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Online petition aims to delay decision on changing one-way streets in downtown Waco

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Posted at 7:57 PM, Feb 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-04 22:38:23-05

A petition is now circulating online aiming to delay the decision on changing traffic flow on one-way streets in downtown Waco, such as Washington Avenue.

The petition can be found on the One Way Forward In Waco website. Those who sign are asking the city council to postpone any decision until the reconstruction of I-35 is complete and some outstanding questions are answered.

Community Bank & Trust President David Lacy, who is spearheading the effort, said the city has not detailed plans for left turn lanes and on-street parking. In addition, he said he is concerned about the impact of the reconstruction of I-35 regarding traffic flow downtown. 

"Perhaps we would be wise to keep all alternative routes to and from downtown as complete and viable as possible until we see that traffic displaced by I-35 construction can be handled by alternative routes. A pause will help us measure the I-35 impact," the website states.

Lacy whose bank is located at the end of the one-way street on Washington Avenue said 400 people have already signed the petition. 

"I'm not necessarily opposed to two way traffic downtown but I think we have questions answered before we proceed and they haven't been at least so far," Lacy said.

In response, Waco's Traffic Engineering Manager Eric Gallt said those questions have been addressed. According to him, there are no plans to remove any parking.

In addition, he said I-35 is not expected to be diverted to one-way streets downtown during the reconstruction of I-35.

He also said left lanes would be added at major intersections on Washington Avenue. 

Gallt adds that there have been several public hearings, during which people have been overwhelmingly supportive, especially business owners. 

"We do believe something like this enhances the economic viability of the corridor. We are hearing that from business owners. That is something you see nationally when these are done," Gallt said.

City staff is expected to make a decision on the potential change at the end of February or the beginning of March. Elected members had given tentative approval of the change in December. 

If it moves forward, the project is expected to take place this summer when crews do a scheduled resurfacing of that street.

According to city officials, they have not received the petition yet. 

The city also plans to discuss in the future changing Franklin Avenue to a two-way street. 

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