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The Wayback Machine -
"Many of you attempted to participate in TxDOT's online public open house a few weeks ago about the 2040 Long-Range Plan updates and were unable to log on. Because of the technical difficulties and high level of interest in the updates, TxDOT has agreed to host another online meeting so people who ride bikes in Texas have a chance to share their concerns.

Where: Click the link below 
If requested, enter your name and email address.
If a password is required, enter the meeting password: 12345.
Click "Join."
When: 6:00 PM TOMORROW, December 5
Who: You!
We spoke to TxDOT about the technical problems and they were surprised to hear that we had managed to let so many people know about the meetings so quickly. In fact, when we got the word out, TxDOT had an old link published on their site that was only corrected after we had already let you know the meetings were coming-- but unfortunately, it was before TxDOT realized that the bad link had gone out across the state."


Click for Meeting Link
The Austin Police Department's Auto Theft Interdiction Unit and the Region II District Representatives will be providing free VIN etching on vehicles on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Domain, 11410 Century Oaks Terrace.
After the Community Conversation made it clear people were not buying Project Connect's "data", they issued a new data matrix table. Download at:

Brief highlights:

• Cursory look at trip data seems to suggest more favorable numbers for "Lamar" sector.

• Includes "Non-Highway" and "Lamar + West Campus" tabs.

• TOI is measured but apparently not included in analysis.

They have also scheduled a data-focused meeting at CapMetro HQ on Tuesday Dec. 3rd, 11:30 am-1:30 pm. 

Which is very odd - considering they already made their recommendation 2 and 1/2 weeks ago.

There will be a simultaneous webinar on this:

The main source of Project Connect's evaluation data is presented in their matrix, available for download as an XLSX file, here:

There is also the Criteria Measure Guide (PDF):

And the Index Weightings (PDF):

Meanwhile, questions continue to roll in about Project Connect's methods and data.

Does Project Connect's data really prove that ERC and Highland make more sense than investing in the spine of our city, North Lamar/Guadalupe? Or is Project Connect just a way of feeding skewed info to the Mayor's hand picked committee, the Central Corridor Advisory Group.

And why is CCAG the ones who have been given the authority to decide where the next rail line should go? Shouldn't the CCAG be accountable to the citizens its making decisions for?

More Questions Raised on Project Connect's Data

~Lyndon Henry

I've been combing through this plus the docs, and have found some interesting (and sometimes jaw-dropping) anomalies.

First, the main thing to emphasize is that the PConnect study has NEVER been about actual corridors. They've called all these places corridors, I think, as a smokescreen to disguise the fact that they have avoided studying any single real, actual corridor anywhere in the city.

So, when we speak of "Lamar", we're not talking about the Guadalupe-Lamar corridor, we're talking about this huge, 4.5-sq mile area that goes west of Burnet Rd to Shoal Creek. For "Mueller", we're talking about a piece of central Austin neighborhoods north of the UT campus, then the actual Mueller, then most of NE Austin. And so on. That's why I've called these areas "sectors", not corridors. (Could also call them "zones" or "districts" or something, but "sectors" is good enough.)

I've called all that peculiar boundary-manipulation "gerrymandering" the sectors to be studied. The MOST gerrymandered is "Lamar", which, unlike almost all the rest, is carefully drawn to AVOID any of the major heavy-traffic freeways or transit interchange hubs.

This is critical, because the major freeways, especially I-35, give the PConnect top honchos a pretext to count all that heavy traffic (and congestion) to significantly raise the scores of any sectors that happen to be touched by such highways. Transit transfer hubs are important because all those transfers count as additional boardings, and that seemingly spikes up the transit ridership scores for those sectors.

Second, reiterating the point just made about freeways: PConnect has assumed that ONLY people in sectors adjacent to freeways like I-35 use those freeways, so the traffic is counted into total traffic for the sector. Even pass-by traffic is counted!

For the Lamar sector, much of the pass-through traffic on N. Lamar could conceivably actually use an urban rail line in that corridor. But would motorists traveling from, say, Round Rock to South Austin on I-35 really leave the freeway, try to find a place to park, and catch an urban rail train on Red River? This question has never even been raised (except by me).

Now, let me share just a couple of interesting data items from analysis so far of the matrix table data.

The big surprise this AM was the finding about projected transit trips. These are projected by an algorithmic mechanism  called the Transit Orientation Index (TOI), which incorporates several factors such as retail activity, density, etc. to render estimates of potential transit usage -- projections, in effect. I found that their model -- for the ERC (East Riverside) sector ALONE -- projects an implausibly high daily transit ridership as the "high" estimate" for 2030. Ready for this? It's 2.9 MILLION rider-trips per day.

To put that in perspective, 2.9 million daily rider-trips is about as much daily ridership as the entire cities of Chicago + Philadelphia combined. For one single Austin sector.

Obviously, this calls their model and their methodology into question. The ERC ridership figure skews the entire scoring system and contributes to assigning the inordinately high scores to ERC (ditto Highland) that led to the PConnect decision on Nov. 15th.

