The current Downtown Station was always intended to be temporary, and the time's come to build a permanent one. It's 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.
A Mobility Hub
While the new Downtown Station and adjacent plaza will enhance the area's public space, its primary function will be to make easy 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've finished the design of the station and broke ground in March. Construction is expected to last about 2 years. Check back here - as well as on Twitter and Facebook - to keep up to date, and 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.
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 that 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.
This construction has forced the temporary closure of Downtown Station through the end of 2019. Until then, Plaza Saltillo will be the endpoint of the MetroRail Red Line and a shuttle bus (Route 451 Saltillo/Downtown Shuttle) will carry customers between Saltillo Station and downtown (at the corner of 4th and Trinity Streets).