Capital Metro broke ground on its new downtown Austin station March 25.
Located on Fourth Street in Austin a block east of the current downtown station, construction on the new station is scheduled to begin next week, according to a statement from Capital Metro. The current downtown MetroRail station is the agency’s smallest yet busiest.
“We need big solutions,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler said at the ground breaking ceremony. “This feels like the start of something big.”
The new station will allow Capital Metro to increase frequency and capacity of its MetroRail line. The project—with a construction budget of $37 million—is expected to be complete in spring 2021, according to the agency’s statement.
“It’s just going to increase our capacity to be able to have more folks use the Red Line; right now it’s at capacity a lot,” Delia Garza, Capital Metro’s board vice chair and Austin mayor pro tem, told Community Impact Newspaper. “This just provides more opportunity for people that are along the Red Line or can take a Park & Ride to the Red Line to hop in one of the trains and get downtown.”
Randy Clarke, Capital Metro president and chief operating officer, said the agency is working with the city of Austin and its police department to make sure the site is as safe as possible for pedestrians, vehicles and cyclists during construction. Additionally, he said they are looking to ensure businesses in the area can operate functionally through the process.
“We expect, obviously, shutdowns, but the goal is how do we mitigate that,” Clarke said. “We’re working through a whole traffic impact plan with the city and our contractor, so it might be a block here, a block there, and it’ll roll based on how the schedule of the project rolls out over the next year or so.”