One more quick data item.

Their basic travel-demand assessment, based on person trips, has Lamar sector in the lead with >73K trips/day, both to the core and intra-corridor. This is the highest of all corridors ... UNTIL they count the pass-by trips ("Regional O-D Trips Passing Through Sub-Corridor to Core"). That's those trips passing by Highland and ERC on I-35. Once they're counted, then those corridors creep past Lamar. But, as I said above, how realistic is it to expect that motorists from elsewhere in the region would  leave the freeway to find a place to park in an inner-city neighborhood and catch urban rail?

I'll leave it there for now. Much more to come, especially about projections.

For those of you that might want to peruse some of the technical documents and other materials for yourselves, I've provided below a list for starters.

By Ben Wear - American-Statesman Staff

Set aside, for the moment, the huge question of whether Austin should spend large coin to build more passenger rail. Voters next November, perhaps, will have the final say on that.
But the rail question of the moment is where it would go — and the odd situation that has evolved about who gets to decide that.

Unless things change, the deciders won’t be the Austin City Council or the Capital Metro board of directors. Or even the board of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, which is charged with approving the area’s long-range transportation plan.

No, apparently it will be a 16-member committee appointed by (and including) Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell that I would wager 99 percent of you don’t know exists: the Central Corridor Advisory Group.

I know we hear so much talk about transportation and the latest 'fix' that sometimes we just tune it out. But there's a huge problem with Project Connect.

A 600 million dollar problem.

The City decided they wanted to run a rail line to Mueller. Here's what they aren't telling Austinites. Because of infrastructure needs and right of way issues, a rail line to Mueller is prohibitively expensive. It will probably cost 600 million dollars.

To do this, they now have to justify the cost - and that means proving that Highland and ERG are the corridors we should be working on.

Let me repeat. The cost they are trying to justify is 600 million dollars.

600 million dollars to build a special rail line for a neighborhood of 7,000 people.

600 million dollars so one neighborhood doesn't have to drive 6-10 minutes to downtown.

Should we be spending 600 million dollars on one neighborhood, when North Lamar/Guadalupe, the spine of our city, is failing?

You can check out the data for yourself -  just see the links at the bottom of our last update.

Links that show a huge discrepancy in the official data and the actual data.

Links that show that the needs along North Lamar/Guadalupe outweigh the needs of the Highland and ERG corridor:

Oh and oddly, even the state says North Lamar/Guadalupe is congested:

Please call in on Tuesday - lets stand up to Project Connect.

Lets tell them that if they want to spend 600 million dollars of tax payer money, than they should be spending it on the corridors where the greatest needs are.
On Tuesday, Project Connect is going to do something new - they are going to hold a 'Community Conversation'

November 26th from 7-9 PM in Council Chambers at City Hall. The conversation will feature a dial-out to 50,000 Austin residents, as well as in-person and online participation. A toll-free number, (888) 409-5380, will also be available for community members to call-in.

Real-time Spanish translation will also be available. Additionally, participants will be able to contribute via text message and social media. The presentation will be carried live on the City's television station Channel 6 and will also be streamed online.

The Televised Community Conversation is one of the last opportunities the public has to give input before the Central Corridor Advisory Group makes a recommendation about which of 10 sub-corridors should move forward into Phase 2 of the Central Corridor Study to select a mode of transportation and alignment/route.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Televised Community Conversation
Austin City Hall, Council Chambers
301 W. Second St.Austin, TX 78701

More information is available at:

Reasonable accommodations and equal access to communications are provided upon request.  Please call 512-369-6201 or email for more information.

Please call in on Tuesday!

Want to pass this on to friends and neighbors? Please give them the direct link:

(and yes, it would be nice to know how they chose the 50,000 residents they are going to dial-out to -

but strangely, Cap Metro isn't releasing that info)


Mary Rudig
~Editor -North Austin Community Newsletter

Next meeting for YMCA Community Garden is Nov 25th, 7pm

Project 183:

"Join Us at the January 28th Open House to Get the 183 North MobilityProject Moving!

Learn more about a joint effort from the Central Texas Regional MobilityAuthority and the Texas Department of Transportation to develop mobility improvement for managing congestion, as well as improving transit reliability and emergency response times, along the eight-mile segment of US 183 between SH 45 North and MoPac. The study will alsoexplore options for connecting mobility improvements on US 183 North to the MoPac corridor.

183 North Mobility Project Open House
When:  January 28, 2014 from 5pm ­ 8pm
Where: Anderson High School (cafeteria)
8403 Mesa Drive
Austin, TX, 78759

You can download a map of the project here. Please note the dotted line is connection points they may need to work on to make the project work:

The Austin Police Department's Auto Theft Interdiction Unit and the Region II District Representatives will be providing free VIN etching on vehicles on Thursday, Nov. 21 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at ACC Northridge Campus, 11928 Stonehollow Blvd