See where Project Connect's proposed Blue Line rail stations could be located between Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and Lady Bird Lake

A rendering shows a possible design for the Blue Line rail station at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. (Rendering courtesy Capital Metro)
A rendering shows a possible design for the Blue Line rail station at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. (Rendering courtesy Capital Metro)

A rendering shows a possible design for the Blue Line rail station at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. (Rendering courtesy Capital Metro)

When the city of Austin sent a plan to the voters in November to invest billions into a revamped transportation system that would include two new rail lines, it included maps outlining the proposed routes and an idea of where stations would be located.

Now, Capital Metro and the Austin Transit Partnership, the local government corporation tasked with overseeing the $7.1 billion investment, are digging into the details, talking to the community and seeking feedback on questions such as which exact intersections will serve as station locations and whether riders will access the train cars from a center platform or from the side.

All of those decisions and public engagement are part of an estimated two-year federal environmental review process for the rail lines that Project Connect is currently going through. From there, the Blue Line from the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to North Austin and Orange Line running from North Austin to South Austin will move into the final design and then the construction phase. Work is expected to start in 2024 and last approximately five years.

On May 19, ATP Chief of Architecture and Urban Design Peter Mullan and Deputy Program Officer John Rhone presented details of a proposed route and station locations to the board for a section of the line running between the airport and Lady Bird Lake. The locations, shown in the map below, are still very preliminary, according to Mullan.

At the intersection of East Riverside Drive and Pleasant Valley Road, the Blue Line would share a station location with Capital Metro's new planned MetroRapid line, a bus service that runs more frequently and has fewer stops than the public transportation agency's MetroBus services. Construction on that new bus line and Capital Metro's new Expo Center route is scheduled to start by the end of 2021.

After following Riverside Drive from the Airport through the Lakeshore area and the Travis Heights neighborhood, the line would take a right turn near the Austin American-Statesman's current home, where developer Endeavor is planning a mixed-use project including 12.5 acres of public space that will include a waterfront park.

The rail line will then cross Lady Bird Lake on an elevated bridge, connecting to a proposed downtown tunnel on the other side of the water near the Waller Creek Boathouse.

"This, I think is a really exciting opportunity to create some meaningful architecture, but also because we are imagining this bridge will not just carry the light rail system but also have facilities for pedestrians and bicycles," Mullan told the board. "This will be really a vital multimodal corridor crossing the lake."
By Jack Flagler
Jack is the editor of Community Impact Newspaper's Central Austin and Southwest Austin editions. He began his career as a sports reporter in Massachusetts and North Carolina before moving to Austin in 2018. He grew up in Maine and graduated from Boston University, but prefers tacos al pastor to lobster rolls. You can get in touch at [email protected]


Candlewood Suites Northwest Austin
Williamson County declines lawsuit against Austin over Candlewood Suites saga—for now

Williamson County did not hold a vote to file a lawsuit against the city of Austin over the contentious Candlewood Suites property in Northwest Austin.

Photo of Chez Nous in black and white
Chez Nous, downtown Austin's longstanding French bistro, permanently closes

The restaurant opened in 1982 after its owners moved to Texas from Paris.

Photo of Moderna vaccine vials on a table
50% of Travis County residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19

Travis County has reached a milestone in COVID-19 vaccinations.

Pedestrian crossing signals
Burnet Road sidewalk improvements near Q2 Stadium expected to finish by July

City crews are working on several projects along Burnet Road that will make the corridor safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas issued a call for Texans to conserve energy June 14. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
ERCOT asks Texans to conserve energy with generation outages 2.5 times higher than normal

"This is unusual for this early in the summer season," said Woody Rickerson, ERCOT vice president of grid planning and operations, in a news release.

The rezoning request for the Springdale Green Planned Unit Development passed Austin City Council 10-0 June 10. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Rezoning for East Austin's Springdale Green PUD plan passes in unanimous City Council vote

The PUD plan garnered some community resistance this spring due to concerns over how a height increase for the project's proposed office towers could affect development and resident displacement in surrounding neighborhoods.

Austin moved into its second phase of Proposition B ordinance enforcement June 13 and began working to move some campers around City Hall on June 14. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin Police Department clears tents around City Hall

The city began issuing written warnings June 13 in its second phase of enforcing criminal penalties for camping in public.

UT Austin football stadium filled with fans
In Austin and the rest of the nation, the business of college sports is changing

If Gov. Greg Abbott signs SB 1325 into law, Texas will join a number of other U.S. states in allowing college athletes to profit off their names, images and likenesses.

Lingering symptoms, long-term impact of COVID-19 will take time to fully understand

Dr. Mary Katherine Theoktisto answers questions regarding the virus.

Salvation Pizza, opening in the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport June 16, is one of several new pizza options in the Austin area. (Courtesy Salvation Pizza)
Pie chart: See a map of 11 new, coming-soon pizza options in the Austin area

New spots include Above Ground Pizza opening in New Bruanfels after several permitting delays and Salvation Pizza feeding travelers at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

Austin City Council members finalized their spending plan for the federal stimulus dollars before adjourning for their summer recess that will stretch to late July. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin will dedicate $100M in federal stimulus funds to combating homelessness over two years

In one of their last detailed discussions before their summer break, council members secured funding for several of their individual priorities alongside homelessness allocations.