“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”
– General George S. Patton
When I consider the wisdom in voting for the bond proposal to spend $16.5 million, my first question is – why?
Haven’t we been told since the Parker County 2008 transportation bond program, that the loop around Weatherford will all but eliminate transportation problems for Weatherford – that the loop would divert through traffic around Weatherford?
Terry Hughes, Weatherford’s Director of Transportation and Public Works wants to “recapture that old, historic feel, and be more pedestrian-friendly”.
Really? .… $16.5 million to make down town Weatherford more pedestrian-friendly?
Is traffic the real issue?-
Hughes said according to a Freese & Nichols study, 60 to 70 percent of the eastbound traffic along U.S. Highway 180 is through traffic, depending on the time of day. “On the North Main and South Main sides, it’s nearly 80 percent,” he said.
A couple of questions –
If traffic is really a serious concern, does it make more sense to give our investment in the Ric Williamson Memorial Highway and the proposed Eastern Loop time to work before squandering another $16.5 million in tax dollars?
Or…is the real reason for reaching into our pockets again, someone’s vision of a “pedestrian friendly” stroll back in time around the down-town Weatherford square?
More Increases coming your way –
Property Tax Increase – yep!
Another WISD Bond proposal – you can count on it!
Dramatic Insurance Rate Increase – a certainty!
Return on Investment –
Would Mr. Hughes care to tell the readers where to log on to find his Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) for this grand scheme? I’m sure he and other city planners want to be transparent with the tax payers they expect to blindly line up and vote in favor of this grand scheme. Surely he can show the vast majority of Weatherford tax payers how they will benefit from making down-town Weatherford more pedestrian-friendly!
Either there is a Cost Benefit Analysis for this boondoggle…. or there is not. Which is it Mr. Hughes?
I am certainly not criticizing Freese & Nichols. They should be expected to do only those things for which they have entered into a contract. Speaking as a citizen tax payer, I hold city government responsible for doing their homework BEFORE proposing another bond proposal. If they cannot show documentation that justifies this, or any other bond proposal, I believe it exposes gross ineptitude!
The following was taken from the Weatherford Democrat, posted Tuesday, October 14, 2014 9:17 pm, by Judy L Sheridan
A walkable Weatherford
Terry Hughes, City of Weatherford Director of Transportation and Public Works, gave a presentation on the City of Weatherford’s conceptual downtown plan, which he said accounts for $14 million of the $16.5 million bond proposition on the Nov. 4 general election ballot.
Designed to “recapture that old, historic feel,” and be more pedestrian-friendly, the new plan would develop a loop on the north side of the square to divert east-west traffic from the downtown and create one-way roads to affect the north-south traffic flow.
“This inner loop would come up from Santa Fe Drive., up Spring Street, connect over to Bridge Street, take Bridge Street over to loop around and go down into Alamo Street and back into Palo Pinto Street,” Hughes said.
“The concept there is if we neck down to U.S. Highway 180, we will force through traffic to the north side. This would be designed in such a way that the signals along here all link together, they change at the same time and make that There is no room for a loop on the south side of the square, Hughes said, but the same thing could be accomplished on North Main Street and South Main Street using one-way roads.
“We could convert Alamo — at least down to Oak Street — as one-way south and Oak Street as one-way over to South Main. Oak Street continues to be one-way over to Elm, which is two-way flow north and south.
“That would allow traffic flow from the south to bypass the downtown, and traffic moving to the south can go around and out and through to the south.”
According to a study done by Freese & Nichols, some 60 to 70 percent of the eastbound traffic along U.S. Highway 180 is through traffic, Hughes said, depending on the time of day.
“On the North Main and South Main sides, it’s nearly 80 percent,” he said. “The idea here is to at least affect some of that traffic and get it out of here.”
If the bond passes, Hughes said, the city would phase the downtown plan in over about three years, starting with the loop.
“It is a rather radical and different way about thinking about downtown,” he said.
“We’ve been talking about downtown since 1962. I have plan after plan after plan. We’re not dying for lack of plans, we’re dying from lack of doing anything.”
Hughes reminded the court that dealing with state highways means cooperating with the state.
“We are working with trying to get this system off the city,” he said, “so we can take over ownership. Once we’ve re-routed the state highways, it will allow us to do this particular project without going through your normal [lengthy] federal and state processes.”
east-west flow move a lot better.”
“You think it won’t affect the businesses?” Precinct No. 1 Commissioner George Conley asked. “You think there’ll still be a lot of people coming in to use the businesses?”
“I’m not sure if you’re driving through the square that you even see the businesses,” Hughes replied. “You’re coming through here dodging traffic, so you don’t get impulse buyers.”
Judge Mark Riley said the court was working to secure funding for the Interstate 20 interchange with Centerpoint Road, the starting point for the Eastern Loop around Weatherford.
“That will have an impact for downtown as well as all of Parker County,” he said.
Downtown plan improvements
The City of Weatherford estimates that a Weatherford resident with the average home value of $135,764 will pay about $102 more per year if the $16.5 million bond proposition is approved Nov. 4.
From the official Parker County website, the following was posted: October 17, 2014
PARKER COUNTY TO HOLD COMMISSIONERS COURT MEETING ON EAST LOOP
Parker County is inviting area residents to attend a Commissioners Court meeting from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014 at the Tison Middle School cafeteria to discuss the future of the East Loop and its’ potential alignment.
The Eastern Loop is an approximate 6 mile continuation of the Ric Williamson Memorial Highway, which runs from I-20 west of Weatherford and currently ends at FM 51 north of Weatherford.
Maps of the potential alignment will be available from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Freese and Nichols, Parker County’s engineering firm handling the county’s 2008 bond program, will then give a short presentation on the roadway, followed by a brief question and answer session ending at 7:30.
Parker County Commissioners Court worked with Freese and Nichols earlier this year to secure approval to combine some of the required studies involved in the project thereby speeding up the time line on the start of construction, when funding becomes available.
“There is currently no funding to construct the East Loop,” Parker County Judge Mark Riley said. “We are holding this meeting for our residents to show them what the potential alignment of the road would be, when and if funding becomes available.”
Parker County added the Eastern Loop to its Transportation Bond Program in April of 2012 with the development of a conceptual design plan and a plan to move forward on the required studies that come with projects that tie into U.S. Interstates.
Tison Middle School is located at 102 Meadowview Road in Weatherford.