Liz Zeitlin fully supports Colleyville’s plan to make improvements to Glade Road in front of her home. She drives the road and sees the traffic congestion and crumbling pavement. What got her and others up in arms has been the city’s plan for a 10-foot-wide trail through their yards.
"I would never, ever stop them from fixing the road," said Zeitlin, who ran unsuccessfully for City Council this year. "The width of the sidewalk was always the issue. To go any further kills all of the trees and puts the sidewalk right in front of my door, basically."
Ensuring a small-town feel
This small-town feel is what drew residents to build half-million-dollar homes along the east-west corridor. They rallied together with a petition that got on the May ballot trying to ensure that Colleyville maintained that charm. The initiative failed, but it also caused supporters of the road, including Council members, to make promises that residents now want upheld.
Councilman Mike Taylor, a vocal supporter of Glade Road improvements, said the city has flexibility to reduce the trail width to 5 feet where appropriate to minimize impact on trees and right-of-way.
"We are making those changes where it makes sense," Taylor said. "I still think we can do it with a very minimal footprint."
For Zeitlin, this is a property rights issue that could affect other parts of Colleyville, not just Glade Road.
"We have so many beautiful cut-through roads in Colleyville that they could do this to and I was concerned for all of them," she said.
For its part, Colleyville is moving full-speed ahead with major Glade Road improvements that will be done in four phases and take about six years.
Plans for phase one are about 30 percent developed and were presented at the Oct. 20 Council work session.
As the final plans are completed, Taylor said residents will realize the city isn’t clear-cutting the trees, as some residents were led to believe. Taylor said the May election showed him that the majority of residents want the road improvements.
Right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation for the first phase from Bransford Road to Manning Drive is expected to start in the early 2016. The city expects they will need about 62 parcels of property for the first phase. The majority of those, 48, are for temporary easements during construction.
The improvements include a roundabout at Bransford Road and Glade Road, the realignment of Bedford Road and a roundabout at Riverwalk Drive. The stop signs on Glade Road at Bluebonnet Drive, which cause back-ups during rush hour, would be removed, meaning only traffic on Bluebonnet Drive would have to stop.
Some neighborhood roads will get dedicated right-turn lanes, which will require right-of-way.
The city has a tight schedule for the project as it tries to start construction during the summer to minimize disruption at Bransford Elementary. That timeline could be delayed if right-of-way or utility relocation takes longer than expected, City Engineer Jeremy Hutt said.
The impact of the trails
Bobby Lindamood also ran for Council unsuccessfully in May, galvanized by the Glade Road improvements. He called the trail plan the "silliest thing I’ve ever seen" and that the road improvements could have been done years ago if Colleyville would have relented on that.
"It’s still not what they had promised throughout the election campaign," Lindamood said.
Lindamood cites a campaign mailer from Taylor and Councilwoman Nancy Coplen that promised only 5-foot-wide sidewalks, no eminent domain and a pay-as-you-go project requiring no debt or new taxes.
Mona Gandy, spokeswoman for the city of Colleyville, said this was not an official city document so Colleyville can’t vouch for it.
Taylor said the standard trail through North Texas is 10 feet though the city will narrow it to five feet to protect trees. Eminent domain is a last resort.
Glade Road timeline:
Phase 1 (Bransford Road to Manning Drive): Starts in 2016 and finishes in 2017.
Phase 2 (Manning Drive to Pool Road): Starts in 2017 and finishes in early 2019
Phase 3 (Pool Road to Heritage Avenue): Starts in 2018 and finishes in late 2019
Phase 4 (Western city limits to Bransford Road): Starts in 2022 and finishes in 2023