More Dallas..and change is in Austin’s air

Capital Metro is going to interview two external candidates to be CEO.  It seemed inevitable that the leadership would need to change–given all the negative publicity surrounding the agency and its launch of commuter rail.

I’ll be curious to see how the public responds to these two candidates.  Orlando, where one of the candidates comes from, has significant challenges related to transit planning–Orlando’s land use is planned in such a way to make transit very difficult.  Each time we’ve gone there, I’ve looked ahead of time at the possibility of getting around via transit, and each time, it’s seemed impractical even for me–90 or more minutes on buses, plus long walks, for a 15 minute drive.  That said, Austin is no picnic when it comes to linking our existing land use patterns to sensible transit, so the Orlando candidate could bring some valuable experience.

The candidate with more rail experience would obviously bring a lot of value to a city desperately in need of additional rail linking key nodes of density and going closer to where people currently are.  That said, I’d be curious how she (and the Orlando candidate) would deal with Austin’s transportation politics–apart from the need for expertise in the subject area, there’s a need for rock-solid communication and public leadership and diplomacy skills.  We shall see.

Meanwhile, Dallas continues pushing forward, and it’s making me red with envy.  Granted, streetcars are not the world’s most efficient transportation mode–as folks in San Francisco will tell you, people seem to ride more for the experience than for getting quickly from A to B.  But I think it engenders lots of enthusiasm for transit as a whole, which feeds into the health of the broader system, which is important.  So, kudos (gulp) to Dallas.

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One response to “More Dallas..and change is in Austin’s air

  1. I really wish you wouldn’t downplay the disaster of the Red Line – it’s not a matter of publicity; it’s a matter of objective performance. I think even 1000 boardings/day (first week paid ridership) is turning out to be too optimistic a prediction based on anectdotes and my own observations.

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