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  #1  
Old Posted Aug 12, 2007, 5:03 AM
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Arrow AUSTIN Transportation Thread

There's a lot of talk all over the forum on transportation issues in Austin. These conversations are spilling over in the city compilation threads and individual building threads and getting those threads off topic. Those threads are intended to be a compilation of updates to the skyscraper projects. A little discussion about transportation issues is fine, but they have a way of getting way out of hand and throwing the thread off topic.

So I've posted this thread which we can use to talk about transportation in Austin. These can be updates to highway projects or new ones and rail projects. And we can even use it to talk about transportation that is attached to certain projects such as the Seaholm project.

Please keep the discussion on topic and keep it civil. No name calling is allowed. This is not a place to argue. Please do discuss and debate, but no arguing.

The posts below were moved to this thread out of the 'Austin - Seaholm site prep work has started' thread since it was getting that thread way off topic from the subject of Seaholm.
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Last edited by KevinFromTexas; Aug 31, 2007 at 7:02 AM.
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  #2  
Old Posted Aug 14, 2007, 7:05 PM
DrewDizzle DrewDizzle is offline
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More than anything else, Seaholm will further shift the heart of downtown to the west. While downtown life used to center around 6th street between Congress and red river, the warehouse district, 2nd street district, and Whole Foods have shifted the balance. With Seaholm, the downtown action will increasingly be centered between Congress, Lamar, 5th, and Town Lake.
Not to be Debbie Downer but they're shifting the 'heart' of downtown farther away from the commuter rail's 'downtown stop'.
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  #3  
Old Posted Aug 14, 2007, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by DrewDizzle View Post
Not to be Debbie Downer but they're shifting the 'heart' of downtown farther away from the commuter rail's 'downtown stop'.
Is the heart or the soul?
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  #4  
Old Posted Aug 15, 2007, 2:14 PM
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Originally Posted by DrewDizzle View Post
Not to be Debbie Downer but they're shifting the 'heart' of downtown farther away from the commuter rail's 'downtown stop'.
I don't want to start another rail argument in this particular thread, but Cap. Metro. and the City knew this when they were designing the Leander Commuter Rail line!
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  #5  
Old Posted Aug 15, 2007, 2:24 PM
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Cap Metro "designed" this line with Mike Krusee; the city of Austin had nothing to do with it (and, in fact, are similarly skeptical of their claims of choice commuters loving shuttle-bus transfers).
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  #6  
Old Posted Aug 15, 2007, 3:24 PM
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Well, if planners really want a street car system, than creating an environment that demands it would necessitate that goal...

It's very interesting to watch all of this unfold!
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  #7  
Old Posted Aug 15, 2007, 3:35 PM
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Well, if planners really want a street car system, than creating an environment that demands it would necessitate that goal...
Other than for tourism, streetcars have no major advantages over buses - stuck in the same exact traffic (unlike light rail, with which they are often purposefully confused). So, no, you can't "create demand for streetcar" by doing this any more than you can "create demand for buses" - the only real way to do either is to attract the transit-dependent rather than the choice-commuters, and I doubt very much whether the condo developers have that in mind.
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  #8  
Old Posted Aug 15, 2007, 6:56 PM
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Back to the question of a shifting downtown. Good question. I "think" it will balance out in the long run. Don't forget there is a great deal of new ( and planned) development on the east end as well. Joining the Milago soon will be the Shore, Legacy, Hotel Van Zandt, 21c, Red River Lofts, The Orsay, 5th and Sabine conversion, Brazos Lofts conversion..... and that;s off the top of my head. I "think" that with so much going on the east edge of downtown and the growing population east of 35 that we will no longer have such a small "center" of downtown. It seems to be speading in all directions! I like the fact that different areas of the CBD actually have different feelings.....

thoughts?

