Opinion, Recommendations, Streets, Traffic

Methodist: Lane reductions will cause failure of Beckley & Colorado

Sent Individually to Members of the Oak Cliff Gateway Steering Committee

March 1, 2012

Steering Committee:

While I understand the argument some have for wanting to reduce vehicular lanes on Beckley and Colorado, I just want to express one last time that the result would be detrimental to both Methodist Dallas Medical Center and others dependent on those streets. Thousands of patients, employees, physicians, and visitors, not to mention ambulances and emergency vehicles, depend on these routes to efficiently access our hospital with little disruption to our residential neighbors. A traffic study performed by Lee Engineering supports that with our new ER expansion and our plans for growth east of Beckley any lane reduction will cause failure of Beckley and Colorado for Methodist and for others who depend on those streets.

The good news is that there are viable alternatives to lane reductions. Methodist has and continues to be supportive of appropriately signed and shared bicycle/automobile lanes on Beckley. We believe that these lanes, combined with dedicated bicycle/pedestrian lanes on Greenbrier and Haines connecting to Colorado west of Methodist Dallas, are a reasonable compromise that allow for increased bicycle and pedestrian traffic, while maintaining adequate vehicular lanes.  We see this as a win-win for a bike-friendly community and the hospital that supports it.  I hope the residents around Methodist Dallas will see it that way as well.

Please do not hesitate to call if I can provide any additional information. I sincerely appreciate your support and consideration as we work together for the betterment of the community we both treasure.

Thank you,

Stephen L. Mansfield, Ph.D., FACHE

President and CEO

Methodist Health System

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Discussion

3 thoughts on “Methodist: Lane reductions will cause failure of Beckley & Colorado

  1. Letter from East Kessler Park Neighborhood Association

    To the Oak Cliff Gateway Committee:

    On behalf of the 360 households in East Kessler Park, we believe the importance of complete streets, specifically on Beckley and Colorado, is critical. There are no alternative plan(s) or compromise(s) that will be acceptable to East Kessler Park without the complete street designation. Bike lanes are only a small part of the complete street; the key here is an overarching transportation plan built from the street outwards. The components of a complete street would include:

    [] Well maintained sidewalks that are wide enough for the anticipated uses

    [] Calm traffic, with cars moving at safe speeds

    [] Buffers between people and cars, often in the form of street trees, planter strips, a furniture zone, or better yet on-street parking

    [] A lot of places to cross the street, with short crossing distances and crossings that are properly marked, signed and properly lit. If needed, crossing median islands that provide pedestrian refuge.

    [] Full accommodations for people with disabilities, even at driveways

    [] On-street bike lanes or off-street pathways where needed

    [] Trees for shade, beauty and their ecological benefits

    [] Places to sit, both along walkways and at transit stops

    [] Possible mass transit lane(s).

    Although connecting East Kessler Park to the Trinity is one of the many important issues at hand, connecting the neighborhood to existing Lake Cliff Park and Founders Park is equally important and possible today using complete streets. Presently, our neighborhood is cut off from these tremendous but under-utilized resources. Trying to access these locations on foot or by bicycle is a safety nightmare in which one literally takes one’s life into one’s hands. We can do better!!

    The concept of working from the streets outward is a basic concept of complete streets, it is sound urban planning, and it is essential to a vibrant community. Among other things, it creates economic opportunities, safety for its residents, and healthier lifestyles. We are at a crossroads for development in North Oak Cliff. To fail to incorporate complete streets in this development now when the opportunity exists will doom us to the same old thing we have now, which is not working and unacceptable.

    East Kessler Park has been advocating for complete streets, smart code, bike lanes, multi-modal transportation and formed based code for over five years. Our position today should come to no surprise: we too are stakeholders in the community, pay taxes, and vote en masse. The streets abutting East Kessler Park belong to all citizens; they are transportation corridors, not solely automobile routes. Nor are their uses to be dictated by a single entity with a loud voice. We urge the Gateway Committee to incorporate complete streets into their master zoning plan.

    Timothy Herfel
    President
    East Kessler Park Neighborhood Association

    Posted by oakcliffgateway | March 7, 2012, 8:17 AM
  2. All,

    Administrators at Methodist Hospital are redirecting the issue. The point of planning for complete streets is making the area ‘friendly’ to pedestrian and bicycle traffic and for greater commercial and residential development. How might this task be accomplished?

    1) Reducing vehicular speeds along Beckley – reducing the number of lanes
    2) Increasing/allowing parking along stretches of Beckley & Colorado
    3) Encouraging commercial & residential development near the streets (Colorado & Beckley)
    4) Providing safety amenities for bicyclist – lanes in ROW or paths within the boundaries of private property
    5) Increasing the public space (safety) for pedestrians – wider sidewalks & better crosswalks

    Michael A. Mendoza

    Posted by oakcliffgateway | March 7, 2012, 8:12 AM
  3. All the national reports and local examples have determined that complete streets do not hamper emergency response or decrease access for patrons. See http://www.cnu.org/emergencyresponse or you may drive to Ft. Worth and witness a complete street in action on Magnolia Drive in the Near South Side/ Ft. Worth Medical District. I have provided to Christian contacts at Baylor, JPS and Childrens to reference.

    Andrew Howard

    Posted by Andrew Howard | March 7, 2012, 8:08 AM

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