Capital Metro-Pflugerville transit planning document proposes bus route to downtown Austin

Pflugerville residents could soon see an express bus route to downtown Austin, according to a transit plan presented to the City Council on Aug. 14.

Pflugerville residents could soon see an express bus route to downtown Austin, according to a transit plan presented to the City Council on Aug. 14.

Pflugerville residents could soon see an express bus route to downtown Austin, according to a transit plan presented Tuesday night to the City Council at a regular meeting.

The Transit Development Plan is a planning document three years in the making developed in coordination with public transportation provider Capital Metro.

"We've been working on this for a while now," Pflugerville Assistant City Manager Trey Fletcher said.

The Transit Development Plan ultimately recommends a number of public transit projects that “ensure connectivity between emerging destinations and centers both within and external to Pflugerville,” per city documents.

As it stands, the transit plan is a nonbinding planning document filled with proposals for pilot programs, route trees, fare schedules, schedule tables, system costs and interlocal agreements.

Possible bus routes to Austin

Included in the transit plan is a public bus line to run from Pflugerville to the intersection of Fourth and Guadalupe streets in downtown Austin. The recommended bus line runs southbound on SH 130 and northbound on I-35.

Alternate route options for the bus line, dubbed the Austin Express, include running the bus stop along West Pecan Street from Heatherwilde Boulevard to SH 130 and extending the SH 130 route up to Stone Hill Town Center.

The Transit Development Plan additionally proposes a connection with Hutto beginning at the Kelly Lane and SH 130 intersection. An express bus route to Austin was recently included in the city of Hutto’s updated Mobility Master Plan.

A second phase extension of that express bus route is additionally outlined in the Transit Development Plan. That phase includes a fixed-route running from Capital Metro’s Tech Ridge Transit Center to the proposed Stone Hill Town Center bus stop. A complementary transit route for persons with disabilities is included with that plan.

Due to the connection with the Tech Ridge Transit Center, Pflugerville residents would gain public transit access to Capital Metro’s map of service, which spans from Leander to the northwest, Elgin to the east and Southpark Meadows in the southern end of Austin.

Door-to-door options

An addendum to the Transit Development Plan was created by Capital Metro and the city of Pflugerville. The addendum outlines a potential pilot program for “demand response” transit, which may include a door-to-door pickup option.

Since the transit plan’s initial completion in 2017, Capital Metro has piloted its own app-based demand response service “Pickup.” The transit app was launched in the Mueller and Windsor Park neighborhoods in Austin.

As the discussion drew to a close, Council Member Jim McDonald asked for door-to-door transportation options to be prioritized moving forward.

The planning document outlines several pilot program service area options that range from a 3.5-square-mile area within city limits near West Pecan Street to a 12.5-square-mile area south of Pflugerville Parkway that stretches into unincorporated Travis County areas.

This public transit recommendation plan is a three-year project in the making. In January 2015, Pflugerville City Council approved a grant agreement with Capital Metro regarding the use of 5307 funds—federal funds earmarked for urban transit planning—for the creation of the Transit Development Plan.

An interlocal agreement between the city of Pflugerville and Capital Metro was then approved by the council in October 2015. The city is able to access federal funding through its interlocal agreement with Capital Metro, per Fletcher.

For now, the planning document is just that—a planning document—as city staff works to iron out details surrounding the pilot project and rollout logistics.

"We don’t want to put a bus on the road that’s looking for riders," Fletcher told the council.
By Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the editor for the Northwest Austin edition.


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