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The Finer Points of Project Phasing


At the beginning of any challenging task, the magnitude of what needs to be accomplished can seem daunting.  Take for instance this article.  I am a landscape architect, not a writer, so the thought of putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) to write this article seemed like a big task.  In order to fully articulate the scope of the article, I created my main points on an outline.  The outline broke down the article into smaller, seemingly more achievable parts. 

Project phasing works in much the same way.  Many owners can feel slightly overwhelmed by the magnitude of what needs to be done, especially when multiple projects need to happen over a period of time.  It is not uncommon for project funding to also come in phases, so phasing the work on the project can help make the best use of money that is currently available.  With these things in mind, let’s explore some key considerations for project phasing.

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Project Spotlight: Trace


The word trace can be…well, traced back to the Middle English usage, meaning “a path that someone or something takes.”  This meaning serves as a foundation for the Trace master planned community that is taking shape south of Austin in San Marcos.  Located just a stone’s throw from the historic El Camino Real de Los Tejas, a National Historic Trail once travelled by Spanish explorers and missionaries in the 1700s, Trace is embracing the site’s heritage and writing a new chapter in the story with the theme “Rich in History, Rooted in Texas.”

Located on 420 acres at I-35 and Posey Road, Trace is poised to bring almost 1,000 new single family homes along with 850 multi-family residential units to San Marcos, which has recently been recognized as the fastest growing city in America.  The median age of San Marcos residents is 23.7 years, well below the state average of 34 years.  Trace will be targeting this younger demographic, providing a live-work-play community complete with a 9-acre central park, miles of trails, a planned school site, and over one million square feet of business and commercial uses.

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Austin’s Oak Hill Parkway Success Story Presented at ASLA Conference

RVi Principal and Vice President Mark Smith presented alongside TxDOT Project Manager James Williams and RTG Transportation Engineer Wade Strong last month at the Texas ASLA Annual Conference in Fort Worth.  In a presentation entitled CSS: Where Process Meets the Road, the trio highlighted the use of Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) as the process which helped overcome significant opposition to the new Oak Hill Parkway project in south Austin.

The Oak Hill Parkway was initiated in 1988 but quickly stalled due to strong resistance from the surrounding community.  In 2011, TxDOT revived the project and hired a new project team, including prime consultant RTG and CSS consultant RVi. Through the use of CSS, the Oak Hill Parkway Team succeeded in gaining strong stakeholder support for a more contextually appropriate solution.  Twenty-eight years after it was started, the project is now scheduled for groundbreaking in 2020.

While CSS is often perceived as simply a way of developing contextual aesthetics, this presentation focused on the fact that CSS is an effective project delivery process that is proven to enhance dialogue with stakeholders and facilitate the development of successful transportation projects.

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