The text only page is under constant construction. We will make every attempt to keep it updated. Last update was September 8, 2000. If you have specific needs for viewing the information, please contact Rob D'Amico at, or 512-451-9394.

The Light Rail Now Pages consists of the following, which link to text inside this page:

About Us




Get involved



Light Rail Transit: What is it, Facts, Myths

Light Rail Progress

For Everyone: Profiles, Neighborhoods



List of Links for Entire Site



Light Rail Now! is a grassroots group of diverse interests that support light rail for Austin. We seek to educate the community about the benefits of light rail and promote the adoption of a rail system with a Nov. 7, 2000 vote.

An independent campaign, Light Rail Now! is not affiliated nor financially supported by CapMetro or by the City of Austin.

LRN is supported entirely by dedicated volunteers from all walks of life!

Our position

Our Steering Committee

Staff and Volunteers


About Us

Our Position
· A high-quality transportation system provides a diverse array of integrated resources for its users. Like high-quality roads, highways, sidewalks, bicycle facilities, and buses, light rail will be yet another option in the "mix" of Austin's transportation system and therefore, provide another alternative from which citizens may choose.

· When properly planned, integrated, and delivered, light rail enhances a community's quality of life, provides mobility, promotes economic growth, connects workers to employers, facilitates tourism, eases pressures on existing congested roadways, and produces minimal pollution.

· Capitol Metro will be publicly accountable for exercising sound financial management and judgment as the light rail initiative moves forward. Capitol Metro's decision-making process will be open to the public and to review.

· Bus service should remain the cornerstone of Capitol Metro's mission, enhanced by and integrated with light rail service. Reduction of bus services or in capital investment is not an acceptable "trade-off" for light rail.

· Community stakeholders must be active and meaningful participants throughout the planning, alignment, design, and construction phases of the light rail initiative.

· Light rail presents a new, potentially dynamic variable to what is already one of Austin's most important and vibrant assets: its neighborhoods. The unique role that residents have in preserving the health and determining the vision of their neighborhoods should be respected and protected.

· Efforts to plan, build, and retrofit communities that connect neighbors to neighbors are complemented by light rail. Where these efforts require proposed changes to existing zoning and/ or variances, the process should be characterized by early, recurring, significant discussion with, the active interaction of, and the cooperation and collaboration of those neighborhoods impacted.

· While proximity to light rail has often proven to be a positive economic magnet for neighborhoods, the City of Austin is strongly encouraged to begin discussion and move toward affirmative action that provides equitable, just tax structures and/or relief, particularly to those whose ownership or ability to afford housing may be threatened. C To maximize the public's investment, light rail should connect major economic, educational, recreational, and cultural centers.

· Light rail is an important investment in Austin's future.

Steering Committee

Sheila Holbrook-White (co-chair)

Phil Hallmark (co-chair)

Karin Ascot


Staff and Volunteers

Rob D'Amico (Communications)

Glen Gadbois (Outreach)

John Beall (Corporate Outreach)

Barbara McMillan (Special Events)

Dave Dobbs (Everything)


To volunteer, click here.




The News...

Chamber task force recommends light rail and road mix

Photo Shoot draws 100, media coverage

See the Street Event Photos

DART gets go ahead for expansions

Chamber task force recommends light rail and road mix

The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce Thursday released a "White Paper" from its Light Rail Task Force that outlines its support for rail, along with a balanced transporation system. The report is online at the chamber site. The Chamber Board then voted to support light rail with a request of additional funding from Capital Metro for the road/HOV lane mix.


Photo Shoot draws a big crowd

About 100 people showed up for Light Rail Now!'s kickoff event on Saturday, Aug. 12. Volunteers awoke early Saturday morning for the special photos shoot--a dramatic demonstration of how effective light rail is for carrying people and using minimal space.

For the event, LRN had 80 cars spanning four lanes, each car with a lone driver. Those same drivers then "shed their cars" and sat on chairs to portray how little space people take compared to their cars. Finally, the drivers joined together for a representation of sitting together on a light rail vehicle.

Photos were taken and will be presented here on the website (Photos show the event and the different spaces used by cars, people and people on a vehicle) and...everywhere we can show them. Two television stations--KTBC (Fox 7) and KVUE (ABC Channel 24) did stories on the event, as did KLBJ Radio.

The street event shows just one reason why light rail is for everyone. And everyone had a great time getting to know each other. If you'd like to keep up with future events, be sure and register for the LRN Newsletter.

DART expansion wins in landslide

DART won voter approval for long-term financing of its light rail plans, which will allow for quicker expansion of its system to suburban communities.

Voters overwhelmingly supported the measure by 77 percent to 23 percent, a clear-cut indication of how popular light rail has become in Dallas. Read more in the Dallas Morning News article.




