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Photo by Sam Stark

Capital Metro hosts groundbreaking ceremony for its new station outside of Austin FC stadium

Wednesday, July 20, 2022 by Samuel Stark

On Monday evening, following a compelling rendition by the Austin FC marching band of Camila Cabello’s “Havana” (singing “McKalla, ah la-la” instead of “Havana, ooh na-na”) state and local officials and Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority staff participated in a groundbreaking ceremony in front of what will be the new McKalla Station, located on the east side of Austin FC’s home stadium, Q2 Stadium.

McKalla Station is one of two new stations, the other being Broadmoor/Domain, that will be constructed along the MetroRail Red Line as part of Capital Metro’s multibillion-dollar transit initiative, Project Connect. The McKalla Station is expected to open in late 2023.

“We’re here on the doorstep of Q2 Stadium. This is a world-class facility. And we’re now adding what is a world-class amenity,” Andy Loughnane, Austin FC president, said.

The new station aims to address the increased traffic Austin FC matches will bring and support population growth in the region.

Austin mayoral candidate and state Rep. Celia Israel told a medium-sized crowd gathered at the ceremony that on Austin FC game days, around 20,000 riders are expected to utilize Capital Metro services, according to Capital Metro staff predictions.

“We can use a sports venue as an entree to transit. Just try it,” Israel said. “It’s not that people don’t want transit. They want more connections and more reasons to say yes to transit,” she added.

The Red Line spans from the center of downtown up to Leander. In addition to adding new stations along the Red Line as part of Project Connect, there are also plans to add an additional set of tracks, which will increase the frequency of service, and add quiet zones to maintain a bit of tranquility for residents situated near the tracks.

“Transit is so important to the life of a city. I don’t know a city that is considered a fabulous, wonderful city that does not have wonderful transit as well,” Jeff Travillion, chair of the Capital Metro Board of Directors, said at the ceremony.

“What (McKalla Station) means to this neighborhood is incredible, but what it means to Austin is significant as well,” he added.

In addition to transporting fans to the stadium, the Capital Metro team and stakeholders hope McKalla Station will offer more connectivity to housing, employment and leisure activities to folks living in the North Burnet neighborhood. The station will also provide connections to bicycle and pedestrian paths.

“We recognize that event transportation is a great introduction to transit for a lot of folks in our community. We look forward to welcoming new riders into the system, as well as day-to-day riders utilizing the station that will be open five days a week,” said Dottie Watkins, interim president and CEO of Capital Metro.

Once both McKalla and Broadmoor/Domain stops are constructed, Capital Metro plans to decommission the existing MetroRail Red Line station at Kramer.

The MetroRail Red Line enhancements are part of the Project Connect transit initiative. The line will eventually intersect with the larger regional transit system, including the planned new lines, and the MetroRapid and MetroBus routes.

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