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City of Waco presents first draft of Downtown Implementation Plan to improve walkability, bikeability

Posted at 8:38 PM, Oct 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-13 21:38:16-04

WACO, Texas — The City of Waco presented a draft of its 'Downtown Implementation Plan' during a public open house on Thursday.

The plan aims to improve mobility downtown for pedestrians and bicyclists, while also improving parking.

The city partnered with design firm Kimley Horn to build recommendations for where the city could add bike lanes, and improve pedestrian access and parking. The city built the plan around feedback form residents collected since the spring.

"There's a lot of good foundation here to work with," said the city's long-range planning manager, Laura Wagstaff. "And this plan is just gonna take the elements that are great already and spread them out around downtown."

The draft also includes plans to add more benches, bike racks, and greenery to the downtown area.

Frances White, a longtime Waco resident, attended Thursday's open house and applauded the city's plan for downtown's future.

"It's nice to see the bike paths come in, and the scooter paths come in. That's transportation for some people," she said.

The city divided its recommended projects into three priority tiers. Top-tier projects focus on University Parks Drive, 8th Street, Franklin Avenue, and Austin Avenue.

For example, Austin Avenue is designated as an 'Entertainment Street' in the plan, lined by trees and enhanced parking in the plan.

The plan does not include a concrete budget or timeline for implementation. Once the plan is finalized, it will head to the city council.

"Basically, once this plan is created, the city council can then use this document as a tool for future budgets, future capital improvements, plans—and budget money for these projects," Wagstaff said.