Photo by Kelli WeldonAn Oak Hill Parkway context sensitive solutions workshop took place April 7 at Oak Hill United Methodist Church.
Oak Hill Parkway preliminary design updates, such as landscaping, xeriscaping and constructing retaining walls, were revealed during an April 7 workshop at Oak Hill United Methodist Church.
The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority held the event to gain residential input on the ongoing Oak Hill Parkway environmental study, which aims to vet and identify long-term solutions for alleviating traffic congestion near the Hwy. 290 and Hwy. 71 intersection, which is known as the Y at Oak Hill.
Attendees were shown maps that featured two proposed plans for the intersection area—Alternatives A and C—as well as artist renderings that showed 3-D views of what the areas surrounding the roads could look like with "context sensitive solutions," or CSS features, such as multi-use trails, solar pedestrian lighting, vegetated swales—or lowered areas in the ground—and natural stone or low-maintenance plants. Two firms, RVI and Land Strategies, are working on the design.
Melissa Hurst, Mobility Authority community outreach manager, noted potential locations for CSS features were identified using feedback from more than 600 survey participants.
"People let us know what destinations they were trying to get to, where was it important that we have transit locations [and] where was it important that we have bike and pedestrian facilities," she said.
The study identified pedestrian and bicycle pathways as the top CSS priority, followed by environmental sustainability, signage, lighting and enhanced water quality, which will be the focus of a workshop scheduled for later this spring, Hurst said.
Oak Hill resident Kenneth Headrick said he supports most aesthetic features presented at the workshop. He expressed concern the proposed plans would include adding a cul-de-sac on Old Bee Caves Road, but that was not the case, he said.
"I am glad they're finally getting something done," he said of the study, which launched in October 2012.
Debbra Parker, a Circle C resident since 1999, owns a business in Oak Hill called Kids Campus Learning Center on McCarty Lane. Parker said she wants to make sure features, such as proposed retaining walls and water retention ponds, capture runoff from other businesses and help minimize flooding on her property.
"Just in the last three years we had more water flowing through Williamson Creek than we have ever seen before," she said. "It doesn't even take a torrential downpour for the water to come up on our property anymore, and it comes up so far that it's just concerning."
She said she hopes the project overall will maintain the right-hand turn option on McCarty Lane and keep Oak Hill's community aesthetic.
The Mobility Authority will also hold an open house this summer and additional CSS workshops. Hurst said there may also be another workshop about financing potential construction if community members express enough interest. Tolls and public-private partnerships have been discussed as potential options for funding construction.