Sunday, May 29, 2022

Amendments Proposed to the Mobility Master Plan for Sidewalks and Road Projects

Amendments to the City of Southlake’s Mobility Master Plan are under consideration. The plan addresses transportation needs in the community, from roads to sidewalks. 

The amendment to be considered by Council reprioritizes specific sidewalk segments, modifies the pathways map, adds a project at the intersection of Highland Street and Shady Oaks Boulevard and recommends a study for SH 114 improvements. 

A detailed list of the prioritized sidewalk segments can be found in the November 16 City Council meeting materials or on the Mobility Master Plan Feedback webpage. Sidewalks were prioritized by the connectivity to other sidewalks, locations near parks or schools, available right of way or easement, tree removal consideration, utility relocation, bridge construction and drainage improvements. Tier one sidewalks are recommended to be developed from one to three years, with tier two in the four-to-seven-year range and tier three at eight or more years. 

The City Council passed the amendments during the first reading at the November 16 City Council Meeting. The second reading of the plan changes will occur during the December 7 City Council meeting. 

Residents are encouraged to complete the Sidewalk Priority Feedback form if they have questions or comments. Feedback from the public on the plan began October 26. Resident feedback was also taken during the October 26 SPIN meeting. The Planning and Zoning Commission provided recommendations for adjustments during the November 4 P&Z meeting. 

The Mobility Master Plan is an element of the City’s Comprehensive Plan, which services as a blueprint for the future of Southlake and a framework to guide City programs and projects for 20 years. The Plan prioritizes capital projects, allocates resources and establishes programs, and is constantly evaluated by the City for potential updates. 

Once the plan is approved, the City begins implementation. Projects in the Mobility Master Plan are subject to available funding during the given budget year and will be placed in the Capital Improvements Program (CIP) accordingly. 

Sidewalks in Southlake are also built outside of the Mobility Master Plan, through the CIP program, roadway projects, new residential and commercial developments, park construction, gap projects and the Neighborhood Matching Fund. 

For more information on how the City of Southlake addresses mobility in the community, visit www.ConnectSouthlake.com and follow the Southlake Mobility Facebook page. 

Sidewalk Improvements

More Sidewalks are coming to Southlake!

The Southlake Mobility Team is back at it again, with plans to install sidewalks along the SH 114 Frontage Road.

This new segment will include 1,130 linear feet of concrete sidewalks along the westbound SH 114 Frontage Road between Blessed Way and Briarwood Drive. This section of sidewalk will allow for continuous connection and provide a pathway to the Gateway Church Southlake Campus.

Construction started on Monday, November 1, and is estimated to be completed by December 2021, weather permitting.

As a result, lane closures will occur intermittently for the duration of the project.

 

For more updates on the SH 114 Sidewalk Project, please follow the Southlake Mobility Facebook page or sign up for the Mobility e-newsletter.

Southlake 2035 Mobility Plan Amendment – Sidewalk Priority List

The Planning and Development Services Department has created a sidewalk priority feedback form for citizens to submit questions and comments.

The City of Southlake will be considering an amendment to its Mobility Master Plan to establish new priorities for City-funded sidewalk construction projects. The construction of publicly funded sidewalk project sections is guided by the priority ranking of the sidewalk segment identified in the Mobility Master Plan.

The City has just completed an extensive sidewalk constructability evaluation for future publicly funded sidewalk segments identified on the Official Pathways Map. The sidewalk constructability study evaluates and prioritizes potential sidewalk projects based on several factors, such as connectivity to other sidewalks, location near a school or park, availability of a right of way or easement, and construction cost (trees removal, utility relocations, bridge construction, drainage). The City utilizes the scores assigned as part of this evaluation to prioritize sidewalk segments for construction. Sidewalk segments are prioritized as a Tier 1 (1 to 3 years), Tier 2 (4 to 7 years) or Tier 3 (greater than 8 years) project.

Just because a sidewalk segment is not listed as part of this evaluation does not mean it will not be built. The City also builds sidewalks in conjunction with a City road or park project. For instance, the N. White Chapel Boulevard project will include new sidewalks on both sides of the road from the SH 114 frontage road to Emerald Boulevard, near the Tom Thumb shopping center. Construction of the Southlake Sports Complex (Park) will include sidewalks along Crooked Lane. Also, developers are required to incorporate sidewalks identified on the “Official Pathways” as part of their projects.

As part of the Southlake Mobility Plan amendment, the City is seeking feedback and suggestions from the public on the proposed sidewalk priority list. In addition to the feedback form, the public can provide comments on the proposed priorities at the following meetings, which are held at Southlake Town Hall – City Council Chambers – 1400 Main Street:

  • October 26 – Citywide SPIN meeting – 6 p.m.
  • November 4 – Planning and Zoning Commission meeting – 6:30 p.m. – (Public Hearing)
  • November 15 – City Council meeting (1st Reading) – 5:30 p.m.
  • December 7 – City Council meeting (Public Hearing) – 6:45 p.m.

