By RICH KEITH, Four Points News
The RM 620 corridor from Cedar Park to Lakeway and its traffic issues was one of the main focuses of a first of its kind transportation meeting hosted by Lakeway city managers last week as Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization officials conducted their first CAMPO Mobile meeting. Residents, local political figures and registered neighborhood associations, including the Steiner Ranch Neighborhood Association, were in attendance at the Nov. 13 meeting.
Following introductory remarks, Lakeway city manager Steve Jones directed the attendees into a work meeting. Several groups were formed and at each of several tables was a list of road and transportation issues and potential solutions for the local RM-620 corridor and surrounding area.
“Each group was asked to prioritize ideas so as to improve transportation,” said SRNA president Brian Thompto. “At SRNA’s table we had a representative from Travis County Precinct 3 Commissioner Gerald Daugherty’s office and there was a lively discussion,” he said.
Most agreed that the RM-2222 intersection was the worst, followed by Anderson Mill, followed by traffic through Lakeway, then Loop 360 traffic.
“City Manager Jones from Lakeway came to SRNA’s table. “The message is clear: we must consider the whole 620 corridor, namely from Lakeline Mall to TX 71,” Thompto said.
Lakeway residents appeared to want the toll road bypass which had been put forward during the summer by Lakeway Deputy City Manager Chessie Zimmerman.
Serious problems remain with the proposal, which path runs through Balcones Canyonlands Preserve land between Four Points and the southern terminus of SH 45. Even if that proposal goes nowhere, it raises the flag to CAMPO of just how serious the traffic issues are in Four Points and Lakeway that such a proposal would make its way this far, according to Thompto.
Cities of Austin metro’s size must have a Metropolitan Planning Organization. Austin’s is called Capital Area MPO or CAMPO and it includes a six-county area.. To receive Federal dollars for highways Austin must do their planning through CAMPO.
To be considered for the 2040 CAMPO plan, proposals must be approved by 2015. “So options will be looked at now through 2014,” Thompto said.
“Right now is exactly the right time to make proposals within the funding guidelines which are published,” he said.
Thompto spoke with CAMPO’s Executive Director Maureen McCoy at the meeting. McCoy said
Lakeway submitted the toll plan proposal because they are a city jurisdiction. Thompto said SRNA wants to augment the proposal to benefit more communities along the way.
A big concern for CAMPO 2040 is funding, Thompto said. “Our proposals should include steps to get there, and not too-large single projects,” he said.
An example of an ideal gaining traction now is “grade separation” at intersections, or elevated entrances to and from major arteries. These bypasses are good for areas such as RM-2222 and RM-620, at Anderson Mill and RM-620, and near Lake Travis High School, among others, he said.
Complicating matters is a proposal that local governments take over maintenance of up to 115 miles of roads in Central Texas.
The Texas Department of Transportation proposal from August 2013 names segments of North and South Lamar Boulevard, Parmer Lane, Capital of Texas Hwy. (Loop 360), Burnet Road, Koenig Lane, Manchaca Road, RM 620 and RM 2222. In Round Rock, segments of Mays Street, A.W. Grimes, RM 620 and Old Settlers Boulevard are on the table, as well as Parmer Lane in Cedar Park and numerous segments in Travis and Williamson counties.
TxDOT desires to save upwards of $165 million annually by placing about 1,900 roadway miles on a list for discussion of the voluntary program, including 115 miles in Central Texas. Local governments are discussing the matter with TxDOT, according to sources.