I don’t write much voluntarily. Beyond tweets, anyway. The big box of the blog post overwhelms me. But I thought I’d dust off my old Wonkingbird platform to share what I saw and heard at last night’s public workshop on the Project Connect Central Corridor priority subcorridor evaluation. I’ll try to keep it simple and focused so that I’ll actually get this posted.

First, the pictures.

The “placemat”/worksheet in front of every attendee (front and back):Image

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The plan and the crowd (as of 6:40pm, at least; more trickled in):

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The initial poll of attendees’ priority subcorridor preference:

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Project Connect’s Problem Statements and Evaluation Indices (sometimes called Criteria), as presented to the attendees:

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The attendees’ rankings of the Problem Statements and ratings of the Evaluation Indices:

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(“Congestion” Problem indices:)

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(“Constraints & Growth” Problem indices:)

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(“Core” Problem indices:)

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(“Centers” Problem indices:)

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(“System” Problem indices:)
Ridership Potential Rating
Connectivity Index Rating
Accessibility Index Rating

Then we got the Project Connect team’s “preliminary” (fingers crossed) subcorridor-comparative data:
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And then they asked one more time for attendees’ priority subcorridor preference:
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From what I could tell, there was a lot of thoughtful, worthwhile discussion among attendees at each of the tables. Folks made good arguments for a number of the subcorridors (nothing shockingly new, though). There were also a LOT of good questions about the problems/problem statements, criteria, measures, and data. I heard multiple times attendees expressing their earnest desire to be open-minded, to make the best priority-subcorridor recommendation for Austin as a whole, and to form that recommendation based on data/”the facts” but feeling unsure about how and whether they could do that with the information presented to them. I know how they feel.

Personally, I was both surprised and glad to see such strong consensus among the attendees on their preferred priority subcorridor. Such consensus, if apparent throughout the public input workshops and opportunities, should have a meaningful impact on the critical impending subcorridor decisions by the Project Connect team, the Central Corridor Advisory Group, the CapMetro Board, and the City Council. I wouldn’t exactly call 47-55% for the Lamar subcorridor a “mandate,” but at the very least, it should be hard to ignore. We’ll see what folks say at tonight’s and tomorrow’s workshops. Maybe it’ll be wildly different and Jane Q Average-Austinite’s preferred subcorridor will be less certain, or maybe it’ll be more. Stay tuned.

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