AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin transportation leaders involved in Capital Metro’s Project Connect, a $10.3 billion vision to update the city’s public transit system with light rails, met virtually Monday to answer questions about the Orange Line light rail in particular.
The Orange Line is mapped to run 20 miles along Lamar Boulevard and Congress Avenue from Tech Ridge Park & Ride at Howard Lane in north Austin to Slaughter Lane in south Austin.
Monday night’s call only focused on a portion of the Orange Line, from the Tech Ridge Park & Ride to the North Lamar Transit Center, which is at Lamar and U.S. Highway 183.
Transportation leaders explained this part of the route north of the North Lamar Transit Center, which includes stops at Rundberg, Braker, Parmer and eventually the Tech Ridge center, is not in the initial investment plans, but they’re going through environmental clearance now to understand future costs.
Before light rail is built on that part of the Orange Line, Capital Metro plans to run buses from the North Lamar Transit Center to the the Tech Ridge center.
Project leaders also laid out plans to make it easier for pedestrians to access the North Lamar Transit Center by foot, proposing a pedestrian bridge that crosses over North Lamar. The bridge would have ramp, stair and elevator access.
District 4 council member José “Chito” Vela, who represents an area of north Austin where the Orange Line would go, joined the Monday night meeting.
“I think the North Lamar Transit Center is very exciting, there’s a lot of potential there, both as a station and as future development around the station,” Vela said.
District 5 council member Ann Kitchen, who represents the area on the southern end of the Orange Line’s route, added, “It’s so important to have the participation of folks, so I’m really happy people are on the line today.”
The two said they were able to take a bus tour of the entire routes for both the Orange and Blue Lines.