Mueller would probably take 30-45 minutes. The exisitng #20 bus provides better service than that even on weekends.

On the other hand, Manor road traffic is light enough that double-tracked shared lanes would probably allow reliable headways of 15 minutes with little schedule variation.

Dedicated lanes are great, but not when they are single-tracked. If you look back in previous posts, you will see that I predicted that most of the alignment would end up being dedicated lane (with the possible exception of Manor)
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  #418  
Old Posted Apr 24, 2008, 1:34 PM
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I know! And it was about the stupidest question I heard all night...

I mean think about it. Single track the entire length of Manor would mean that you could not operate more than a single vehicle on that segment without causing major bottlenecks at each end and disruptions to the schedule of the entire system. The round trip between UT and Mueller would probably take 30-45 minutes. The exisitng #20 bus provides better service than that even on weekends.

On the other hand, Manor road traffic is light enough that double-tracked shared lanes would probably allow reliable headways of 15 minutes with little schedule variation.

Dedicated lanes are great, but not when they are single-tracked. If you look back in previous posts, you will see that I predicted that most of the alignment would end up being dedicated lane (with the possible exception of Manor)
The Manor segment is short in the overall scheme of things - entire travel time in single track would take 2 or 3 minutes - and the segment that would require single-tracking even shorter; and it's not unheard of to operate service on single-tracks in segments while trying to build up public support for more right-of-way (see Baltimore). You can also double-track in a couple of spots (provide two tracks at the one, maybe two, stations that would exist in this stretch, for instance - giving a passing point halfway down).

Double-tracking in shared lanes is a huge mistake whereever it happens unless it's an interim measure and the cars will eventually be banned from those lanes (not possible to gradually convert Manor in that fashion). Car traffic on Manor will be increasing dramatically when more people have moved into Mueller - and then it WON'T be the free/easy drive you see today (yes, I agree that today it'd be just fine in shared operation most of the time; but we're talking about a rail line opening up five years from now).

In other words, if there's enough people 5 years from now to justify running rail out to Mueller, there's going to be lots more people driving this route, too.

Now, if we see ourselves running the streetcar on 3 minute headways, there's no way that singletrack will work even for this short of a stretch. But that's not what I'm hearing, and anyways, 3-minute headways in shared lanes would be even more of a disaster - we'd end up bunching just like buses.
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  #419  
Old Posted Apr 24, 2008, 1:40 PM
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M1EK M1EK is offline
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By the way, SecretAgentMan, if singletrack is such a disaster, and commuter rail isn't (as you've constantly attacked me for saying it is), then commuter rail is going to be double-tracked on its whole length, right?

Oops.
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  #420  
Old Posted Apr 24, 2008, 1:57 PM
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I sense that we will have at least several months of very spirited light rail debates.
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