Austin 2015 Conference Debate Crowne Plaza Hotel "Should the Austin Region Build More Publicly-Funded Transit Projects?" PRO: Dave Dobbs, Publisher, LightRailNow! Texas Association for Public Transportation Austin, Texas CON: Thomas Rubin, Consultant and former Controller-Treasurer of the Southern California Rapid Transit District
RideShare Metro Bus Metro Access Metro Rapid
MetroRail Commuter Future Light Rail ??
The Other Big Proposed Publicly-Funded Transit Project being talked about for Austin, San Antonio and Central Texas. Funding, Date for Construction and Revenue Service Unknown
Proposed CenTex Commuter Rail Service Lone Star Rail District
Lone Star Rail By The Numbers • Conventional Heavy Railroad Commuter Operation • One Hour Fifteen Minutes Austin to San Antonio • Up to 32 RT Trips Daily • 118 miles Georgetown to San Antonio • 3,840+ passengers per hour in each direction • Cost to Relocate UP and Build LSR = $3.1 Billion • IH35 Equivalent Lane Capacity (4 Lanes) = $7 Billion • Congestion-Proof Stress-Free Mobility • Estimated LSTAR ridership 3.2 million to 5.8 million annual boardings in 2035 • LSTAR passengers annual savings $17.4 mm-$30.9 mm • Greatly facilitates choice trips not now taken due to congestion. • Relocation improves freight operations while reducing automobile grade-crossing delays along LSTAR route • Attracts and promotes TOD in member city cores increasing tax base and more efficient urban development.
Here’s What’s Really Happening and It’s Not Widely Known. News Media Oblivious to the Situation It will happened incrementally and under the general public radar screen It will happen without a public vote It will need only a few localized “art gallery” public hearings It will be approved by city boards and commissions, the Austin City Council and the Capital Metro Board And very few will realize it until the bulldozers arrive to tear up the city’s major thoroughfares in front of homes and businesses Yes, two vehicle travel lanes will be taken away from Austin drivers for…..
CAMPO 2040 PLAN ATTACHMENT B, ID CMTA71 & CMTA72 $442,861,656 for BRT Year 2020 Burnet, NoLa, SoLa & SoCo CMTA71 Capital Metro Burnet/S. Lamar Westgate to Domain Bus Rapid Transit enhancements/upgrade YOE 2020 $ 211,697,605 CMTA72 Capital Metro N. Lamar/S. Congress - BRT Southpark Meadows to Tech Ridge Bus Rapid Transit enhancements/upgrade YOE 2020 $ 231,164,051 SCHEDULED for ADOPTION MAY 2015
So, What’s The Problem? Isn’t Taking Vehicle Travel Lanes For Dedicated Buses Better Than Using Those Travel Lanes for Urban Rail? Unless Austin Has Another Urban Light Rail Election, Austin Will Become A Major Test for “Think Rail, Use Buses” Buses Require No Public Referendum, But Rail Does Buses Get 80% Federal Funding; Rail Only Gets 50% Local Bus Funding Match Much Less and Thus Easier Than Rail Funds
The Real Problem is That Buses Can’t Handle the Potential Transit Ridership Even On Exclusive ROW Let’s Look at Austin’s Road Capacity Problem
Austin’s Most Congested Three road segments in Central Texas have appeared in the Top 100 most congested Texas roads for each of the past four years: IH 35 (US 290N to SH 71) N. Lamar (CBD to 45th.) Loop 1/MoPac (Loop 360 to US 183N) Basically heavy congestion from the Colorado River in the South past US290/2222 in the North most of the day and only three viable travel choices all within a 2 to 3 mile wide, 6 to 7 mile long dense urban corridor. Year 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 IH 35#4 #4 #4 #1 #2 Loop 1 #39 #35 #41 #27 #25 NoLa #24 #52 #50 #71 #50 SoLa #44 #50 #47 #42 #47 SoCo - #53 - #53 #53 Source TTI
Austin’s Major Core Roads All Among Texas Top 100 Most Congested
Mobility Investment Priorities Project Long-Term Central Texas IH 35 Improvement Scenarios Executive Summary August 2013 Quotes from Page 6 (Executive Summary-2) Common Perceptions about IH 35 through Central Texas Beliefs common to many Central Texas residents • Through traffic causes most of the congestion problems along IH 35 in Central Texas. • Truck traffic along IH 35 is a major problem that can be addressed by diverting trucks to SH 130, a parallel route east of IH 35. • Central Texas can build enough road and transit system capacity to eliminate IH 35 congestion. http://d2dtl5nnlpfr0r.cloudfront.net/tti.tamu.edu/documents/TTI-2013-17.pdf
