Green Line Long-Term Investments

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2 Enhancements Short-term improvements to keep Austin moving. Investments Long-term projects to support our future. Mobility Hubs MetroRapid MetroRail MetroExpress Connectors Circulators Project Connect Project Connect is the Central Texas high-capacity transit plan that will create real, tangible transit projects that offer an alternative to mind-numbing traffic congestion. It s not about a single train or bus route, but a robust transit system that improves travel into, out of and around Central Austin from the surrounding region. It will provide options that build upon one another and create a system to move more people, more quickly. The end result will connect residents, businesses, schools, services, and shopping through a high-capacity transit network. In Phase 1 of Project Connect, the project team studied potential Investment Corridors roads and rail lines in the metro region. We grouped them into three categories Commuter, Connector and Circulator and advanced them for further evaluation in Phase 2. Commuter Corridors extend beyond Central Austin and serve as alternatives to personal auto travel along highways/expressways that regionally connect with Central Austin. The Commuter Corridors that are being evaluated in Phase 2 include the existing MetroRail Red Line between Downtown Austin and Leander and the proposed MetroRail Green Line between Downtown Austin and /Elgin. Red Line Green Line Key Terms HCT High Capacity Transit ROW Right-of-Way TOD Transit Oriented Development Park & Ride Basic facilities typically designed for transferring from cars to transit

3 Corridor Summary Elgin The proposed Green Line Investment would provide a new commuter rail service to connect Downtown Austin, East Austin,, Elgin, and Travis and Bastrop counties. The Green line is proposed along Capital Metro s existing freight line between Austin and Elgin. The proposed corridor could catalyze and guide future regional growth to East Austin, eastern Travis County and beyond. As an equity corridor, it could offer unique opportunities for more affordable housing options for the minority and low-income households along the corridor that could benefit from new high-capacity transit access to jobs and services within Central Austin and beyond. The Green Line would link up to the Red Line, other potential high-capacity corridors and Capital Metro s high-frequency bus network. ock Pflugerville Wildhorse Elgin Corridor Quick Look 183 Loyola Corridor Start and Endpoints: Corridor Length: Downtown Austin to ; extension between and Elgin 27 Miles Existing Transit Services: MetroExpress 990 Current Bus Ridership: ~ 100 daily weekday boardings 1 Downtown US 183 Pleasant Valley Plaza Saltillo Jobs (1/2 Mile from Stations): Residents (1/2 Mile from Station): Zero-Car Households: 47,637 Jobs 19,877 Residents 662 Households Legend Commuter Corridors Green Line Green Line Station Households Below Poverty: 6,305 Households 2016 Mobility Bond Eligibility? No Bike Lanes Adjacent Red Line Trail (Highland to Crestview) 183 Green Line Extension Major Roads Capital Metro Service Area ROW Constraints No N 1

4 Corridor Character Saltillo Between Plaza Saltillo station and I-35, 6 blocks along 5th Street are being converted into a new live-work-play development with 800 units and office space for approximately 700 employees. Source: Endeavour 2018 East Austin Development New and existing single-family homes dominate the land use patterns in East Austin. Source: Google Street View 2018 N 2

5 Source: Herzog 2018 Light Maintenance Facility To maintain and service the Green Line, a new maintenance facility similar to the Red Line s North Operations or Denton County Transportation Authority s facility would need to be built. There are many potential sites for this, including one near Loyola Lane. Wildhorse Ranch Wildhorse Ranch is a 1,450 acre master planned community located in northeast Austin along the Green Line. The community will include office, medical, retail and homes along with a potential train station. Source: RVI Planning 2017 Colony Park Colony Park is a new transit-oriented development site in Far East Austin owned by the City that has been master planned to include affordable housing, offices, retail, parks, and civic centers. Source: City of Austin

6 Corridor Character Source: Google Street View 2018 Capital Metro currently operates a Park & Ride in the heart of with 70 spaces. The site is located next to the railroad tracks and in the heart of downtown. Single-family and multi-family households dominate the land use of the area. N 4

7 Source: City of Elgin Elgin Elgin is located in north Bastrop County and is the largest city in the county. Elgin has a historic downtown with shops and restaurants adjacent to a potential train station. 5

