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Here’s the Latest
on Oak Hill Parkway

 

PUBLIC INPUT CONTINUES TO SHAPE PROJECT

Public input is critical to our work on this project. Since we launched the study in August 2012, there have been numerous events held to inform and get your feedback. In the past few months, we held an open house in January and two workshops, the first on bicycle/pedestrian improvements in February and the second on Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) in April. More details on all of these events are featured in this newsletter.

These are just some of the many outreach events that we will be hosting this year and next as we work with the community to determine the best option for managing congestion, providing a reliable transit route, and facilitating reliable emergency response along US 290 and SH 71 in Oak Hill. More information about the project can be found online at www.OakHillParkway.com.

Click here to view how your input has been incorporated in to the project. We appreciate your time and effort!

JANUARY OPEN HOUSE RECAP

Oak Hill residents and surrounding community members attended an open house on January 20, 2015 at Covington Middle School to review and provide comments on the alternatives for the Oak Hill Parkway project and to discuss Context Sensitive Solutions, a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach involving stakeholders to develop transportation design and engineering solutions.

Left: Project team members assisted citizens with reviewing maps showing details of how proposed alternatives improve mobility and safety in Oak Hill.

Right: Open house attendees submit their written comments on possible improvements to US 290W

Displays at the open house included information on the two build concepts—Alternative A and Alternative C—as well as the required No Build or “do nothing” concept, which must be considered as a baseline per federal environmental regulations.

All of the information provided at the in-person open house was available online at the Virtual Open House on the Oak Hill Parkway website. More than 450 people visited the website during the 10-day online event, which ran from January 21st through the 30th. A total of 74 comments were submitted as part of the January 20th open house meeting.

The project team has completed their review of the comments, and you can download and read the meeting summary, including the comment/response report, by visiting our Public Input page, or by this direct link to the pdf document: Meeting Summary and Comment / Response Report.

BICYCLE/PEDESTRIAN WORKSHOP RECAP

In February, we held a multi-project Bicycle and Pedestrian workshop in order to inform and seek feedback on the Mobility Authority’s current and proposed investment in bicycle and pedestrian improvements. Team members from the four projects currently under study – 183 North Mobility Project, MoPac South Environmental Study, MoPac Intersections Study and the Oak Hill Parkway Project were on hand to discuss the proposed improvements and record input. We know that bicycle/pedestrian improvements in Oak Hill are important for the community, and we will continue to work with you on multimodal opportunities.


Review of the bicycle/pedestrian facilities proposed for the Oak Hill Parkway


Attendees voiced a preference for Alternative A with the grade separate bicycle/pedestrian facility at the intersection of US 290 and SH 71 (the "Y") for both access and increase in speed of bicycle travel.

Other overarching themes heard from workshop attendees across all projects include:
  • Add or improve lighting on bicycle/pedestrian facilities
  • Include wayfinding signage
  • Narrow frontage road lanes to accommodate more or improved bicycle/pedestrian facilities
  • Widen shared use paths (SUP) to 12 feet where possible
  • Add shade trees to bicycle and pedestrian facilities
  • Leverage existing bicycle facilities/trails in project areas and connections to them to fill in gaps and make improvements to the overall network

CONTEXT SENSITIVE SOLUTIONS WORKSHOP RECAP

Over 40 members of the public attended our latest Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) workshop on April 7, 2015 at the Oak Hill United Methodist Church. The project team presented the results of last October’s CSS community survey. Those results included that out of eight items, the top four community priorities were: (1) Pedestrian and Bicycle Access, (2) Environmentally Sustainable, (3) Signage, and (4) Lighting.

At the workshop, the team presented how we are moving forward with those results and community priorities.

Attendees reviewed proposed community connections and added comments for consideration

 

Exhibits for discussion included: a draft CSS Vision Statement, maps featuring proposed multimodal connections for cyclists and pedestrians in Oak Hill, ideas to revitalize Williamson Creek, potential locations of CSS design concepts within the corridor, and artist sketches of potential retaining wall designs.

Through a series of sticker dot exercises and a community survey, participants were able to inform us if we were on the right track and identify anything that was missing. We are processing all comments received and refining our CSS design.

Key things we heard:

  • Consider capturing rainwater for use in irrigating any landscaping used for the project
  • Don’t mess with Williamson Creek except where necessary
  • Preserve the oak trees
  • Include water detention to prevent Williamson Creek from flooding during a major rain event but only with as little artificial environmental features as possible
  • General surprise over bicycle/pedestrian access ranking the No. 1 CSS element; many people didn’t feel it should be the highest priority
  • Request for additional bicycle/pedestrian improvements including the extension of the shared use path and/or enhancements at the US 290/SH 71 intersection between Prosperity Bank and HEB
  • Concern that the project will be a gateway to Dripping Springs and Austin, but by-pass Oak Hill
  • Concerns about increased noise
  • Strong support for preserving and protecting the night sky in the Oak Hill area
  • Encouragement for better signage in Oak Hill, especially wayfinding signage
  • Support for separating the through traffic from local traffic

We will be returning with further refined designs and ideas later this year. In the meantime, be sure to check out more about CSS on our website.

WILLIAMSON CREEK CLEAN UP

Oak Hill Parkway team members have heard loud and clear that Williamson Creek is a treasure to preserve and maintain. As such, the project team sponsored a Williamson Creek Cleanup as a part of the Keep Austin Beautiful Clean Sweep. Project team members challenged their teammates, co-workers, family and friends to give back to the Oak Hill community and the environment by volunteering to clean trash out of Williamson Creek near the Y in Oak Hill.

Our Clean Sweep team of 27 volunteers spent 54 volunteer hours cleaning a total of 510 pounds of trash from a half mile section of the creek on a Saturday morning in April. The team persevered through the challenges of weather, uneven creek terrain and lots of poison ivy to get the job done. The consensus among the volunteers afterward was that participating in the Williamson Creek Cleanup was a fun and rewarding endeavor. We felt proud to enhance the Oak Hill Community and to Keep Austin Beautiful!

WHAT’S NEXT?

We have a lot more work to do and a lot more to show you. The project team is working on updates on the proposed roadway’s elevations, ideas of ways we could revitalize Williamson Creek, options for the preservation of large trees, refining the exact footprint of the project, and other topics. We will be sharing this with you over future e-newsletters, workshops, and open houses between now and the end of the year.

We are always looking for your feedback, ideas, and questions. Please don’t hesitate to contact us!

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