The countless signs lining neighborhood streets in Benbrook are proof that Carol Guarnieri isn't afraid to back down from a fight.
“Absolutely not,” Guarnieri said. “And as I explained to you earlier, we’ve been fighting this for well over 22 years.”
Guarnieri said she is leading a coalition of 12 neighborhoods. They are trying to stop a bridge from being built over Clear Fork on the Trinity. It’s called the Clear Fork Bridge Project.
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Benbrook City Manager, Andy Wayman, said the proposed bridge would be emergency access only and its intent is to offer improved city services with quicker emergency response times.
But Guarnieri said, even if it’s built with that intent, “It will eventually get opened up to public access,” and therefore increase traffic in her neighborhood.
We asked Guarnieri, “What concerns you the most about this bridge?”
“The fact that, with the huge influx of traffic that it’s going to entail, there’s going to be an increase in crime, there’s going to be a tremendous, tremendous danger to bikers,” Guarnieri said. She also explained her concern for families walking in the neighborhood and decreased property values of homes.
Her concerns were echoed a few streets away in the front yard of Teresa Rutledge, who also had a sign in her grass saying, “no” to the bridge. “The bikers wouldn’t be able to bike, I wouldn’t be able to walk there, and I think it would just devastate the community,” Rutledge said.
The only sign we saw of someone supporting the proposed bridge was next door to Rutledge. “Yes, my next-door neighbor, yes!”
Her neighbors didn’t answer their door when we knocked, but Teresa respects their opposing opinion.
“Well, you know that is one thing that makes this country so great, we have the freedom of speech, the freedom of opinion, and that’s what creates conversation. So uh, that’s great!” Rutledge said.
For Guarnieri, it’s a matter of keeping her quiet neighborhood quiet—and to her that is worth fighting for, no matter how long it takes.
“If I can do anything before I leave this mortal earth, I’d like to guarantee that the grandchildren and the grandchildren of future generations can play out in the street, live in the park, play in the park, and without fear that they’re going to be encroached upon by traffic,” Guarnieri said.
Wayman said the Benbrook City Council is expected to discuss the Clear Fork Bridge Project again sometime this Fall.