Weatherford Democrat

October 29, 2013

Transportation Board tables traffic modifications


Weatherford Democrat

By BRIAN SMITH

Weatherford Transportation Advisory Board members Thursday evening tabled the decision to modify the city’s Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program, asking city staff to propose criteria for determining which neighborhoods get the benefit of speed reduction measures and who pays for it. 

The board is considering adding a section of Woodland Hills Drive to the pilot program, which has shown that radar signs have had an impact in controlling speed in the areas they have been tried. Residents of the Countrybrook and Silverstone neighborhoods have also expressed an interest in taking part in the plan.

Director of Public Works Manny Palacios said the signs themselves run between $1,500 and $2,500 for installation costs. 

Board member Brad Felmey questioned who should have to shoulder the cost. 

“I don’t like the idea of having people pay for something their taxes should cover,” Felmey said. “We need some criteria set up to determine who gets the signs and how they are paid for.”

Board members expressed agreement with Felmey’s sentiments. Board member Richard Simmons said if signs were purchased, they could be rotated among neighborhoods experiencing a speed problem.

“Neighborhoods that don’t have the means to afford signs can use the city signs,” Simmons said. “Others perhaps could purchase their own.”

Board members asked Palacios to come back to the next meeting, set for Jan. 16, with a plan on how signs would be used and who would pay for them.

Speed bumps on portions of Highlake Lane will remain in place, the board was told. 

Palacios said the speed bumps were put in back in 2007 and have cut traffic speed, as well as the number of drivers using the street. Residents were surveyed to see if the speed bumps should be removed. Eight people responded, with a 50-50 split on removal. Two-thirds of residents along with the city council must approve the removal before it can be done, according to a staff report.

“We wanted to make sure we did due diligence before bringing this to the board,” Palacios said.

The board also voted to install “no through” truck signs at three intersections to help mitigate traffic using the neighborhood to travel between East Bankhead Highway and Fort Worth Highway.

The intersections of Chimney Rock Drive and Whiterock Drive, Chimney Rock Drive and Chimney Rock Court, and Mesa Drive and Whiterock Drive will receive the signs after traffic counters showed increased speed and traffic numbers for a normal residential street. Three accidents have been reported in the area, although none were thought to be because of speed.

Palacios said residents have asked for stop signs over the last few years, but the signs have not been shown to stop the problem. Once Mesa Drive is extended to Bankhead from Fort Worth Highway, the traffic and speeding problems should cease, Palacios said, though it was not clear when that would occur.

Simmons said that if the residents want the signs, they should be able to have them.

“This is the second or third time this has come before us and we need to take some action,” Simmons said.

Board Chairman Norman Hythecker suggested putting the signs up and if it doesn’t work, allowing the residents to petition for speed bumps, which was unanimously approved.