AUSTIN (KXAN) — Good news for public transportation riders, as CapMetro opens a new temporary downtown stop Monday morning to compensate while the original Downtown Station undergoes renovations. “We are very excited, our riders have been very excited. This is a great day for us,” said Dave Dech the Vice President of Rail Operations for Capital Metro.
According to CapMetro, the former Downtown Station, located at 209 East Fourth Street, which closed in June was the smallest but busiest of the nine MetroRail stations. The station was closed to be rebuilt in an effort to meet the demand of traffic in the area.
The new temporary station, located at the corner of Red River Street and East Fourth Street will add two midday trips and one evening trip from downtown to Leander. “7:18 pm will be the last departure out of downtown. As we talked to our customers and asked ‘what keeps you from riding the train?’ a lot of people tell us it, ‘it just doesn’t leave late enough.’ So we added the extra train in the evening,” said Dech. Saturday service to the temporary station will begin in 2020. It will remain open while work on the new downtown station is completed.
Dech says it will help with downtown traffic, “even if you don’t think you’ll ever ride transit, you probably want the guy next to you in the car to ride it. So as we bring these trains down here we will start easing the congestion. The more people ride the trains, the more people ride the buses the fewer cars will be out there to snarl up the traffic for you.”
The new station is expected to be a three-track, two-platform station with a plaza taking over a section of Fourth Street, turning Neches Street into a cul-de-sac for a nearby hotel. Construction is expected to last until Spring 2021.