Georgetown City Vote on Williams Drive Improvement Draws Near

The city of Georgetown is edging closer to knowing the fate of the Williams Drive Improvement Study after final updates were presented to the city council members on June 27.

Nat Waggoner, who is the city’s transportation analyst, said that the council would take a vote on the final draft on July 11.

The Study

The Williams Drive Study was commissioned with the aim of finding an integral way to promote efficiency and multiple modal uses of the Williams Drive corridor which runs from Austin Avenue and terminates at Jim Hogg Road. It also aimed to improve land use and safety within and around the corridor.

The study was commissioned in 2016, and it was conducted by the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization partnering with the city’s transportation board. It involved engaging with numerous stakeholders and holding public meetings to discuss the project with the residents.

Final Draft

The main recommendations on the final draft seek to reduce traffic congestion by upgrading the pedestrian and bicycle avenues on the corridor. It also aims to provide better planning for land use so as to enhance economic growth. The implementation of these plans is slated to take four years.

The plan identifies coordination in traffic signal timing as one of the main areas to focus on during its implementation. It also seeks to evaluate the current speed limits and improve the intersection designs so that they can facilitate the safe passage of pedestrians and vehicles.

Rachael Jonrowe, who is the council member for District 6, expressed her support for the proposed plan saying that it had a good blend of recommendations.

Concerns

While expressing their support for the proposed plan, some members pointed out that easing the traffic congestion on Williams Drive should take priority over the other recommendations outlined in the final draft. The council member for District 7, Tommy Gonzalez, spoke during the workshop urging that the traffic problem on the corridor needed to be fixed urgently.

However, the Georgetown Transportation Advisory Board members expressed their concerns over hurriedly implementing the traffic congestion plans without having a proper plan for bicycle travel. The board members raised these concerns earlier in the year as they approved the final draft.

The council member for District 3 and member of the transportation board, John Hesser, stated that the city should first come up with a citywide plan on bicycle transportation before making enhancements for bicycle travel on Williams Drive.

The city’s bicycle master plan is also included in the final draft’s recommendations which urge that it be done within the next four years.

Funding

David Morgan, who is the city manager, pointed out that the proposed plan would be one of the guiding documents during the preparation of the city’s budget in the summer.

Funding is expected to come from the 2015 bond election which authorized $105 million which was meant to facilitate the city’s transport developments including Williams Drive. Other sources include the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Fund as well as outside funding.