Getting around Kyle: Citizens give input on transportation plan

By Moses Leos III

For the second time in five months, Kyle citizens got the chance to sketch and identify their opinions on the city’s future transportation needs.  

The process, set in the form of a town hall meeting on Aug. 26, is part of Kyle’s update to its outdated Transportation Master Plan. 

Jeff Barton, principal at Gap Strategies and the group tasked with public outreach on the plan, said the idea behind the update was to get the “big picture” of what residents use to commute around town. 

Kyle’s updated plan, which used the city’s 2005 and 2010 comprehensive plans as starting points, utilizes proposed and planned projects idealized by the city, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) or Hays County. 

David Manuel, lead planner at Lockwood, Andrew and Newnam (LAN), said the proposed plan included the addition of new roads, roads that may have proposed improvements in the future, and changes such as intersection treatments or overpasses. 

Citizens got their first crack at identifying priority issues in the plan in March. Manuel said the city and LAN took ideas from the public and updated their plan to present to residents on Aug. 26.

According to Manuel, LAN wanted to create possibilities of future infrastructure to meet travel demands of the future. He also said that by creating alternatives, it gives the city “space to pick and choose what’s appropriate.” 

The group also asked citizens to give feedback on marking what roads should be arterial or collector in the future. He said LAN and Prime Strategies would assist with finding financial options for items within the plan.

But opinions differed across the room on the options presented. Some citizens held concerns that roads proposed to be collector, such as Scott Street, could funnel an excess of traffic into the older part of town. 

Former Kyle City Council member Tammy Swaton said she believes there will be more traffic traveling through old town in the future.  

She  believes the city is working to make downtown cohesive, but added, “if it was my street, I may not like it.”

But she thinks finding alternative routes from IH-35 is necessary. 

“We need to find alternative ways to move around. That’s what we need,” she said. “People talk about cutting through neighborhoods … if you can get them away from that and onto larger roads, I think that’s the way to go.” 

Current Kyle City Council member Diane Hervol applauded the east-west connectivity of the plan. She cited items such as the proposed Kyle Loop, which is projected to extend from Yarrington Road in Kyle to Robert S. Light Blvd. in Buda. 

Hervol had some issues relating to the plan. She believed connecting FM 2770 to 150 would provide a better option for commuters wanting a more east-west connection. 

She also held issue with a proposed roundabout that was mapped at the future intersection of FM 150 and the Kyle Loop. 

“It’s going to be interesting because there is a lot of traffic on (FM 150). And of course, different people say roundabouts move traffic faster,” Hervol said. “But when you’re coming at those speeds, that roundabout has to be huge if you’re coming at 60 miles per hour.”

Kyle resident Scott Ingalls also noted bright spots in the plan. Ingalls, however, worried about connections that could go through his neighborhood of Sunrise Acres. 

“We like our privacy. We like our dead ends,” Ingalls said. “I’d like to see (those connections) go away.” 

But Ingalls said he liked the idea of roundabouts at certain intersections. He cited his experience with roundabouts having lived in the northeastern part of the country. 

It was one reason why he was concerned regarding a signal light, and not a roundabout, that was proposed in the plan for the FM 1626 and Kohler’s Crossing intersection. 

“(Roundabouts) produce a lot less traffic than an actual signal does,” Ingalls said. “You have to get used to it.”  

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