City of Plano tackles growing traffic problem

The explosive growth in Plano and surrounding areas are good for the North Texas economy. But as more businesses move in, so do more residents — equaling more cars.

The city says it has a plan to tackle the growing traffic problem.

Commuter Robert Wilburn says traffic congestion has doubled in and around Legacy and the Dallas North Tollway, one of the fastest-growing areas in the state of Texas.

"Toyota has already started moving in. We have JP Morgan Chase and Liberty Mutual,” said Plano spokesperson Steve Stoler. “That's a lot of employees. That's a lot of traffic!"

Plano city planners say 15,000 new employees will move into the Legacy-Tollway area in the next year.

Realizing the ever building backup, city planners are partnering with TxDOT, DART and the NTTA. Lanes are being widened on the Dallas North Tollway and to the Sam Rayburn Tollway. But the city also wants fewer vehicles on the road overall.

"Our goal is 20 percent,” Stoler said. “What we want to do is get drivers in the car by themselves to park their cars and consider another form of transportation and get them off the road."

DART is already offering express buses every 15 minutes taking passengers from the Parker Road Station to get the NW DART park-and-ride and then on to the many businesses in the Legacy, Communications and Headquarters Drive corridor.

"We've seen numbers go up every month,” said DART spokesperson Gary Thomas. “But it's just three months old."

DART is also working on an advanced GoPass app that will enable people to plan, book and pay for trips on light rails, buses and even ridesharing services.

“I live in Plano, and usually it was like I had a 10-minute drive here to the Shops at Legacy,” said commuter James Abell. “I noticed now it's 20-25 minutes, and I thought about if I had a different option."

The City of Plano conducted a mobility study which found that 40 percent of single driver commuters going to and from Legacy and Legacy West would be willing to take an alternative mode of transportation to avoid the traffic.

Virtually every commuter we talked to thought providing alternative modes of transportation was a good idea.

"It's for every day. Yeah, if I had an option to take an express bus or something,” Wilburn said. “That would be an awesome option, one that I would definitely do."