Decision Points

City to implement $58 million, 5-year traffic improvement program

Beginning in September 2011, the City of Round Rock is implementing a $58 million, 5-year plan to address the community’s most pressing transportation needs. The program will be primarily funded through the existing half-cent Type B sales tax revenue for economic development.

Transportation staff identified key problem areas, and presented a series of solutions to the Round Rock City Council at its August planning retreat. The City Council, after providing guidance on timing and priorities, signed off on the program. The 5-year program is flexible, and new projects will be added to it as work is completed and funds allow. It will be updated annually.

The highest-priority problem areas identified are below. Links take you to projects designed to address the problem:

  1. IH 35 corridor deficiencies, most notably on-ramp and off-ramp locations
  2. North-south connections west of IH 35. There are no significant crossings of Brushy Creek between Chisholm Trail and Parmer Lane.
  3. Intersection/corridor efficiency, in particular traffic signal timing and lack of dedicated right turn lanes.
  4. East-west routes west of IH 35, especially where there are at-grade railroad crossings.
  5. Rehabilitation of major arterial roads. Many of our existing arterial roads need significant maintenance or reconstruction to improve safety, traffic flow and economic vitality.

While all of these problem areas are within the City’s jurisdiction to address, we will need to partner with the Texas Department of Transportation on some of the proposed solutions. We anticipate that costs will be shared by other agencies on some projects.

Transportation staff analyzed and ranked problem areas and proposed solutions that are both technically sound and affordable, i.e., within the projected revenue stream of the half-cent Type B sales tax. Type B denotes the state law that stipulates the uses for this sales tax, which is for the promotion of economic development.

Round Rock voters in 1997 approved the half-cent sales tax and limited its use to major road and transportation projects, i.e., those that impacted economic development. Since that time, the City has leveraged the $115 million of Type B revenue into $376 million worth of projects by partnering with the Texas Department of Transportation, Williamson County and private developers.

The 5-year program does not include $30 million of ongoing Type B sales tax funded transportation projects, like a new north-south arterial east of IH 35 (Kenney Fort Boulevard) and the widening of Chisholm Trail Road north of FM 3406. Even with the new 5-year program and the existing projects, the City anticipates maintaining an $8-10 million fund balance for the Type B sales tax fund.

Your thoughts or questions about the program are welcome.

 
Posted: Sep 29 2011, 10:45 AM by Will Hampton | with 3 comment(s)
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Comments

e149 said:

Project 1----You have an exit ramp northbound just south of US79 and you want another one just north of US79. Closing the entrance ramp to I-35 at US79 forcing traffic to go to almost FM3406 just to get on the I-35 North?

On the southbound side you going to force people to exit just south of FM 3406 to turn onto US79.

You have succeeded in making it harder (more inconvenient) to enter I-35 Northbound and exit I-35 southbound.

What is bad is I fail too see how this makes it any safer.

You have just increased traffic on the frontage road in both directions.

On top of that we will have detours and road construction for 3-5 years, or at least 18 months. GREAT!!!!

Project 2---- I would say that the FM 3406 project is needed for worse than the aforementioned project (which I see as not needed at all). Although I am not so sure that U-turn lanes are all that critical. Most want to either enter the interstate or turn onto FM 3406.

Project 3—I do not understand it all.

Project 4--- Reversing ramps again and widening the frontage road from FM 3406 to RM 1431? Widening the frontage road here? I do not see the reason for it, unless of course you do reverse the ramps, but what is the need to reverse the ramps as I said the first project?

Project 5----  Overpass improvements for  RM 1431. Do you mean widen RM 1431 (not FM 3406). Basically do to RM1431 what you plan on doing to RM 3406?

I can see increased problems on I-35 for nearly of these proposed “improvements”. I mean not only will construction adversely affect US 79, Fm 3406, and RM 1431, but I-35 at these intersections as well.

These projects will not even start for 3-4 years.

# September 30, 2011 1:58 PM

NewAgeGlobalConsulting said:

What are the efforts for Round Rock to be included in the Lone Star Rail project that will cover commuting from Georgetown to San Antonio down the I-35 corridor? After attending a meeting with A4APT (Alliance for Austin Public Transportation) and hearing the lack of involvement and interest shown by the city of Round Rock and Williamson County per Director, Joe Black I am curious as to the reason why we as a city and county are not a member or being represented in this project but Georgetown has expressed interest along with every other city along the corridor this rail will service. Were there ever any community outreach or public engagement initiatives?  

# October 5, 2011 4:07 PM

Will Hampton said:

@NewAgeGlobalConsulting,

There currently is no effort by the City to participate in the Lone Star Rail project. The City has never participated financially in the project, which was originally known as the Austin-San Antonio (ASA) Intermunicipal Rail District. The financial feasibility of the project – a 112-mile system with 15 stations – was considered questionable by the City staff and City Council. Cost and ridership assumptions were also deemed questionable. For example, the rail district forecast that by 2030, there would be more weekday boardings in Round Rock than downtown San Antonio. You can watch a 2007 presentation to the City Council on transit planning – including the ASA project – online here: roundrock.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php.

More recently, the City and Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority partnered on a study to determine the feasibility of regional rail. The City specifically looked at connecting to the Capital Metro Red Line. Cost to build the connection was estimated at $340 million, with $7.3 million in annual operational costs. You can watch the May 13, 2010, presentation to the City Council on the study results online here: roundrock.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php.

# November 8, 2011 4:20 PM
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