San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas



SUBMITTED REPORT 

The Engineering and Capital Improvements Department of the City of San Marcos will host an open house/ neighborhood meeting on the Texas Department of Public Safety Hunter Road project on Monday, Aug. 26 at 6 p.m. at the VFW Post3413, 1701 Hunter Road.

 
City engineers will be available to discuss highlights of the project and answer questions. Exhibits will be displayed showing the proposed improvements, project schedule, upcoming utility relocation work, tree removal/trimming, operation of the roundabout and the new signal at Bishop.
 
The goal of the project is to enhance safety and mobility in the project area, improve storm water drainage and keep Purgatory Creek floodwaters off the road. The existing roadway profile will be adjusted to accommodate a curb and gutter section and closed drainage system.
 
The proposed project consists of widening FM 2439 by adding a continuous two-way center left turn lane between Wonder World Drive and Bishop Street and adding right turn lanes at the Wonder World intersection.
 
Bicycle lanes or multi-use paths would be provided along the length of the project. The project includes the realignment and extension of San Antonio Street and the construction of a roundabout at the San Antonio Street intersection with FM 2439.
 
Additionally, the project includes a new 150-foot-long concrete slab bridge over the Purgatory Creek channel and a multiple box culverts at the Purgatory Creek relief channel, replacing the existing low water crossing.
 
For more information, please call the City of San Marcos Engineering/Capital Improvements Department at 512.393.8130. More information is also available online here.

Email Email | Print Print

--

30 thoughts on “City, neighbors meet tonight on Hunter Road widening, roundabout

  1. Please for the sake of humanity, please NO roundabout for the love of God Himself. Widen, make a turn lane, but please don’t put in a roundabout like on Cheatham St… That roundabout looks good and serves a purpose on Cheathem St., but not on Hunter!!! Too many cars, and bug turcks that support our local buisnesses travel this road… A roundabout would hamper traffic and become a major pain in the back side. You would have traffic at a standstill in a freaking circle backing everything up. Widen, add bridges, paths, flowers, grass, and antyhing that works out great… Just for the sake of traffic PLEASE NO ROUNDABOUT!!!

  2. I just don’t get the opposition to roundabouts.

    Roundabouts have been proven in multiple scientific studies to reduce traffic congestion, reduce vehicle-related pollution, and decrease both the severity and frequency of accidents. The studies are all there for anyone willing to invest five minutes on a Google search.

    I did find several news articles claiming that accident frequency increased in the short term after installing roundabouts, but (a) those were not long-term or scientific studies and (b) even then, severity of traffic accidents was greatly reduced. These accidents decreased as residents actually learned how to use the roundabouts correctly.

    The roundabout on Cheatham works like a charm, and is aesthetically more pleasing than a red light to boot.

    So what’s not to like?

  3. I’m all for them. Driven them in many cities around the world and they work great. They will also slow people down. It amazes me how fast people drive down Hopkins.

  4. Jason: Studies have shown that roundabouts ***increase*** traffic flow. Ever been behind someone trying to turn left from Hunter to Dixon? Or tried to get from San Antonio onto Hunter at peak traffic times? Talk about traffic coming to a standstill….

    Roundabouts would solve either of those issues. Or would you prefer more red lights in those locations?

  5. In all the years I’ve driven around New Braunfels I have never been backed up at their roundabout. I like them.

  6. That was essentially the same comment as your first one. I cannot imagine that those who would go to a meeting like last night’s would be a representative sample of the community — I am sure you know that LMC. I could make a fairly equal conclusion that only 72 people in a community of 50,000 came out to oppose a roundabout.

  7. That’s a nice repeating of your initial post….your cut and past skills are exemplary!

    However, you have failed to present any sort of evidence or compelling arguments as to why ‘we the people’ should oppose the roundabouts. You’ve obviously found 72 people who are willing to rally around your latest efforts at protesting something in San Marcos – but on what grounds?

    All you’ve done so far is confirm that there was a meeting last night of people who (for some mysterious reason that you’re reticent to share with the class) oppose the roundabouts. Considering you’re up against both hard evidence and personal testimony that has been presented to the contrary here, I would say you’re losing the argument…..

  8. Roundabouts work. For those that are not used to them, they may seem intimidating but they work at safely moving traffic. They slow traffic down while safely moving it. New Braunfels has used it’s roundabout at it’s major intersection, the Plaza and I have never seen a wreck there or a traffic jam. Inconveniencing trucks??? Seriously, do you care. They are the most dangerous part about driving on Hunter Road. Are roundabouts different? You bet they are but they work.

