By Moses Leos III
Planning for future growth – and avoiding some of the pitfalls Austin faced over the past two decades – were just two reasons for the recent FM 150 West Character Plan project meeting.
Nearly 200 Hays County residents came in and out of Thurman’s Mansion in Driftwood Wednesday evening to provide input on the project, which runs from Arroyo Ranch Rd. in Kyle to RR 12 in Dripping Springs.
Hays County Commissioners Will Conley and Ray Whisenant hosted the workshop to allow attendees to share their thoughts on the project while also having their questions answered. Those who attended viewed maps of the area and shared comments through a mapping exercise.
The goal of the workshop was to start the process of looking for long-term solutions to future growth problems on FM150, all the while preserving the corridor’s rural character.
“I don’t want to see it changing exponentially,” Whisenant said. “The look and feel of it is something that I and many others feel is very important.”
Because the population is expected to quadruple in the next 25 years, county officials say they are planning proactively as the current transportation system consists mainly of two-lane roads.
“We’re trying to maintain the general character of the corridor, while moving twice as much traffic in a safe way,” Whisenant said. “We don’t want [Hays County] to turn into Austin.”
This was the first workshop for the project, following an introductory public meeting held in October 2014, where information was shared on the need for the project, the approach to develop a character plan and strategies that will be used as the project continues to develop.
“We want to not be stuck in terrible traffic if we’re still here in the next few decades,” Will Reid, Dripping Springs resident, said. “A lot of us are commuting within the county.”
A Citizen Advisory Panel was created to work with the county and project team. This group is made up of 11 individual citizens who reside along or interact with the corridor.
“This is such a strong community,” Arin Gray, Public Information Consultant for the FM 150 West Alignment Study, said. “Everyone seems to really want to be involved in all of the process.”
The timing and funding of the project have not yet been identified and it might be several years until the road improvements are needed. Multiple public workshops and opportunities for the public to participate throughout this process will take place in the meantime.
Get up to speed on FM 150
To learn more about the FM 150 West Character Plan, visit www.improvefm150.com.