Roundabout wasn't the original plan

Editor,

A grass roots group has formed and met with the city engineering department and the city manager concerning the new Roundabout that is going in at Hopkins and San Antonio Street. The project was approved May 12 the city council. Because the group feels that the public was not given enough information regarding such a major project, the city has agreed to a meeting at the VFW Hall on Aug. 26 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The group is asking that the city council review this project and make a change order of a middle turn lane which was the original road design and plan for this street.
The businesses and homes near the “Y” on Hopkins and San Antonio Streets are not happy about this project and are dismayed by the decision of the city’s Planning and Engineering Department to approve such a plan.
The original city plan was to correct the intersection at San Antonio Street by adding a middle turn lane on Hopkins/ Hunter and curving San Antonio Street. This was understood and accepted. However, later and with no input from the citizens in the immediate area, a roundabout was submitted and approved without notice.
This occurred last year at the city council meeting of May 12. Following that and in a short time frame, two other meetings were held but with low attendance. Also in question is the new street which will be built and will enter Belvin from Hopkins and from the roundabout. The residents were unaware of this change too. The families next to the new street said that they were not notified of this new street and are not happy about it. There will also be large, tall street lights installed around the roundabout and the Belvin homeowners, including renters, are upset about this as well.
The group and the neighborhood feel that the information concerning this project was not sufficient to inform the public of the major consequences of such a project. Turnout was very low at the public hearing last year because most folks assumed that the original plan was still in place. It appears that the idea was sold to the City Council by city staff, assisted by a “roundabout guru” from out of town. A speaker from Austin was also invited to speak on the benefits of a roundabout at the meeting held last year.
The concerns now are that this change would cause traffic to back up, possibly to Wonder World Drive and definitely from Bishop to the roundabout. It will also create more traffic on San Antonio Street because many drivers will simply duck out at the first opportunity and onto historic San Antonio Street. There are also concerns about those who will want to cross the street on Hopkins will not be able to do so safely because and there will be no stop sign.
Other concerns are that the old trees on the corner of San Antonio Street (where it enters Hopkins at Lara Carpet) will also be cut and replaced with the roundabout. Many residents have said that this is the prettiest entrance into our city and are against these trees being cut on this corner.
A middle turn lane would not require that the trees be cut.
The public is invited to the meeting and welcome. Please come and ask questions. City engineers and council members will be present.

Bill Taylor
Bill’s Trading Place
San Marcos