October 21, 2008
Harris Bell Hall, Westminster Manor, 4100 Jackson Ave.
President Kay Newell called the meeting to order at 6:35 p.m.
asked for approval of the minutes of the October 16, 2007, meeting.
Tom Whatley, seconded by Frances Allen, moved to approve the minutes.
The motion was adopted without objection.
MoPac expansion update
Kay recognized representatives of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) for an update on plans for the addition of a managed lane and sound barriers on MoPac (Loop 1). The principal speakers were CTRMA executive director Mike Heilingenstein and Mark Herber, TxDOT’s Loop 1 project director. John Kelly of DMJM Harris, the consulting firm for the project, and other representatives of TxDOT and CTRMA were present.
They reported that TxDOT decided in November 2007 to suspend the Loop 1 expansion project due to funding constraints and in February 2008 sent a stop work order to John Kelly. Bob Daigh, TxDOT’s Austin district regional director, asked CTRMA to take over the project, which would be financed primarily with toll revenue collected from those using the additional managed lane, with supplementary funding from TxDOT. While TxDOT is exploring new options, such as issuing bonds, to finance its project backlog, and CTRMA is reviewing toll financing options, at this point neither TxDOT nor CTRMA is committed to resuming the project in the near future.
The TxDOT and CTRMA representatives emphasized that should future financing become available for the project, they would not be starting from scratch, but would build on the work already completed. An optimistic forecast is that once the project was restarted, it would take around two years to complete environmental and noise studies and the required environmental assessment and public hearings before construction could begin. Mr. Heilingenstein discussed the possibility of charging a toll on an added managed lane that would vary based on traffic volume, with higher tolls charged during high-volume periods. The lane also would be reserved for emergency vehicles and buses.
In response to questions, Mr. Heilingenstein affirmed that CTRMA, like TxDOT, is bound by the commitment to MoNAC to not expand MoPac right of way nor add elevated lanes should a managed lane be added. He said that only CAMPO can alter that commitment. The bridge over Lady Bird Lake cannot be striped to add an additional lane separate from the MoPac segment north of the lake. Proposed changes to the MoPac/Westover interchange could be done as a separate project. All pertinent requirements, including the Antiquities Code as it applies to the Austin Memorial Park cemetery, will be followed. None of those present were aware of any plan for an expressway connecting downtown and MoPac.
Kay Newell recognized neighborhood representatives for annual updates on their neighborhoods.
Brian Robbins, executive director of Westminster Manor, described the Manor’s extensive expansion plans, which will begin in February 2009.
The West Austin Neighborhood Group (WANG) has been engaged in the neighborhood planning process and is focusing on plans by the University of Texas for the Breckenridge Tract and city zoning of a portion of the Austin State School property that the state has sold.
Woods has been part of the WANG area neighborhood planning process
and is working with Pemberton Heights and the city on a traffic
Enfield is not participating in the neighborhood planning process and
is concerned with crime issues.
Heights is monitoring the progress of the Westminster Manor expansion
and construction of the new apartment complex on Bull Creek Road and
continues to monitor the status of the state property on Bull Creek
is working on its neighborhood watch program and lowering the speed
limit on its streets to 25 mph. After losing its lawsuit against
Wal-Mart, which wants to build on the Northcross Mall site, it is
monitoring implementation of Wal-Mart’s down-sized site plan.
Shoal Creek has erected neighborhood watch signs and is monitoring
new vertical mixed use (VMU) projects on Anderson Lane, along with
the restriping of Steck Ave. for bicycle lanes.
Park West/Balcones is working on neighborhood beautification and
crime watch projects. It was successful in persuading the city to
drop plans to reconstruct the lower part of Balcones Blvd. near W.
St. and in obtaining a school crossing sign and striped crosswalk at
Perry Ln. and Valley Oak Dr.
Old West Austin Neighborhood Association (OWANA) failed to obtain an
historic district designation for the entire neighborhood and is
seeking a district covering a smaller area. The city wants to review,
but not extensively update, the OWANA neighborhood plan approved in
asked for neighborhood input on continuing the past year’s practice
of calling MoNAC meetings as needed during the year but otherwise
maintaining the current schedule of annual meetings in October. No
one objected to continuing the current meeting schedule.
being no other business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:25 p.m.