Austin Don't Hurt Us Mr. Krusee, We'll Do Whatever You Want Transit in Austin

Two more comments

from David Nunez’ site:

(in response to the typical “we have to pass this now, it’s our only hope for light rail in the future” argument):

Commuter rail PRECLUDES light rail.

It’s a nice fantasy that if we get commuter rail passed, we can go back and get light rail down Lamar/Guadalupe. The problem is that even CM isn’t hinting at that anymore because they know it’s not practical.

  1. You couldn’t put LRT on its original ’00 alignment (up Guadalupe/Lamar to Airport and then following existing track to the northwest) because commuter rail is ALREADY THERE.
  2. You couldn’t CROSS these tracks without turning Lamar/Airport into a nightmare. Thus, you aren’t going to be able to run light rail further up Lamar.
  3. If you run LRT from JUST Lamar/Airport to the downtown area, you’re losing 1/2 of the residential component of the ’00 line (FOLKS, LISTEN TO ME: MOST CAR DRIVERS WILL _NOT_ ACCEPT A TRANSIT TRIP IF IT INVOLVES TRANSFERS – NOT EVEN TO OTHER RAIL LINES). You also lose the connection between the two UT campuses which would have provided an automatic hundreds-of-passengers-per-day.

I can’t be any more clear here: Vote on ASG. Don’t vote on phantom light-rail which Capital Metro won’t even hint at anymore – they originally called Rapid Bus a “placeholder” for rail, but they have since removed this language.

ALL you will get with this vote is the starter line – running from Leander to the Convention Center. NO STREETCARS. NO RAIL DOWN MOPAC. This is IT.

(now, in response to a section which talked about Dallas’ combination of commuter rail from Fort Worth, DART light rail, and a heritage streetcar):

Your example, Dallas:

  1. They built DART _FIRST_. It ran from suburbs into downtown and stopped within walking distance of most riders’ final destinations.
  2. They had a streetcar running for other purposes; and only AFTER building DART did anybody use the streetcar for anything other than tourism; even then it’s an extension to a part of town which isn’t traditionally office-oriented.
  3. Commuter rail was added AFTER the light-rail urban spine.

Compare and contrast to Austin.

We’re contemplating building the commuter line first, and requiring that people get on shuttle buses to get to their offices. Not to go to bars, or football games, as with the Dallas lines.
Dallas commuters get on light-rail to go to work; very few daily workers use commuter rail there. The same will be true here – people who can drive will be willing to hop on a shuttle bus if it’s to a UT game or to 6th St., but if you have to do that as part of your DAILY WORK COMMUTE, it’s a deal-killer.

This is not conjecture, folks. This is what happened in South Florida with a system that couldn’t be any more identical to Capital Metro’s proposal.

Austin Don't Hurt Us Mr. Krusee, We'll Do Whatever You Want Republicans Hate Public Transportation Texas Republicans Hate Cities Transit in Austin

Cap Metro Almost Lies

This presentation incorporates some responses to people (including myself) who have yet to swallow the “building commuter rail for people who don’t pay into Capital Metro while giving the center city a rapid bus line” plan.

The most egregious is on this page, where Cap Metro makes this claim:

“Could serve central city passengers, as well as suburban passengers in our northwest service area”

WRONG. No “central city passengers” will live anywhere near a station proposed for the initial route of this line, by the accepted definition of “central city”. Airport Blvd. is not “central city”. Hyde Park is “central city”. Rosedale and North University and West Campus are “central city”. Only somebody living out in Round Rock would look at the 1960s era neighborhoods of Crestview that the line slices through and consider it “central city”.

This line does not go anywhere near the densest residential parts of Austin, unlike the 2000 light rail route. Nobody living along Lamar or Guadalupe is going to hop a bus to go north to the commuter rail station (if one is built anywhere between Mopac and I-35) only to ride the commuter rail back downtown only to hop a shuttle bus to their ultimate destination.

And then, they make this claim:

“Over time, more stations and service in urban areas”

MISLEADING. This rail line isn’t going anywhere it doesn’t currently go. Yes, Capital Metro could knock down a bunch of businesses and homes to build more stations in the ‘central city’ by their generous definition, but even then, not enough residential density exists near those stations to make them feasible.