On November 7, 2000, Austin Area voters will head to the polls not only for the General Election, but to decide on whether Capital Metro should build a light rail system. Photo is of Computer Simulation of a light rail car passing the University of Texas on Guadalupe Street. (Click for large view. Source: Cap Metro)


Voter Registration

The Ballot Language

Early voting

The issues (map accompanies, text explanation below)

· Capital Metro seeks voter approval for a $919 million light rail system. For information on the system, see Facts and Features.

· The system will be funded by existing sales tax revenue and possibly federal funds. No additional taxes or fees are required.

· The System has many potential routes, but the general alignement will run from as far north as McNeil Lane through Central Austin to South Austin at Ben White. A spur would also serve East Austin from the Central Business District to Pleasant Valley. Additionally, system buildouts could include routes serving the new Mueller redevelopment and the new airport.

· Although Austinites approved of a rail system while forming Capital Metro in 1985 and allocating one-cent sales tax to its operation, a 1989 vote by Cap Metro's Board of Directors directed that the authority would hold an election on light rail before building a system.


Voter Registration

Remember, you must register 30 days before the election to vote. For more information on registering, see the Travis County Voter Registration site or Williamson County Voter Registration site.

Ballot Language

Please check back at a later date when the ballot is available.

Early Voting

Please check back closer to the election for early voting information.

This presents stories found under the Light Rail Progress web site.

Get involved

Get involved

Light Rail Now! and Walkable Neighborhoods need your help with a wide variety of projects, from helping with events to passing out fliers or attending meetings.

For more information, contact Glenn Gadbois. If you have specific ideas on how you would like to help, please let him know.

If you would like to support LRN financially, please see the donate page.

If you would like to receive regular updates from the LRN Newsletter, see the Register for e-list page.

Light Rail Now!
Walkable Neighborhoods
107 W. Eighth Austin, Texas 78701
(512) 494-9841


What is Light Rail: What is it?, Facts, Myths

What is Light Rail?
Light Rail is basically an updated version of the trolley cars, which were used in most major cities from the turn of the century to the 1950s. However, today's light rail vehicles (LRVs) are faster, quieter, safer, more comfortable and can carry up to 420 passengers (including sitting and standing passengers on a three-car train)

The vehicles run on tracks, either on railroad righ-of-way or along tracks in city streets They powered by electricity from wires above and therefore, are extremely quiet and emit no harmful emissions.

LRVs usually run on their own separate guideways (lanes), so the vehicles do not get caught up in congestion like automobiles or buses.

The LRVs are fully accessible and mix well with auto, pedestrian and bicycle traffic. (in fact, you can take your bike on a LRV).

Light Rail Systems can serve several different purposes, such as reducing congestion, promoting a cleaner environment and spurring quality economic development.


Light Rail Progress
This links you to the Light Rail Progress site.

For everyone: Profiles

Light Rail Transit has such a profound effect on communities that, it's easy to see how it can be something that everyone benefits from.

The Challenge

People who benefit from light rail

The Challenge ... (photo of traffic congestion and photo of man driving with gas mask)

It's estimated that more than 80,000 new people will make the Greater Austin Area their home within the next year. And most of them will bring their cars with them.

How will we accommodate the influx of new traffic? Most likely, we won't. Building new road capacity--even if we had the money and space--will never keep up with the pace of added traffic congestion.

Therefore, Light Rail Now! promotes a balance of transportation modes--automobile, transit, bicycle, and pedestrian--along with telecommuting and flex time for area workers to help combat the problem.

The idea is to keep moving, and to make sure that when we move we respect the people, environment and neighborhoods of Austin. In particular, the area faces challenges in managing air quality and protecting water quality.

With that in mind, Light Rail Now! finds that the most effective and environmentaly friendly way to increase our balance of options is for the construction of a light rail system.

The following characteristics make light rail an ideal solution for the challenges facing Austin:

· Vehicles move people. A three car train can carry up to 420 people or more.

· Light Rail avoids congestion. Since it runs in its own right of way (lane or track), it isn't stuck behind traffic, and cars aren't stuck behind it.

· it runs on electricity. Light Rail is therefore quiet, and does not emit harmful pollutants.

· The schedule is dependable. Unlike buses, which are subject to traffic and boarding delays, light rail runs on a dependable schedule that gets people to their destination quickly.

· Stations can promote quality development. Because planners want easy pedestrian and bike access to stations, development around the stations is designed for neighborhood compatability.

· The bus system benefits. Buses act as feeders for light rail systems, and thus they would enhance crosstown routes for Austin.

Just a few people who benefit from Light Rail...

"I think for me personally, light rail is going to save time and energy, especially in getting downtown to th Capitol, the Children's Museum or to big events. Now we can go together as a family and not have to worry about parking or traffic."

Amy Chamberlain and daughter Ellie, Rosedale Residents

Photo of mother putting daughter in car seat


"To keep our central city alive and vibrant, we've got to make it accessible. Light Rail represents a critical step in that direction."

