New MetroRail station for Apple’s campus not likely for now, but Capital Metro looks into adding buses on Parmer Lane

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Updated 3:49 p.m. Dec. 14

Capital Metro is not likely in the short term to add an infill station on its MetroRail commuter line to serve future employees at Apple’s second campus in Northwest Austin, a spokesperson confirmed Dec. 13.

However, based on feedback from residents over Project Connect—a regional high-capacity transit vision—Capital Metro added the Parmer Lane corridor to its vision map, according to spokeswoman Mariette Hummel.

Parmer could have a version of bus-rapid transit that typically operates in dedicated lanes, similar to how the MetroRapid buses operate in their own lanes in downtown Austin. Capital Metro is still studying various transit modes on different corridors but hopes to present a plan that could be included in a bond for the November 2020 election.

Hummel said an additional station near the future Apple campus along MetroRail could be possible if Capital Metro realigned the tracks, but that would require a partnership and financial support. The MetroRail tracks currently run on the opposite side of the Robinson Ranch property near McNeil Road.

Future commuters could use the Howard Station, which is just over 3 miles away, with shuttles provided by Apple.

The Texas Department of Transportation is also not planning any major changes to Parmer Lane between SH 45 N and I-35. TxDOT is only planning pavement repairs to Parmer in the next couple of years between SH 45 N and MoPac, according to its online Project Tracker.

However, the intersection of Parmer and I-35 will be turned into a diverging diamond as part of the agency’s My35 program.

That $32.5 million project will start construction in mid-2019 and wrap up in mid-2021. Construction will also include adding dual-left turn lanes and right-turn lanes between Parmer and North Lamar Boulevard.

TxDOT is also planning to expand Parmer to six lanes between RM 1431 and SH 45 N. The project is being partially funded through the city of Austin’s 2016 Mobility Bond, which is providing $17 million.

Traffic counts along Parmer have not drastically increased in the past five years since Apple began building its Americas Operations Center on Parmer, according to TxDOT data:

Parmer south of SH 45 N: 8.2 percent increase
  • 2013: 40,582
  • 2014: 39,004
  • 2015: 39,951
  • 2016: 46,079
  • 2017: 43,920

Editor’s note: This post was updated with additional information from Capital Metro.

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2 comments
COMMENT
  1. Shame that the area can’t build a more mixed-use, denser development with transit around the new offices. This campus will probably just exacerbate suburban sprawl and automobile usage. With all the money Apple is spending you’d think they’d be willing to partner for funding a rail stop.

  2. Nicholas Littlejohn

    Agreed, Apple should do a live/work Transit Oriented Development here like Domain with rail to downtown.

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Amy Denney
Amy has been reporting in community journalism since 2007. She worked in the Chicago suburbs for three years before migrating south and joined Community Impact Newspaper in September 2010. Amy has been editor of the Northwest Austin publication since August 2012 and she is also the transportation beat reporter for the Austin area.
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