Steiner evacuation road updates
By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
As Travis County officials wait for approval on conducting a traffic study, members of the community continue to share comments on a proposed evacuation road out of Steiner Ranch.
In early December, the county shared with a handful of Steiner residents that they were proposing more than an emergency-only route — that out of a dozen routes they had been studying for a year, they were focusing on the only route that was a permanent road, option F. But after much public push back, the county then added several other proposed routes back into consideration. For years prior to the latest developments, the county has referred to this project as an evacuation, emergency-only road.
This week Kathy Hardin, the engineer with Travis County Transportation & Natural Resources Capital Improvement Projects, said that comments from the community have eased up but they have been getting a lot of feedback.
“We are responding to requests and comments. We are also working on documents, more accurate mapping and a site plan,” Hardin said.
Steven Widacki, engineer involved in the project from M&S Engineering, said they have responded to a number of emails this month.
“We have responded to a total of 30 emails in the month of January. There are several more that have been received so far today (Thursday),” Widacki said. Replies sometimes take several weeks.
Around the first of the year, Hardin had heard from more than 40 people about a new route and Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shea had received more than 20 comments.
At this point there are no dates of upcoming meetings confirmed yet. Once a traffic study is done, then follow up meetings can be made, Hardin said.
“The agreement to perform the traffic study is in our purchasing department for approval. We are awaiting their approval,” Hardin said on Thursday.
The community will be notified about follow up meetings with the traffic study data. This could be in February but more likely March.
SRNA works on evacuation road
Earlier this month on Jan. 8, the Steiner Ranch Neighborhood Association hosted a meeting with some 30 community members in attendance. The main topic of discussion was the evacuation route proposals from Travis County.
SRNA Chairman Brian Thompto documented “key questions” from concerned residents that they would like answered by Travis County before moving forward with any option.
“Our goal of this exercise is to increase the understanding between Travis County and the community,” Thompto said.
The route “F” proposal has generated most of the questions and concerns. It is proposed as an open road off of Flat Top Ranch Road meaning it would be available for everyday use to provide both emergency and additional everyday access to RM 620.
What are the traffic rates and patterns being projected for an open road?
How will the traffic study results be used, how will traffic volumes be weighted?
What quantified impact would an open/permanent road have toward emergency response?
What noise could be expected from a new open road?
Can crime rates be assessed to project an estimated increase in crime?
What are safety assessment for pedestrians with increased traffic?
At the intersection with RM 620, is it safe and does it account for nearby curves, etc.?
How can development be restricted along a newly proposed road?
What are the cost breakdowns such as relocation of facilities and other mitigations such as walls, parking at park, etc.?
What traffic impacts are expected on existing roads near proposed roads?
If there is overwhelming opposition to route F, will it be eliminated as an option?
Can route F be an evacuation-only road and not permanent?
Why is a route to River Place off the table? What are the best options and costs considered for a route that does not add traffic to RM 620?
Are cost estimates vetted? Community members think the proposed open option F would cost more than the $7.1 million that Travis County is estimating.
Could the property on the option B route be purchased from the homeowner?
Can the evacuation plan ultimately include neighborhood training and a plan to account for ongoing education?
The county will take input from the community directly and will consider what direction to pursue. An open house will be scheduled after the county has considered community impact and proposes a solution.
SRNA helps improve Four Points
Board nominations now open
By BRIAN THOMPTO, SRNA chairman
What is the role of SRNA — your Steiner Ranch Neighborhood Association?
SRNA is a volunteer, non-profit 501(c)4 organization serving our community since 2012 and supported solely by community member contributions.
Our mission is to serve the greater good by advocating for the needs of our community.
SRNA is dedicated to serving the interests of the greater Steiner Ranch and Four Points community. Our association boundaries include Lake Travis to the north and Lake Austin to the south and include a number of HOA’s (homeowners associations), non-HOA developments, condo associations, apartment complexes, and businesses.
SRNA is independent from, but always ready to work with all HOAs in our footprint including River Place, Steiner, Grandview, Comanche Trail, etc.
Sometimes people get confused but we are not an HOA, and not the same as SRMA (Steiner Ranch Master Association), which is the largest HOA in Steiner Ranch.
Tackling a broad range of issues, SRNA is always willing to work with surrounding communities, developers, government entities and officials.
You have likely heard about our work as chief advocates for road improvements along RM 620 and RM 2222 with the state, county, and city. We have had great success championing solutions for our entire Four Points and RM 620 corridor.
You have also likely benefited from our leadership on a host of other issues including safety improvements, evacuation planning and egress options, accommodations from developers, lower energy rates, and more.
SRNA has jumped in recently to help ensure that the best options are identified, and community concerns are heard, as we navigate controversial proposals from Travis County regarding a new open road into Steiner Ranch and evacuation options.
How can you support SRNA and these efforts to better our community?
- Sign up for SRNA email updates or become a member: steinerranchna.org
- Follow us on Facebook “Steiner.Ranch.Neighborhood.Association”
- Contact us: email@example.com
- Join us at our monthly meetings: 2nd Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. – typically at Bella Mar Community Center.
- Nominate SRNA board members through Feb. 28 who will bring ideas and help us make a difference.
Thank you for your support!
Brian Thompto (Chairman), H. Lobdell, Rick Rivera, William Farrell