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So uh..Austin Subway*, Light Rail Expansions and $3.2 - $10.2 Billion


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9 hours ago, ZB'Tejas said:

I would think it's already there... You would be hard pressed to find anything (single family home) less than $700K within 10-15 min of downtown. I would think Dallas, Houston and other big cities have much more to choose from in that same boundary.

Quick search shows 50+ homes for sale under $400k East of I-35 and West of 183 which is about 10 minutes of downtown by car.

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16 minutes ago, ChickenSandwich said:

That’s just to get multiple offers. 
 

See east Austin toward airport... 2 listed at 355. Sold 415 and 406

True, I just used $400k because it was a default filter.  The post I was replying to said single family home under $700k and 10-15 minutes away from downtown.  So while yes it’s getting harder to live closer to downtown it’s still not impossible (and that’s without including condos and townhomes).

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13 hours ago, TKthunder2 said:

Quick search shows 50+ homes for sale under $400k East of I-35 and West of 183 which is about 10 minutes of downtown by car.

I thought we were talking about areas next to downtown... east of 183 is not that. Looking at 78702 and I see one house under $400 ( 375) and it's a 2/2 1100 soft. Hardly what I would classify as a family home.

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14 hours ago, TKthunder2 said:

Quick search shows 50+ homes for sale under $400k East of I-35 and West of 183 which is about 10 minutes of downtown by car.

 

1 hour ago, ZB'Tejas said:

I thought we were talking about areas next to downtown... east of 183 is not that. Looking at 78702 and I see one house under $400 ( 375) and it's a 2/2 1100 soft. Hardly what I would classify as a family home.

 

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  • 1 year later...

Dirty's got eminent domain letter for light rail project.  

 

Quote

Dirty Martin's Place, open since 1926 and originally known as Martin's KumBak (earning its nickname due to its earlier lack of flooring) is apparently in the way of the Orange Line of Project Connect. It has remained a hot spot for adjacent University of Texas students for the entire time, and maintains an outdoor garden area popular in the evenings.

Manager Daniel Young, via a forum dedicated to Austin's many past-and-present greasy spoons, confirmed rumors the establishment had received an eminent domain letter from the city:

 

"We’re going to fight the city on this, but need your support! .... We’re going to be starting a petition asking the city to keep the light rail underground from MLK to 38th St. Save Dirty’s."

 

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  • 1 month later...

No way. Who would have thunk.

Meh, it's just a few more zeros. No worry, it's still early. Still more time to double the budget.  Come on COA, I know we can do it. 

 

AAS:  When Austin voters were asked in 2020 to approve a local tax increase to pay for the massive transportation infrastructure plan dubbed Project Connect, they were told the project's estimated cost would be $7.1 billion.

Less than two years later, local transportation officials now say the estimated cost for the project has ballooned by an additional $4.5 billion, putting the estimated price tag now at about $11.6 billion.

Higher prices for acquiring property and surging inflation that has driven up costs for materials and labor are partly to blame, local transportation officials say. But in a memo to the Austin City Council, Project Connect's managers also say the cost for a proposed tunnel under Lady Bird Lake has doubled from $2 billion to $4 billion due to environmental concerns and because the original plan would have violated Austin's Capitol view corridor rules.

Project Connect officials say the higher estimated cost won't lead to an increase in the tax rate local voters approved. However, some community leaders point out that higher costs for the project could lead to the tax being collected for a longer period of time — and they also question why planners weren't aware of the potential issues that have led to the higher cost estimates.

By far the largest ballot measure Austin voters have ever approved, Project Connect was presented as a generational opportunity to remake Austin's mass transit system. The plan calls for two light rail lines, a downtown Austin tunnel and multiple new bus routes. The plan also includes housing funds, equitable development planning and more city park-and-ride options. Austin voters approved an 8.75-cent increase to city property taxes to help pay for the project in 2020, although more than half of Project Connect's cost is expected to be funded by federal grants.

A memo released in April by the Austin Transit Partnership detailed the estimated cost increases and identified three primary causes: the increasing cost of real estate in Austin; the impact of inflation and supply chain concerns; and changes to the scope and design of the projects. 

Much of the cost increase is related to the light rail Orange and Blue Lines, and a tunnel to be built under Lady Bird Lake. 

The Blue Line is now estimated to cost $600 million more than originally planned because of a pedestrian concourse and underground tunnel along the rail that would extend from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to North Lamar Boulevard.

