Improvements on Capital MetroRail Downtown Station focused on improving multi-modal safety and increasing service capacity

Alliance Transportation is working with Capital Metro to replace the existing Downtown Station. Alliance has partnered with HNTB Corporation, forming the Downtown Gateway Partners, to complete this extensive and important work. Alliance is leading the project management, civil, traffic, and roadway elements of this project.

Capital Metro’s original Downtown Station was designed and constructed as a temporary facility to meet the short-term needs of MetroRail. Since start-up in 2010, the service has experienced rapidly increasing ridership. MetroRail is currently at capacity during the peak periods and the Downtown Station is particularly popular, especially during the many downtown Austin special events.

The Downtown Station infrastructure has presented several challenges as Capital Metro works to meet increasing demand while continuing to provide safe and reliable service. The narrow platform is frequently crowded, creating uncomfortable and potentially unsafe conditions for both boarding and alighting passengers. The single track arrangement restricts the headways that can be provided. The platform length can only accommodate a single rail vehicle, further restricting peak hour service capacity. In addition, numerous conflicts are occurring between the various modes utilizing the constrained 4th Street right-of-way.

Alliance’s work on the transit station and rail improvements will allow Capital Metro to greatly increase peak hour service capacity beginning in 2018. Our approach has been to reach decisions on critical design elements, such as subsurface utility and structural needs, as early as possible so that other project elements, such as surface treatments and landscaping can be developed incorporating public and stakeholder engagement. We have carefully considered the community’s long-term vision for the plaza so future elements are not precluded and future construction impacts are minimized.

The Downtown Station will become a gateway for welcoming visitors to Austin and residents entering downtown. Located within a five-minute walk of approximately 5,000 hotel rooms and almost 1,000 residents, historic Brush Square is both a natural space and a cultural place enjoyed by the community. The new transit plaza will improve the lives of residents and visitors who use the Capital Metro services to get to work, school, shopping, medical appointments, and other destinations around town.

Image source: 
theaustincollective.org
Photo by johndavidson.com
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