West Fort Worth residents Stephanie Muzi and Leanna Johnson listened attentively to a recent video presentation about the expansion of Interstate 30, occasionally snapping a photo of an interesting slide to share with their neighbors.
While the two women, president and vice-president of the Ridglea North Neighborhood Association, noted the need for more lanes to aid congestion, they would also like to see a way for pedestrians to access both sides of the highway.
“I go to church on the other side. A lot of us do business on the other side and vice-versa,” Muzi said. “I think that pedestrian connections would be great.”
The Texas Department of Transportation’s $1.2 billion work on the I-30 corridor, from Loop 820 in west Fort Worth to Chisholm Trail Parkway closer to downtown, continued this month with another set of public meetings.
In the latest proposed design, the I-30 corridor will be expanded to eight lanes – four eastbound and four westbound. The original proposed design looked at widening to 10 lanes, or five lanes going each way.
The shared pathway for cyclists and pedestrians also was narrowed from 10 feet to 8 feet in an effort to reduce right-of-way impact on nearby homes.
Design updates to the Texas 183 and Spur 341 interchange will be presented at the next set of public meetings.
TxDOT is also considering reconstructing I-30 from U.S. 287 to Cooper Street in Arlington, estimated at $1.1 billion. More details have not yet been released.
Former councilmember and Community Design Executive Director Ann Zadeh felt encouraged by the turnout at the meeting.
Last summer, Community Design submitted a letter to TxDOT, citing concerns that the expansion of I-30 would further divide communities in west Fort Worth, and that instead, this project could provide opportunities to unite them. TxDOT did respond to the letter and has made some adjustments to its plans, Zadeh said.
“What I hate to see is the reduction of elements that make it more pedestrian and bike-friendly and neighborhood friendly,” Zadeh said.
TxDOT did not immediately respond to requests for more information.
In June, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced the launch of a $1 billion pilot program to help reconnect cities and neighborhoods racially segregated or divided by road projects.
At this time, no funding has been identified for the I-30 corridor project, which is common in such large-scale ventures, TxDOT said. Instead, having shovel-ready proposals make them more attractive to future pools of funding.
“Organizations like TxDOT have to plan very far in advance and often ahead of identified funding,” Zadeh said. “If you wait until the funding is identified or they’ve completed all their planning then it’s much more difficult to have the input from the community implemented in the plans.”
Sandra Sadek is a Report for America corps member, covering growth for the Fort Worth Report. You can contact her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @ssadek19.
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