AUSTIN (KXAN) — After unveiling five new options on the table for the future of light rail transit in Austin, Project Connect leaders have released new projections for anticipated ridership under each version.
Austin Transit Partnership — the entity created to oversee the construction of the Project Connect light rail system — displayed the newest designs during an in-person and virtual open house Tuesday evening.
The transit agency is expected to announce the final version by June, ATP Executive Director Greg Canally told KXAN, as part of an initial investment phase.
In the meantime, Tuesday’s open house documents broke down, by option, the length of the proposed route. ATP officials also provided estimates on the number of daily riders for each model.
38th Street to Oltorf Street to Yellow Jacket Lane
Under the route heading from 38th Street down south to Oltorf Street and southeast to Yellow Jacket Lane, this option would comprise between 9.4 and 9.8 miles of light rail, with 14 or 15 stations along the route.
For this route, ATP reported an estimated 29,900 daily riders, based on their projections.
North Lamar Boulevard to Pleasant Valley Road
The North Lamar Boulevard to Pleasant Valley Road route is an anticipated 9.6-9.8 mile track of light rail, with approximately 13 to 14 light rail stations expected to come online. With this version, an expected 39,300 riders would use this light rail route each day.
29th Street to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
The 29th Street to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is the only route featuring a direct line to AUS. The 10.1-mile light rail line would incorporate 13 stations, with an expected 28,100 daily riders serviced.
29th Street to Oltorf Street to Yellow Jacket Lane
This 8.7-mile light rail route would feature 13 stations as part of its route design. Some elevated components are included, along with a Lady Bird Lake crossing via South First Street.
ATP estimated 26,900 people would use this route daily.
University of Texas at Austin to Yellow Jacket Lane
The only partially underground option on the table runs from the University of Texas at Austin down southeast to Yellow Jacket Lane. It’s a 6.6-mile light rail route that would have 10 stations and provide service for approximately 20,000 riders daily.
Residents can look through the design options online. To submit feedback, you can do so online, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mailing your comments to ATP’s headquarters at 203 Colorado St., Austin.
As part of Project Connect’s voter approval in November 2020, the program includes $300 million allocated to anti-displacement efforts to help preserve or assist residents and businesses located along the project corridor.
When asked about displacement impacts for each of the five options, ATP officials said in a statement: “Displacements will be identified during the [National Environmental Policy Act] environmental analysis process and are subject to design advancement that will occur after a light rail option is selected to proceed through NEPA and project development.”