AAMPO

River Chase subdivision resident Brenda Ford, left, speaks with Comal County Precinct 2 Commissioner Scott Haag, right, during the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s public meeting soliciting input on projects in the region’s 2021-24 Transportation Improvement Program on Oct. 3. WILL WRIGHT | The Herald-Zeitung

 

The Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization is taking a new approach in updating its next regional transportation plan, which for the first time in recent years won’t include a call for new mobility projects.

Several dozen area residents turned out to the New Braunfels Civic/Convention Center Oct. 3 for the last of four AAMPO public meetings for input into its Transportation Improvement Program, a short-range update covering fiscal years 2021-24. Meetings were also conducted in Kendall County on Sept. 25; 

Bexar County on Sept. 26, and in Seguin on Oct. 2. 

“There is about five times more than the total attendance we’ve had at all of the other meetings,” said Jeanne Geiger, AAMPO deputy director, before outlining the MPO’s regional area that includes all of Bexar, Comal and Guadalupe counties and the Boerne portion of Kendall county.

“I’m really concerned about improving Farm-to-Market Road 306 to past Purgatory Road,” said River Chase subdivision resident Brenda Ford, who was among several who voiced their ideas on projects not only in Comal County but those throughout the regional area. 

The TIP outlines a financially constrained program of federally assisted transportation projects implemented over a four-year period, listed according to priorities and including realistic estimates of project costs during the period. The AAMPO’s most recent TIP designated nearly $200 million annually for projects in fiscal years 2019-22 and was approved in April. 

The AAMPO hosted four public meetings on its plan for its next TIP, which for the first time won’t include a call for projects next year.

“Since Bexar County was designated in non attainment for ozone, we now have to do a Transportation Conformity Document, which adds about nine months to our planning schedule,” Geiger said. “There was not enough time to do a call for projects for the next TIP, because the last time projects were selected going out to the year 2025, which is one year past the next TIP.”

AAMPO funds projects through the Surface Transportation Block Grant, Transportation Alternatives and the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program. For the 2023-26 TIP, the MPO will hold a call for projects funded by all three sources for approval in May 2022.

The 2021-24 TIP will not cover new projects but those already in the short-range plan. Geiger’s presentation asked attendees visit tables and outline concerns on traffic congestion, traffic safety, active and public transportation, and roadway and transit proposals in the plan.

All input will be shared with local and state transportation agencies and the AAMPO’s Transportation Policy Board to consider in approving the next TIP next spring, and help formulate ideas for the 2023-26 TIP project call, totaling around $250 million, in 2020.

“We want to know which venues are most congested, have crashes or construction and at which times,” she said. “We also want to know preferences for bicycle and pedestrian projects.” 

An online survey of regional residents concluded on Oct. 4. Also solicited at the local meeting was input from New Braunfels residents into fixed route transit service to San Antonio, Seguin, San Marcos and Boerne over the next five to eight years. The MPO is funding a study on the topic that will involve city public meetings later this month.

“We’re going to package all of the information and pass off appropriate ideas to TxDOT, Comal County, New Braunfels, Seguin, VIA Metropolitan Transit and other agencies,” Geiger said. “We’re hoping to see some of the ideas generated tonight come back to funding requests for the next project call.”

For more, contact Geiger at 210-227-8651 or by email at geiger@alamoareampo.org.

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