Austin Legislators Unite Against Capitol Bus Stop Removal

State has ordered busy stop removed for "security upgrades" to Capitol

The Austin legislative delegation has united against the plan by the State Preservation Board to remove the Capital Metro bus stop from 11th Street in front of the Capitol grounds. The stop – possibly the busiest in the entire Cap Metro system – serves at least 1,400 riders on a typical weekday, providing a direct stop to 27 different routes and effectively serving as a transfer point for 20 other routes nearby. The SPB says that the stop must be removed to facilitate what it is says are needed security upgrades to the Capitol. (See previous stories here and here.)

In a letter to Gov. Perry, the eight lawmakers serving the city of Austin said "of concern to us is that the decision to move this Capital Metro bus stop from its current and long-time location was made without input from Capital Metro, the City of Austin or the hundreds of citizens who use this stop daily."

Click on "continue reading" to see the full text of the letter.

January 14, 2008

Governor Rick Perry, Chairman
State Preservation Board
Suite 950
201 E. 14th St.
Austin, Texas 78701

Dear Governor Perry and Members of the Board:

As members of the Austin/Travis County legislative delegation, we are respectfully requesting that the State Preservation Board reconsider its plan to relocate the Capital Metro bus stop from the south side of the Capitol grounds.

For as long as any of us can recall, there has been a heavily used bus stop just west of Congress Avenue on 11th Street. Approximately 1,400 citizens use this stop every day. Many state employees use this bus stop to get to and from work on a daily basis. With the advent of commuter rail to downtown by the end of this year, it is likely that additional employees and individuals who have business with the state will be impacted. The act of moving the bus stop would be disruptive to passengers and discourage them and others from using public transportation, which would result in more vehicles on the road and in the downtown area, exacerbating problems related to traffic and air pollution. This would clearly be an unhappy consequence for us all.

While we appreciate the need to protect the Capitol, the argument that Capital Metro buses could block the 11th Street and Congress Avenue exit from the interior drive does not seem compelling. Many of us in the delegation exit the south gate of the Capitol at all times of the day and night, and never once to our knowledge has the exit been blocked by bus traffic, even though this is one of the busiest stops in Austin. (Approximately 40 bus routes use this stop directly or as a transfer point.)

Also of concern to us is that the decision to move this Capital Metro bus stop from its current and long-time location was made without input from Capital Metro, the City of Austin or the hundreds of citizens who use this stop daily.

We rely on the State Preservation Board to address the needs of the Capitol as well as the needs of the people who live, work and travel either in or to and from the immediate vicinity, especially those who depend on public transportation. We have always supported the excellent work that the Board does. In this case, however, we disagree with the Board's decision to relocate the Capitol bus stop and urge you to seriously consider allowing the stop to remain where it is.

Rep. Elliott Naishtat District 49

Rep. Valinda Bolton District 47

Rep. Dawnna Dukes District 46

Rep. Donna Howard District 48

Rep. Eddie Rodriguez District 51

Rep. Mark Strama District 50

Sen. Kirk Watson District 14

Sen. Jeff Wentworth District 25

cc: Chris Currens, State Preservation Board

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Transportation, Capital Metro, Rick Perry, State Preservation Board, Capitol

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