TXDOT Planning Roadways Around Boerne

Like it or not, Boerne has traded Bergmann’s for Buc-ee’s. You can rant, or you can rave, but you can’t not notice the extra fifteen seconds it takes you to pull out of an intersection near you.

Of all the ways population growth affects an area, none is more pronounced than vehicle congestion.

I may wait an extra week for a library book every once in a while, or I may wait periodically for a tennis court. But sitting in traffic impacts my life everyday.

“Transportation is a family values issue,” The Honorable Dan Branch used to tell a conservative Texas House of Representatives. “You can’t spend time with your family when you’re stuck in traffic.”

Branch’s remarks often came while lawmakers jockeyed either to reduce transportation funding or to siphon gas tax revenues into non-road areas of state government.

Boerne’s City Council and Kendall County’s Commissioners Court were on the right track when they linked up in 2015 to formally ask the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) to help preserve corridors for future roadways.

By mid-2016, TXDOT committed $250,000 – yes, $250,000 – for a comprehensive “Kendall Gateway Study.” TXDOT has since engaged multiple engineering and consulting firms, as well as various local stakeholder groups.

A January 2017 open house brought hundreds of concerned citizens from the woodworks along with dozens of comments about the mobility and congestion issues facing Kendall County.

After almost a year of talking, the study’s rubber is starting to hit the road. While we are still a few months away from conclusions, some points are rising to the surface.

“This study is data driven,” understated one of the project’s engineers. A report posted to the study’s Web site shows 283 pages of documentation about the aforementioned open house.

Every e-mailed, handwritten or spoken remark was captured for posterity’s sake. We’re largely saying the same things: keep Boerne desirable and create sufficient through routes and roadway redundancies.

In addition to the age-old tube strips across roadways, engineers are using Bluetooth-enabled traffic data collection methods.

If a vehicle has a GPS or mobile device emitting a Bluetooth signal, data collectors can tell not only from which direction it enters Boerne but also in which direction it leaves, purportedly without invading anyone’s privacy.

Of the traffic coming into Boerne from State Highway 46 (SH 46) east (i.e., Bergheim area), a majority is going west toward Kerrville, not into the country’s 7th largest city, San Antonio. Traffic from SH 46 west of Boerne tends to go toward San Antonio.

Increasingly, SH 46 is being used as an outer loop. As Loop 1604 gets more developed and congested, traffic flows from Interstate 35 and from Interstate 10 east of San Antonio are turning to SH 46.

Whether this data prioritizes a thoroughfare around Boerne’s northeast side from SH 46 to IH 10 West over a southeast connector from SH 46 to IH 10 East remains debatable.

What is not debatable is this: Not only do we have a lot of people moving to Boerne, we also have a lot of people moving through Boerne. Hopefully, we’re getting closer to deciding which route(s) they should take.

 

Follow Kevin Thompson at www.kwt.info.

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