The borrowing plan to tackle a backlog of Dallas public improvements is now at $1.025 billion. The revised figure has grown in just weeks from $800 million at the beginning of June after City Council Members demanded more action from city staff.
The new plan is scheduled for a City Council vote Wednesday and voter approval in a bond referendum in November.
“The time is now and it’s way past time to get these capital injections that we need to have,” said City Council Member Rickey Callahan.
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An example of the need in Callahan’s Pleasant Grove area district is Cheyenne Road. The two lane asphalt road has ditches for drainage with no storm sewers or sidewalks. The Young Women’s STEAM academy is on that road between Lake June Road and Elam Road.
“When it rains the children have to walk back and forth to school, you see what they have to walk on? Nothing. They walk on the asphalt,” neighbor William Bolasek said.
The new borrowing plan elevates Cheyenne Road to a citywide priority project, saving money for other street needs in Callahan’s District.
“I’m glad to hear it,” Bolasek said. “I’m for it. I wish they would do it. Tomorrow would be fine.”
An extra $77 million is included in the new plan to be divided for each City Council Member’s district priorities.
Callahan plans to earmark his share for land acquisition to support expansion of Crawford Memorial Park at Elam and Prairie Creek Road. The earlier borrowing plan already included funding to make Crawford a signature park with new sports fields and other improvements.
“We’d all like to be conservative and say $800 million is enough but a district that’s been starved and underserved, like southeast Dallas and my district, we need the money,” Callahan said.
Street and traffic improvements still get the largest share of the new plan, a total of $564 million.
Oak Cliff neighbor Meghan Carpenter said the signals at her corner of Colorado Boulevard and Hampton Road are not properly timed with Fort Worth Avenue a block away to help traffic move along Hampton.
“I think everybody is just trying to squeak through the yellow light or the red light at the last minute and there really isn’t enough buffer between one light turning red and another light turning green. It’s just too close and a lot of people end up running it and a lot of accidents here,” she said.
An extra $18 million is added in the new plan for traffic signal installation around the city. Separate plans for computerized traffic signal management are also in the works.
“Perfect. I would love to see that happen,” said Carpenter.
Some City Council Members prefer less borrowing and a shift to pay as you go funding for public improvements. But the majority wants faster action of the $10 billion backlog of Dallas problems.