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Posted on: December 29, 2020

City Corner Column: Road projects determined by multiple entities, input from residents

Ken Gill

The City of Victoria recognizes the importance of keeping residents informed about the road projects that affect their daily lives, which is why we’re working to expand the ways we provide information and solicit feedback about projects. However, in order for residents to play a constructive role in providing feedback about transportation in Victoria, they must first have a clear understanding of how road projects are managed.

A common misconception many residents have is that the City is in charge of all road projects within its limits. In reality, projects on major thoroughfares such as Navarro Street are developed and managed by TxDOT, which works with the Victoria Metropolitan Planning Organization and other local stakeholders to ensure projects fit with Victoria’s overall transportation and safety goals.

The Victoria MPO creates opportunities for residents to have a say in road projects within Victoria County, including TxDOT projects, through the creation of short-term and long-term plans that guide the use of federal and state funding for transportation initiatives. Last year, the MPO hosted a two-month public comment period that ended with the approval of the five-year update to the long-range 2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan. All current MPO plans can be viewed at www.victoriatx.gov/mpo

The community’s role in determining local projects is reflected more broadly in our City’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan, which was created based on input from hundreds of community members and adopted in 2016 by the City Council. Residents’ goals for transportation—which include increasing safety and alleviating traffic congestion—are outlined in the mobility section of the plan, which puts the City in a position to build its transportation improvement strategies based on residents’ concerns. 

Residents will have an additional opportunity to weigh in on Victoria’s roadways as part of our updated thoroughfare master plan, which will guide the development and implementation of a balanced transportation network that fits the needs of our community. The City hired a consultant for the plan in September and will begin soliciting public input in early 2021.

Meanwhile, the City is working to develop a system of soliciting feedback for each of its capital improvement projects. We know these projects are important to our residents, which is why public feedback will play a more important role in the approval process for capital improvement projects going forward. More information about this will be provided as it becomes available.

In addition, we’re planning to use our recent Street Assessment Study as an opportunity to provide residents with information about their streets and to share some of the data that guides the City’s decision-making. We’re in the process of creating a map that will allow residents to see the pavement condition index rating for every City-owned roadway in Victoria. Roads with lower scores will be prioritized for comprehensive repairs, while those with higher scores may become candidates for sealing procedures that will preserve their good condition.

We hope that greater accessibility will not only increase public involvement but improve the quality of residents’ involvement by providing them with tools to make well-informed decisions about their own transportation priorities. Be on the lookout for updates from the City about how we’re carrying out the goals outlined in our publicly developed plans and how you can get involved in the development of future plans and projects.

Ken Gill is the City of Victoria engineer/director of Public Works.

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