Thursday, January 24, 2013

If You Cross the Bridge on Perry

Alright, maybe I'm overly dramatic, or just another tax-paying citizen who thinks their percentage of the city budget should only be spent on projects that make them feel good about the world.

But every time we cross this bridge by our house, I feel like one of my curious nephews is going to fall through the guardrail, while I’m wrestling the toddler's shoe out of a drainage hole. And since I can’t be on the nonexistent sidewalk, I’ll get clipped by a passing car, and flip over the guardrail with toddler in arms (but not his shoe), pursued by the black lab who trails me everywhere, followed by the stroller he’s tied to (because I needed both hands to pull the toddler's shoe out of the drainage hole). And then we'll all die.

All we need is zombies under the bridge for a good horror story rendition of “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie”.
Anyway, I wrote this letter to the city manager back in October, and they responded that an engineer's report did show the need for a safe pedestrian crossing over this bridge. And they let me know it's been a concern for several years, because the city applied for a state grant to build a safe pedestrian crossing in 2010. But, alas, it's just not in the budget. Planting saplings in the medians by Castle Hills and paving tee boxes for the discgolf course seem to be sucking up all of our city improvement funds. (The discgolf course IS really nice. You should go play, so my kids can try to intercept your frisbees before they hit the baskets. No, really, this happened yesterday. I don't think we'll be walking there for awhile.) 

Hi Bob,

I’m writing on the recommendation of City Manager Leonard Martin, to provide supporting information for a request that CIPAC consider a reallocation of funds in order to create a safe pedestrian crossing over a creek on Perry Rd.
I’d appreciate if you could take a moment to review some pictures I’ve included below of the current dangerous conditions, and if you could, please provide copies of this information to CIPAC members as well. (I’m happy to provide copies for the Committee’s consideration, if it would be preferable; just let me know.)
This bridge is the only route across a creek that extends from Josey Lane to Denton Drive, yet it’s very unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists, and consequently, drivers as well. Many families with young children walk across this bridge, since it provides access to the new splash pad, Thomas Park, and Josey Ranch Sports Complex; and many middle school students cross this bridge daily in their routes to and from DeWitt Perry Middle School.

There are several conditions that contribute to the danger of this bridge for pedestrians:

·         There is not a sidewalk. Pedestrians are forced to walk in the street or along a raised curb, without a handrail.

·         There is not a handrail, only a low guardrail, about knee height for an adult, with large, open gaps that someone could easily fall through (especially small children).

·         There are large holes for drainage along the side of the road, which are large enough for a small child’s foot to fall into and get stuck (though this is still a better risk than letting the child walk along the curb with the potential for a fall through the guardrail).  

    ·         It is high over a shallow, rocky creek that would mean serious injury to someone who fell. If they hit their head on one of the rocks, the water is deep enough to drown, even in drought conditions.

·         The bridge is at the bottom of a sharp curve in the road that drivers come around quickly. This doesn’t allow adequate response time for pedestrians who are crossing the bridge to get out of the road as cars approach.

·         The road narrows significantly at the bridge, and the one lane in each direction does not have enough width to fit a car and a pedestrian. If a pedestrian is crossing, a car must wait for them to fully cross, or as is most often the case, the car drives into the lane of oncoming traffic to go around the pedestrian. Many times, one side of traffic has to come to a stop, if pedestrians are crossing.


·         There is considerable traffic on this road. The likelihood of pedestrians crossing the bridge at the same time as cars is very high, especially during morning and evening rush hour, as students walk to and from school, and after a train comes through and blocks the road for several minutes.

·         The only alternative to crossing this bridge is jumping across the low-water dams along the creek, but several stones are missing, which makes for slippery passage. The dam is not accessible for strollers or bicycles, and after any kind of rainfall, the dams aren’t passable.

I recognize the bridge has been in this condition for 50 years, and so far, to the best of my knowledge, there haven't been any serious accidents; this is a strong record. Nonetheless, given the many dangerous conditions surrounding this bridge, and from my daily experience as both a driver and a pedestrian across this bridge, it seems like an accident waiting to happen. I would hate for a tragic accident to be the event that gets a safe pedestrian crossing moved earlier on the agenda.

Please help make Carrollton a safer city for pedestrians of all ages by providing a safe crossing at this bridge.

Thank you again for your work for our wonderful city! Please contact me if I can provide any additional information that would help this work.

Best regards,

Charlene Bader

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