8 Short-Term Green Line Investment Commuter Rail ock Elgin The project team considered two investment alternatives for the Green Line Corridor. The first alternative would be a Short-Term Green Line Investment between Downtown Austin and. The second alternative would be the Long-Term Green Line Extension between and Elgin. Pflugerville 130 The Short-Term Green Line Investment would provide an additional commuter rail line to the MetroRail system beyond the current Red Line. It also would connect the eastern portion of Capital Metro s Service Area with rail access to Downtown Austin. The Short-Term Green Line Investment would provide a car-free, reliable transportation alternative for communities east of Central Austin. This area contains higher proportions of minority and lowincome residents that would benefit from new transit access that links jobs, housing, and services Loyola Wildhorse 1 US 183 Downtown Pleasant Valley Plaza Saltillo Peak Frequency Off Peak Frequency Peak Person Capacity 30 Min 60 Min ~ 200 passengers/train Legend Commuter Corridors Green Line Green Line Station Major Roads Capital Metro Service Area 183 N 6

9 Long-Term Green Line Extension Commuter Rail ock Elgin Elgin The Long-Term Green Line Extension would provide commuter rail service to the City of Elgin. Elgin is currently outside the Austin urbanized area and also outside Capital Metro s Service Area. Therefore, Capital Metro would need to negotiate funding agreements with the City of Elgin, Bastrop County or other potential funding partners in order to provide rail service to Elgin. For these reasons, the Green Line is proposed as an extension from to Elgin. Downtown Elgin businesses and residents could benefit from a dependable, congestion-proof alternative that connects to Austin and the region. Pflugerville Peak Frequency Off Peak Frequency Peak Person Capacity 30 Min 60 Min ~ 200 passengers/train Legend Commuter Corridors Green Line Extension Green Line Station Major Roads 183 Capital Metro Service Area N 7

10 Performance Metrics Capital Metro evaluated the performance metrics for the considered alternatives to further inform the evaluation process. Estimated costs are based on recent and similar modal and infrastructure investments in other U.S. cities. Anticipated ridership was obtained using FTA s Simplified Trips-on-Project Software (STOPS) model. Travel time was estimated using assumptions for roadway speed limits vs. grade separated speed limits. Throughput capacities are based on assumed vehicle capacities and service frequencies. ROW and travel lane impacts are based on the street sections analysis and are rated as low, moderate or high. The Green Line is one of the least invasive projects with limited impacts to ROW and travel lanes due to it being on Capital Metro owned tracks. However, the cost to repurpose those existing tracks for passenger rail is relatively high due to the length of the corridor and the number of bridges. The Green Line travels through what is known as the Eastern Crescent, an area of low-income housing in need of many community amenities. A train through this area would provide a reliable option to access downtown and other activity centers. Unfortunately, much of the corridor is still undeveloped or underdeveloped and the potential ridership is modest. While ridership to is slightly below current Red Line ridership, estimates for the extension to Elgin show a low ridership given the current population projections and land use regulations in place along the Elgin Extension of the corridor. Short-Term Long-Term Construction Cost (2018): $264M $98M Annual Operations & Maintenance Cost: $19M $20M Anticipated Ridership (2025): 1,800* 1,900* Travel Time (Minutes): 36 min 52 min Peak Period Person Throughput Capacity: 1,200 1,200 ROW Impacts: LOW LOW Travel Lane Impacts: LOW LOW *Transit supportive zoning and growth needed for higher ridership. 8

11 Station Evaluation Metrics The draft station analysis utilizes information collected from the FTA s Capital Investment Grant (CIG) program, Capital Metro s TOD Priority Tool, U.S. Census Bureau, CAMPO, and other sources to evaluate potential station locations along Project Connect s two Commuter Corridors. Seven metrics were chosen to rate the station areas according to national best practices and local conditions. An Overall Score of High, Medium, or Low was assigned based on the evaluation of these seven metrics. High Medium Low Downtown Plaza Saltillo Pleasant Valley US 183 Loyola Colony Park The Green Line corridor contains stations that generally score low overall or score higher in select criteria categories. All stations east of Plaza Saltillo lack walkable environments, density, affordable housing, market strength, and connections to other modes of travel - all of which are highly conducive to successful HCT performance. However, there are pockets of affordable housing along the line, development potential for the Wildhorse Ranch and Colony Park PUDs; and transit connectivity at Pleasant Valley provide opportunities for improvement with additional investment. Wildhorse Elgin Overall Score Population Density Employment Density Major Destinations Transit Accessibility Affordability Walkability Market Strength 9

12 Additional Information Want to learn more? Go to to read more about the work we re doing through Project Connect. Tell us what you think, take the Phase 2 Survey! Additional Project Connect briefing books: High Capacity Transit 101 briefing book Investments program briefing book and project flip books Enhancement program briefing book and project flip books Project Connect Funding and Financing briefing book

13 Led by Capital Metro with support from the City of Austin. Prepared by AECOM, Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates, and Alliance Transportation Group with support from Bronner Group and Robin O Connell Design

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