Lakeway OKs thoroughfare plan for roads and paths

Lakeway officials approved its first ever thoroughfare plan in October. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lakeway officials approved its first ever thoroughfare plan in October. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)

Lakeway officials approved its first ever thoroughfare plan in October. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)

Image description
Image description
To prepare for growth, Lakeway has approved a plan that outlines long-term recommendations for roads and shared-use paths within city limits and its extraterritorial jurisdiction, or ETJ.

On Oct. 19, Lakeway City Council unanimously approved its first-ever thoroughfare plan, an official city document that presents a long-range plan for the city’s future roadway and pathway development.

“This is a thoroughfare plan that is really focusing on, for long range, how to move traffic and pedestrians safely throughout the city,” City Manager Julie Oakley said when the first draft of the plan was introduced to Lakeway City Council on Sept. 29.

Although it makes specific recommendations for roads and paths, the thoroughfare plan’s recommendations are “conceptual and are not final construction alignments,” according to city documents.

City staff and council members stressed that the thoroughfare plan only includes recommendations that are neither final nor funded.

“This is kind of like a [comprehensive] plan. This is a vision,” Lakeway Mayor Sandy Cox said at the ••Oct. 19 meeting. “It could end up being cost-prohibitive.”

Funding for the thoroughfare plan “will primarily be driven by private development,” according to interim Building Director Erin Carr.

Council members said that when developers approach the city about new projects, city officials can use the plan as an official document that lays out infrastructure improvements that should accompany new development.

“It’s a nonbinding vision, but it gives us a standing to require certain types of trails and roads,” Council Member Steve Smith said. It can also show what private investors could fund to fast track their projects.

“This is a tool that can be used when talking to developers,” Council Member Sanjeev Kumar added.

According to a staff report, the Lakeway Capital Improvement Plan, which funds infrastructure improvements and maintenance, could also help fund parts of the plan. Other potential funding sources include the Texas Department of Transportation, the Capital Area Rural Transportation System, Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and Travis County.

The thoroughfare plan focuses on improving or extending road routes; a continuous, north-south, shared-use path through the eastern part of the city; and the creation of areas for future shared-use paths through the Hamilton Greenbelt and Yaupon Creek residential areas.••Suggested road extensions

In addition to widening and other improvements to existing roads, the plan recommends the extension—and, in one case, the movement—of roads in the city and its ETJ.

Flint Rock Road runs west from RM 620 before dead-ending just west of Fox Creek Estates. Beyond upgrading the existing road, the plan recommends an eventual westward extension of Flint Rock Road to Bee Creek Road as well as a new roundabout at its intersection with Serene Hills Drive.••Lohmans Spur Road connects Flintrock Trace with Lohmans Crossing. The plan recommends improvements to the existing road to make movement safer for pedestrians and bicycles and proposes an extension of the road to Main Street, north of its current terminus at Lohmans Crossing Road.

According to the plan, Main Street, a divided thoroughfare that runs west from RM 620 before ending at Medical Drive, should eventually be extended west until it intersects with Lohmans Crossing Road.

The plan further recommends that Birrell Street, which extends west off RM 620 just south of the U.S. Post Office, eventually be extended to Lohmans Spur to alleviate shopping center traffic on Lohmans Crossing.

Another plan suggestion is that Murfin Road have its intersection with RM 620 moved north to align with Bella Montagna Circle intersection to improve safety.

Some of the ideas for roads in the plan lie outside the city’s limits. In those instances, the plan recommends coordinating with Travis County.

Pedestrian facilities

The pedestrian facilities plan, which is included in the thoroughfare plan, offers recommendations for the locations of future sidewalks, recreational paths and off-street trails to provide a pedestrian system “connecting residential areas with recreational, educational and commercial areas,” according to planning documents.

The plan calls for a continuous, shared-use path running north-south and just west of RM 620 from Cavalier Drive to the south to Oak Grove Boulevard to the north.

“Notable gaps” in existing sidewalks in some residential neighborhoods have created “non-user-friendly sections for pedestrians,” according to the plan, which calls for minimum 4-foot-wide sidewalks in every residential neighborhood.••Smith expressed skepticism about the sidewalk plan at the Sept. 29 meeting.••“I don’t think that people are going to give up 15 or 30 feet in their front yard to put in a sidewalk,” he said.

To promote safety and privacy for trail users and neighbors, the plan recommends “adding security fencing where appropriate.”

All paths should also be ADA-compliant, according to the plan.

RM 620

TxDOT plans for an expansion of RM 620 on the 9.8-mile section from SH 71 in Travis County to US 183 in Williamson County.

TxDOT began with plans that included an expansion from four to six lanes while adding raised medians and a continuous path for pedestrians and bicycles, but construction funding was deferred.

This past February, the Texas• Transportation Commission secured $4.3 billion to foot the vast majority of the estimated $4.9 billion bill for the I-35 Express project. The commission then tasked CAMPO with finding more than $600 million of regional projects to divert to help pay for the I-35 improvements.