  9. I was in England several years ago, and London is full of roundabouts. I didn’t see a single accident, and the only congestion evident was what you’d expect in one of the world’s largest cities. I’m all for roundabouts, they just take some getting used to.

  10. I would suspect that those of you who favor this round about either do not use that portion of Hopkins on a regular basis or have not really looked at the plans and the exact layout of the round about. It is the wrong project at the wrong place. It will disrupt traffic where traffic does not need to be disrupted. It is going to encourage Hopkins street traffic to detour onto Belvin Street and San Antonio Street. This project will be a major disaster for the local neighborhood. This project will require that Nick Laura’s property be taken by eminent domain which, while necessary in some projects, is totally inappropriate for this project. Eminent domain should only be used as a last resort. The original plan called for a widening of Hopkins street at the proposed location and the addition of a turn lane. That would be more than adequate. Building this over reaching round about will require traffic blockage and detours for what the city projects to be 18 months. We all know how city projects usually go time wise so we are probably looking at a 3 year disruption if the Rio Vista project provides any clues as to the cities ability to get a project finished.

    Traffic circles and round abouts may work fine in Europe but this is not Europe. We do not have a tradition or experience with these traffic devices. That makes them difficult for most of us and dangerous for some of us. Those of you who favor this project should have attended the meeting. After the city employees (a bunch) and at least four different consultants tried to answer the questions about round abouts, the vast majority of those in attendance were more opposed to this project than they were when they arrived. Yes, some of the people at the meeting were the “usual suspects” who oppose everything but there were a lot of people at the meeting who don’t usually get involved in this kind of thing. They truly think this is a bad idea. I am one of them.

  11. I think the roundabout is a good idea. I am all for anything that slows down traffic. For all of the traffic that runs along Hopkins St – it is still a residential street for many blocks beginning at the roundabout location.

  12. Charles, you may want to give me a shout for more information on why I oppose the roundabout. When you hear all the details, which were covered at the meeting, then I am confident you will become involved in stopping this boondoggle. Thank you Mr. Simms for your advocacy.

    I have a letter to editor that was sent to Brad and he i guess “lost” it. It does not surprise me that those that are the regular trolls would just chime in and blabber about something they have not taken the time or energy to understand ON THIS SPECIFIC ROUNDABOUT.

    To bad Brad can’t show up to report a story. He just posts under different names to gin up reader’s interest. And, you want us to pay for “pro” baw ha ha ha ha ha

    512 392 1585 if you would like the full story, which you won’t get from the Mercury.

  13. LMC, why can’t you post “more information” and “all the details” here? If it’s truly as compelling as you’d like us to believe, why not lay it all out in the open?

    That said, I’ve used roundabouts in cities much larger (and with much more traffic) than San Marcos, and I’ve never had any issue with them. I think they do what they’re supposed to, and they’re more aesthetically pleasing than many of the alternative options.

  14. LK, I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you. LMC seems incapable of doing anything but drawing attention to LMC. She just comes here to troll Brad – and then she has the chutzpah to wonder why her “letter to the editor” didn’t get published.

    On the other hand, thank you Mr. Sims for presenting the contra argument in this case. While you do make a couple good points, and raise a couple valid concerns (particularly the distaste for eminent domain – I’m not a fan either even if Mr. Lara’s property has become borderline blighted in its inactivity), I think that several of your points are open for further debate.

    To wit:

    You say that there will be traffic problems during the construction of the roundabout. This is true, but wouldn’t there also be similar issues if all they did was widen the road and add a turn lane as you suggested? Even if it takes longer to do the roundabout, I would prefer to see them bring a long-term solution. The traffic diversions, the disruption of the neighborhood….those are all unavoidable consequences of *any* construction project. Remember, we all love change but we all despise transition.

    You also argue that “we are not Europe” so a roundabout would not work here. I would counter with the argument that maybe I give us too much credit but I think American drivers are intelligent enough to figure it out. I hate the “learning curve” argument as it relates to any progressive public feature, and this is no exception. If learning to drive in a circle is too tough for someone, they probably shouldn’t be driving anyway.

    This location, because of the odd angle of the adjoining street, presents serious logistical problems for traditional traffic remedies but it lends itself perfectly to the concept of a roundabout.

  15. I would rather have a traffic circle that keeps moving instead of another stop light out of sync with the one 300 yds away.

  16. Watson, that’s an interesting point. The traffic light synchronization upgrade seems to have been a bust. Hopkins seems particularly out of synch.

