Council Hears Bus Station Latest

City Council heard the current state of play of the Bus Station project yesterday evening – Tuesday September 12th – and our watchgroup attended the meeting to monitor events.

Mr. Tom Yantis reports that CARTS has dropped the Holly Street location from its list of potential locations for the depot. The grant from TxDot to build the station has been extended. Now the city must get the station built by August 2008. Time is of the essence.

Staff have five possible locations on their list, including two remaining from the original three:

  • The Park and Ride location on South Austin by the freeway.
  • A location at 21st Street and Church.
  • Another location on 21st Street, close to Austin Avenue.
  • The former Caring Place on Railroad Street.
  • A location on Inner Loop.

The original “Scoring Criteria” are in effect, with two additions made by staff, and two more requested by councilmember Ben Oliver.
Original criteria are:

  • Accessibility
  • Configurability
  • Environmental status
  • Developmental characteristics.

With the time crunch staff have added:

  • Ease of acquisition of the property
  • Correct zoning already in place.

Mr. Ben Oliver insisted very clearly that two more criteria be added to the scoring matrix. He pointed out that all the staff criteria were “positive” attributes of the property for the project development, and contained no way to gauge the potentially “negative” elements, such as the reaction of residents of the neighborhood holding the development. He made sure that staff understood they should measure this in their evalutions.

Mr. Oliver’s second point was that we should all become more clear as to the “ultimate buildout” of the project: we grasped what the immediate development was for (an inter-city staging and transfer terminal), but we had no real information as to the potential evolution of the depot in the future – e.g. in terms of other transportation systems and demographic trends, over the long term. His point was that knowing all this will help all parties concerned make intelligent judgments, and he insisted also that this be incorporated into staff reporting, although it’s not clear if this second point will actually become part of the scoring criteria.


3 replies

  1. The irony is that they wasted three years by choosing a site that required rezoning. What’s the purpose of zoning if not to guide proposed development into the areas already designated as suitable?

    Now they have so little time left that they have to choose a site that already has appropriate zoning. Does anybody else see this is a basic principle that our own city staff SHOULD have known to adopt from the beginning?

  2. Right on Ben Oliver!

  3. I agree, he was the star of the show. Mr. Yantis took that in I think. There’s a thought on the council that the guiding principle is “not in my back yard” but that’s a little cynical. Really people are saying, there’s no need for ugly, wherever it is, and let’s only do what makes sense. People are smart, easily as smart as staff and council, let’s all listen to each other this time.

    And I really liked Mr. Oliver’s point about future evolution of the site – that’s a new thought that we really need to look at when the scores come back.