Cap Metro is set to start engineering and designing the future of Austin transit after approving what corridors to focus on Monday.
The Cap Metro board unanimously approved a vision map showing what corridors will see high capacity transit in the future. That map is a part of Project Connect and includes two corridors with dedicated pathways for high capacity transit on North Lamar to South Congress and downtown to the airport.
Cap Metro first unveiled this vision plan in September. After a three-month public input process, planners made a few changes to the map including adding eight corridors. Those include Parmer Lane, Manchaca Road, Pleasant Valley and connecting two downtown hub stations.
After Monday’s vote, Cap Metro will go into a two-year public input process to figure out how best to get transit in each corridor.
“It’s a big step forward because now we’re going to do the detail study and the detail engineering and environmental effect on each one of the corridors,” Cap Metro’s Dave Couch said.
“It will now take it from basically being potential locations on a map over to refining what those can be and will be,” Couch said.
Several local elected officials were on hand for the vote to the mark the occasion. State Senator Kirk Watson said he’s excited for the next steps. “Now let’s start working to try to build consensus around something that will benefit the community,” Watson said.
Before the vote, several people from the public talked to the board either praising the plan or listing a few issues. One of those included a speaker from the Waller Creek boathouse who’s concerned about the Riverside corridor crossing the river at their building.
Cap Metro officials say it’s also possible that corridor crosses the river along with the Congress to Lamar corridor, but it’s too early to know what will happen. Officials say they will figure that out during this next engineering and public input process.
“We’re not going to reach everyone’s concept of perfection but we can reach a consensus,” Watson said.
Mayor Steve Adler said this is the first regional transit system he’s seen in Austin. “I’m excited to see that because that’s the way we should have been moving forward in the past, we never did and we are now,” Adler said.
He said now is the time to bring transit improvements to Austin. “We have to get this done, but the first step is figuring out what we want,” Adler said.