For more information about these sidewalk segments, please visit the Mobility Master Plan webpage or contact the Planning and Development Services Department at 817-748-8621

Let’s Take a Hike!

The weather outside is beautiful this time of year, aside from the occasional 100-degree day. The evenings and mornings are cool and crisp. What better way to enjoy the outdoors with a hike around your neighborhood or community! 

Southlake is home to over 180 miles of sidewalks and trails, for a variety of exercise or leisure options. The best news is there’s more to come! 

The City of Southlake’s interactive sidewalks map shows hikers existing sidewalks and trails, as well as those planned for the future.  

The perfect sidewalk or trail is just a few steps away, so grab your water bottle and sneakers, and head outside for hike. 

To keep up with all things mobility in Southlake, visit ConnectSouthlake.com, the Southlake Mobility Facebook page or sign up for the mobility e-newsletter. 

Connecting Southlake One Neighborhood at a Time

As the community continues to develop, plans to create more sidewalks in Southlake are part of our plan to connect residents to each other.

The City recently wrapped up the Continental Sidewalk project, providing a continuous connection along Continental Boulevard, FM 1709, S. Kimball Avenue and S. Carroll Avenue to for pedestrians to walk to schools, parks and shopping areas from their homes. Ongoing street projects such as the N. White Chapel Widening and the Zena Rucker Connector will also include sidewalks.

What does this mean for existing neighborhoods designed without sidewalks?

The City offers programs that enable residents to request the construction or filling of sidewalk gaps within their neighborhoods. This process is often referred to as neighborhood retrofits.

Residents can submit a request for a new sidewalk or to fill in the gaps of an existing sidewalk by completing this form. Requests are forwarded to the City Council for consideration in the priority plan. Once requests are approved, neighborhood organizations and HOAs can utilize the Neighborhood Sidewalk Matching Funds program in which the City matches 50% of the cost of sidewalk design and construction.

These partnerships foster collaboration and allow the City to work with residents to provide a sustainable solution for the interest of both parties. Together, we can help connect Southlake and make it a great place to live, work and play.

Residents are required to complete the Neighborhood Sidewalk Matching Funds Program Application and submit a petition to demonstrate the support of other homeowners near the proposed sidewalk.

If City Council approves the petition, the HOA or organization will need to complete a Sidewalk Participation Agreement with the Public Works Department. The 50% match is required before sidewalk construction starts.

To learn more about the City of Southlake’s sidewalk programs click here. To complete a Neighborhood Sidewalk Matching Funds Request click here.

 

An Inside Look at Sidewalks in Southlake

Assistant City Manager Ben Thatcher presented an inside look at Southlake’s Sidewalk Program during the February 4 Council meeting.

He discussed updates on sidewalk infrastructure and how the City plans and funds sidewalks.

Thatcher showed how residents can utilize an embedded interactive map on the City’s sidewalk page and explained how residents can get information pertaining to sidewalks.

The easy to use map shows all of the existing sidewalks, hiking and equestrian trails and provides information about future sidewalk segments in Southlake.  

As new neighborhoods develop, plans to include more sidewalks are in the works. As for the more established areas in Southlake, the City wants to help them obtain sidewalks as well. 

“We’re open to working with neighborhoods to come in and retro fit sidewalks if we’re able to get an easement or get the right-of-way,” Thatcher said. 

The page even includes an in-depth video about planning and funding sidewalk projects and a contact form to connect residents to Public Works directly. 

For more information about sidewalks or to view the City’s sidewalk pages, please visit ConnectSouthlake.com.   

Understanding Mobility: Tactile Paving in Southlake Town Square

Have you ever noticed the change on the sidewalk near a street crossing?

It starts to shift from being flat concrete to concrete slightly raised in a circular pattern that is a different shade and slopes downward? Those colorful, bumpy designs have a significant purpose.

Known as detectable warning surfaces and pavers, they are designed to inform the visually impaired that there is about to be a change in path or direction.

Detectable pavers are a part of the tactile paving system. The word tactile means it can be felt. The colors vary from red, to white, to yellow and the design can be stripes or blisters and sometimes a combination of both. Different designs indicate different mobility notifications. In most cases, if you see or feel these pavers, it’s an indication that you are about to approach the street, ramp or top or bottom of stairs. Installation of these pavers is also in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Southlake Town Square has several detectable pavers at the end of each sidewalk to assist pedestrians. These pavers are the red tiles with offset blisters. The contrast of the red color against the concrete is easier to see for those who are partially-sighted.

Now as you’re walking through Town Square and other areas, you will understand what these devices mean and how they are designed to improve mobility for all pedestrians. The City’s goal is to ensure that sidewalks and pathways can accommodate everyone and help the visually impaired navigate through Southlake safely.

