Even though Glade Road is lined with signs opposing a planned expansion project, only two residents came to protest at a recent city council meeting.
Another chance will come on June 17, although that will be a pre-council meeting where public input is not usually formally scheduled. The council does not vote at pre-council.
The plans call for reconstructing Glade and adding a trail and sidewalk at the same time from Precinct Line Road to Heritage Avenue. Since the beginning of the project’s planning stages last year, the city has stressed the need to reconstruct the failing road.
Public Works Director Bob Lowry has said the two-line road was not built for today’s traffic. The expansion would include better drainage, a 5-foot sidewalk on one side of the road and a 10-foot hike and bike trail on the other.
Gary Lecocq, who lives near Glade off Roberts Road, said the project has lacked citizen input.
Two public forums have been conducted, the first of which was attended by about 200 people. Chad Gartner with TranSystems said the project team also met with various homeowners associations and community groups.
The city contracted TranSystems to study and create a plan for the road.
Lecocq’s biggest concern is the city’s possible use of eminent domain to take land from the many homeowners who live along Glade.
“Eminent domain should be retitled stealing,” he told the council.
Gartner said at an April meeting that the plan included 85 parcels that would need to be acquired for right-of-way, but he added that the team hopes to reduce that amount.
Bobby Lindamood, who lives along Glade and has been vocal about his opposition to the project since its introduction, said there is strong opposition and residents who are not directly impacted are confused about the city’s plans.
He said that while only two people spoke on June 3, more people are watching the meetings online and he senses there may be a good turnout for the June 17 meeting.
“People will come out just to see the plan,” he said. “It’s spreading like wildfire.”
Mayor Pro Tem Mike Taylor said a later council meeting will include a chance for citizens to comment again. After a plan is chosen the council will vote to choose a design team.
The June 17 discussion will be the first with newly elected council member Chris Putnam in attendance. Putnam opposes the latest plan, which will require acquiring residents’ land and the removal of trees.
Gartner said that the longer the city waits to start the project, the higher construction costs will rise.
But Lecocq urged the city to slow down.
“I simply ask that at this point in time to take a break,” he said. “Take a little bit of time here.”
The time frame discussed in the April meeting says construction for the estimated $20.8 million project would begin in summer 2015 while classes at Bransford Elementary are out.