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Residents hope Oak Hill Parkway design fits natural environment

October 23, 2014  

by Bobbie Jean Sawyer

OAK HILL –    TxDOT and the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority asked residents to offer suggestions for the design aspect of the Oak Hill Parkway project at an Oct. 9 workshop at the Oak Hill United Methodist Church.

The workshop was the first of a three-part Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) process, which invites neighborhoods and nearby communities to influence the design so that the project represents the values and preferred aesthetics of the region.

Melissa Hurst, the community outreach manager for the Mobility Authority, said the next CSS workshop would be held early next year.

“We appreciate the continued participation by the Oak Hill Community in developing a project that best meets the purpose and need and fits in to the context of Oak Hill,” Hurst said.

Rick Perkins, a Granada Hills resident and Oak Hill Association of Neighborhoods secretary, said he wants Oak Hill to retain a spacious sky and natural landscape.

“They asked what do you think of when you think of Oak Hill and I offered ‘spacious and wide open’ like when you reach Oak Hill the sky opens up. I asked that whenever possible if they could use large natural cut limestone boulders and native landscaping that would be optimal,” Perkins said.

Carol Cespedes, a member of Fix290, a grassroots community organization supporting a limited-concrete, low-elevation solution, said despite differences among design preferences, there is one common thread among Oak Hill residents.

“If there is a single message coming out of it, it is that the quality most Oak Hill folks love about this place is its special landscape—the creek, the oaks, the limestone cliffs and the wildlife,” Cespedes said. “They value these natural features more than any amount of architectural or artistic embellishment that might be provided under the name of context sensitive design.”

Tom Thayer, a member of Fix290, said he offered suggestions regarding road height and cyclist and pedestrian safety.

“I would suggest as much of the highway be grade level as possible, so as to not propagate noise and light. Areas under elevated highways tend to be blighted and unattractive,” Thayer said. “At intersections with cross streets (William Cannon, Convict Hill, 1826), there should be pedestrian crossings and green bicycle lanes on the cross streets to make it safer for bikes and peds.”

For more information on the Oak Hill Parkway project visit oakhillparkway.com.


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