The current Downtown Station was always intended to be a temporary structure, and the time has come to build a permanent facility. It is the smallest, yet busiest of our 9 MetroRail stations. Our goal is to create a great public plaza that ties together Downtown Station, the Convention Center and surrounding hotels and businesses, as well as to offer a mobility center that connects Capital Metro services with other mobility options. Construction starts in March! Check back here - as well as on Twitter and Facebook - to keep up to date.
A Mobility Hub
While the new Downtown Station and adjacent plaza will enhance the area's public space, its primary function will be to facilitate connections between MetroRail and other kinds of transportation. Customers will be able to connect to:
- Local MetroBus service ( Route 17 on Cesar Chavez and Route 4 on 7th St.)
- Electric Cab
- Austin's bicycle trails
We have finished the design of the station and are breaking ground on construction in March. Construction is expected to last about 2 years. See below for a glimpse:
What It Will Look Like
The station will feature parasol structures mounted on columns. The pentagonal roof atop each column will not only offer a striking visual welcome to downtown, but it'll also provide overhead protection for riders as they wait for, enter or exit the train cars. Similar canopies can be found in locations as diverse as Barcelona and Fort Worth.
Improving MetroRail Service
Another reason we're expanding the station is to let us build out the MetroRail Red Line to expand the capacity of the service. This will mean more customers can take advantage of a service that operates at standing-room-only levels during the morning and evening commutes.
A larger waiting area and improved crowd control operations are essential for the station. During events like SXSW or Pecan Street Festival, we see huge crowds arrive and depart in short periods of time, and Downtown Station needs to be able to handle the rush. New waiting and ticketing areas will reduce platform crowding during these times, and the tracks will be set 18”-22” below grade so that the platform will be even with the sidewalk.
In June, this construction will force the temporary closure of Downtown Station through the end of 2019. Until then, Plaza Saltillo will be the end of the MetroRail Red Line and a shuttle bus