Last edited by MichaelB; Aug 15, 2007 at 9:36 PM. Reason: not CDB silly..... it's CBD....
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  #9  
Old Posted Aug 15, 2007, 8:37 PM
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Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
Back to the question of a shifting downtown. Good question. I "think" it will balance out in the long run. Don't forget there is a great deal of new ( and planned) development on the east end as well. Joining the Milago soon will be the Shore, Legacy, Hotel Van Zandt, 21c, Red River Lofts, The Orsay, 5th and Sabine conversion, Brazos Lofts conversion..... and that;s off the top of my head. I "think" that with so much going on the east edge of downtown and the growing population east of 35 that we will no longer have such a small "center" of downtown. It seems to be speading in all directions! I like the fact that different areas of the CDB actually have different feelings.....

thoughts?
I completely agree. Actually, I was thinking the same thing a few days ago when the article came out, but didn't have the energy to express those thoughts in writing. I definitely think the "heart" of downtown was overstated in the article. Probably just a nice catch phrase to use, the author probably really didn't give it much consideration. The heart of downtown is always going to mean different things to different people.
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  #10  
Old Posted Aug 15, 2007, 8:45 PM
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Generalizations have their purpose - in this case, it's clear to me that the stuff on the east side of downtown is not going to be an attractor for commuter rail passengers from outside downtown (i.e. there's no offices and no major retail going in there). Seaholm might end up being that kind of attractor (more retail and some office?) but the rail doesn't go anywhere near it, as noted. Those differences are, in fact, worth talking about rather than just getting vague and insisting that it's all one place even though you'd never walk from A to B on a daily basis.
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  #11  
Old Posted Aug 15, 2007, 9:05 PM
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Originally Posted by M1EK View Post
Generalizations have their purpose - in this case, it's clear to me that the stuff on the east side of downtown is not going to be an attractor for commuter rail passengers from outside downtown (i.e. there's no offices and no major retail going in there). Seaholm might end up being that kind of attractor (more retail and some office?) but the rail doesn't go anywhere near it, as noted. Those differences are, in fact, worth talking about rather than just getting vague and insisting that it's all one place even though you'd never walk from A to B on a daily basis.
I live on the east side. Maybe I'm just an anomaly, but I walk from A to B on a daily basis. In fact, I just rode my bike up Shoal Creek to 15th this morning to conduct business. I regularly walk all over downtown to conduct business or dine out. Wish I could do my shopping too, but I'm not into womens dresses As soon as the train is available, I will be using it to get up north and return home, because I loath getting trapped in traffic after 4:30. The train will be my savior and it can't be completed fast enough for my needs. I don't take the bus, because I may as well be taking the car, they are both stuck in traffic. The train hopefully will not have this problem.
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  #12  
Old Posted Aug 15, 2007, 9:26 PM
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Yes, if you're willing to walk more than 1/4 mile per day to/from a transit stop, you are an anomaly and, frankly, irrelevant to the discussion about how to get choice commuters to ride the thing. I used to walk from my condo in Clarksville downtown (even to Red River for shows), but I was under no illusion that the typical person would ever do so.
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  #13  
Old Posted Aug 15, 2007, 9:46 PM
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Originally Posted by JAM View Post
I live on the east side. Maybe I'm just an anomaly, but I walk from A to B on a daily basis. In fact, I just rode my bike up Shoal Creek to 15th this morning to conduct business. I regularly walk all over downtown to conduct business or dine out. Wish I could do my shopping too, but I'm not into womens dresses As soon as the train is available, I will be using it to get up north and return home, because I loath getting trapped in traffic after 4:30. The train will be my savior and it can't be completed fast enough for my needs. I don't take the bus, because I may as well be taking the car, they are both stuck in traffic. The train hopefully will not have this problem.
UH OH.... two anomalies! Must pass you on the street. I walk the entire CBD for work, meetings, food, fun, excersise and shoping all the time (and I don't wear dresses! )
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  #14  
Old Posted Aug 15, 2007, 9:49 PM
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Originally Posted by M1EK View Post
Cap Metro "designed" this line with Mike Krusee; the city of Austin had nothing to do with it (and, in fact, are similarly skeptical of their claims of choice commuters loving shuttle-bus transfers).
Yes, it's Cap Metro's deal...Nonetheless, what I was trying to say was that the City knew what was going on (as you just mentioned) Anyway, let's move on, shall we...
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Austin (City): 931,830 +17.90% - '10-'15 | Austin MSA (5 counties): 2,056,405 +19.82% - '10-'16
San Antonio (City): 1,469,845 +10.73% - '10-'15 | San Antonio MSA (8 counties): 2,429,609 +13.40% - '10-'16
AUS-SAT "CSA" (13 counties): 4,486,014 +16.25% - '10-'16 | *SRC: US Census*
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  #15  
Old Posted Aug 16, 2007, 7:10 AM
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It's not that far to Seaholm from Congress. It's kinda like walking from the bus stop of Esther's Follies or something.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think it's crazy to think people will walk if there is no parking.