 

City Continues to Prioritize Providing Pedestrian Pathways

At the most recent November 19 City Council Meeting, Assistant City Manager Ben Thatcher reaffirmed the City’s commitment to improving mobility in Southlake is not just on roadways but sidewalks too.

“Mobility and infrastructure are key focuses for us, we want to provide travel convenience within the City,” Thatcher commented during his presentation. “That’s not only in road construction but also in sidewalk construction. It’s very much in the forefront of our budget and resource allocation.”

In the last couple Citizen Satisfaction Surveys, respondents indicated that pedestrian pathways were very or somewhat important, while only little more than half of the respondents were very or somewhat satisfied with the City’s efforts to provide them.

“We understand that it’s an important service that the City provides to our residents,” noted Thatcher. “We have an annual appropriation of budget funds that go towards capital projects for filling in the gaps in our sidewalk network. We continue to put money aside.”

“In the last 5 years we’ve spent just under $1.3 million retrofitting and filling in the gaps in our sidewalk network,” said Thatcher.

And in the past 10 years, the City has added more than 21 miles of sidewalks. Thatcher encouraged residents to visit the sidewalk pages on the City’s website and check out the interactive sidewalk map. The map shows the current sidewalk network, future sidewalk segment, and hiking and equestrian trails. It also allows you to search by the address and gives the history of the segment at the bottom of the map.

During the presentation, Thatcher also talked about the sidewalk construction barriers the City faces. The most common barriers include the right of way acquisition, topography, utility relocation, tree removal and damage to existing structures. Right of way acquisitions challenges are the most likely to prevent a project from moving forward and can outweigh all other factors.

“Sometimes we don’t have the property so we have to go out and acquire it just like on a road project,” noted Thatcher. He also spoke about how what appears to be a simple sidewalk project on the surface can run into its challenges. “Because of the grade changes, ADA requirements, all of a sudden a simple sidewalk project becomes something that needs to be engineered to a great deal,” he said.

The City utilizes several different funding sources to help build sidewalks. Those sources include:

  • CIP Funding, where the City can retrofit projects along roads, or as part of a larger project, such as the reconstruction of N. White Chapel;
  • Developer Agreements where the City works with developers to incorporate sidewalks into their developments;
  • Local State and Federal Grants, these are typically administered by Tarrant County, NCTCOG and TxDOT,
  • and Neighborhood Sidewalk Matching Funds Program

Finally, Thatcher discussed current active projects. The most noticeable project is the N. White Chapel Widening project currently under construction. New sidewalks were incorporated into this project and when completed will provide sidewalk connectivity on N. White Chapel from FM 1709 to SH 114.

Also under construction is the Continental Boulevard sidewalk project. This is between South Hollow Drive and Crooked Lane on the north side of the road. Construction is anticipated to begin in late spring for sidewalks on Kirkwood Boulevard from TW King to Tyler Street both sides of the road. This project is currently in the design phase. And new sidewalks on FM 1709, near the south side of The Hill Church, have their design under review.

Thatcher also encouraged anyone with sidewalk questions to visit the ConnectSouthlake.com website and view the sidewalk pages or to contact the Sidewalk Program Manager Stephanie Taylor, Transportation Manager in the Traffic Management Division.

 

N. White Chapel Widening Project On Schedule and Making Major Headway

The end of the school year is right around the corner and while that means summer break for many, it’s rock and roll time for the N. White Chapel widening project. N. White Chapel from Highland to SH 114 will have a totally new look by the time school is back in session.

Despite some intervention from Mother Nature with some heavy rain falls, the project is pretty much on schedule. Most recently in mid-April, crews closed a section of east Highland to begin construction of the east side of the dual-lane roundabout.

If you’ve driven through the N. White Chapel and Highland intersection, you can see the roundabout starting to take shape. The old pavement has been removed and crews are working on leveling the surface in preparation to pave. Work on this side of the roundabout is expected to be completed by early June so work on the other side of the roundabout can begin.

New pavement is in on the southbound lanes and is closer to joining with the existing pavement close to the intersection of N. White Chapel and SH 114. Meanwhile what’s left to pave on the northbound traffic side is formed up to be ready to pave. Weather permitting the contractor hopes to have paving of the new traffic lanes completed in a few weeks.

“It’s great to be able to actually see the roundabout taking shape,” notes City Engineer and Deputy Director of Public Works Kyle Hogue. “So far 70 percent of the work has been completed. Up next is the completion of the roundabout, installation of public art in the roundabout, landscaping and new sidewalks.”

As with any construction project, drivers are encouraged to be extra aware of their surroundings and if possible avoid the area.

In the meantime, if you haven’t already, follow Southlake Mobility on Facebook for all the up-to-date mobility news in Southlake. You can also visit the website at www.ConnectSouthlake.com.