KELLER — Pedestrian walkways, parking and lighting are issues Old Town Keller residents and business owners asked the Transportation Bond Program Advisory Committee to consider while studying needed roadway improvements in the area.Keller City Council established the committee to review a list of transportation projects and make recommendations to council for a possible bond proposal.During the committee’s second meeting Feb.26, eight people spoke during a public hearing about potential improvements in Old Town Keller.Projects include the expansions of Lamar, Pecan, Olive and Elm streets, the installation of a traffic signal at U.S. 377 and Pecan Street and the signalization of the Bear Creek Parkway intersection at Elm Street/Whitley Road.Proposed Lamar, Pecan and Olive streets have an estimated project cost of $1.4 million. Costs include engineering, 6-foot-wide sidewalks on both sides of street, street lighting, drainage improvements for all streets and a traffic signal on U.S. 377 at Pecan Street.Project costs for Elm and Pecan streets are estimated at $1.3 million to include engineering, 6-foot wide sidewalks on both sides of street, street lighting and drainage improvements for both streets.Estimated costs for intersection improvements for Bear Creek Parkway at Elm Street/Whitley Road are $506,250 for a proposed traffic signal and $932,000 for a proposed traffic circle.Terry Thomas, owner of Memories and Treasures Antique Mall, said he would like to see Elm Street widened because during peak hours the street backs up from Bear Creek Parkway to past Pecan Street.“We would love to see something done on the west side, too, so we can get our customers back and forth,” Thomas said. “That is extremely dangerous at the moment.”Old Town Quilts owner Becky Harness encouraged committee members to look at past traffic studies and come to Old Town Keller and walk around.“Walk the streets for yourself and it will all make sense to you,” she said.Shelly Hye, owner of Elm Street Studio, voiced concerns about crosswalks to encourage pedestrian friendliness on both sides of Elm Street.“We’ve been bringing 50 to 200 people to Old Town Keller every weekend for events,” she said. “Will people be able to cross the street to get to me?”Concerns from nearby residents included parking issues in front of their homes.Prior to the hearing, committee members discussed potential projects including consideration of road improvements for better traffic circulation, more on-street parking, sidewalks and street lighting.Economic Development Coordinator DeAnna Beseda Reaves gave an economic development presentation about the Old Town Keller area.“Old Town Keller is very important, it’s quite a little gem that we have,” Reaves said.Reaves said last year, 29 percent of the city’s new or expanded businesses were in the Old Town district. In 2011, 25 percent of new and expanded businesses were in Old Town.Committee member Jim Thompson encouraged all of the committee members to stay focused and remember what kind of an impact improvements to this area will have.“A lot of the other projects that we are looking are more about cars,” he said. “This project is about cars and business.”Councilmen John Hoffmann, committee chairman, said the questions and concerns will be considered and addressed during the next meeting, scheduled for March 7.For information go to www.cityofkeller.com.
Susan McFarland, 817-390-7547 Twitter: @susanmcfarland1