Proposal for Fort Worth’s Forest Park Boulevard should be tested

Posted Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Forest Park Boulevard, which adjoins and connects several proud neighborhoods on Fort Worth’s near south side, is a scenic stretch of roadway.

But it also has proved to be rather risky, for motorists and pedestrians.

That’s why residents in a couple of neighborhoods bisected by the street passed resolutions last year calling for Forest Park to be put on a “road diet” by reducing its four lanes to three — one northbound, one southbound and a center turn lane — with bicycle lanes on the outside.

This solution, they say, would make the road safer by slowing speeds and reducing congestion at intersections while carrying the same traffic load.

Although there was some opposition from other users of the boulevard, city officials went along with the plan to restripe Forest Park between West Rosedale Street on the north and Park Hill Drive on the south.

The idea was to have the job done before the start of school this week, but that didn’t happen for two reasons.

New opposition arose from groups in other nearby neighborhoods, saying the redesign of the thoroughfare (used as a major route to downtown) would push traffic onto other residential streets.

And the city’s only restriping contractor went bankrupt.

The county has offered its paint crew for a temporary striping job, but some think nothing should be done until after completion of the Chisholm Trail Parkway, which could have an impact on Forest Park traffic.

With 41 accidents on Forest Park in the past two years, according to Mayor Betsy Price, it seems the city ought to move forward with a solution.

Perhaps the best short-term alternative is to let the county do the temporary striping, study the impact for a defined period (six months, nine months or a year), evaluate the findings while getting public input and then make a permanent decision about whether Forest Park should be put on a road diet.

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