Fire department says no to closing Monticello and McCommas

A draft plan for managing traffic in East Dallas neighborhoods adjacent to Central Expressway has emerged after several weeks of study and public meetings involving residents, City staff and a traffic consultant. One part of the plan, however, has run into a roadblock.

Closing Monticello and McCommas streets had been preferred by some, but that has been eliminated from further consideration. The Fire Department opposes closing those two streets because test runs show that such action would increase the response time for emergency vehicles in the area, causing unacceptable delays for fire engines and ambulances.

Further community meetings will be held to revise the traffic plan, which directly affects Cochran Heights, Vickery Place and Greenland Hills, Lower Greenville, Garrett Park East and other neighborhoods also are impacted by changes to traffic patterns and will be included in the discussions.

Alterations to streets in the area is needed, in part, to accommodate a sound wall to be built by the Texas Department of Transportation to protect neighborhoods against Central noise.

There will be at least two public meetings in April and May to refine the traffic management plan, and a final report will be submitted to the City Council for action in late May or early June.

Anyone interested in knowing more about this plan should contact Alex Wong, the City’s project engineer, at 670-4654.

Central Expressway Construction Timeline

Central Expressway reconstruction continues to make its way south toward Downtown. The Texas Department of Transportation has estimated the entire project will take until the end of the century and has established a schedule that will affect many East Dallas residents as they travel on or across Central.

The state highway department will demolish and reconstruct six bridges on the following timetable:

• Monticello – Work began June 1995. Estimated completion, March 1997
• Knox-Henderson – Work begins August 1996. Estimated completion, July 1998
• Fitzhugh – Begins December 1996, completion January 1999
• Haskell-Blackburn – Began March 1996, completion April 1999
• Lemmon – Begins May 1997, completion May 1999
• Hall – Begins October 1996, completion February 1999.

The main freeway lanes on Central will be the last projects to be completed and will be depressed about 25 feet below residential street levels. Completion of the entire project is expected in 2000.

Neighborhood Street Repairs

Last year, the City Council worked with the city manager to increase resources for street maintenance and added $4.1 million to our annual repair budget. Of course, that larger budget is not enough to fix all the deteriorated streets in Dallas, but it is a good start.

This fiscal year, we will repair an extra 605 lane miles.

The staff has targeted streets in poor condition in census tracts throughout the City. Neighborhood tracts that will be among the first to receive attention will be:

• 10.01 and 10.02, which include much of Vickery Place and are roughly bounded by Goodwin, Henderson, Central and Greenville.
• 12.01, which covers parts of the Mt. Auburn and Hollywood Heights/Santa Monica neighborhoods and is bounded by East Grand, Beacon, Santa Fe and Monte Vista.
• 11.01, which is bounded by Greenville, Vickery, Skillman and Bryan Parkway. It includes streets in the Lower Greenville, Garrett Park East and Swiss Avenue neighborhoods.

With this proactive repair program, we hope to reserve the decline in the condition of Dallas roads.


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