KELLER — Shady Grove Road does not need to be expanded, residents recently told Keller’s Transportation Bond Program Advisory Committee.During the committee’s third public hearing March 26, all 16 speakers from a packed chamber opposed the project, voicing concerns such as traffic, trees, ambiance and home values.The project is one of 14 road improvements being reviewed by the committee that was charged by Council to make recommendations regarding the need for $29 million in roadway improvements, which could result in a November bond election.Committee members include councilmen John Hoffmann (committee chairman) and Gary Reaves (committee vice chairman), and citizens John Baker, Greg Kocian, Beth Kwasny, Ken Lewis, Trent Petty, Ed Speakmon and Jim Thompson.The committee held its first meeting Jan. 24 and plans to make a recommendation to Council in June.A discussion also was held about realigning Rapp Road at Rufe Snow Drive to line up with Shady Grove Road, a project estimated at almost $2.4 million.Speakers were also opposed the realignment, though the main focus was on the Shady Grove Road expansion, which is proposed from Rufe Snow Drive to Smithfield Road at an estimated cost of $4.9 million."Shady Grove is pretty much a road to nowhere, presently it’s dead on both ends," said resident Glenda Miller. "An enlarged Shady Grove is an inappropriate waste of money."Miller said less than a mile away is North Tarrant Parkway, which has already been expanded to handle traffic in and out of the area.Many of the residents who spoke agreed that improvements were needed in the area but not a widening of the road to four lanes."I agree with growth, it’s a good thing for our community," Michael Sofio said. "But looking at this, four lanes, and there are no crosswalks for the kids. There needs to be consideration of the neighborhood ... Don’t ruin our street, that’s all I ask."Some speakers told the committee that they will organize a bigger group, campaign and vote no at the polls if the project is on the ballot."Unfortunately only 3-to-5 percent of folks turn out for local elections," Dennis Arens said. "But I think I could get about 25 percent to turn out to vote against the proposals. The (Rapp Road) cut through is not needed and this is not needed."Committee members thanked residents for speaking out and encouraged them to study the other projects and voice opinions at future meetings."Your participation is crucial in this," Lewis said. "It seems at a lot of these meetings, we get people who are fired up and against them but we don’t get very much feed back on the ones they like."Reaves said community involvement is the key to the future of Keller."Every single one of us in here loves this town. It’s a great place to live, we’ve got to keep it that way," Reaves said. "The purpose of these meetings is to gauge community sentiment and I think we’re very successful at that tonight."Hoffmann said the meetings give residents a great opportunity to say what they want, or don’t want, to be funded by tax money."This is democracy in action," Hoffmann said. "This process is put together to do exactly what happened tonight ... because we are the ones who are going to pay for it."The next meeting will be held on April 9 for discussions about Keller-Smithfield Road widening from Bear Run to Shady Grove and intersection improvements at Keller-Smithfield Road and Bear Creek Parkway.
Susan McFarland, 817-390-7547 Twitter: @susanmcfarland1