Pflugerville is the latest of several area cities to commission a transit development plan through Capital Metro, and will use the study results to determine what public transportation options are best suited for the city’s needs, according to city officials.
Michelle Meaux, regional coordination planner for Capital Metro, said she hopes to complete the plan by April. Capital Metro stipulates that implementation of its transit development plans begin within one year of adoption, so if Pflugerville adopts the plan, public transportation could be available in the city by spring 2017, according to Meaux.
“Other cities in the region are looking for ways to participate in the implementation of that [public transportation] piece as is Pflugerville,” Assistant City Manager Trey Fletcher said. “I really perceive Pflugerville as sort of the missing link for some of these communities already starting their transportation studies.”
Other Central Texas cities that have commissioned transit development plans through Capital Metro include Georgetown, Hutto and Buda, Meaux said.
Capital Metro’s transit development plans are funded primarily through a federal program, with local jurisdictions contributing about 20 percent of the cost, Meaux said. Pflugerville committed $17,005 to its transit study and will receive federal funding to implement the plan if it is adopted, she said.
Because of its proximity to Austin, Pflugerville could serve as an important piece of the Central Texas public transit network as well as a destination for tourists, Fletcher said. Pflugerville’s location also means Capital Metro will solicit input from multiple agencies when developing the plan, Meaux said.
“I think we’ll have a lot more stakeholders in this process,” Meaux said. “I think we’ll try to get Travis County involved [as well as the] Capital Area Rural Transportation System.”
Serita Lacasse, executive director of transportation nonprofit Drive a Senior, said Capital Metro’s development plan will be helpful in increasing overall connectivity and mobility in the area. However, she said services like hers will still be important for residents who may not feel comfortable with or have access to public transportation.
Drive a Senior is an Austin-area transportation service that utilizes a volunteer network to help area seniors with mobility challenges. Lacasse said she has advised Capital Metro on transportation trends in the area and tries to coordinate with the agency when Drive a Senior receives requests outside its service area.
“We’ve seen such a shift from people who were living in East Austin to Pflugerville, Elgin, Round Rock. [...] And there is no transportation in those areas,” Lacasse said. “I am all for more transportation in Pflugerville. I think seniors do not ride transit buses so I don’t think Drive a Senior will be impacted that much; however I do feel there is so much need in this community for people to get to a transit site.”
In addition to commissioning the transit development plan in October, Pflugerville City Council approved a $167,000 contract with transit consultant The Goodman Corp. to assist with the creation of a city transportation center. Fletcher said the center would include, but not be limited to, a park and ride element for Pflugerville commuters. Fletcher said the center could also include retail and residential components similar to The Triangle in Austin.
“The intent is to develop a feasible site to make that development beneficial for Pflugerville,” Fletcher said. “Whether you’re riding the bus or not, it becomes a destination for the community. [Public] transportation is a two-way concept—it’s not just about getting people to Austin.”
Fletcher said sites near the Stone Hill Town Center and downtown Pflugerville are being considered for the transportation center location.