Hays County Commissioner’s Court Supports Parkway Concept for Hwy 290W and 71

April 26th, 2007

April 16, San Marcos—The Hays County Commissioner Court unanimously voted to pass a resolution that supports the efforts of the Fix 290 Coalition for a grade level parkway alternative to TXDoT’s vision of an elevated tollway through the middle of Oak Hill.

290 West is the main entrance into Austin for a great many Hays County residents, and the Hays County Commissioner’s Court wanted to support the efforts of the citizen group Fix 290.

Three weeks ago, a group of Fix 290 members gave a presentation to the Hays County Commissioner’s Court. Kathi Thomas, Carol Cespedes, Elizabeth Seiler and Steve Beers traveled to San Marcos to give the presentation and answer questions from the Court.

The resolution was put forth by Commissioner Karen Ford, whose precinct comes closest to the construction area, but the entire court supported the resolution.

Carol Cespedes said “We are thrilled to have the support of the Hays County Commissioner’s Court and hope that this will remind CAMPO and TxDOT that the parkway study voted by CAMPO in October must be completed quickly and in a fair and thorough way.¨

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text version:

A RESOLUTION OF HAYS COUNTY
COMMISSIONERS COURT

WHEREAS, a well-constructed and well-designed road improves mobility, improves commercial activity and increases property values; and

WHEREAS, in the National Highway System Act of 1995, Congress directed that designs for new and reconstructed highways take into account: (1) the constructed environment of the area; (2) the natural environment of the area; (3) the aesthetic impact of the road construction, and (4) the community impact of the road construction; and

WHEREAS, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) expansion plans for U.S. Highway 290 West from Joe Tanner Lane to Scenic Brook Drive in Travis, County, TX have been on the drawing board since the early 1980’s; and

WHEREAS, TxDOT’s current plan will expand the existing four-lane highway to an elevated toll way, including a stacked flyover at the intersection of Hwy 290 West and Hwy 71 with a minimum elevation of 50 feet; and

WHEREAS, the construction of a project with so much elevation will necessarily generate dust, noise, pollution and traffic delays for the duration of the construction phase; and

WHEREAS, the choices for through traffic will be to pay tolls or to exit off to local grade-level roads also shared by the Oak Hill neighborhood and area businesses thus increasing the likelihood of increased congestion and time delays; and

WHEREAS, many citizens of northern Hays County frequently travel daily through the intersection at Hwy 290 and Hwy 71 on their way to work and for business in Austin, TX and will be required to pay tolls or to face congestion along grade lanes and local streets; and

WHEREAS, the Capitol Area Metropolitan Planning Organization in October 2006 unanimously directed TxDOT and CAMPO staff to study a grade-level parkway alternative for 290W rather than the six elevated lanes and six frontage road lanes now planned; and

WHEREAS, the Fix290 Coalition, an alliance of neighborhood associations, nonprofit groups, businesses and individuals in the Oak Hill and northern Hays County areas have been actively working to develop a viable alternative to the elevated toll road plan; and

WHEREAS, an alternative proposal by the Fix290 Coalition maintains the road at grade level, eliminates the three-level flyover at the “Y”, could reduces overall project cost and time to build, enhances business access, reduces impervious cover, increases connectivity, enhances the landscape, and eliminates tolls while also reducing congestion, expands capacity and maintains the flexibility to expand to meet future needs.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Hays County Commissioners Court does support the efforts of citizens in seeking a context sensitive solution for mobility improvements at Hwy 290 and Hwy 71 and requests CAMPO and TxDOT to give serious consideration to the grade-level parkway alternative.

ADOPTED THIS THE 17th DAY OF APRIL 2007.

_x________________________________
Elizabeth Sumter, Hays County Judge

_x________________________________
Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe
Commissioner Precinct 1

_x________________________________
Jefferson W. Barton
Commissioner Precinct 2

_x________________________________
Will Conley
Commissioner Precinct 3
_x________________________________
Karen Ford
Commissioner Precinct 4

ATTEST:
_x________________________________
Linda C. Fritsche, County Clerk

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