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Guadalupe-Lamar is highest-density corridor in Austin — according to Project Connect’s own data!

9 November 2013
Closeup of Project Connect's central Austin map of population density for 2010 shows intense clusters of density in West Campus, along Guadalupe above W. 29th St., and in Triangle area. Map: Rev. by LH from Project Connect.

Closeup of Project Connect’s central Austin map of population density for 2010 shows intense clusters of density in West Campus, along Guadalupe above W. 29th St., and in Triangle area. Map: Rev. by LH from Project Connect.

Even from the peculiarly selective and distorted data exhibited visually in Project Connect’s Map Books, it’s clear that the Guadalupe-Lamar (G-L) corridor currently has by far the highest concentration of population density within Austin central study area (and almost certainly the highest in the entire metro area). And this density appears predicted to persist in ProCon’s projection for 2030!

This density (pointed out decades ago by Lyndon Henry and Dave Dobbs as a pre-eminent justification for rail transit in this corridor) is shown in the following map graphics excerpted from the latest version (v. 5) of ProCon’s Map Book.


Central study area view

Population density in 2010 (G-L corridor spine in yellow). Map: Rev. by LH from Project Connect.

Population density in 2010 (G-L corridor spine in yellow). Map: Rev. by LH from Project Connect.

The map above shows the central-city study area (mislabeled by ProCon as a “Central Corridor”) with various sectors (mislabeled as “sub-corridors”) in 2010. The arterial spine of the G-L corridor (the most likely alignment for urban rail) is shown by a yellow line. Notice that heavy concentrations of high population density are clustered around the G-L corridor, particularly in the West Campus area, and just north of the campus, bordered by Guadalupe on the west and W. 29th St. on the south.


Population density projected for 2030 (G-L corridor spine in yellow). Map: Rev. by LH from Project Connect.

Population density projected for 2030 (G-L corridor spine in yellow). Map: Rev. by LH from Project Connect.

The map above shows the same study area and sectors, with population density concentrations projected for 2030. While these projections are far more subjective and tentative than actual current reality-based data, they do reflect speculation that extremely high density will not only intensify in 2030 in the same areas as it was located in 2010, but is expected to expand to other segments of the G-L corridor.


Guadalupe-Lamar focus

Composite of zoomed-in snips of Project Connect maps of population density. LEFT: 2010. RIGHT: 2030. Rev. by LH from Project Connect.

Composite of zoomed-in snips of Project Connect maps of population density. LEFT: 2010. RIGHT: 2030. Rev. by LH from Project Connect.

This composite focuses on population density the G-L corridor, showing density concentrations in 2010 on the left, and in 2030 on the right. Again, the probable alignment for urban rail is shown by a yellow line. This makes both the existing density and its projected intensification in the future even more obvious.


Conclusion

These data visualization maps clearly indicate that not only does the Guadalupe-Lamar corridor currently have extremely high levels of population density (as much as 30,000 persons per square mile in the West Campus) sufficient to support urban rail, but it surpasses all other corridors in the city! Furthermore, even in ProCon’s flawed analysis, this density is projected to intensify by 2030.

But this kind of bona fide corridor analysis counts for absolutely nothing in Project Connect’s “study”, because they’re not evaluating travel corridors such as Guadalupe-Lamar! They’ve been wasting taxpayer money on largely irrelevant studies of demographics and other conditions in isolated sectors while largely ignoring actual travel patterns in corridors into the core area, along with the demographics and other critical features along these actual corridors, such as G-L.

On Nov. 15th, the ProCon team are due to announce their “recommendation” for a sector (“sub-corridor”) as the location for urban rail … and it’s anybody’s guess as to what is the basis for their evaluation. But this small analysis we’ve just presented illustrates the actual kind of analysis of a travel corridor that official planners should be performing, and we suggest it as a far more effective model for the type of urban rail study this community actually should be supporting.

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2 comments

  1. I went to the public workshop at the Norris Conference Center on Tuesday, and the one thing that really bugged me was the slide that compared congestion among the different corridors. Lamar ranked remarkably low on congestion as compared to Mueller and Highland. I asked the facilitator if I-35’s congestion was included in Highland or Mueller since it demarcates their boundaries aside from a small overlap on their southern ends, but she didn’t know. She called over a different gentleman and he said the congestion data for I-35 was duplicated for both corridors, including the non-overlapping areas.

    Considering I-35 traffic includes lots of traffic that would have no impact on any ‘central corridor’ mass transit and vice versa, it seems disingenuous to include that.


    • In the Webinar on Wednesday, Nov. 6th, Kyle Keahey (urban rail study director) confirmed that congestion on “border” freeways such as I-35, Loop 1 (MoPac), and US 290 was indeed included in the “congestion” total for the sectors (“sub-corridors”) these roadways touched. The rationale is that the residents in these sectors use these roadways and are affected by their congestion.
      This is a foolish rationale. It’s exceptionally foolish to assume that ONLY the residents of arbitrary sectors (“sub-corridors” drawn by Project Connect) use these freeways and therefore the congestion is assigned only to their sectors.
      Furthermore, the role of these roadways in travel patterns from the various sectors into the core area is quite dubious, probably marginal at best. The “Mueller” sector, for example (which actually encompasses almost all of NE Austin), is located more to the northeast of the core and probably has more of a NE-SW traffic pattern with respect to the core area. In fact, Project Connect has submitted no data on actual travel patterns for any of the 10 sectors under study — they’re apparently simply making broad, subjective assumptions.
      And, when the original urban rail plan for the Mueller development ended just north of there, why has the study area been expended to cover this vast area? Why would E-W congestion on US 290 (touched by the “Mueller” sector) significantly impact travel from that sector to the core? Yet the “Mueller” sector’s “congestion” score is raised by its mere contact with these two major highways.
      You are exactly correct to imply that much of I-35 traffic is basically extraneous to the issue of travel from these sectors to the core, and that the inclusion of the high congestion of I-35 is disingenuous.

      — ARN editor



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