A road diet for Midway, Webb Chapel and Josey Lane? – The Dallas Morning News

December 13, 2021 by No Comments

The mayor of Farmers Branch is proposing road diets on some of the city’s major thoroughfares. Our advice matches the outcome road diets are meant to bring: take it slow.

In a work session last month, the City Council heard a preliminary proposal for removing 7.49 lane miles from Josey Lane, Webb Chapel Road, Midway Road, and Valley View Lane at a total cost of $27.7 million. Mayor Robert Dye stressed then, and again when we spoke to him Friday, that this is only the beginning of a conversation, one that will be advanced through the city’s strategic planning process and include plenty of opportunity for community input.

Dye said this may be an opportunity to make streets safer, slower and more pleasant. He suspects that traffic volume has fallen in recent years as the city has neared build-out, and that replacing pavement with landscaping, sidewalks or bike lanes could “bring a more pleasant, safe, beautiful feel” to the community. But the mayor said all of that is a hunch, and he wants city staff to study the issue to see what the real impact would be on things like safety and traffic patterns.

Development like this can make streets safer and make neighborhoods more inviting. According to the Federal Highway Administration, road diets have been shown to reduce collisions by 28%. They may encourage alternative forms of transportation. In some circumstances, especially on roads that run through residential areas or connect walkable spaces, they are certainly worth consideration.

But the city should be judicious with them. At this early stage, we would suggest a pilot program or a phased approach. The streets included in the preliminary report are major arteries that form the grid for most of Farmers Branch and northwest Dallas. These aren’t winding lanes; they are busy connectors that thousands depend on to get where they need to go every day.

Residents are already voicing concern. Richard Jackson, a resident since 1982 who recently served on a mayor’s task force for improvements to the Interstate 35E corridor through town, told us he expects opposition.

“I want to have an open mind about it, but frankly I think it’s a terrible idea,” he said.

He worries that choking traffic off of major thoroughfares will divert cars through neighborhoods, something he said is already a problem in Farmers Branch.

Those concerns should be addressed by the studies Dye is calling for.

Road diets are part of a philosophy of urban design that will do just …….

Source: https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/editorials/2021/12/13/a-road-diet-for-midway-webb-chapel-and-josey-lane/


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