Project Connect Orange Line design reveals proposed locations for rail stations in North, South Austin

Project Connect's proposed Orange Line will run from Tech Ridge, through downtown Austin and to Slaughter Lane. (Rendering courtesy Project Connect)
Project Connect's proposed Orange Line will run from Tech Ridge, through downtown Austin and to Slaughter Lane. (Rendering courtesy Project Connect)

Project Connect's proposed Orange Line will run from Tech Ridge, through downtown Austin and to Slaughter Lane. (Rendering courtesy Project Connect)

As Project Connect progresses through the design phase, Austin residents will now have a clearer picture of station locations along one of the longest-planned light rail lines.

Leaders with Capital Metro and the Austin Transit Partnership—the government entity overseeing the $7.1 billion investment in transit—unveiled their plan during the ATP board meeting June 16 for the stations along the north and south sections of the Orange Line that would run along North Lamar Boulevard, Guadalupe Street and South Congress Avenue.

As part of the presentation on the line's 15% draft design package, Peter Mullan, ATP chief of architecture and urban design, and Deputy Program Officer John Rhone discussed 11 stops along the line’s north section, which consists of the Tech Ridge Park & Ride to the Drag, as seen in the map below.

The section connecting the Tech Ridge and Parmer Lane stations is currently proposed to be elevated over I-35 if it eventually becomes rail. However, the stops from Rundberg Lane to Tech Ridge will be a part of future line extensions and will be MetroRapid bus stops in the interim.

The line will make its way down North Lamar from Tech Ridge to the Triangle station. It will then wind down Guadalupe all the way to the Drag.

The Drag in particular will present unique challenges, as it is one of the most congested areas in the city. Rhone said ATP plans to work with the University of Texas to ensure pedestrian safety is prioritized in the design.

“We want this to be one of the areas where we improve that experience that's there today that we fit into the fabric of the community, and then actually becomes an improvement to the businesses that are located throughout,” Rhone told the board.

ATP also discussed the south section of the Orange Line, which runs down South Congress from Oltorf Lane to Slaughter Lane. The map below shows the proposed south section, which consists of six stations. The William Cannon Drive and Slaughter stations will be future line extensions and will become MetroRapid bus stops in the meantime.

ATP board members emphasized their focus on creating a transportation environment that caters to a range of mobility types, focusing on building stations that are within a 10-minute walk of residents. They are also working through environmental reviews for the entirety of the line, including future extensions.

ATP will discuss the middle portion of the Orange Line, which includes stops from Government Center near the Capitol Complex to South Congress, at the next board meeting scheduled for July 21 at 2 p.m. Those stations will require a tunnel that cuts through downtown.
By Benton Graham

Metro Reporter, Austin

Benton joined Community Impact Newspaper as a metro reporter covering transportation in Central Texas in June 2021. Benton's writing has appeared in Vox, The Austin Chronicle, Austonia and Reporting Texas. Originally from Minneapolis, Benton graduated from William & Mary and eventually moved to Austin in 2018.


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