Keller residents oppose Keller-Smithfield Road widening project

Posted Tuesday, Apr. 16, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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“Sidewalks and turn lanes but not four lanes” is the message speakers gave committee members April 9 during the fourth of six public hearings about Keller transportation issues.

Topics of the Transportation Bond Program Advisory Committee meeting was the widening of Keller-Smithfield Road from Bear Run to Shady Grove and intersection improvements at Keller-Smithfield Road and Bear Creek Parkway.

The two projects, with an estimated cost of $6 million, are part 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.

About 50 people attended the meeting. During the public hearing, 18 people spoke with most opposed to widening of Keller-Smithfield Road.

Concerns included property value, loss of green space, quality of life, increased traffic and noise.

“We don’t have the traffic of Fort worth, we don’t have the traffic of Southlake, and we don’t want it,” said Glenda Miller. “There are no businesses on Keller-Smithfield until you get to 1709 ... We would be stupid, frankly, to want to pay extra taxes do damage our quality of life.”

David Giordano said he opposes the project because there no is congestion on Keller-Smithfield Road.

“I’m sensing a hidden agenda here somewhere,” Giordano said. “I am very confused as to why the city of Keller would propose to tax residents with a project of $6 million to widen Keller-Smithfield ... It’s a foolish and unnecessary way to spend tax payer money and I strongly oppose it.”

Kevin Quaid, president of Cherry Grove Estates Home Owner Association, also questioned the committee’s transparency and asked if individuals or commercial interests lobbied the committee.

“As you can see here, nobody is in support of this four lane superhighway,” Quaid said. “I would ask this committee to let us know what group or entity is in support of this project ... What kind of open meeting policies does this committee have and can we have access to those records as it relates to this proposed neighborhood destroying four lane super highway project ?”

Hoffmann, committee chairman, said all of the meetings are open to the public and follow the same guidelines as other public meetings.

“We are accepting input at six out of eight of our meetings, which I think is unprecedented as far as openness,”he said. “We are very proud of that.”

Committee member Thompson said he appreciates the group sharing thoughts about the project and said the meetings are a “good experience in civic interaction.”

Thompson, as did most of the other committee members in closing statements, expressed thoughts about transparency and their role on the committee.

“If there is anything that fires me up the most tonight is to suggest that somehow we are a conspiracy up here,” he said. “This is an exercise in transparency like none other ... I take this very personally, the way we run business here.”

Thompson, who was on the council for four years, said he was involved with decision making with the Rufe Snow Drive and North Tarrant Parkway projects.

“We had just as passionate discussions and just as concerned neighbors,” he said. “And I would challenge you now, in closing, to ask yourselves if we should have not done Rufe Snow, or should have not done North Tarrant Parkway.”

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