« The McMansion Ordinance Doesn't Hurt 9300 Square Foot Lots, You Idiots | Main | Watch. »

Rail transit dies in Austin, thanks to one final cut

Here's what I sent to the Alliance for Public Transportation, upon seeing their official launch and noting that their platform is basically "push for Capital Metro's full plan, quicker", despite alleging to be an "Independent Voice for Transportation". Note that this will probably signify a great reduction in posts from here on out - as there's really nothing more to say; the remaining pro-rail forces which could have fought for rail for central Austin have instead fully backed Krusee's plan. There's nobody left.

This means that rail down Guadalupe is dead. This means that Hyde Park, West Campus, and the Triangle will never have light rail. This means that central Austinites who pay most of Capital Metro's bills will never, ever, get served with rail transit. This means that even downtown Austin, the University, and the Capitol will never get anything better than a slow, stuck-in-traffic, shared-lane streetcar which doesn't work any better than a bus.

Here's my note. I've already gotten a short, snarky, response from Glenn Gadbois which basically said "We'll accept this as an announcement that you won't be joining". IE: they aren't interested in fighting for real light rail at all.

I see the site is finally unveiled. It's worth noting that there's absolutely no evidence whatsoever that Austin commuters are going to be significantly more willing than those in other new rail start cities to accept a transfer as part of their daily commute - which means that nothing short of reserved-guideway, one-seat, transit will be enough to attract a significant number of choice commuters.


IE: transfer to "urban core circulator" is going to be completely useless -
it's no better than transferring to a shuttle bus, as people will very
quickly figure out, since the streetcar will likewise be stuck in traffic
(no reserved guideway); and in no city in this country has a new rail start
which relies on shuttle distribution been anything other than a huge
disappointment.


You can't fix this plan with enhanced circulators. (Even a
reserved-guideway circulator, such as true light rail running through
downtown, would be a significant disincentive to ridership - areas where
rail transit is just beginning can't afford to make the trip any more
difficult than absolutely necessary - reports from New York or Chicago or
San Francisco are thus irrelevant here).


We're not using Minneapolis or Portland or St. Louis or Denver or Salt Lake
or Dallas as our model. They all built light rail on reserved guideway
which went directly to major employment centers without requiring transfers
to shuttle buses - and all have succeeded. (Most did what we would have
done with the 2000 plan: use some existing right-of-way, and transition to
the street where necessary to get directly where they needed to go).


We're instead doing what South Florida did with Tri-Rail, which is:
implement rail service on the cheapest, most available, existing track; and
hope people will be willing to ride shuttle buses the last mile or two to
their office every single day through congested traffic. It failed, despite
the shuttles being there to "whisk passengers to their final destination".


Pushing further for this plan only takes us further out on a limb which is
guaranteed to break. If we ever want real rail for central Austin, the only
path forward is to point out that this plan is not going to work and cannot
be made to work; and that we need reserved-guideway rail transit running
through the urban core NOW.

This entry was posted in the following categories: Austin , Don't Hurt Us Mr. Krusee, We'll Do Whatever You Want , I Told You So , PS: I am not a crackpot , Republicans Hate Poor People , Republicans Hate Public Transportation , Republicans Hate The Environment , Texas Republicans Hate Cities , Transit in Austin , Transportation , metablog

Comments

You must have dropped out of the ANCtalk group. There's been a lot of chatter about rapid bus, but no M1EK rebutal. (The only rebuttal's come from Skip Cameron).

I left ANCTALK after the moderator kept giving me shit for calling Skip and Tony Sirgo disingenuous (for demanding 40-page technical analyses to back up any pro-rail comments).

I don't know that there's any point in discussing transit on ANCtalk anymore. There's the four or five anti-transit, global warming denying zealots who post about it and then the peak oil guy posts a 15 page thesis, and by then probably no one is reading, let alone understanding the differences between different rail projects...

Just wondering if the rail, such as it is (or will be in Spring 2008), will be free to students and University employees. Cap Metro isn't very... responsive.

Cap Metro isn't saying. I wouldn't count on free; they're clearly working on their FRR (with cutting off ozone day free rides); so at least a nominal fee even for UT students/employees wouldn't be a surprise to me.