Big Changes Coming to Guadalupe & Lavaca

Big Changes Coming to Guadalupe & Lavaca

There’s so much chatter about transportation projects that have varying degrees of reality, it’s hard to keep track sometimes.

One of those projects is coming online in the very near future and going to have big impacts on the downtown transportation grid.

Starting next year, the right most travel lanes on Guadalupe and Lavaca will become the Transit Priority Lanes for the MetroRapid busses. Vehicles in these lanes will be restricted to transit vehicles and cars making right turns.

Notably, in addition to the new MetroRapid busses, all the bus transit will be diverted to those streets from Congress Avenue, which will pay dividends for drivers on Congress and also significantly improve the pedestrian environment – the latter that I predict will catalyze more sidewalk and pocket park cafes along Congress.

MRstopAs many as 60 buses per hour are planned to operate during rush hour on Guadalupe and Lavaca (so says the City).

Additionally, parking on the right side of Lavaca and Guadalupe will be eliminated to avoid potential bus/car conflicts. Some 95 parking spaces will bite the dust and delivery vehicles, valet and taxis will need to use side streets to load or unload.

Cyclists will use the former parking lane to the right of the Transit Priority Lanes as a dedicated bicycle-only lane. Apparently, they are looking for eventual funding (in the long-term) to install “Great Streets” wider sidewalks on those two streets as well, at which time a narrowed bicycle lane would still be maintained.

Interested to see how this impacts your home or business downtown? You can view the future streetscape of Guadalupe (pdf) here and Lavaca (pdf) here.

This project has cheerleaders and detractors.

Perennial transit blogger Mike Dahmus, and Statesman columnist Ben Wear have both taken CapMetro to task for the fact that the new “MetroRapid” service won’t actually be “rapid” compared to the regular bus service.

I’m choosing to reserve judgment on the project until it is up and running next year.

You have probably noticed the MetroRapid stations popping up around town, like the one pictured above that is across the street from the Dog & Duck Pub on Lavaca. For those who do not use busses regularly, finding the right spot to get on can be tricky and intimidating.

But with these new stations, I think novice transit riders, including myself, will be inclined to give it a try.  One of the neat things about these stops is that they will include LED boards that show the time until the next bus arrives.

About Jude Galligan

Jude Galligan, REALTOR-Principal of REATX Realty and publisher of Downtown Austin Blog (aka. "DAB"), spends his time matching remarkable people with remarkable properties in Austin’s urban core. A resident owner in downtown Austin, Jude serves on the Board of the Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA) and the City of Austin Downtown Commission. Contact Jude.

Comments

  1. Jude,

    If you’re not riding the bus now, and the north-south bus stops are already more than 1/2 mile away (at 2nd and congress to go northbound), what good does it convince you to ride when the stops will be at 4th and Lavaca to go northbound, then more than 3/4 mile away? Most likely means taking the 17/21, which you could do now, too.
    I’m really quite torn over this change. Congress at least has wide sidewalks and the design of the route overlaps means everyone is reasonably spread out. I can pretty much guarantee you the new stops at 4th and 9th won’t have enough waiting room, and people will be complaining about the groups of people they view as “less desirable” so to speak, soon enough.

    p.s. to Mike: Could they operate the signal they way Vancouver, BC operates nearly all of their signals, with a leading right turn arrow / pedestrian don’t walk. With high pedestrian volumes, it seems not allowing them access early in the cycle is more desirable than the normal technique to get peds in first and cars second (to be clear, I’m talking about pretty specific situations in the US, I am in favor of pedestrian lead intervals most of the time)

  2. This should be obvious, but nobody else sees it but me. It’s my curse to constantly be the combination of Debbie Downer and Cassandra, I guess.

    Go northbound on Guadalupe on the Drag during the afternoon rush. Note what happens around Dean Keeton – quite often a car wants to turn right, but has to wait to do so because a bunch of pedestrians are crossing. The bus is stuck behind that car, in front of a green light, going nowhere.

    Now imagine we’ve successfully turned Guadalupe/Lavaca into the pedestrian corridor that Congress is today. What good is a “transit priority lane” if a car waiting to turn right is stopped waiting for pedestrians to clear?

  3. So to be clear, will ALL bus traffic on Congress end north of the river to the Capitol?

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