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Transit riders to benefit from Republic Square Park upgrades

Thursday, April 14, 2016 by Caleb Pritchard

The long-awaited Republic Square renovation project will bring a few extra amenities to the thousands of Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority riders who pass through the downtown Austin park each day. On Wednesday, the transit agency’s Operations, Safety and Planning Committee unanimously approved a share of funding for the project that will breathe new life into the block along Guadalupe Street between Fourth and Fifth streets. Todd Hemingson, Cap Metro’s vice president of strategic planning and development, explained to the committee that the project will include better lighting, improved surfacing and short “leaning walls” on which waiting riders can rest. Hemingson said that Cap Metro’s partnership in the project will cost $175,000 in capital expenses to be paid out over three years, along with $50,000-per-year operational payments stretched out over five years with the option to renegotiate after that. The committee approved the plan, sending it along to the full board of directors, which could approve it on consent at its April 25 meeting. Afterward, Hemingson told the Austin Monitor that the renovation plans do not include any upgrades to the bus shelters at the park, which is home to the transit agency’s busiest stops in downtown Austin. According to Cap Metro, the agency serves on average more than 6,000 riders each weekday at Republic Square Park, significantly more than the daily average of 1,691 boardings in April 2015 at the MetroRail’s Downtown Station, which itself is in line for a $22 million upgrade. Work on the Republic Square renovation project is set to start this June and could be finished as early as summer 2017.

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