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Support Urban Rail in Mueller at the Transit Work Group Mtg 6/22/12
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Travis m.
Mueller Community

Posts: 31
Joined on November 15th, 2009
Support Urban Rail in Mueller at the Transit Work Group Mtg 6/22/12
by Travis m. on June 19th, 2012

Although the Mayor recently delayed the bond election for Urban Rail this November, it is important that we continue to let City leadership know that the Mueller community supports Urban Rail and locating a Maintenance Facility in Mueller as part of Phase I. Recently there has been a vocal group opposed to the Mueller alignment, and encouraging a more westerly alignment (North Lamar).

We can let our voice be heard at the City's next Transit Working Group meeting, this Friday, June 22nd from 1:30pm - 3:30pm at City Hall (301 W. Second St.). If you cannot attend, consider writing the mayor and council members in support of rail in Mueller as part of Phase I.

Some key talking points that will resonate with leadership include:

- 13,000/13,000 Total number of residents/employees at full build-out (currently ~ 30% complete)
- Current numbers: 45 business, 3,300 employees, and estimated 3,700 residents.
-The Mueller option provides the opportunity to meet the immediate needs of the rail line with a permanent maintenance facility, one that can be thoughtfully incorporated into the urban core without intruding on existing homes or businesses.
- Mueller Neighborhood Association and Mueller Commission (PIAC) support the maintenance facility.
- Rail enables more density, bringing more value and therefore tax revenue to the city. Mueller has shown support for density, it will not be resisted like it may be in other Central Austin neighborhoods.
- Mueller was designed with rail included in the master plan, and has entitlements (zoning, etc) in place for it. In addition, utility conflicts and modifications to infrastructure are minimal.
- The Lamar route is already well served by buses and has BRT coming soon, the east side is less served and can benefit from improved transit options.
-The Mueller option offers important long-term expansion opportunity to the north on the east side.
- A lot of Mueller's employment density - Dell Children's, Seton, UT, etc. - is already launched and rapidly expanding.- The need for connectivity within the urban core is important to Austin's future. Connectivity to the central business district with linkages to the university, state complex and hospitals make transit an obvious benefit for downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods in central and east Austin. It is especially important to Mueller as the home to Dell Children's Medical Center and to the University of Texas health research campus.
 
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Betsy
Mueller Community

Posts: 542
Joined on December 17th, 2007
Support Urban Rail in Mueller at the Transit Work Group Mtg 6/22/12
by Betsy on June 20th, 2012

Thanks for posting this information Travis!
 
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doug
Mueller Community

Posts: 484
Joined on February 18th, 2009
Support Urban Rail in Mueller at the Transit Work Group Mtg 6/22/12
by doug on June 20th, 2012

Thanks for posting, Travis. It's a shame that we will have to fight this battle for several more years before we even start construction
 
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doug
Mueller Community

Posts: 484
Joined on February 18th, 2009
Support Urban Rail in Mueller at the Transit Work Group Mtg 6/22/12
by doug on June 20th, 2012

Last time I contacted mayor and council, I could do it all at the same time in one email. Apparently the "new and improved" web site doesn't provide that convenience, but I started at the top. Here's the mayors email address:
http://www.austintexas.gov/email/leeleffingwell

and the email I sent (with appropriate respect to Travis m.) :

Mayor Leffingwell,
Please keep the proposed Maintenance Facility and Urban Rail line connecting the Mueller neighborhood with UT, Downtown, and eventually S. Austin and the airport for the following reasons:
- 13,000/13,000 Total number of residents/employees at full build-out (currently ~ 30% complete)
- Current numbers: 45 business, 3,300 employees, and estimated 3,700 residents.
-The Mueller option provides the opportunity to meet the immediate needs of the rail line with a permanent maintenance facility, one that can be thoughtfully incorporated into the urban core without intruding on existing homes or businesses.
- Mueller Neighborhood Association and Mueller Commission (PIAC) support the maintenance facility.
- Rail enables more density, bringing more value and therefore tax revenue to the city. Mueller has shown support for density, it will not be resisted like it may be in other Central Austin neighborhoods.
- Mueller was designed with rail included in the master plan, and has entitlements (zoning, etc) in place for it. In addition, utility conflicts and modifications to infrastructure are minimal.
- The Lamar route is already well served by buses and has BRT coming soon, the east side is less served and can benefit from improved transit options.
-The Mueller option offers important long-term expansion opportunity to the north on the east side.
- A lot of Mueller's employment density - Dell Children's, Seton, UT, etc. - is already launched and rapidly expanding.- The need for connectivity within the urban core is important to Austin's future. Connectivity to the central business district with linkages to the university, state complex and hospitals make transit an obvious benefit for downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods in central and east Austin. It is especially important to Mueller as the home to Dell Children's Medical Center and to the University of Texas health research campus.
Thank you for your careful consideration in this matter.
Sincerely,
 
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danx111
Mueller Community

Posts: 1151
Joined on November 25th, 2008
Support Urban Rail in Mueller at the Transit Work Group Mtg 6/22/12
by danx111 on June 21st, 2012

here's the "mail all council" link:http://www.austintexas.gov/mail/all-council-members
 
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ccosart
Mueller Community

Posts: 213
Joined on August 30th, 2007
Support Urban Rail in Mueller at the Transit Work Group Mtg 6/22/12
by ccosart on June 21st, 2012

I would say the answer is we should be building rail to Mueller AND on the South Congress/North Lamar route. Of course, I’m making the mistake of using common sense.

