Congress Avenue may get quieter without buses

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Congress Avenue could become more peaceful come this summer.

Capital Metro is looking to pull all of its bus routes from the avenue and shift them down a few blocks.

The proposal calls to pull the 11 routes that currently run on Congress Avenue between the river and the Capitol and shift those over to Guadalupe and Lavaca.

It’s something business owners along the avenue think is a great idea. The Royal Blue Grocery on Congress Avenue is a popular stop for bus commuters to grab their morning cup of coffee.

“Plenty of people who come here in the morning are bus travelers,” said George Scariano, Royal Blue Grocery owner and proprietor.

Soon, those bus travelers could have to take their coffee to go a little further so that Capital Metro can run those routes in the new dedicated MetroRapid lanes.

“We’ve experienced that it helps with operations because it is less congested and easier to maneuver through there,” said Melissa Ayala, Capital Metro spokeswoman.

In January, three routes made the move from Congress Avenue to Guadalupe and Lavaca streets. And for Formula 1 and South by Southwest, all of the buses are temporarily shifted off of Congress Avenue.

But this proposed permanent shift is part of the city’s bigger vision to redevelop Congress Avenue to make it more pedestrian-friendly.

And when loud buses aren’t passing by, places like the Royal Blue Grocery may see more customers enjoying their new outdoor seating.

“We’re looking forward to it being a little more peaceful down on the avenue,” said Scariano.

CapMetro has two public feedback meetings planned about the route changes. Both are happening at their Transit Store on West Ninth Street.

Wednesday’s meeting is from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., and Thursday’s happens from 3:30 p.m. to 6p.m. Feedback can also be submitted online.

CapMetro officials are also looking to move three routes off of Sixth Street so that they don’t have to deal with the nightly closures on the street. The Board will vote on the proposed changes at the end of the month.

If it’s approved, the bus route changes will go into effect in June.

blog comments powered by Disqus