Traffic signal okayed at Heritage Hill Country
By Matt Ward —
Heritage Hill Country residents will feel much safer turning in and out of their subdivision after the Fredericksburg City Council approved an agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation to construct a traffic signal at the intersection.
Driving the push for an additional signal to be located on U.S. Highway 290 East is the development of the Former Texas Rangers Heritage Center, whose entrance will be directly across the highway from the subdivision.
Funding the light
While the city would normally be expected to foot the entirety of the $227,844 bill for the project, City Public Works Director Clinton Bailey said the city got a deal at a “greatly reduced cost” for construction of the signal.
Eighty percent of the cost will come from federal funding with the remainder coming from state and local funding. The city’s obligation for the project, Bailey said, was $10,386.
“If a development is going in that is generating that (additional) traffic like Walmart typically generates a lot of traffic, they will typically pay 100 percent of that traffic signal as a requirement of TxDOT,” Bailey said. “We started out with a $175,000-$200,000 cost estimate that we were going to be responsible for paying somehow. Because the traffic is not being generated by TxDOT, they require the city or those entities to recover that cost.”
Bailey and City Manager Kent Myers met with Heritage Hill Country residents and Former Texas Ranger Foundation representatives about the project and requested a voluntary donation toward the city’s share of the cost.
The groups each agreed to pay 25 percent of the cost, for an amount of approximately $2,596.
Public input at the meeting was mixed about whether the subdivision and heritage center should have been approached to help with costs.
“It is needed and we appreciate it very much, however, I do not think that the city should have approached Heritage Hills or the Texas Ranger Foundation,” Billy Teague, a Heritage Hill Country resident, said. “I think that was really improper in my opinion. If you’re approached by anybody and asked to volunteer for something you’d really like to see out there, you’re going to donate. Heritage Hills did not create this problem, neither did Joe Davis (head of the foundation). The problem is that the traffic has gone up. That’s TxDOT’s problem and the city’s problem.”
The council unanimously voted to approve the agreement with TxDOT, but withheld a decision on how the city’s portion of the project should be funded.
The council also held the first reading of a proposed ground transportation ordinance, which would simplify regulations and end city permitting of taxis and other tour services.
The regulations would require that signage and insurance requirements be met, with the burden of conducting background checks on drivers being placed on the insurance providers.
“It really came down to the fact that we could very much simplify the ordinance and all we need to do is make sure that every taxi operator had sufficient insurance,” Councilman Graham Pearson, who spearheaded development of the ordinance, said.
The council will hold a second reading of the ordinance at their next meeting on June 16 before voting on the measure.
Park pool delays
Construction delays at Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park Pool will delay the opening of that facility, which was expected to be open early this month.
Town Pool, located across from Fredericksburg Middle School, will open as projected on Saturday, June 7.
Other city business
In other city business, the council approved sponsorship of the annual Fourth of July Parade in order to allow the parade to be covered under the city’s liability insurance. Parade organizers have agreed to pay the $250 cost of adding the event to the city’s insurance coverage.
Additionally, the council received a presentation on the public works and utilities department.