Fort Worth has put Forest Park Boulevard on its planned “road diet” and — no surprise here — the people who didn’t want it to happen don’t like it now that it has.
But it’s too early to judge how well this traffic-management effort will work out. It’s aimed at improving safety on the heavily traveled (16,000 vehicles a day) road southwest of downtown.
The plan has two parts:
• Re-striping the road between Park Hill Drive and West Rosedale Street to narrow the four traffic lanes to three (one in each direction and a turn lane in the middle).
• Modernizing signals and improving intersections to ease traffic flow. City engineers say they’re still working on the timing of traffic signals, especially during peak periods.
Both parts are essential for a true test of the road diet.
There’s another crucial element: time. The plan calls for a three-month trial of the road diet. Not until after that will it be time to evaluate how it has worked.
City Councilman Joel Burns, whose District 9 includes this part of the street, wrote in a letter to constituents in late August that after three months he will “gather public input and evaluate whether or not the project was successful and/or if there are any changes needed to improve safety and traffic flow.”
The road diet is controversial. Some nearby residents were concerned about safety and pushed for a change; other residents and some Forest Park drivers worried more about traffic flow and fought the alterations.
Burns was tugged in both directions but eventually favored the three-month trial. He cited “more than 40 documented vehicle wrecks” in three years, plus “at least three times that many calls to police for accidents where no police reports were filed.”
That’s reason enough for concern. It’s reason enough to give the road diet time for adjustments and ample but limited time for thorough evaluation.