Project Connect Draft Resolution

While the current Project Connect plan is not perfect, I think it deserves a strongly supportive statement from neighborhood advocates. If you want to learn more about the Project Connect plan, please check out the FAN calendar for upcoming virtual meetings and Q&A sessions with Capital Metro and city officials.

I suggest approaching FAN’s support from a high level and not getting bogged down in too many details. I also suggest focusing on quality passenger experiences, ridership, and capacity to meet demand. Below is a possible draft.

FAN supports the Project Connect plan for a high-quality, high-capacity transit system, and calls for:

  1. Dedicated pathways for high-ridership corridors to improve travel times, frequency, and predictability for passengers.
  2. Rail on Austin’s proven, highest-ridership transit corridors, prioritizing Guadalupe-Lamar.
  3. Design characteristics that foster a quality passenger experience and high ridership, such as:
    a. Smooth, quiet rides.
    b. Station platforms with all-door, level boarding.
    c. Simple and convenient fare structures and ticketing options (including on platforms).
    d. Safety, comfort, and accessibility for passengers throughout their journeys, especially passengers connecting on foot, bicycles, scooters, or wheelchairs.
    e. Maps, schedules, and real-time information readily accessible to passengers as they make their journeys.
  4. Capacity that meets future ridership demand and does not create “choke points” for transit.
  5. Current and future expansion plans that benefit all kinds of riders.

FAN’s vision calls for improved and more widely accessible transit. By prioritizing corridors and a quality passenger experience, the Project Connect plan helps us get closer to making this vision a reality.

Please share your comments and suggestions!

Roger

p.s. Thanks to @alyshalynn, @jcrossley, @dkesh, @steboknapp, @Mateo_Barnstone, @mdahmus, @chris78701, Susan Somers, @andrewwclements, @jacedeloney, @jlaycock and many others who have shaped the transit conversation over the years. Most of what I have proposed in this draft comes directly or indirectly from them, though I certainly am not claiming that they agree with all of it. :slight_smile:

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I like it. Given that so many people without pertinent information are assuming that voting on a large package this year can’t happen, it might be important for FAN to specifically put in some urgency there, about allowing the voters to choose to do as much transit as soon as possible.

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How would you work that point in, @jcrossley? Maybe in some of the verbiage at the end?

I mean the most direct would be to add something to the first sentence like this perhaps: “FAN supports the Project Connect plan for a high-quality, high-capacity transit system and urges the Austin City Council and Mayor to allow the voters the full opportunity to decide to go forward with the complete program this year”

or something like that?

Great suggestion, but “complete program” might imply funding for the entire system with all future extensions would go on the ballot this November, which I assume is not what you meant.

Looks great, Roger!

I’m tempted to make rail on G/L even stronger language - perhaps “especially
Guadalupe-Lamar as highest priority.”

And I’d suggest:

“Current and future expansion plans that benefit all kinds of riders, and that serve the largest service area possible.”

Andrew Clements

Thanks for weighing in, @andrewwclements. What is behind your suggestion of “serve the largest service area possible”? That verbiage might cause concern among those who believe it is not sustainable to serve outlying areas that don’t have the requisite density or ridership. Maybe there is another way to express it that doesn’t raise these concerns?

Perhaps “and serve the region efficiently?” I think people want to know future extensions will reach them, if not initially (on corridors that warrant service) - and get them to vote for it. I also do think that commuter rail can serve far-flung suburbs and towns, so that development doesn’t have to completely infill between (a la the AART Plan, from a few years ago that combined “S” Lines, for Suburban Lines serving towns - our commuter rail; and “ U” Lines, for Urban Lines serving dense urban continuous development - our light rail) — a system inspired by Munich, Germany.

I think there are differing viewpoints on the wisdom of emphasizing regional service. For example, in Christof Spieler’s talk on what makes successful transit, he said, “Concentrate on the capacity of the core of the system, not on extensions to the suburbs.” Your suggestion doesn’t necessarily directly conflict with Spieler’s statement, except perhaps in emphasis, which is still important.