The City of Austin has rolled out the red carpet on a set of transit improvements to Guadalupe and Lavaca streets, and Capital Metro is preparing to kick off service on Sunday.
The project includes a new traffic and transit signal on Lavaca Street at 18th Street that allows buses to turn left onto 18th Street before turning onto Guadalupe Street in a northbound, bus-only lane from 18th Street to MLK Jr. Boulevard. The City of Austin has used innovative street markings that include red paint to clearly identify the transit-only lanes. Capital Metro has been training its operators and carrying out facility testing prior to launching service Sunday as part of its August 2019 Service Changes.
The Austin Transportation Department and Corridor Program Office coordinated with Capital Metro to complete the multimodal improvements to Lavaca Street from 15th Street to MLK Jr. Boulevard, 18th Street from Lavaca Street to Guadalupe Street, and Guadalupe Street from 18th Street to MLK Jr. Boulevard. This Complete Streets project, funded by the 2016 Mobility Bond, implements recommendations from Capital Metro’s Project Connect and the City of Austin’s Guadalupe Corridor Plan, including new traffic and transit signals, and improved amenities for pedestrians, bicyclists and scooters.
The Guadalupe and Lavaca streets transit improvements make up the first 2016 Mobility Bond Corridor Construction Program project to complete construction. The project aligns with City Council's Austin Strategic Direction 2023 Mobility Strategic Outcome of “getting Austinites where we want go, when we want to get there, safely and cost-effectively.” The goal is to improve transit reliability and relieve congestion on the Guadalupe Street corridor while improving multimodal access for people who walk, bike and use transit in this area. Capital Metro anticipates the project will improve the experience for existing users and could attract 7-10% more riders as bus travel times decrease and become more consistent and efficient.
The new bus-only lane takes advantage of existing, underutilized right-of-way to improve bus travel times and increase people-carrying capacity through the corridor. In addition, the project improves conditions for all roadway users by:
Adding a signalized intersection on Lavaca Street at 18th Street that will accommodate transit and improve conditions for pedestrians, bicyclists, and scooters;
Adding a bicycle lane on 18th Street from Lavaca Street to Guadalupe Street;
Adding a shared use path and improving sidewalk conditions on Guadalupe Street from 18th Street to MLK Jr. Boulevard; and
Improving the signalized intersection and crossing of MLK Jr. Boulevard at Guadalupe Street