Rail Stops Vs. Bus Stops

Great quote via the Overhead Wire

“Rail transit drives walkable urban places. I’ve never seen one dollar of real estate investment invested because of a bus stop. But if you have [rail] transit, it’s a different story altogether.”Chris Leinberger

Permanence yields investment.  Bus stops come and go.  I would take it a step further and suggest that in several cases the presence of a bus stop could actually inhibit real estate investment.

Downtown Austin Car Share – Smart Car Pilot Program

How do you increase parking?  Shrink the cars, of course!

How do you increase parking? Shrink the cars, of course!

Daimler will partner with the City of Austin to operate a car-share pilot program, Mayor Will Wynn announced yesterday morning.

From the Statesman:

“The city will set aside urban-core parking spaces for 200 of Daimler’s “Smart” cars. Rather than paying for the spaces, Daimler will let city employees use the cars for a number of hours that’s equal to the monetary value of the spaces. (That amount hasn’t been determined yet; it will be negotiated over the next few weeks, city officials said.)…The program will start in October and run for six months. Daimler will pay for fuel, maintenance and insurance during that time, said the city’s transportation director, Robert Spillar.”

The car share program is a proven model in many cities, and the Smart Car program specifically is already smashing success in Germany.  Austin mayoral city council candidate Chris Riley is responsible for Austin Car Share – a small but well utilized car share program in Downtown Austin.

Thanks to Austin Contrarian for picking up on this story.

A Vision For Austin Rail

Imagine you work in Austin, but you live in San Antonio.  Rather than enduring Interstate 35 each morning, in a more perfect world you would have a rail system that drops you off into a downtown terminal.  Imagine if our city leaders could design a “Grand Central” of Austin.  This short homemade video makes Austin appear to be an international city.  It’s incredible to see the city come into view.

These days CapMetro can’t seem to tie its own shoes.  I do hear Amtrak is getting stimulus money, though.

link [via skyscraperpage]

City Parking Meters

City Parking Meters

City of Austin getting new parking meters
City of Austin getting new parking meters

City of Austin getting new parking meters

Rob Spillar stopped by the DANA board meeting this past Tuesday to share his recommendation to replace the existing parking meters.  Quite simply, the recommended system is VASTLY superior (ppt) to the old meters.

1) potential to partner with CapMetro to purchase bus/rail tickets
2) potential for city to compete with parking garages on weekend nights
3) time purchased is transferable to other parking locations
4) free parking for motorcycles and scooters

Today, Austin City Council approved the new parking meters on consent.


No more weekend Dillo

No more weekend service for the Dillo

No more weekend service for the Dillo

According to CapMetro, weekend Dillo service isn’t getting enough ridership to support its continued operation.  My question is, at $0.50 per two hour pass, were they ever expecting it to?

This would be especially frustrating news for commuters if the Commuter Rail was running weekends… but it’s not.


Commuter Rail Video

Rail, rail, rail

 Map Of Potential High-Speed Rail Built By The Stimulus

Map Of Potential High-Speed Rail Built By The Stimulus

Huffington Post speculates on how stimulus dollars could impact regional high-speed rail networks.

Day six, becoming a model urban neighborhood: what does Downtown Austin need?

Each day this week I am serving up one item, with non-politically correct candor, that Downtown Austin needs to become a model of re-urbanization, as I see it.

Politicians love to talk, form task forces, and spend time doing everything except for making decisions as they are needed.  So, this is an appeal to Downtown Austin stakeholders that know how to get things done:  the residents, developers, retailers, and land owners.

I want Urbanrail

Take me to the drag.   Take me to South Congress.  Take me to Zilker.  Take me to the airport.  90% of the time I don’t need, or want, to go anywhere else in Austin.  An urban rail (pdf) benefits not only downtown, but ALL of the urban core.  Complemented by the commuter rail, with an urban rail system in place we can begin to reduce (if not remove) minimum parking requirements for new developments.  Reduced parking requirements translates into improved streetscapes, less congestion, and more economically productive land use (more sales taxes, more ad-valorem taxes).

CAMPO TWG you can make this happen.