Jeanine Lehman (Letter)

/Jeanine Lehman (Letter)
Jeanine Lehman (Letter)2018-08-02T20:21:10+00:00

This letter was slightly edited by the web master in regards to the web site links located within this letter. To view the original letter,

LAW OFFICES OF JEANINE LEHMAN P.C.                          (512) 918-3435

Mail:  P.O. Box 202211, Austin, TX 78720
FAX:  (512) 331-1882
Email: jeanine@jeanine.com
Website: http://www.jeanine.com

February 2, 2017

Dear Jollyville Road Property Owner:

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) has a proposal to remove two vehicle lanes from Jollyville Road in Austin, Texas. I am writing you because the tax records indicate that you own property on Jollyville Road.

CAMPO has made this proposal as a part of the Regional Active Transportation Plan – Near Northwest Corridor, which addresses bicycle and pedestrian transportation.  Enclosed is information on Jollyville Road configuration options under consideration by CAMPO.

Jollyville Road is currently a five lane road with two vehicle lanes each way and a middle turn lane.  Jollyville Road is an arterial road that services the local neighborhoods and is also used for commuting from and to those neighborhoods and other neighborhoods.  Jollyville Road runs parallel to Highway 183. Jollyville Road houses many businesses, including grocery stores, doctor and dentist offices, restaurants, movie theater, print shops, car washes, gas stations, community center, emergency room, car dealerships, and more; is a route to the Arboretum shopping center; and also has residences.  I have polled several businesses which I patronize, and a client of my law firm.  None of these businesses were aware of this major proposal to limit access to their property.

This proposal causes great concern in several areas:

1. Safety
2. Mobility
3. Affordability
4. Community Involvement, including by businesses which own or lease on Jollyville Road
5. Impact on Property Values

The option to remove two vehicle lanes from Jollyville Road will result in a road which has no shoulder and no safe means to pass other vehicles.  Ambulances and other first responders use Jollyville Road. Vehicles will not have the option to pull over to the right to provide those ambulances and other first responders a vehicle lane to traverse.  There is an emergency room facility on Jollyville Road, and Seton Northwest Hospital is on Highway 183, near Jollyville Road – both of which are served by ambulances.  Jollyville Road is a bus route for school and Capital Metro buses.  Drivers must stop for stopped school buses.  However, drivers behind school and transit buses will no longer have the ability to pass those buses while the buses are moving.  Instead, the whole lane of traffic will back up behind the buses.  The same thing applies to garbage trucks.  If there is a vehicle breakdown on Jollyville Road, it too will block traffic.

With only one lane of traffic going each way and over 50 driveways along Jollyville Road, it will be very difficult for vehicles to access Jollyville Road, particularly at peak traffic times. (There has been no evidence that CAMPO has evaluated peak traffic time vehicle levels for Jollyville Road.)  Those vehicles will be essentially trapped in parking lots. Of particular concern to me is the ability to access the parking lot at the very busy Balcones Station United States Post Office on Jollyville Road, where my law firm’s PO Box is located.  I also suspect that vehicles will edge out into the bike lane to await their fleeting opportunity to squeeze into the sole vehicle traffic lane – thus blocking the bike lane.

Safety issues will also arise with the loading and unloading of vehicles at auto dealerships from semi-trucks which park on Jollyville Road, and with the City of Austin garbage bins that need to be set on Jollyville Road for pickup.

Affordability is an issue.  The CAMPO option to keep five lanes on Jollyville Road has a preliminary estimated cost of $42 million.  The options which remove two vehicle lanes,  have preliminary estimated costs of $7 million to $15 million.  The question is – who will pay for this?  Property taxes have increased dramatically, with no end in sight.

Another issue to address is how the changes to Jollyville Road will affect drainage.  Currently, much of Jollyville Road has large drainage ditches running along it.  Finally, reduced access may impact property values on Jollyville Road.

There is currently a separate project to add sidewalks to part of Jollyville Road, which is not a part of the CAMPO proposals.  Having safe biking routes is good for the community – however, removing vehicle lanes from Jollyville Road is not the method to achieve that result.

Jollyville Road is an Austin roadway.  Therefore, decisions will be up to the City of Austin.  I urge you to contact CAMPO and the City of Austin to voice your concerns, to submit written comments, and to be added to the list to receive all updates on the CAMPO proposal and meetings, and the City of Austin communications and meetings concerning Jollyville Road. I urge you to continuously monitor governmental communications and action on Jollyville Road, as the potential removal of the two lanes of traffic from Jollyville Road could occur in the future when property owners and neighbors are not watching.  I urge you to notify your tenants, so that they can make their voices heard.  I urge you to contact the media as well.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

1. Attend the CAMPO Transportation Policy Board meeting: Monday, 02/13/17 @ 6 pm @ The Thompson Conf. Center (MAP)
2. Provide written and oral comments.
3. Contact Alison Alter: (512) 978-2110 or District10@AustinTexas.Gov
4. Contact Mayor Steve Adler: (512) 978-2100 (web site)
5. Contact Austin City Council Members: <E-mail Members HERE>

CAMPO

View the study from the CAMPO website: <Click HERE>
Near Northwest Corridor Connections Case Study: <Click HERE>

With regard to who the decision makers are and who is doing the study, Begin by addressing communication to Doise Miers given her role as Community Outreach Manager and also Kelly Porter, Planning Manager and (the Policy Board is the group that will take action on the study results).

The Transportation Policy Board meets monthly and accepts public comment at each meeting, offering another way to communicate. For more info on their next meeting (Feb. 13th) see <Click HERE>

CITY OF AUSTIN

Here is the link to send email to all of the

NEIGHBORHOOD MEETING:

I have heard that a meeting will be held by Council Member Alter on Jollyville Road in the neighborhood.  I recommend that you ask to be placed on the notification list for that meeting and that you attend.

I am very concerned about the potential loss of two vehicle lanes on Jollyville Road.  I live and work close to Jollyville Road and drive on Jollyville Road almost every day to go to the Post Office, to patronize businesses, and to enter and exit my neighborhood.   I have owned and lived in my home for about 25 years.  I very much appreciate your help.

Very cordially yours,

Jeanine Lehman
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