The city of Fort Worth is taking action to eliminate transportation deaths and accidents.
The city council unanimously approved a new plan to do that and hopefully more.
Sidewalks are 48 inches of paved concrete and an expectation on most city streets. But on South Riverside Drive, more than half of the six-mile stretch has no sidewalks at all.
“This is a nuisance because kids can’t even walk,” said Dennis Lee McGinnis who lives in South Fort Worth. “It’s a safety hazard. And I feel as though they are neglecting the south side.”
But just 5 miles away on West 7th, people don’t really have a problem.
It’s a disparity that isn’t lost on Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price.
“We are now looking at everything we do through an equity lens,” she said.
Under the Fort Worth Active Transportation Plan, the city would:
Get rid of large stretches of road without sidewalks
Build paved trails to connect disconnected neighborhoods
Make all pedestrian areas handicapped accessible
Create more safe routes to school
“When you’re in some of our neighborhoods, you see people in wheelchairs or scooters who have to be in the street and we need to address that,” Mayor Price said.
The city’s motivation to get this done is startling statistics on transportation inequities. A Fort Worth city study shows only half of the minority communities in Fort Worth have access to bike lanes or trails. And 8 out of 10 deadly pedestrian-involved crashes happen in those same neighborhoods.
The transportation plan’s top priority is to bring that death toll to zero.
“It’s a long-range plan, but we’ll start on smaller pieces of it pretty quick,” she said.
The project could cost tens of millions of dollars over several years. But it’s an effort Price calls a priority for everyone, regardless of which side of I-35 they call home.
“Quality of life ought to be something that everyone can enjoy,” said resident Mike Sarpu. “It shouldn’t just be for those who live on the trail or whatever.”
Price says Fort Worth could start to see some of these plans implemented within the next 6 months.