by VERONICA GORDON
The city of Austin planning department held a meeting Thursday at Buda United Methodist Church to gather comments about how to improve Interstate 35.
Austin engineers and Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) are looking for ideas about how to improve IH-35 through Central Texas over the next decade. Last week’s open house is part of a study jointly funded by the city and the state to look for short- and mid-term traffic improvements on IH-35 between Texas 45 North in Round Rock and Texas 45 Southeast near Buda.
Kyle City Council Member David Wilson said the section of IH-35 at Onion Creek is among his main traffic concerns.
“It’s very dangerous the way it goes downhill and you have to suddenly hit your brakes when the traffic is backed up,” Wilson said.
Residents were asked to write comments on a large printed map of the highway that reaches into Hays County. There were also maps from previous open houses that showed comments on the core section of IH-35 through Austin.
Gary Schatz, assistant director of the Austin Transportation Department was on-hand at the open house.
“People can take the opportunity to read and see what others have said,” Schatz said. “They can add comments to that map as well, but we definitely want them to share comments on I-35 into the vicinity of Buda and Kyle.”
Since 2011, similar open houses and community meetings have been held in cities from Round Rock to Buda. The program involves local, state and federal agencies with a stake in improving IH-35, Schatz said. More than 300 ideas were proposed in that time, addressing improvements.
“In looking at I-35, can we better manage the corridor to move people and goods along it?” Schatz said.
Schatz said some of the comments gathered have already been put into practical use by the planning department.
More community meetings will be held later this month. Residents can share their comments anytime at www.mobility35.org.