After years of pressure from city and state leaders for the Texas Department of Transportation to come up with a fix for a busy East Dallas intersection, neighbors say the chosen plan is not a good fit.
The "Three G" intersection, where State Highway 78 — also known as Garland Road — meets Gaston Avenue and turns into Grand Avenue, just south of White Rock Lake, has become known as a site for collisions.
Last week, TxDOT presented the plan its engineers deemed best after two years of public input and research. The plan minimizes the number of lanes currently at the intersection. TxDOT says it was chosen because it's the safest for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. It also works in a tight space, as new businesses continue to pop up along the corridor.
Meanwhile, a petition has started circulating in the Lakewood neighborhood — gaining 280 signatures by Tuesday afternoon — asking the state and city to choose another plan.
The petition was started by Lakewood resident Sarah Lamb.
"We're really looking to not divide Lakewood any further by minimizing the traffic that continues onto Gaston Avenue," Lamb said.
Lamb moved to Lakewood with her husband two years ago. The couple is raising two children in the neighborhood where historical homes, large yards and friendly neighbors are abundant. But she says Gaston Avenue will only get busier if TxDOT's current plan for the so-called "Three G" intersection becomes reality.
"We really want to keep the highway traffic on the highway through to downtown, as opposed to the city's and TxDOT's plan to divert it down Gaston Avenue, which is a residential street," Lamb said.
Lamb and others who've signed the petition worry the state's plan will force more traffic onto Gaston, because it requires drivers traveling south on Highway 78 to make a left-hand turn to stay on the highway. The petition instead calls for a "true T," which would allow traffic on Highway 78 to travel in a straight line. It would also force drivers to make a hard turn onto Gaston.
"TxDOT encourages the public to participate in the public involvement process. We have also met one-on-one with lay citizens who are against the engineers' preferred alignment that focuses on safety. There are various ideas and opinions about what's best for the corridor, and TxDOT has provided Option 2 to move forward for the schematic phase. The long, interactive process works," said TxDOT spokeswoman Michelle Raglon.
TxDOT is still accepting public comments, although they must be postmarked by Feb. 2 to become part of the official record for the public meeting. There will will be another opportunity for comment at a public meeting that is yet to be scheduled.