In today’s Chronicle, Lee Nichols writes an article about the lack of TOD on the Red Line in which Todd Hemingson, Capital Metro exec, says with a straight face:
The real problem with the Red Line, says Hemingson, is that Cap Metro’s first attempt at rail currently stands alone. Austin needs to build a full and fully multimodal system, he says. The Red Line “can’t work by itself,” says Hemingson. “That’s why we think urban rail is a critical factor.” City Council considered putting an urban rail system on the recent bond measure that passed earlier this month but decided too many unresolved questions remained and punted it for at least another year. “When the Red Line was envisioned in 2004, it was known that within the Downtown and central city you needed some kind of collection/distribution function,” Hemingson says. “Long term, it’s gotta be a network of systems working together, not just one line.”
Looks like I have to get back into History UnReWriting Mode. Here’s the brief summary; links to back story to be filled in if I get any time throughout my day.
- Capital Metro switched away from a plan best described as urban rail in 2004 – at the behest of Mike Krusee to be sure, but they willingly played along.
- During the run-up to the 2004 election, Capital Metro continued to claim that the commuter rail plan (now the Red Line) would serve Central Austin, despite refutations to the contrary by yours truly.
- During that same run-up, they insisted that people would ride the line in droves even though they had to ride shuttle buses at the other end of the trip – going so far as to undermine yours truly as some kind of ranting lunatic for suggesting otherwise.
- At the same time, under duress, they shat out an awful circulator plan to replace their idea for circulators: the shuttle buses we have now. Their improved plan, to be funded by other people of course, was streetcars in shared lanes on the same exact routes the stupid shuttles run right now.
- Capital Metro’s mismanagement of and overpromising of the Red Line has, in the meantime, prevented the city from going forward with anything resembling urban rail.
- Today, they still insist that people would ride (or are riding, depending on which flack you talk to) the line in droves even though they had to ride shuttle buses at the other end of the trip – going so far as to undermine yours truly as some kind of ranting lunatic for suggesting otherwise.
- At this point, the city’s down to a fairly crappy urban rail plan (I was going to post on this this morning until this nugget came up) which relies on way too much shared runningway to be of any real use long-term.
In other words, Todd Hemingson is blaming Austin for not developing an urban rail line that Capital Metro actively prevented from happening on more than one occasion.
That’s chutzpah, folks.
(And by the way, folks I’ve been spending a lot of time talking to on twitter? This is why you can’t just push these people in private. Get it?)