Tuesday, September 25, 2018

TxDOT wants input on Oak Hill Parkway design elements

October 7, 2014  

by Bobbie Jean Sawyer

OAK HILL –  TxDOT and the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority hosted a workshop allowing residents to provide input on the design aspects of the proposed Oak Hill Parkway project on Oct. 9 at the Oak Hill United Methodist Church from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Mobility Authority launched an online survey Oct. 10. The survey will be on OakHillParkway.com for two weeks following the workshop.

“This workshop is the first of a three part Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) process, a planning approach that invites the surrounding communities and neighborhoods to influence the design, so that it reflects their cultural and historic values and aesthetic preferences,” said Melissa Hurst, community outreach manager for the Mobility Authority .

“The purpose of this workshop is to introduce the CSS process, reaffirm the project team’s understanding about existing conditions in Oak Hill, and gain a better understanding about the community’s priorities as it relates to CSS elements. Discussion topics can include trees and landscape, walls, bridges and overpasses, Williamson Creek and bicycle and pedestrian enhancements,” she explained.

Andrea Street, an Oak Hill resident and member of Fix290, said one of the most important factors throughout the process would be preserving the natural beauty and environmental treasures of Oak Hill.

“We want to save as many of those trees as we possibly can. That is the heart and soul of Oak Hill—those heritage oaks that make this community very unique,” Street said. “What I don’t want to see is the big flyover concrete, 20 feet tall highway going through there that will basically dwarf the trees.”

Street said she would like to see a hike and bike trail incorporated along Williamson Creek and a recreation area with picnic tables under the oak trees near the creek.

Rick Perkins, a resident of Granada Hills and Oak Hill Association of Neighborhoods secretary, said he wants to see downward lighting installed on overpasses to ensure that the roadway is “dark sky compliant” and the lighting doesn’t interfere with viewing stars in the night sky. Perkins, who said he prefers a grade-separated option that separates local traffic and through-traffic, said he also wants to see a hike and bike trail along Williamson Creek, planters at intersections and decorative signage posts included in the design.

Steve Beers, a member of Fix290 and chair of the Save Barton Creek Association, said the context sensitive design phase should focus on determining the right project for a location based on the community’s needs.

“Context sensitive design should not first be reduced to aesthetics and then trivialized,” Beers told the Gazette in an email. “In fact, it is a required process, procedure and goal for all new federally supervised highway projects to fit into their environment (that word defined as being both natural and social—i.e., the community of surrounding neighborhoods and property). It is a mandate actually made to order for our very situation here—analyzing the unique circumstances of this particular location, and then fitting the project to it—instead of extending a cookie-cutter freeway design into a place without regard for how it’s different.”

For more information on the parkway project visit OakHillParkway.com.

 


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1 COMMENT

  1. By 2disgusted, November 18, 2014

    Has anyone else been hearing the same thing from TxDOT for the past decade? Nothing seems to get done because TxDOT and now the Mobility group keep on pushing the project back until apparently they hear and get what they want.

    By now they know what the neighborhood wants. Keep Oak Hill from looking like I-35. No toll roads. User-friendly and community-friendly roadways. Sensible entrances and exits.

    TxDOT and Mobility need to stop procrastinating and endlessly getting community input and just build the darn things the way the community wants the roadway. It should have been built 10 years ago.

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