Monday, June 7, 2010

Mandates, Priorities and Leadership

I find that once more I must stand on the soapbox to wonder where the priorities of our City lie.

Ten years ago the voters of Coppell authorized bonds that were to be used to complete that portion of Sandy Lake Road that runs westward from Denton Tap Road to the intersection of Coppell Road North. Thousands (7,000 per day – each direction - as of the last study on the Coppell website) of vehicles travel on that roadway every day, and dozens of our finest young citizens cross the roadway during the school year to get to and from the high school campus. For those that aren’t familiar with the roadway I am describing, it is a two-way, single lane in each direction, asphalt road that has a patchwork of patches and cracks from lack of attention and normal wear and tear. The students that I referenced must cross the two lanes without the benefit of sidewalks or even much in the way of a shoulder, as there are deep ditches that are immediately adjacent to the road surface.

The City has been aware for years of the dangers our students (and others) face as they travel on or across this road by way of anything except an automobile, but nothing ever seems to get done. Let me rephrase that – the City did put some asphalt patches on a portion of the road just a few weeks ago. Thanks. The road is still extremely dangerous and in need of replacement.

The City also says that it has studied the issue of getting students and other pedestrians safely across the roadway, but because there is not a sufficient “landing area” on either side to afford adequate safety, then the ordinances and statutes don’t allow a solution of this type. Here’s an idea – do what the voters mandated ten years ago and rebuild the roadway! If as the City has suggested there are Federal issues to be dealt with in crossing a creek in the area just east of Coppell Road North, then break the project into two or more components and fix the pieces that aren’t impacted!

From a priorities standpoint the City and its leadership have again demonstrated where their focus is aimed as the intersection of Sandy Lake and Denton Tap on Monday June 7 went under construction to replace the brick pavers with concrete. While I certainly agree that the intersection has some issues (there were four asphalted potholes when I looked yesterday), I cannot understand why this project warrants a higher priority than fulfilling the voter’s mandate that is ten years old. This is but one recent choice made by our leaders that puzzles me – South Coppell Road immediately in front of the City’s beautiful maintenance facility was just completed; Southwestern Boulevard is almost done; both have daily traffic counts considerably less than Sandy Lake Road, and neither would likely have significant numbers of students attempting to cross the roadway.

I once again ask our leadership (Council, City Manager and Staff) to quit ignoring this issue and come up with a solution. I pray that no one dies or is seriously injured for lack of appropriate action.

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