Chris Riley, Attorney and Downtown
Neighborhood Association President


"Light rail has so many benefits. I like it because the schedule is dependable and it's so accessible.

It also would create a more effective bus system."

Audley Blackburn, Braille consultant

Photo of Audley with Seeing Eye Dog, Oggie


"My time is valuable and I don't like to sit in traffic. Light Rail is fast and convenient...Plus, I can relax, read and enjoy the ride without dealing with the craziness on the roads. Light Rail will help make Austin a world class city without destroying it's local flavor."

Rox Anderson, Event Coordinator


"I see light rail as combating sprawl. Over time, it will provide a focus for development that's more pedestrian and bike friendly."

I'd be riding light rail to work everyday. It's faster and the schedule is more dependable than buses, since light rail isn't subject to delays from bad weather or congestion."

Kenneth Marsh, bicycle commuter

Photo of Ken on his bike


"As a disabled non-driver, I'm excited about Light Rail as a another option for transportation.

It's a tool to further enhance our quality of life here in Austin."

Marilyn Rogers, Teacher at Brentwood Elementary School

Photo of Marilyn using her wheelchair


Light Rail will enhance neighborhoods

The Following articles will keep you updated on how neighborhoods will be involved in planning to ensure Light Rail meets the compatibility standards with their community.

City commits to neighborhood plans along LRT corridors

City approves neighborhood advocate position

Neighborhood groups to play part in station art/landscaping and business mitigation.

City commits to neighborhood plans along Light Rail Corridors
Each year the City Council defines which neighborhoods will get planning staff assistance and money devoted toward developing their neighborhood plans.

The plans define how the neighborhoods will grow and preserve their unique character--including specific guidelines for transportation (roads, sidewalks, bike lanes, traffic calming, transit stations, etc) and development, both commercial and residential. The can then institute zoning changes as well, with City Council approval.

This year the city is proposing to allocate planning funds to 10 neighborhoods along the proposed Light Rail corridors under the "assumption" that Light Rail will pass on Nov. 7, according to Austan Librach, director of Austin's Planning, Environmental & Conservation Services Department.

The process will ensure that neighborhoods can plan for Light Rail, including what kind of stations and accompanying development they would like along the lines. "The process--which is supported by Capital Metro--shows that rumors from rail opponents about high-rise buildings from Light Rail destroying their neighborhoods is baloney," said Rob D'Amico, a volunteer for Light Rail Now! "This system is designed to benefit neighborhoods, and with neighborhood planning, you've got a guarantee that it will."

The neighborhoods receiving assistance in this year's budget are defined by planning areas, not neighborhood associations, and include: Wooten, North Shoal Creek, Brentwood, Allendale, Crestview, Rosedale, East Congress, West Congress and South River City.

Each neighborhood will create a committee made up of homeowners, businesses and other groups for each area, which will then work with city staff to gather input and develop the plans.

"Neighborhood planning and input works," D'Amico said. "Just look at the Triangle development. Without any real power, neighbors were able to shape the State of Texas' land use plan from a disgusting strip mall into a remarkable mixed-use development with a focus on residential living. It wasn't a matter of density, like everyone always talks about, it was a matter of uses and compatibility. Just think what neighbors with real power over land use can do."


City considers neighborhood advocate position
City approves neighborhood advocate position
City Councilmembers approved a request from local activists asking for a neighborhood advocate position. The position--housed in the City Manager's office--will act as a liaison between city government and neighborhoods with an emphasis on keeping communities informed of developments that could impact their lives.

The advocate will mediate disputes between the city and neighbors and act as a neutral party. The advocate idea was proposed by activists Sabrina Burmeister and Cathy Echols, two principal negotiators for neighbors in the former Triangle dispute with the State of Texas.

The advocate is yet another way neighbors can ensure that new development will meet their compatibility standards.

Neighborhood groups to play part in station art/landscaping and business mitigation
The Capital Metro Board approved a dozen "Mitigation and Ehancement Pledges" at it's Sept. 18 meeting. Included were pledges to include neighborhood groups in business advisory teams, which would work with contractors to ensure construction projects cause the least disruption possible to businesses and residences.

The Board also pledged to fund $50,000 worth of public art and landscaping projects at stations. Neighborhoods and Capital Metro would form a committee at each station to decide on projects and designs for funding.


Bajo Construcion. This page is currently under construction.


Austin Area Organizations

Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority

City of Austin

Get Around Austin (The A Train)

Railroading America (The anti rail guy)

ROAD (The anti rail campaign)


Light Rail Transit Systems (selected sites)

Citizens for Modern Transit (St. Louis)

Dallas Area Rapid Transit


Light Rail Transit

APTA -- American Public Transportation Assoc.

CFTE -- Center for Transportation Excellence:

North American Light Rail information


international Light Rail Transit

Light Rail Transit Association (international)


Transportation and Mobility

Transportation Action Network

Sprawl Watch Clearinghouse



Rail-volution 2000


The following is a list of links for the entire site:

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