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Plans for Downtown Area Progressing

Plans for downtown area progressing

Traffic and parking-related plans for Weatherford’s downtown continue to progress.

Director of Planning and Development Craig Farmer told the Historical Preservation Commission last month that the city continues to move forward with the Downtown Action Plan, including plans to increase parking and decrease vehicle traffic around the square.

“We’re moving forward,” Farmer said.

The city’s 3-year-old plan lays out goals to make the downtown area more inviting to people, attract economic development that is compatible with the downtown’s traditional character and make sure vehicles, bikers and pedestrians are able to get to their destination safely.

The city continues to arrange  trade responsibility for some roadways with the state.

Under the TxDOT Turnback Program, Weatherford would gain North and South Main Street, Palo Pinto Street, Fort Worth Highway and a portion of Santa Fe Drive.

TxDOT would take over Ric Williamson Highway and Jack Borden Way.

Farmer said it may be another year before the city exchanges the roads with the state.

TxDOT is doing a seal coat and maintenance on the roads before Weatherford receives them, according to Farmer.

After the city obtains local control of the roadways, additional plans for the downtown area can proceed.

“Once we have those, and one of the things we want to look at in the planning is, we’ve had discussions about angled parking on Fort Worth Highway, Palo Pinto [Street] and Main [Street] to put parking in front of businesses,” Farmer said. “The businesses really do complain a lot about parallel parking.”

Angled parking would add about 20 percent to 30 percent more parking, Farmer said.

“We will probably be doing a parking study this year looking at how many spaces we have and how many we can add,” Farmer said. “And also just looking at the surface lots. People say there’s not enough parking downtown but if you look at an aerial [photograph], there’s parking everywhere.  A lot of it isn’t used or isn’t available.”

Farmer mentioned the parking lots recently designated as public parking by the owners at the request of the city.

“We think we can get a lot more parking just by making some of those arrangements as well as adding the angled parking,” Farmer said.

The city will be looking at making some streets one way with angled parking.

The parking study will be funded by income from the wayfinding sign program.

The city is currently refining the plan for an inner loop to route U.S. Highway 180 traffic away from the Weatherford square to Spring Street, Bridge Street and Alamo Street, according to Farmer.

The city has acquired one property needed, Farmer said.

Farmer also said progress has been made by the Weatherford Downtown Business Alliance of Texas and the city’s new Main Street Office to further other goals mentioned in the Downtown Action Plan.

“The downtown association is, of course, fulfilling a lot of the strategies we had in the plan,” Farmer said.

Weatherford Downtown Business Alliance of Texas successfully pushed the city to bring bathrooms to the York Street area, where the lack of public restrooms has been a concern of area merchants.

 Source:
http://www.weatherforddemocrat.com/news/local_news/plans-for-downtown-area-progressing/article_09a80248-42c1-5927-a5a6-1f869df9a85f.html