By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization hosted a public meeting on Monday to talk about traffic concerns in Four Points.
“If we want major improvements in our neck of the woods, we have to engage CAMPO,” said Brian Thompto to the 52 people who attended the CAMPO Mobile Meeting at Austin Christian Fellowship in River Place.
CAMPO is the agency that approves the use of federal transportation funds in this region that includes 1.8 million people in Travis, Hays, Williamson, Burnet, Bastrop and Caldwell counties.
CAMPO will finalize its 2040 plan about a year from now and is currently evaluating which projects will be included for the region that is projected to have 4.1 million people by 2040.
“If we want to be a priority, we have to engage CAMPO. We need to get energy behind (plans to improve traffic),” said Thompto, Steiner Ranch Neighborhood Association chairman and Four Points Chamber of Commerce director of community relations. The Chamber arranged for the CAMPO meeting to happen in Four Points.
Maureen McCoy, CAMPO executive director, addressed the meeting by sharing how CAMPO works.
During the map exercise at the end of the meeting, McCoy invited participants at each table to identify their top three concerns related to local highways, roadways and public transportation.
She encourages everyone to take time to do this on the CAMPO website as well: Campo.mindmixer.com
CAMPO is at the scenario development stage for its 2040 plan and community feedback helps shape the plan, McCoy said.
In 2010, CAMPO produced its most recent long term plan called CAMPO 2035.
On that plan, priorities for Austin Metro include minimal improvements to the western transit corridor over the next 25 years.
This coupled with the fact that northwest suburbs are exploding means traffic issues will only get worse if things are not addressed, Thompto said. “Areas to the west of Austin play a vital role to the city,” he added.
The CAMPO 2035 plan does have corridor studies listed to be conducted including RM 620, RM 2222 and Loop 360.
Other agencies and organizations are working toward better traffic flow including the Texas Department of Transportation and Four Points Traffic Committee.
Thompto gave a Four Points transportation update as well as a planning perspective at the meeting.
TxDOT is conducting a corridor study and has contracted with a consulting firm to evaluate options for improve the RM 620/RM 2222 intersection as well as the congested stretch of RM 2222 from RM 620 through River Place Boulevard.
This study will consider a wide range of options including SRNA suggestions of grade separation at intersections, expanded capacity along RM 2222, and the use of the power-line corridor or other options to separate east-west from north-south traffic.
Using the powerline corridor would use a bypass road which could potentially “cut the corner” between northbound RM 620 and RM 2222. This road could alleviate pressure at the intersection with the light.
The path identified follows the power line corridor which exists today on county land. Beginning at a point just south of BBQ Outfitters the path would connect to RM 2222, emerging near the area around Cooke’s Automotive.
“If there is a way to provide the original design and capacity, it would help,” Thompto said.
He brought up the work being done by the Four Points Traffic Committee. FPTC wants a secondary access road added from Vandegrift HS and Four Points MS campuses to the intersection of River Place Boulevard and Four Points Drive.
In the near term, dealing with congestion is critical, Thompto said.
“We have topography constraints and have to deal with what we got including preserve land locking us in,” Thompto said. “There’s only so much that can be done with traffic lights. We need under and over passes.”
These ideas are on the table, and Thompto said these things need to get on the CAMPO plan and then funded.