(Community Matters) AAS: Austin Rail Push Resumes, But Key Questions Linger.
I agree with Martha Smiley – too many unanswered questions, but these can & should be addressed quickly. Mass transit is, undoubtedly, a critical component of a multi-modal transportation solution. If it’s rail, it’s time that we drive value beyond the inner city – why a route from Mueller to downtown? Let’s provide more access than inner city. Winning support from the suburbs is important and they endure more congestion than the rest of us. And, is there not enough projected demand to warrant prioritizing the airport/F1? Kudos to Mayor Leffingwell for prioritizing transportation.
Let’s vet the aerial gandola idea – half the cost. Arguments that the feds wouldn’t fund seem mute unless we expect they’d fund more than 50% of rail. I’m not ruling out rail (frankly I’ve long been a fan), and we should vet this new idea. I’m with Martha in that I’d rather get it right than fast & possibly wrong.
Don’t know the answers, but reading the paper this am, I was similarly vexed over how a route to Mueller ranks as top priority/first phase. I thought, “Why not the airport?!” (Unless they’re worried about taxi drivers, but we may not be far off from a pre-metro DC model where short trips in taxis are the primary way around town.)
Also, I love UT students. I was a UT student (twice), but do we really want to link Mueller and UT with direct mass transportation, which will have the same effect as old Riverside back in the day and more recently the Triangle: UT kids take the units for proxemity, [rail] to campus. Then others don’t lease there because they’re not wanting to buy into the party life. Mueller apartments become another UT neighborhood. (Far West rentals were young professionals and recent grads and older folks until about 1986 when they added a UT shuttle route there and bam, it became a student neighborhood.) UT students have a very vibrant West Campus area coming into its own. Let’s link Mueller some day, but let’s let it get established first. Let’s let some of the new near-in, but non-downtown rentals evolve toward adults and families.
Just my 2¢.