By LYNETTE HAALAND
Four Points News
Traffic safety at 4500 Steiner Ranch Boulevard has become an issue where for a year now, big rigs intermittently have been parked near the entrance of the apartment complex.
“Large tractor-trailers have been parking for extended periods in the deceleration and acceleration lanes at the entrance to the Meritage at Steiner Ranch apartment complex,” reported a concerned resident of the area. “When parked, the trucks block the view of oncoming traffic traveling at 45-55 mph on Steiner Ranch Boulevard, creating a dangerous traffic condition.”
At times, up to three tractor-trailers or tractors without trailers have been parked in the turn-lanes on Steiner Boulevard leading into the apartment complex. Car trailers and boat trailers have also been parked at the same location for several days at a time.
The resident, who wanted to be anonymous, shared that a neighbor had witnessed a school bus pull out in front of oncoming traffic at the site and “fortunately the driver was alert and was able to stop before colliding with the bus.”
He stated that other near-misses have also been observed and reported by residents and the Steiner Ranch Homeowners Association.
Last spring, the parking issue was brought to the attention of Travis County Sheriff’s Office.
“But after ticketing the parked tractor trailers, they (TCSO) later determined that the vehicles were not illegally parked because the road is marked with a continuous white roadside shoulder stripe – so they are technically parked on the shoulder, rather than in a turn lane to be used only for moving traffic,” the resident found out.
The management of the apartment complex claims they do not know who the vehicles belong to and cannot take any action as they are parked in a public roadway.
In hopes of getting resolution, the resident reached out to Andre Betit, the engineering division manager at Travis County’s Transportation and Natural Resources department.
The resident requested that Travis County modify the road striping to indicate that the expanded shoulder is in fact a traffic turn-lane both at the entrance and exit of the intersection.
He additionally requested that Travis County extend the marked fire lane the length of the turn lane to further delineate that parking is not allowed in this traffic lane.
“Once these changes are completed, TCSO will be able to address the violations and remedy the traffic safety issue,” he said.
But last month, Travis County’s Betit emailed, “It has taken much longer than anticipated to obtain the record plans. So far it is not clear when this widened pavement was added or what the intent was.”
He thought the county would determine the most appropriate course of action and have a plan ready by the end of July.