Of the two, I think there’s a stronger pure transit argument for North Lamar - there’s a reason the bus on that route is called the #1 – but generally have the impression that the Mueller route is fairly set in stone for political reasons. Namely, UT wants the eastern route, eastern downtown/capital area is underdeveloped and city leaders want to change that, and the possibility of serving the new med school if it should happen.

-cc
 
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plema
Mueller Community

Posts: 10
Joined on February 1st, 2009
Support Urban Rail in Mueller at the Transit Work Group Mtg 6/22/12
by plema on June 22nd, 2012

There are a few reasons I do not support urban rail in the Mueller neighborhood.

I assume that many of the passengers will be non-Muellerites arriving from the north and east regions of Austin and beyond. This will result in two problems. One is an increase in traffic particularly in the mornings and evenings. The other is parking for these passengers. Will there be a large parking lot for hundreds or thousands of cars? If the parking lot is full will there be spillover onto our streets which are already crowded with our own cars? Instead of a parking lot I would rather see a park or businesses appropriate for our community.

I do not wish to see an urban rail maintenance facility in our neighborhood. What added value do we obtain from that? Again, the several acres required for what will likely be a large, unattractive structure with additional rail cars in reserve should be devoted to park land, additional housing or desirable commercial or municipal uses.
 
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Kathy Sokolic
Mueller Community

Posts: 275
Joined on March 19th, 2008
Support Urban Rail in Mueller at the Transit Work Group Mtg 6/22/12
by Kathy Sokolic on June 22nd, 2012

I would like to make a very brief reply to plema's post, just to clear up some misconceptions that folks might have about rail and Mueller. I'm no expert, but have heard a lot of the discussions...

Rail has been in the plans for Mueller for a VERY long time. This is not a new idea, and is part of the new-urbanism ideal that Mueller is founded on.

This is not a park-and-ride location, and the goal of rail (and any mass transit) is actually to prevent increased traffic. It's mass transit, and not a commuter rail (no need for giant parking lots). Think of it as a different kind of bus system... The plans for Mueller, as stated above, are for incredible density. There will be traffic, there will be other Austinites cutting through Mueller, and there will be a lot of people trying to get to the stores, their homes, or the parks. The rail, or other forms of public transit, help to alleviate some of the traffic. People from other parts of the city will be coming here, regardless (shops, restaurants, parks!!), so why not make it a bit easier for them to not have to drive?

Preliminary plans for the maintenance facility have been posted on this site, but I'll have to dig them up. Anything built in Mueller has to adhere to the design standards, so it will not be an unattractive structure. The facility is also not intended for storage, but for maintenance of only one or a few cars at a time. I believe the plans were for an area of approximately one acre, which is minor, and fits into the master plan developed for Mueller. The reasons for having this facility here are extensive, have also been covered previously, and include ensuring rail at Mueller is in phase I of the rail, allowing the facility to go into a location that is convenient and not already developed, and going into a location without a fight from neighbors. The maintenance facility has been welcomed and supported by the MNA.

Also as mentioned above, there will be continued discussions for the upcoming months and years. Hopefully the idea of rail at Mueller will become more amenable to the residents here!! :)

The POA Let's Talk meetings are a great way to learn about the upcoming development at Mueller (every other month, posted here on the Events Page and in emails from Jennifer Harvey). The last one discussed the plans for Town Center and how many things were going in. I highly recommend attending these meetings if anyone is concerned about upcoming development, especially related to density.

Kathy
 
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jzimm
Mueller Community

Posts: 162
Joined on August 5th, 2008
Support Urban Rail in Mueller at the Transit Work Group Mtg 6/22/12
by jzimm on June 22nd, 2012

To add to Kathy's post: I moved to Mueller because of the New Urbanism, and for me that most specifically included (and even more includes now) urban rail. I'm not getting any younger; although I'm still under 60, any further delay now has me wondering "Will I ever be able to ride on it in my lifetime?"

So rail has been amenable to me, is now, and I confidently expect it to be amenable in the future.

Friends, Mueller is not a suburb. It's a piece of a city. Real cities have many transit options.
 
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doug
Mueller Community

Posts: 484
Joined on February 18th, 2009
Support Urban Rail in Mueller at the Transit Work Group Mtg 6/22/12
by doug on June 22nd, 2012

Quote:
Hopefully the idea of rail at Mueller will become more amenable to the residents here!! :)


Kathy, thanks so much for your analysis of the rail situation. Sometimes I wonder about Austinites ability to agree on anything. All of the great cities in the world have a rail system, even Houston and Dallas. I have always been a rail advocate, but it wasn't until I visited Portland a few years ago, that I discovered why I had been such an advocate. There, I took the rail from the airport to within a block of my hotel. I later took the rail to see the Portland Beavers Minor League Baseball team play ball in their downtown stadium (don't get me started about how Austin voters voted down a potential minor league stadium to be built here in town - likely the same voters who voted down rail 10 or so years ago) In fact the week I was in Portland, I rode in a car just one time. I also took the rail back to the airport. DC really is easy to get around in without a car, too.

Kathy, some people will just never get it. They will not vote for it or ride it when its built, but I think there are enough of us here now, that its just a matter of time before we do it. I would just rather it had been sooner than later.

 
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