by Bobbie Jean Sawyer
The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority announced the name for the Environmental Impact Study and long-range mobility plan for the ‘Y’ intersection (the intersection of US 290 West and SH 71 West) in Oak Hill at a press conference Wednesday morning, held at the Park & Ride on Hwy. 290 West.
Oak Hill Parkway was the name chosen by nearly 75 percent of voters, according to Steve Pustelnyk, director of communications for the Mobility Authority.
The Mobility Authority hosted a community brainstorm session on possible names for the project in late August, giving the public an opportunity to vote on the top names on the Mobility Authority website.
Pustelnyk said the name is not indicative of what the project will entail.
“It’s really about creating a distinct identity for a study so when we talk about the study we can refer to it and people know what we’re talking about. The name should in no way infer a predetermination or an idea for what we plan to do at this stage,” Pustelnyk said. “In this type of process there are always a wide range of alternatives, including a no-build or a do-nothing alternative. Just because it’s being called the Oak Hill Parkway study doesn’t mean we’re absolutely certain at this point we’ll be building something.”
Pustelnyk said the Mobility Authority would host its first open house on Nov. 15 to address citizen problems and concerns.
“The first open house is really about listening to the folks who show up or who send in comments and learning from them what the problems are,” Pustelnyk said. “They may have concerns about pedestrian access at a particular location, accidents at a particular location or a particular Oak tree they would love to see preserved. These are the sorts of things that we need to identify early on so as we then, later in the process, start to look at what the alternatives are and we can try and address those needs.”
The Environmental Impact Study, a study of all potential environmental and sociological impacts of the possible project, will take around four to five years to complete, Pustelnyk said.
Pustelnyk said the Mobility Authority will also look into the possibility of helping introduce some of the plans introduced in last year’s Green Mobility Challenge, such as urban park land and enhanced aesthetic and landscaping features around Oak Hill.
“We’re working to put together a project enhancement team made up of local governmental entities so we can see if we can pursue some of those ideas,” Pustelnyk said. “We figure if we’re going to be potentially spending a significant amount of money to improve mobility, we ought to see if there are some ways we can improve the overall community.”
Pustelnyk said he’s optimistic the Mobility Authority will continue a positive dialogue with Oak Hill citizens with the launch of the Oak Hill Parkway study.
“We know there’s a long history to this project,” Pustelnyk said. “It’s not going to be an easy study but I feel like we’re getting off to a good start and I’m very hopeful about our opportunities to move forward productively with the project and the study.”
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