Capital Metro officials said while designing the upcoming MetroRail McKalla Station near the Q2 Stadium, they are trying to balance both everyday commuters with the high-volume traffic expected on Austin FC game days.
Capital Metro and other Austin transportation officials presented preliminary design plans for the station during a virtual public information session Dec. 9. Design for McKalla Station is approximately 30% completed, and the station is expected to open in fall 2023.
King Kaul, director of capital projects at Capital Metro, said the limited amount of space available for the new station has created some design challenges.
“The station is being built in partnership with the Q2 Stadium,” Kaul said. “As such our design options are somewhat constrained. We have to design a station that will serve up to 20,000 people on game days and balance that with a comfortable, accessible, safe and reliable facility for our regular customers.”
McKalla Station is anticipated to cost $24 million, according to previous Community Impact Newspaper reporting. As a public-private partnership, Austin FC will take on $3.64 million of the expenses over 15 years.
The design for the proposed station includes two passenger platforms, a passenger crossing, canopy coverings and other customer amenities, according to the presentation.
Additionally, Kaul said the McKalla Station project includes installing double tracks from north of Braker Lane to the Capital Metro North Operations and Maintenance Facility near US 183, drainage infrastructure along the tracks and improvements at three railroad crossings.
Several members of the community expressed support for incorporating the Red Line Parkway, a proposed 32-mile pedestrian and bike trail, into the McKalla Station right of way, instead of diverting bike traffic away from the station.
“Other rail stations throughout the country include rail trails,” said Tom Wald, executive director of the Red Line Parkway Initiative. “When designed right, which is what we are asking for, it is a positive and safe experience for all.”
Capital Metro officials said they will work to incorporate community feedback into the station’s design, but are restrained due to limited space in the right of way and the potential for large crowds.
“We will continue to work to find solutions in the specific Q2/McKalla Station area ... to see how we can find opportunities to create an urban trail pathway that either is next to the existing Red Line or generally follows its alignment,” said Sam Sargent, Austin Transit Partnership director of strategy.
Capital Metro is also expected to break ground on the MetroRail Broadmoor Station, located across from The Domain at 11501 Burnet Road. Once both the McKalla Station and the Broadmoor Station open, Capital Metro will close the Kramer Station.
Editor's note: This story was updated to correct the location of the double tracking.