  17. I was at the meeting. City staff took the approach that everything has already been decided and COSM is no longer taking input on the project, but that they would be happy to explain why they are right and everyone else is wrong.

    To be fair, this meeting was always billed as an “information session”, and I will say that San Marcos has gotten better at doing these sorts of meetings under Jim Nuse. But it does seem that they always come when the project is on the verge of the point of no return, and they always seem to be framed as “well, there’s only one option to consider, and we decided it six months ago.”

  18. Many people confuse older styles of circular intersections with modern roundabouts. East coast rotaries, large multi-lane traffic circles (Arc D’Triumph), and neighborhood traffic circles are not modern roundabouts. If you want to see the difference between a traffic circle, a rotary (UK roundabout) and a modern roundabout (UK continental roundabout), go to http://tinyurl.com/kstate-RAB to see pictures. And here’s another site that shows the difference between an older rotary and a modern roundabout: http://tinyurl.com/bzf7qmg
    The FHWA (http://tinyurl.com/fhwaRAB) has a video about modern roundabouts that is mostly accurate (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhHzly_6lWM ).
    Modern roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world. Visit http://tinyurl.com/iihsRAB for modern roundabout FAQs and safety facts. Modern roundabouts, and the pedestrian refuge islands approaching them, are two of nine proven safety measures identified by the FHWA, http://tinyurl.com/7qvsaem

  19. I like the roundabout myself but it’s not a core issue to me … so, you know, y’all hash it out. I will point out though, in reply to Griffin, that the city held a well publicized meeting on this very roundabout more than a year ago, in June 2012. So it’s not as if this is suddenly and unexpectedly being forced on people.

  20. I think the decision to only consider a roundabout was made in May 2012, a month before that earlier meeting. But I agree that opposition at that point would have been more effective in changing the project back to the original 4-way stop.

    In San Marcos, opposition only seems to organize once that point of no return comes into view. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t always been there.

  21. What everyone needs to understand is that there is no such thing as city planning. There is no “there there” with city planning. There is no body of knowledge. City planning is driven by fads and the egos of city planners. One year the fad is big wide streets. The next year it is narrow streets. One year it will be cul de sacs. The next year, cull de sack are evil. The only requirement to be a city planner is that a person have the illusion that they know better about what the citizens need than the citizens do. Right now, traffic circles and round abouts are all the rage with city planners. In ten years that fad will pass and the city planners will want to rip them all out in favor of more rational intersections. Or maybe not. The next city planning fad might be 3D intersections or some such nonsense. If traffic circles are such a great thing, where have they been for the last 100 years? That’s right, they were not considered cool by city planners. They didn’t like them. Now they do. Next year, maybe not. I was once a city planner. Believe me, it is all BS. They know nothing.

  22. The main reason a lot of people didn’t protest the Hopkins traffic circle is because most of us thought the project was dead in the water. After the objections of many people when this first came up, a lot of us thought maybe, just maybe the city had decided this was a bad idea. Never, ever, never underestimate the tenacity of the city staff when they get a bad idea.

    I will agree with Brad about one thing. This should not be the hill to die on as far as city policy goes. Here is the thing, this project is symptomatic of a lot of the problems of San Marcos. The first change that needs to happen is that we need to change the format of these city public meetings. They are designed to insure that there is little or no discussion or citizens input. Everyone is directed to the front of the room to discuss their concerns with all the consultants and staff who are only there for show. Their job is to show us what is already decided. That has been the problem with this traffic circle business from day one. Like a lot of other city projects, the decision had been made long before the first public meeting. The public meetings are just dog and pony shows.

  23. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324108204579025190514290338.html

    Not real sure if you are going to be able to read this because the WSJ is behind a pay wall. Sometimes I can sneak these through. Try to cut and paste. The article is about the over building of student housing by giant corporations like American Campus Community here in San Marcos. The massive 1000 bed complexes could become giant ghettos.

    This has enormous implications for San Marcos. What will falling enrollment add to this problem. Not sure if TSU enrollment is falling yet but it will. It is inevitable given the economy and lack of jobs for college grads. TSU will be able to hide the numbers behind increases in Round Rock for a while. What are the implications for the humongous off campus developments when they can no longer make the bond payments.

  24. Thanks, Brad,
    There were lots of well-publicized meetings about the roundabout. I live on San Antonio and think it will be a welcome addition to the area. It also will serve as a nice entry to the historical area. I attended the August 26 meeting and feel most people there didn’t really want to hear what the state and city officials had to say. They are dead set against them, but those people are just a tiny few of the thousands that use Hunter and Hopkins daily.

    Kathy Lawrence

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

:)