What’s going on with Project Connect?

Last week, there was a joint meeting of City Council & Cap Metro Board to discuss transportation policy, notably the coordination of the city’s transportation planning and Project Connect, Cap Metro’s gestating plan to put in place high-capacity transit (light rail or bus-rapid transit) in the coming years.

A big part of planning high-capacity transit is figuring out how to get dedicated right-of-way for the trains or buses, so that they don’t have to compete with cars for space. The whole point is that the transit won’t have to interact with vehicle traffic and will thus be a faster, more attractive option to drive for a significant portion of the population.

In some areas of the targeted corridors, there is enough space to maintain existing car lanes AND add dedicated transit lanes. But in other parts it’s going to be tough. And the mayor has said he doesn’t want to get rid of any car through lanes.

To give Council an idea of the right-of-way constraints they’re dealing with, Cap Metro presented this map. v2_row_hct_constraints

Julio Gonzalez noticed, however, that that was not what the map looked like just a few days before. The initial map had much more red:

v1_row_hct_constraints.png

Julio highlights a bunch of other embarrassing aspects of the maps, including that the new yellow lines appear to have been scrawled on with MS Paint and some parts of the corridors inexplicably have green lines around the yellow segments. Which one is it?

I asked Cap Metro what the deal was, and CEO Randy Clarke responded in a statement, saying that it was the initial map that was flawed and that the second map more closely resembled the data that was presented in the corridor “flipbooks” :

The map that was displayed at joint work session was not a dramatic change from was presented originally in the flipbooks, which are publicly available on the Project Connect website. Regrettably, the map did not identify the updates that were made, and we’ve put in place a better process for quality assurance going forward. These updates were added as a result of community input given after the issuance of the flipbooks in October.
It will be interesting to see if Gonzalez finds this explanation convincing.
If you enjoy AustinPolitics.NET, you should subscribe to the APN newsletter, which delivers DAILY insider analysis of local politics & policy that you won’t find on this blog or elsewhere in Austin media. Click on the link to get a free trial! 

 

Leave a Reply