Planning More Important Than Ever

RECEIVED Mon., Sept. 18, 2006

Dear Chronicle
    I applaud Kimberly Reeves tying together the numerous planning efforts in Central Texas [“Naked City,” News, Sept. 15].
    Austin seems destined to double in population every 20 years. Working off a current base of 1.2 million people in Central Texas, that now means we're talking about accommodating another very large city.
    Among the variety of critical issues we'll have to face as a result – health care, affordability, education, the environment – mobility and the nature of our built environment seem as pressing as any and equally daunting to resolve.
    Planned properly, State Highway 130 offers Central Texas the chance to let growth actually be an asset for future generations – my kids among them. It has the potential to draw growth off the aquifer. We can avoid the mistake of allowing unplanned growth to span 130's length – see I-35 as an example of what not to do. Highway 130 also has the chance to work in conjunction with commuter rail lines connecting Austin to Georgetown, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Manor, Elgin, and even San Antonio. These can also be connected to major activity centers – Downtown, the state office complex, UT, and Mueller – by a streetcar circulator.
    With respect to planning for 130, the elected officials and agency heads that have invested considerable time and effort in the SH 130 task force are to be applauded.
    We have a chance to avoid the mistakes of the past and we have regional leaders working hard to do so. Their efforts in that regard deserve our support.
John Langmore
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