At a community meeting Tuesday, stakeholders outlined two design proposals for the bridge, set to bring the Blue Line across Lady Bird Lake. One proposal for the bridge includes the light rail and a hike-and-bike concourse, and the other added a level for bus traffic. 

The Orange Line, which stretches from South Congress Avenue to North Lamar, is now expected to cost $1.8 billion more than planned, according to transit officials.

Meanwhile, the estimated price tag for the tunnel under Lady Bird Lake jumped by $2 billion, doubling the original estimate for that portion of the project.

The memo from the Austin Transit Partnership says the much higher cost estimate is due in part to Federal Emergency Management Agency flood zones near the Colorado River, which will necessitate increasing the tunnel's length from 1.56 miles to 4.19 miles. 

The original tunnel route also ran afoul of long-standing Capitol view corridor restrictions, which regulate what structures can be built that might obstruct views of the Capitol and which added to the need to lengthen the tunnel.  

David Couch, Project Connect's chief program officer, said he was not available for an interview. Project Connect officials, answering questions via email, said that during the preliminary engineering phase for the tunnel two options were considered — the first was a short tunnel that would terminate near the Texas School for the Deaf's campus and the other a longer tunnel that would end near Live Oak Street.

 

Edited by Wally Pryor
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

 

Planners said the Capitol sight lines extend far enough down Congress to disqualify any other shorter tunnel options and an above-ground South Congress station. Even the longer tunnel's entrance portal and catenary poles were nearly in conflict with the state rules given the unforeseen limitations of the corridor restraints, which even extend several feet below ground near Live Oak.

“That was not something we expected when we were researching this and looking at state law and things like that. So that’s kind of what caused us to also take another look at that design for the portal, the stations and ultimately ended up with the extended tunnel,” said Sofia Ojeda, the Austin Transit Partnership's director of Orange Line design.

https://communityimpact.com/austin/central-austin/transportation/2022/04/11/project-connect-design-planning-continues-as-cost-estimates-for-light-rail-lines-jump-77/

Good lord, Sof.

hey, I’m happy to jump on as a consultant to help your team avoid such embarrassing oversights in the future.

Qualifications? I’m pretty good with google.  I did this in 32 seconds. But I’ll be sure to increase my billing rate by 77% on the first change order. You know, kinda like you guys did.

B2026DAB-6F50-468A-B5D6-9095288DA85F.thumb.jpeg.21b58bb0ac58486f258697eb726e6959.jpeg


 


E611B604-B1FE-464D-9202-F032F7DE0971.thumb.jpeg.5661d4268310296723ce726154a49a00.jpeg

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

No more cars on the Drag ... the plan is trains and buses only between the former Dirty's location and the MLK/Drag intersection.  I think they plan to route car traffic down Nueces, which will become a two way street.

I saw a drawing which had the tunnel entrance right around Dobie, which means you'll be able to get on a train on the Drag and take tunnels all the way to South Congress.  That's pretty cool if you are a pedestrian at the Co-op and you want to suddenly travel to South Congress.  Most students are just walking from West Campus to campus and back.  Car travel north/south on the remaining open streets will be pretty brutal, which I think is the main idea.

UT should be buying up everything they can in west campus and building student housing.  I think that entire area is going to gentrify like crazy with folks that work downtown but want to live near campus.  Students are going to be pushed out.

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3 minutes ago, Texas Jeff said:

UT should be buying up everything they can in west campus and building student housing.  I think that entire area is going to gentrify like crazy with folks that work downtown but want to live near campus.  Students are going to be pushed out.

Why?  Have you not been recently?   It’s essentially that already but with (compared to campus) luxury housing for students who can afford it.

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49 minutes ago, LCHorn said:

Why?  Have you not been recently?   It’s essentially that already but with (compared to campus) luxury housing for students who can afford it.

True but he’s not wrong.  UT should be buying as much as they can around campus.  It’s not a bad investment and it can benefit their students and faculty.  Put it in a holding company and buy up as much as possible.

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Why?  Have you not been recently?   It’s essentially that already but with (compared to campus) luxury housing for students who can afford it.

So that UT can control the cost of housing for kids once they move out of the dorm. I have a kid living at 2400 Nueces right now, an apartment owned by UT. It’s not super fancy but I know that UT is going to lease to students and they are going to charge less than the free market would.

Eventually the private dorms and the folks that build the tall buildings are going to figure out that they can rent places or sell condos to 20 somethings that want to be around younger folks but have six figure salaries and work downtown. The train is going to make the commute from west campus really easy for those folks.
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