The verdict is in. The Texas Department of Transportation will redesign the Garland-Gaston-Grand intersection in the “reverse T” option, a department spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday.
At public meetings, attendees chose the reverse T, which adds stoplights in all directions and puts an end to confusion about who should yield in the tangle of unusual merges. The plan also increases the walkability of the area by adding pedestrian- and bike-friendly crosswalks.
Several residents, however, opposed the option, claiming it would funnel more traffic into their neighborhood. TxDoT has said those claims are incorrect and that traffic volume would not increase with the reverse T.
The loudest opposition came from the group Lakewood Citizens for Responsible Traffic, which installed yard signs asking neighbors to “say no” to the reverse T. The group lobbied for a more traditional T intersection and encouraged neighbors to write TxDoT and their representatives to choose another option, which would make children and streets safer.
But some elected leaders involved in the overhaul said the intersection was already unsafe.
“This unsafe intersection, which is basically unusable by pedestrians and cyclists, has been a real issue for the residents of East Dallas for a long time,” State Rep. Eric Johnson said. “I am glad TxDoT is moving forward with this important project.”
A public vote was not part of the process, but protesters drew the department’s attention. A three-week public response period produced 1,040 comments, with about 57 percent in support of the reverse T proposal, the Dallas Morning News reported.
“People were really passionate on all sides, and we were glad to have so much input from citizens,” said Michelle Raglon, a TxDoT spokeswoman for the Dallas District. “In the end, TxDoT had to come up with the best design that would have the least amount of impact on the majority of people. We let engineering take precedence, not the politics.”
After the announcement, Sarah Lamb, a spokeswoman for the Lakewood Citizens for Responsible Traffic, thanked supporters for engaging in the public comment process.
“The City of Dallas has promised to work with TxDoT to make modifications to Option 2 that will address the primary concerns of a large portion of the community,” she said. “We hope that this will allow all of our neighborhoods to come togethers on this intersection redesign and keep this project on schedule.”
Construction is likely to begin no later than 2020 and will last about a year, Raglon said. During construction, neighbors may experience noise and traffic delays, but the department will try to minimize those side effects, she said.
“It’s unfortunate that there will be a little inconvenience, but it’s temporary, and it will be so much better once it’s over,” Raglon said.
More than 30,000 vehicles pass through the intersection each day, according to TxDoT, and many use it to travel to attractions like White Rock Lake and the Dallas Arboretum.
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