4 things to know about the new downtown Austin MetroRail station

The downtown Austin MetroRail station on Fourth Street was originally built to be a temporary platform.

The downtown Austin MetroRail station on Fourth Street was originally built to be a temporary platform.

Design of Capital Metro’s new downtown Austin MetroRail station should be complete by the end of 2017.

The station will replace the temporary platform the agency built on Fourth Street adjacent to the Austin Convention Center. The new station will have three tracks and boarding platforms.

Capital’s Metro’s board of directors approved an interlocal agreement Monday with the city of Austin outlining the responsibilities of both parties on the site located on Fourth Street between Trinity and Red River streets. The City Council approved the ILA at its May 4 meeting. Here are four things to know about the new downtown Austin MetroRail station:

1. Most of the cost of the station will be covered by a $22 million Texas Department of Transportation grant.

Downtown Austin MetroRail station One of three proposed designs for the new MetroRail platform includes a series of canopies that would protect passengers from rain.[/caption]

In June 2014, TxDOT awarded Capital Metro a $50 million grant. Of that funding, $28 million will be spent on the purchase of four new rail cars and the remaining $22 million will help build the new station.

The cost of the new station, however, will exceed $22 million, although a total project cost is not yet known, according to Capital Metro. This is mostly because of a $6 million storm drain upgrade that is required. The agency and the city are splitting the cost of the project.

The council has not yet approved waiving any permit fees required for the project.

2. The city and Capital Metro are still working out details for bathrooms on-site.

An initial list of wants indicated a desire for having public restrooms, but Capital Metro Project Manager Marcus Guerrero said the platform does not have room for bathrooms.

“We would like to look at adding restrooms elsewhere in the public park, or if the fire station relocates, that would be a great spot,” he said.

3. The new platform will change traffic patterns.

Fourth Street is currently a one-way street open to traffic. The city would close the street to traffic and restrict Fourth between Red River and Trinity streets to bicycle and pedestrian use only. Traffic on Neches Street by the Hilton Austin hotel will end in a cul-de-sac.

To alleviate some of these issues, the city will convert Fifth Street from Brazos Street to I-35 to two-way traffic. Construction is scheduled to begin this summer.

Downtown Austin MetroRail station The new MetroRail platform and public plaza will be located on Fourth Street between Trinity and Red River streets.[/caption]

4. The new station will serve more than transit users.

A public plaza will be located west of the rail platform near Trinity adjacent to Brush Square Park. Although the plaza will mainly facilitate pedestrian access to downtown, it could have other uses.

“It could be [used] for public events like a farmers market or food trucks or just public space to sit down and have a cup of coffee,” Guerrero said. “It’s a multiuse platform.”
By Amy Denney

Managing Editor, Austin metro

Amy has worked for Community Impact Newspaper since September 2010, serving as reporter and later senior editor for the Northwest Austin edition as well as covering transportation in the Austin metro. She is now managing editor for the 10 publications in the Central Texas area from Georgetown to New Braunfels.


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