Study to improve safety on 17th, 18th and 19th streets underway - KXXV Central Texas News Now

Study to improve safety on 17th, 18th and 19th streets underway

(Source: KXXV) (Source: KXXV)

The City of Waco will host a public meeting on Thursday to gather input from the business community and neighbors about a study that aims to improve pedestrian access and safety in the 17th-18th-19 streets corridor.

The $250,000 study will look at a five-mile stretch of road from the intersection of 18th Street and Primrose Drive to the intersection of 18th Street and Lake Shore Drive.

A consulting firm has been working on the study developing concepts to address transportation and safety needs for all forms of travel and spur economic development.

"What we hope from the study is that it gives us a guide of multiple projects of how we can enhance the corridor to make it safe and more conducive to multi-transportation modes like biking and walking," Public Works Capital Improvement Program Manager Jim Reed said.

He added at this time not that many drivers use those routes, which he believes may be attributed to safety concerns. Reed said he hopes the study can bring concepts that may encourage more use.

"We think the potential is there. From a safety standpoint, we see high speeds, we see sequencing of lights based on the reduction of lanes that are complicated to some users," Reed said.

He said currently many cyclists may not be encouraged to use that area because of the way people drive in that area.

"They tend to go at a higher rate of speed than what we have posted so they will rush light to light and because of that speed it really doesn't encourage cyclists to get out on a roadway where people are exceeding 30 miles an hour," Reed said.

One of the draft concepts includes making the 17th and 18th Street bridges two lanes while adding bike lanes and a sidewalk.

Cyclist Greg Edwards said he would welcome those changes.

"I think motorists will look out for you a little bit more," Edwards said.

The meeting will be held at the Waco Central Library at 1717 Austin Avenue from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The businesses invited to attend include George's Restaurant, H-E-B, Family Practice Center, Valero Corner Store, CEFCO C-Store, Busch's Chicken and McDonald's on 19th Street. However, members of the public are also welcome to attend.

The study is expected to be completed in the fall. The funding for any possible projects will be looked at for the next fiscal year 2018-2019.

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