Petition calls for road diet on Abrams/Columbia with 2017 bond funds

Dallas’ “Complete Street Design” includes four lanes with room for parking, bike lanes and sidewalks.

Let the lobbying begin. With $800 million in city capital bond dollars coming up for grabs, a healthy portion of which will be earmarked for road repairs, it’s no surprise that neighborhoods are looking to secure their piece of the pie.

As was the case this week, when a petition from Old East Dallas neighbor Nathaniel Barrett popped up on Change.org seeking to ensure the Abrams/Columbia throughway gets the “Complete Street” treatment.

“The harmful effects of this dangerous and neighborhood unfriendly road are evident in the number of injuries and lackluster growth along this corridor,” Barrett writes. “Further, hundreds of children must cross this street daily to reach Lipscomb Elementary, Woodrow Wilson High School, and JL Long Middle School, forcing them to risk their safety by walking or take a car to travel even a short distance.”

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He’s not wrong, the six-lane stretch can feel more like a highway than a residential road, especially during commute hours. Abrams drops down to four lanes through Lakewood at Gaston, and Barrett would like to see that design expanded through Old East Dallas. The “Complete Streets Design” suggests a four-lane road with room for parking, sidewalks and bike lanes. Barrett’s petition asks Councilmembers Mark Clayton, Philip Kingston and Adam Medrano to prioritize the the area when spending their district’s allocated bond funds.

That’s assuming voters approve the bond, of course. The city council voted to delay putting the measure in front of voters until Nov. 7, when some thought it had a better shot at passing (a decision Advocate columnist and former councilmember Angela Hunt questions).

With the mass number of streets that need attention in our neighborhood, we’re guessing this won’t be the last petition for bond funds.


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  • Nathaniel Barrett

    Thanks for the coverage! I may have started the petition, but this is a joint effort of the neighborhoods of Old East Dallas!

    I think we’d be hard-pressed to find a streets project that has a higher impact on OED than redesigning Columbia/Abrams. You may not know it, but this street feels so unnatural because it was rammed through OED back in the 60s/70s!

    We’re still feeling the hangover of that building binge and this is our chance to remake it into something safer, more sustainable, and more productive than ever.

    For those wanting to know more about the ill-conceived Abrams/Columbia connector, check out the piece I wrote about it last month: https://medium.com/@ncoxbarrett/retrofitting-streetcar-suburbia-the-story-of-main-columbia-abrams-af5f5a6ab0e3