A new task force in Plano will tackle the city’s aging steering walls that separat subdivisions from busy roads.
Neighboring cities ask individual home owners associations and private owners to maintain steering walls. In Plano, the maintenance responsibility is mixed – with the city responsible for half of the 152 miles of walls within city limits.
“If you go around town, you’ll see a lot of cases where the brick panels are failing, they’re falling in the middle,” said Public Works Director Gerald Cosgrove.
The city faces the issue of how to maintain the 152 miles of steering walls in city limits, namely, the walls that separate subdivisions from busy streets. It has been the city’s responsibility to provide and maintain more than 70 miles of the barriers, which are often comprised of brick, concrete or even landscaping screens since the 1970s.
“As we go along, we’ll be forced into doing more aesthetic issues,” said Cosgrove.
Cosgrove added that safety has been a primary concern.
“We’ve put a heavy emphasis on trying to make the city look good,” said Cosgrove.
Plano will soon organize a task force, likely made up of members from public works, planning, parks and recreation, standards and other departments to evaluate screening walls within city limits.
The public works department estimates repairing or replacing walls can cost up to $270 of taxpayer money per linear foot. The department wants to prioritize projects.
One question is how to deal with walls that are in poor condition and not the city’s responsibility.
Longtime Plano resident Carol Del Giudice, whose alley backs up to a city-maintained wall that she says needs TLC, said she appreciates the city’s effort.
“This is Plano, which is supposed to be a wonderful neighborhood to live in,” Giudice said. “You don’t want it looking shabby.”
The task force is still under development.