CARTS Eastside Bus Plaza is going to be the new headquarters for the Capital Area Rural Transportation System, bringing in people from Bastrop, Burnet, Blanco, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays and Lee counties into Austin. The goal of the project is to develop a place that is a hub for transportation and an enjoyable space that travelers and the surrounding community can use and enjoy.

The existing site is an empty flat lot, previously used as a parking lot for large city trucks, devoid of any ecological health. Through the design process the team is transforming this empty lot into a vibrant and an ecological hub for people and wildlife, one that echoes the ecological history of the central Texas Prairie. While the existing site is flat, our design has added a series of topographic features to capture stormwater and reuse excavated fill collected during construction. The series of rain gardens will have boardwalks over them to allow for people to interact with the collected water. The entryway is flanked with Mima Mounds- miniature hills found often in a grid-like pattern within the Blackland Prairie. These will be sculpted from the fill found on site and will be planted with native grasses to allow for them to playful, interactive, and educational features.
The CARTS Eastside Bus Plaza will be Sustainable SITES certified, which means that we will be adhering to strict environmental guidelines and gathering data for use in long term monitoring of the site’s health, as well as prioritizing sustainable best practices in designing and maintaining the overall site and landscape. With the integration of Blackland Prairie restoration methods, bioswales, multiple rain gardens and pollinator plants, we will be capturing all of the run off on site as well as creating an ecologically healthy site.

Project Type CivicLocation Austin, TexasStatus In DesignCollaborators CARTS, Jackson McElhaney Architects