Whether the citizens of Kendall County like it or not, their beloved county is growing. Since 2015, the population has increased by at least 4%, and that number continues to increase. An increasing Kendall County population brings many positives including an expanded workforce, new customers for local business, and an increasing tax base from the growing population. There are negative impacts as well; such as a decrease in housing options, as well as infrastructure problems.
Impact of Growth on Vehicular Traffic in Kendall County, Texas
With increasing population comes increasing traffic. Roads that were meant to carry 20,000 vehicles a day are now having to carry 40,000, and the vehicular traffic reflects this reality. The Kendall County Gateway Study was created to acknowledge, and provide guidance to address this problem. The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) launched this study to find alternative ways to alleviate the traffic on the current major highway running through the county and specifically Boerne.
Key Points of Kendall Gateway Study
Engage the public, and understand where the problem areas are
Understand the local transportation options
Analyze what the future looks like in regards to transportation
Develop conceptual transportation options, and establish their costs
Provide a report at the end of the study explaining the findings
Boerne Texas Outer Loop
After a few months of analysis and concept developments, TXDOT formulated a plan: a proposed a loop system around the City of Boerne to allow for easier movement around the city and to alleviate traffic congestion in the downtown area. Designed to make traveling easier, developments more attainable, and keep Boerne safe, the conceptual loop system can be found here.
Kendall Gateway Study Controversy
As with most changes to the status quo, the proposed loop raised numerous concerns among the citizens of Kendall County, Texas. First off, many people believed that taking the land needed for the project was excessive, and borderline ridiculous for the construction. Many individuals in the community also believed that building a loop would take away from the small town feel Boerne provides. Similar traffic loops such as 1604 in San Antonio and Loop 12 around Dallas help with traffic, but take away from the beauty of the area, and that is one thing members of the Boerne and Kendall county community were not willing to give up.
Kendall County Citizen Input
To help combat the negative response from the city of Boerne and surrounding areas, the Texas Department of Transportation held three different open house events to raise awareness and answer questions regarding the study and the concepts available. These events were held in January and November of 2017, and in May of 2018. After much discussion and deliberation, on October 15, 2018, the Kendall County commissioners voted 3-1 to reject the gateway study.
County Gateway Study Public Reactions
This decision came with a variety of reactions, for many different types of people. Many members of the community believed this was the only right answer, as it preserved the small town culture of Boerne. Many others however, believed the choice was ill advised, as it prevented the proper infrastructure growth needed for a consistently growing population.
No matter the side you take, this decision will definitely affect the city of Boerne and Kendall county for years to come. Is Boerne due for a major revamp of its roads, or will the people of Boerne learn to adapt with the growing population?