Ultimately, on June 8, CAMPO voted to defer a total of $633 million regional construction projects that had previously been earmarked for funding.••Although construction funding for the RM 620 expansion in Lakeway was deferred, planning is still funded and is ongoing, according to Cox. The design in Lakeway calls for a divided, six-lane highway with shared-use paths on both sides of the road.

The thoroughfare plan goes a step further by advising as to what should and shouldn’t be built when RM 620—years or even decades from now—eventually needs to be expanded beyond the scope of the current planned improvements.

If traffic warrants another expansion beyond the one currently being planned, the thoroughfare plan suggests TxDOT find a different route for RM 620.

“As future expansion is required, TxDOT should find other arterials to reduce the traffic flow,” the plan states. “An elevated highway is highly discouraged and will not be supported by the city as it would forever damage the aesthetics of Lakeway, devastate its main commercial corridor, and create a public nuisance for the surrounding neighborhoods and golf course amenities.”••The thoroughfare plan attracted the attention of many constituents, according to council members.••“There’s a lot of people that have reached out to me about this plan,” Council Member Louis Mastrangelo said.

Much like a comprehensive plan, the thoroughfare plan will likely be revisited and updated to address growth.••“New development, population growth and the potential expansion of the city limits will require continuous review and updates of the thoroughfare plan to ensure that an orderly, efficient transportation system is in place,” Carr said.
By Amy Rae Dadamo
Amy Rae Dadamo is the reporter for Lake Travis-Westlake, where her work focuses on city government and education. Originally from New Jersey, Amy Rae relocated to Austin after graduating from Ramapo College of New Jersey in May 2019.


Local health leaders are urging caution ahead of Thanksgiving. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Ahead of Thanksgiving, Travis County health officials urge caution

Austin Public Health leaders say gatherings with people outside one's household held indoors and without masks pose the greatest risk.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan for the state Nov. 23 for a vaccine he said could be available as soon as December. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announces COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan

The vaccine could start being distributed "as early as next month," according to a Nov. 23 news release.

P. Terry’s Burger Stand is expected to open its long-awaited Pflugerville location this January. (Courtesy P. Terry's Burger Stand)
P. Terry's to open in Pflugerville in January and more Central Texas news

Read the latest Central Texas business and community news.

Austin voters approved a $7.1 billion public transit expansion Nov. 3 that will add bus and rail in Austin. (Design by Miranda Baker/Community Impact Newspaper)
After historic public transportation vote, here is what's next for Project Connect in Austin

Shovels won't be hitting the ground on the light rail and downtown tunnel for years, but work is getting started now after Austinites approved the $7.1 billion plan Nov. 3.

Laura Colangelo
Q&A: Laura Colangelo discusses challenges facing private schools during pandemic

Colangelo said private schools have adapted to remote learning and other obstacles in 2020 despite less revenue and a 9% decline in enrollment statewide.

Hamilton Pool Road residents protest outside of Bee Cave City Council on Nov. 10. (Courtesy Nancy Hernandez)
West Travis County Public Utility Agency delays settlement decision on development off Hamilton Pool Road

A lawsuit between the West Travis County Public Utility Agency and the developers of a Provence, a subdivision off Hamilton Pool Road, will remain unresolved following a decision made during a Nov. 19 board meeting.

Festival attendees will have access to augmented reality artworks throughout the galleria. (Courtesy Bee Cave Arts Foundation)
Inaugural interactive light festival coming soon to Bee Cave and more Central Texas updates

Read the latest business and community news from the Austin area.

Schools now have the power to temporarily suspend on-campus instruction if “a significant number of the instructional staff at the campus is impacted due to a confirmed COVID-19 outbreak." (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas Education Agency authorizes schools to close doors for 14 days due to coronavirus-related staffing concerns

Campuses can now instate a hybrid or fully remote instruction model for up to 14 days if adequate instructional staffing is not possible due to high numbers of COVID-19 cases among employees.

Fluff Meringues & More will be featured at The Wayback Cafe & Cottages. (Courtesy Fluff Meringues & More)
Fluff Meringues & More opens pop-up at The Wayback and more Lake Travis-Westlake-area business news

Here is the most recent business news from the Lake Travis-Westlake area.

Kalahari Resorts & Conventions ended its grand opening event with a fireworks display Nov. 14. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Kalahari Resorts & Conventions celebrates grand opening in Round Rock and more top Central Texas news

Read the most popular stories from the past week from the Austin area.

Festival attendees will have access to augmented reality artworks throughout the galleria. (Courtesy Bee Cave Arts Foundation)
New interactive light festival generates buzz in Bee Cave

Nonprofit arts organization, the Bee Cave Arts Foundation is gearing up for its first annual light festival, Buzzfest, which will take place at the Hill Country Galleria.

Lakeway Mayor Sandy Cox urged continued use of masks and social distancing until a vaccine is available. (Screenshot courtesy city of Lakeway)
No new COVID-19 recommendations for Lakeway, but mayor urges continued caution

Lakeway Mayor Sandy Cox urges continued use of masks and social distancing until vaccine is available.