If there is parking, people won't take PT. I think that has more to do with ridership than distance to destination from the stop.
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  #16  
Old Posted Aug 16, 2007, 1:24 PM
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Originally Posted by M1EK View Post
Yes, if you're willing to walk more than 1/4 mile per day to/from a transit stop, you are an anomaly and, frankly, irrelevant to the discussion about how to get choice commuters to ride the thing. I used to walk from my condo in Clarksville downtown (even to Red River for shows), but I was under no illusion that the typical person would ever do so.
I am a choice commuter. I just happen to commute in the opposite direction. Regardless, it is still one less vehicle on the road, and one more rider on the train. Count my wife and that makes two.

So has Cap Metro decided where this thing is going to terminate downtown? It seems to have been a moving target. Have there been recent discussions to bring it to Seaholm? In the spring, the planning commission meeting indicated Austin Electric would go up for sale and discussions indicated that the Austin Electric land could be used to provide the proper turning radius.

Last edited by JAM; Aug 16, 2007 at 1:26 PM. Reason: clarification
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  #17  
Old Posted Aug 16, 2007, 1:39 PM
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Originally Posted by JAM View Post
I am a choice commuter. I just happen to commute in the opposite direction. Regardless, it is still one less vehicle on the road, and one more rider on the train. Count my wife and that makes two.

So has Cap Metro decided where this thing is going to terminate downtown? It seems to have been a moving target. Have there been recent discussions to bring it to Seaholm? In the spring, the planning commission meeting indicated Austin Electric would go up for sale and discussions indicated that the Austin Electric land could be used to provide the proper turning radius.
The station is at the Convention Center. Always was, always will be; an extension even just to Seaholm would require an additional vote.
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  #18  
Old Posted Aug 16, 2007, 1:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Lincoln View Post
It's not that far to Seaholm from Congress. It's kinda like walking from the bus stop of Esther's Follies or something.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think it's crazy to think people will walk if there is no parking.

If there is parking, people won't take PT. I think that has more to do with ridership than distance to destination from the stop.
(This is for both of you guys):

If you're willing to walk that far to take rail transit, you could just walk a much shorter distance and take an express bus (one-seat ride) that goes the same place today (Guadalupe/Lavaca stops for the 98x series express buses which go to the same suburban park-and-rides plus hit a few better spots like the Arboretum). Here's a hint: if you don't, you're (in aggregate) not going to take the "walk 1.5 miles to rail stop" option either, because the 1.5 mile walk takes long enough that it's basically the same trip length as the bus would have been, if not longer (same goes for the shuttlebus, which would entail a wait and then a slow, stuck-in-traffic, bus ride to the Convention Center).

Wishful thinking can't override transit research from all over the friggin' country.
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  #19  
Old Posted Aug 16, 2007, 2:08 PM
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Originally Posted by M1EK View Post
The station is at the Convention Center. Always was, always will be; an extension even just to Seaholm would require an additional vote.
I could have sworn that the Convention Center termination point is still in flux. to be precise, the exact GPS coordinate has not been resolved?
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  #20  
Old Posted Aug 16, 2007, 2:11 PM
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Originally Posted by M1EK View Post
(This is for both of you guys):

If you're willing to walk that far to take rail transit, you could just walk a much shorter distance and take an express bus (one-seat ride) that goes the same place today (Guadalupe/Lavaca stops for the 98x series express buses which go to the same suburban park-and-rides plus hit a few better spots like the Arboretum). Here's a hint: if you don't, you're (in aggregate) not going to take the "walk 1.5 miles to rail stop" option either, because the 1.5 mile walk takes long enough that it's basically the same trip length as the bus would have been, if not longer (same goes for the shuttlebus, which would entail a wait and then a slow, stuck-in-traffic, bus ride to the Convention Center).

Wishful thinking can't override transit research from all over the friggin' country.
Call it what you may, but that is not an express bus. It sits in traffic just like the cars. If there was a dedicated HOV lane as Houston has, then I would agree with you.
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