AUSTIN, Texas - Subways may soon be a reality in downtown Austin.
"It’s really exciting because I think it’s going to enable us to provide the Austin community with really great access to transit that will provide connectivity throughout the entire city," said Peter Mullan, chief of architecture and urban design for Project Connect.
Mullan explained why they are looking underground when it comes to adding more transportation.
"In the early planning stage we recognize that the downtown area given the density of buildings and pedestrians as well as traffic that it would really be much more advantageous to put the trains below ground into a subway," he said.
According to the plans, there are two underground lines in the downtown area which meet up at 4th street. One line will travel north past the Capitol with both lines extending down towards South Austin. One even has plans to go under Lady Bird Lake. Some mock ups were created of what stations would look like in various areas of the city like Auditorium Shores.
"Will there be issues? Absolutely there are always issues. We started to test the geology and get soil samples, we haven’t really discovered any issues that make us think this is not feasible," said Mullan.
The proposal also has plans to turn 4th Street into the transportation hub for these rail lines. It would close off the area completely to vehicle traffic and open it up to be a place where people can walk and shop.
"Fourth Street has the opportunity to be a pedestrian priority street, in part because there’s already not much traffic on it already," Mullan said.
Project Connect is a multi billion dollar investment passed by the voters in November to bring various systems of mass transit to Austin. Should everything goes smoothly, construction is expected to begin in three to four years.
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