Mobility Investment Priorities Project Long-Term Central Texas IH 35 Improvement Scenarios Executive Summary August 2013 REALITY Quotes from Page 10 (Executive Summary-6) “Based on the best available data, local traffic represents approximately 86% of traffic on IH35 through Austin.” “Thus, through traffic (the traffic that many think should be bypassing Austin) is not the primary cause of Central Texas IH35 congestion problems.” “Commuters or other trips with an origin or destination in the Austin area are the major factor influencing IH35 congestion, not through travelers.” http://d2dtl5nnlpfr0r.cloudfront.net/tti.tamu.edu/documents/TTI-2013-17.pdf
Mobility Investment Priorities Project “Basically, traffic “swamps” the IH 35 corridor and the Austin region in 2035. In addition, peak-period congestion is so severe that it extends into off-peak periods, for example as late as 10 pm as shown here” Exhibit ES-3 Page 9 (Executive Summary-5)
THE SOLUTION? TURN CONGESTION INTO AN ASSET RECYCLE OUR ROADS FROM “TRAFFIC SEWERS” TO “STREETS ARE FOR PEOPLE” Old Dallas to San Antonio Highway Through Austin’s Core
Connelly H.S. OBJECTIVE 2030 Convert OLD LOOP 275 Into a 21 mile Light Rail TransitReliever Alternative to IH 35 Park & Rides at the ends East/West Feeder Buses 100K+ Riders Daily South Park Meadows BIG Timed-Transfer
Connelly H.S. OBJECTIVE 2030 Attracts Urban and Suburban Commuters in large numbers Ties the Austin “Line Village” together North to South Greatly improves MetroRail connections into city core Increases fare box revenue recovery ratio for system Makes buses more attractive to choice riders South Park Meadows
Parmer Lane OBJECTIVE 2030 21 mile Light Rail Transit 183 6-7 Mile Beginning To CBD 40K a Day Says the FTA Google “Austin, Texas/Light Rail Corridors” 37,400 riders 2025 Slaughter Lane
WHY GUADALUPE/NORTH LAMAR IS THE MUST PLACE TO BEGIN 1. Preserving ROW for future light rail in this corridor is a long standing demand of central city neighborhoods, pro rail advocates, community and business leaders. 2. Honoring neighborhood approved development plans, enacted city ordinances, which have Light Rail as a major component of their development goals, is a matter of upholding the Social Compact. Laws are the rules by which we live. 3. Guadalupe/NoLa has the highest density and transit ridership in the central city, an essential requirement for a successful initial light rail line to be cost effective, efficient and affordable given dwindling federal capital funding and increasing competition for federal $$. 4. NL-GL corridor is primed for denser mixed use development offering a range of housing for Austinites. Big ridership attracts big investment dollars for a variety of markets. 5. The corridor connects 7 major activity centers along this arterial, unmatched by any other corridor. 6. The initial obvious success of a Guadalupe/NoLa rail project will insure the public support and finances necessary to extend rail service south and north to IH35 on both ends.
A 6.8-mile $586 million light rail proposal that could be opened by 2022 with 30,000-40,000 rider-trips a day. LINKING THE BIG DOTS
The Best Buy One Billion Dollar Starter Line DOUBLE URBAN RAIL LOOP 50,000+ Riders Daily, 18 miles of Light Rail, Enormous Development Opportunities for a Greater Price Range of Units • High ridership channels dense cluster development around stops protecting Austin’s sensitive neighborhoods while decreasing the need for automobile trips and car ownership • Increases opportunities for more affordable mix-use development by increasing the supply of multiple family units along an 18 mile rail system. • Converts diesel MetroRail from Crestview to Convention Center to cleaner, faster, more frequent & urban appropriate light rail. • Vastly improves MetroRail’s connections to the core • Integration with MetroBus/MetroRapid at timed transfer points for short feeder service and multiple city connections. • Provides superior CBD/Capitol Complex/UT Campus circulation. • Creates the opportunity for a local streetcar circulator within the greater urban rail system using the same rail vehicles • Connects ALL the core BIG Dots: CBD, Capitol Complex, UT east & west: + DKR Stadium, Seton Teaching Hospital, Mueller, Hancock, ACC Highland, ACC Rio Grande, The Triangle and State Offices @ The Triangle, DPS HQ, MetroRail @ Crestview, Lone Star Rail @ Seaholm • Makes Capital Metro an Equal Partner with TxDot and the City by creating a signature project with visible strong and city wide public support TRANSLATION: THE END OF TRANSIT FUND ROBBERIES AND GREATER TRANSIT FUNDING IN THE FUTURE
Parmer Lane OBJECTIVE 2030 Fully Developed 31 MI DOUBLE URBAN RAIL LOOP Convenient Attractive City-Wide Alternative to Driving Walking Biking Bikes on Buses Bikes on Trains Buses to Trains Trains to Buses ADA Mobility for All Slaughter Lane