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County OKs sidewalk skips

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 by Caleb Pritchard

The Travis County Commissioners Court on Tuesday told two separate developers that they can skip otherwise mandatory sidewalk construction along parts of their respective subdivisions in Precinct 3 and Precinct 4. At Bear Creek Crossing just south of FM 1626 in Precinct 3, the developer requested the variance to avoid building the sidewalk on a section of Twin Creeks Road, which has neither a curb nor a gutter along it. In Precinct 4, the builders of the Addison residential project asked to forgo a sidewalk on part of Kara Drive, pointing to a planned urban trail that would parallel the section of missing sidewalk. In both cases, county staff recommended the variances by pointing to the general lack of “pedestrian generators” such as schools, stores or churches in the two areas. Commissioner Brigid Shea said she would support the variances but indicated her desire for an official county fee-in-lieu policy. County Judge Sarah Eckhardt agreed and urged staff to redouble its efforts on reforming the sidewalk variance policy. “People are in these houses. They are the traffic generator,” Eckhardt said. “So I do want us to get away from the notion if there is no commercial traffic generator, there is no need for a sidewalk.” In the end, the court voted 4-0 to approve the requested variances. Commissioner Ron Davis was absent.

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