By RICH KEITH, Four Points News
The Four Points Traffic Committee sought the Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Plan Citizen Advisory Committee’s approval last week for the “Road to Vandegrift” but did not get it.
On September 10, the FPTC was seeking a recommendation from the panel to build a secondary access road from Vandegrift HS to the intersection of River Place Boulevard and Four Points Drive.
Composed of citizens who advise the BCCP Coordinating Committee, the Citizen Advisory Committee decided against recommending the road project.
The panel does not vote, it only recommends, and that gives FPTC some hope.
Alicia Harrison, FPTC member, urges people to come out and support the “Road to Vandegrift” this week at another BCCP meeting with the Coordinating Committee.
“Unless we have a strong showing at the BCCP Committee meeting on Wednesday morning at 10 and we let our elected officials know how important this is, we have little chance of getting this project approved,” Harrison said.
Pam Waggoner, FPTC chair and President of the Leander ISD, said the community should write emails right now to their elected officials.
“Our Travis County Commissioners Gerald Daugherty and Bruce Todd sit on the voting committee,” Waggoner said. “We look to them for their support on this safety issue.”
Reaction about the BCCP Citizen Advisory Committee
The FPTC members expressed frustration with the apparent lack of basic knowledge of their road project. They saw seemingly minimal or non-existent preparation from some Citizens Advisory Committee members at last week’s meeting.
“One committee member spoke about how she was very against the proposed road and she showed a map with the road connecting miles away to Old Spicewood Springs Road,” said Mary Scherer, who lives in Westminster Glen and is mom to two LISD students. “This is completely wrong – our road goes nowhere near that area.”
BCCP Citizen Advisory suggestions
After the BCCP committee voted against the road proposal, they made suggestions for other, non-road solutions:
Find an alternative that doesn’t involve the Balcones Preserve.
Build a flyover from RR 2222 to the high school because it would be less expensive.
Build a 1/2 mile road instead of a 1 mile road because it would cost less.
Purchase 3M, build parking lots and roads on that property, and run shuttle buses as they do at UT.
Build off-site parking lots and run shuttle buses like UT.
In the event of a wildfire, the schools are defensible and the children should shelter in place.
It was this last point which caused the most discomfort to the FPTC members and residents.
“I was sick to my stomach at the committee chair’s comment that our kids would be safer to sit tight – yeah, in a fire or a school shooting – for real?” said FPTC member Jean Wong. “He wants our kids to sit tight and burn.”
The Citizens Advisory Committee’s seemingly dismissive attitude toward the road, and their unwillingness to discuss the safety issues involved angered Waggoner.
“They could not stop talking about the traffic problem and how this does nothing to solve it and how Leander ISD is at fault for building in the first place. Our school sites were approved by the City of Austin,” Waggoner said.
Wong adds: “I am truly insulted that they think we haven’t considered other alternatives… Of course, LISD would prefer to look at the best, most cost-effective, alternative.”
FPTC wants strong community support
FPTC’s next meeting is Sept. 18 at 10 a.m. at the Travis County Commissioners Court at 700 Lavaca St. The desired result is the BCCP Coordinating Committee recommending the project to Austin City Council, according to the FPTC.
“We’re first up on the agenda, so it should be only an hour,” Waggoner said. “Let’s pack the house.”
FPTC also encourages concerned citizens to send emails supporting the “Road to Vandegrift.”
“They represent this community and need to hear from you to know this is important,” Waggoner said.
Elected official’s emails:
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.