Texas State Capitol
"...On Saturday, April 12, at Midway Field House on East Riverside, the Project Connect Central Corridor study team hosted the last public workshop before they present the "Locally Preferred Alternative" to the Central Corridor Advisory Group on May 2. The workshop/open house provided more information about Austin's potential high-capacity transit service, modes, and routes...."
"...In 2000, ROMA Design Group worked with a citizen task force, the Town Lake Waterfront Advisory Board, to study the South Shore Central area surrounding the proposed Gotham/Mirabeau condo tower and to recommend updated development guidelines. The resulting report, "Austin Town Lake Corridor: South Shore Central/Travis Heights Development Standards," was a first pass at a thoughtful urban plan for a chaotic, ill-designed, and underutilized part of the city...."
"...Friday afternoon, the Central Corridor Advisory Group, a 14-member committee appointed to review local mass transit options, voted 13-1 to recommend the Project Connect planning team's Central Corridor – Riverside/Grove to Highland – to the City Council and the Capital Metro board, which will hear the recommendations next week...."
"...While a final mass transit recommendation isn't expected until May – to be brought to Austin voters in November – the Project Connect team is getting closer to an official recommendation to City Council. On March 21, the Central Corridor Advisory Group discussed the latest work-in-progress, followed up with a briefing at last week's Council meeting..."
"...Earlier today, Project Connect made its official recommendation to Mayor Lee Leffingwell’s Central Corridor Advisory Group (CCAG), regarding the next high-capacity transit investment...."
"...On Friday, Dec. 6, the Central Corridor Advisory Group, appointed by Mayor Lee Leffingwell to advise city officials on the development of urban rail, approved Project Connect's sub-corridor recommendations of East Riverside and Highland by a vote of 14-1..."
"...On Friday, May 2, the Project Connect team presented its “Locally Preferred Alternative” recommendation for urban rail to Mayor Lee Leffingwell’s Central Corridor Advisory Group. It runs from Highland on the north to Riverside/Grove on the south, features a new bridge over Lady Bird Lake, and possibly a tunnel at Hancock..."
"...On Friday, June 13, the Central Corridor Advisory Group, a 16-member city advisory group on transportation, is expected to confirm its long-anticipated recommendation of an urban rail proposal, familiarly known as the initial phase of "Project Connect." The recommendation will move to the City Council, the Capital Metro board of directors, and the Lone Star Rail District board of directors. Cap Metro is expected to vote on a plan June 23, with Council likely to follow on June 26..."
"...More curious is the opposition from a small but vociferous group of "transit advocates" who have adamantly opposed this Project Connect rail project for one reason only: because the northern part of the project is planned to travel up the Highland Corridor (a more easterly route) rather than up Guadalupe/Lamar. Those folks – associated with several overlapping groups with small memberships but loud social media presence – insist that G/L is the only possible route, and that this project must be stopped now and replaced (in some future City Hall utopia) by one that goes the way they insist it must go...."
"...Under state law, the planners who designed the project (as public employees) can provide explanatory and educational materials, but cannot directly advocate for the project. Proponents who aren't restricted by state law – including various advocacy groups currently organizing and raising money, as well as policymakers such as Mayor Lee Leffingwell, who has made this project the final priority of his tenure – have begun beefing up their promotional efforts..."
"...The first salvo came from the Coalition on Sustainable Transportation, a conservative group of local highway advocates who have traditionally opposed all mass transit projects except those aimed only (in theory, at least) at the “transit dependent” – i.e., folks who can’t afford or otherwise use automobiles. Jim Skaggs, former Tracor CEO and a longtime Road Warrior, helped distribute via email a June 1 Statesman op-ed by favorite COST ally, CATO Institute anti-transit polemicist Randal O’Toole..."
"...As November’s expected vote on a transportation bond nears, Austinites are beginning to form groups and taking positions on mass transit. Two groups have formed in expectation of support for the fall bond; a third, unhappy with the initial Project Connect plans, expects to oppose the bond...."
"...The "Project Connect" rail proposal is currently making its official rounds and its public outreach tour (more details in "Project Connect Accelerates"), although final decisions about the size and cost of the project are yet to be made. The appointed Central Corridor Advisory Group will make a recommendation Friday that goes to the City Council and the Capital Metro board, at a joint meeting that will take place Tuesday, June 17, and both bodies will respond with decisions by late June..."
"...Where should our next investment in high-capacity transit go? Help answer that question in these public workshops, aimed at narrowing the focus from 10 priority sub-corridor options to one. Project Connect says there will be additional opportunities to provide input announced soon, but they'll have to hurry; they're already slated to present the findings to the city council's Central Corridor Advisory Group on Nov..."
"...The rail project, as proposed by the Project Connect team and recommended by the Central Corridor Advisory Group and then endorsed by Council and the Capital Metro board, consists of a 9.5-mile urban rail route from Grove Boulevard on East Riverside, across a new bridge over Lady Bird Lake, up Trinity Street in Downtown, through the UT campus on San Jacinto, following Red River to the Hancock Center, and taking a tunnel at Hancock before following Airport Boulevard to ACC Highland. (See the plan details in "Three Project Options," June 13.)..."
"...While Leffingwell acknowledged to the Chronicle that the current political context – including a spreading backlash against property taxes – is "a little scary," the Mayor is still "very confident" that the plan can win over the public on the November ballot. Capital Metro board member John Langmore, who served on the Central Corridor Advisory Group, says he's also very confident in the process and the proposal, and intends on being an "active activist" as the ballot approaches, although it won't be "a slam dunk." Langmore acknowledged the rail opposition, but said that supporters of the plan should begin to do a better job emphasizing the advantages of the proposal...."
"...15, Project Connect, the regional planning initiative under the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO), will present its first formal recommendation for which Austin sub-corridor to prioritize to receive light rail. In due course, the recommendation will proceed for approval to City Council and to the regional planning groups..."
"...The proposed $18 million deal (not quite closed) was brokered by the The Nature Conservancy, and city real estate staff reported that the cost falls a little under appraisal. Environmental groups and the city had opposed the development because of its scale (600 to more than 1,000 homes atop the Edwards Aquifer, in an area of significant limestone inlets) and because it would use either septic systems (on the low end) or treated effluent irrigation at full buildout..."
"...On Friday, Nov. 15, Project Connect – the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization's regional planning initiative – made its official recommendation to Mayor Lee Leffingwell's Central Corridor Advisory Group regarding the proposed next high-capacity transit investment, recommending the East Riverside (south and east on East Riverside Drive) and Highland (north along Red River Street) sub-corridors as the top prospects for initial urban rail development..."
"...The post in question – “Can Project Connect Connect?” (read it here) – summarized the Project Connect “Locally Preferred Option” recommendations to last Friday’s Central Corridor Advisory Group meeting, followed by reactions from the Alliance for Public Transportation (middling supportive) and the Our Rail PAC (adamantly opposed). At issue was a parenthetical reference to AURA as akin to Our Rail in the position that “the only acceptable northern corridor is Lamar/Guadalupe.”..."