MetroRapid, a faster bus that stops at fancier stations than regular bus, could open on Lamar in 2011 and on Burnet in 2013, CapMetro’s vice president for strategic planning said at the August meeting of Sustainable Neighborhoods. 

Twenty-five people attended the meeting.

Todd Hemingson said the Burnet line will run from the Domain to downtown, and then down South Lamar. Buses will run every 10 minutes during peak hours and every 15 minutes during non-peak hours. 

By contrast, the regular #3 bus on Burnet runs every 21-24 minutes. 

Stations on the Burnet Rd line near Allandale will be located at Ohlen, Anderson, Koenig, North Loop, and 49th Street.  The Anderson station will be 400-500 ft south of the intersection and will not interface directly with the bus terminal, which will be on the far side of the Wal-Mart, on Northcross Drive near Anderson.

MetroRapid buses will be about 20% faster than normal buses, thanks to fewer stops and sensors on traffic lights that keep them green when buses are approaching. A trip from Burnet at 2222 to downtown that now takes 40-50 minutes at rush hour would take closer to half an hour.

Hemingson said MetroRapid stations will be protected from sun and rain.  At most places, buses will stop in the street just like normal buses.  Boarding will be simplified – people can swipe credit cards or CapMetro pass cards at station kiosks before boarding the bus.  Stations will also have a clock counting down time to the next bus arrival.

Mary Sisson, an Allandale resident who attended the meeting, asked why the station design offers no seating for handicapped people.  Hemingson said design work is ongoing and promised to pass on the feedback.

Sustainable Neighborhoods is seeking endorsements from area neighborhood associations for pedestrian improvements, including shaded sidewalks and eventually even transit plazas, that would make MetroRapid stations easier to reach and more attractive places to be. 

Hemingson's presentation slides are available on the SNAustin.org website under "Speak Presentations."

zettner [Email address: zettner #AT# snaustin.org - replace #AT# with @ ]" target="_blank">Steven Zettner
Sustainable Neighborhoods of North Central Austin
www.snaustin.org