• November 21, 2019

City street, road changes viewed - Odessa American: Local News

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City street, road changes viewed

North Grant Avenue and Faudree changes planned

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Posted: Sunday, November 10, 2019 3:30 am

Odessa has more street and road needs than it can shake its new 68-page transportation plan at.

While the ambitious stratagem aims at continuing to revitalize downtown with extensive North Grant Avenue improvements, it also calls for widening Faudree Road north of Highway 191 while putting the abundant potholes and half-century-old streets around town in the “one fine day” category of things possibly to be done in the future.

Mayor David Turner said the city’s byways rate a “55” on the pci (pavement condition index) scale of 100, which is not bad but not truly indicative of the situation. “Grant is owned by the Texas Department of Transportation like West County Road, the Kermit Highway, 42nd Street and Faudree,” Turner said.

“They’re working on all these roads and looking at how much has been spent on maintenance in the past to keep them at the current level. This document gives us the tools we need to go to TxDOT and it helps establish the need for a study of Loop 338. The plan is just a guide. It doesn’t mean we will do everything in there.”

North Grant is a particular focus with downtown business owners to be asked what changes between West Second and West Eighth streets would be most felicitous.

Written by Kimley-Horn & Associates of Fort Worth, the plan suggests that “walkability” and parking should be improved over the .44 of a mile downtown, that dual left turn lanes might be created at the southbound approach of Grant and Eighth and that the downtown median could be removed to make way for a four-lane undivided street with wider sidewalks.

Public Works Director Tom Kerr said the city was still reviewing its options on Grant downtown and from West Eighth to the Kermit Highway with TxDOT because the street is a section of U.S. 385 and maintained by the state, which plans to repave it. He said the city’s assuming control and maintenance of Grant “is not under strong consideration at this point.”

Asked if a roundabout will be built at Grant and the Kermit Highway, Kerr said, “That’s much further down the road.

“We don’t have the funds to go that far north at this time. Our primary focus is between Second and Eighth. We’re going to make sure that if we do something, it’s something the downtown businesses will find favorable.”

However, the transportation plan recently enacted by the city council projects spending $4.8 million on the roundabout between 2025 and 2030.

Kerr said angle parking on Grant is unlikely because the Federal Highway Administration dislikes it on national roadways.

“We’re not moving buildings or buying properties,” he said. “The consultant started with a blank slate, asking what if we widened the sidewalks or reduced the number of lanes? They just provided some options within the boundaries of the area.”

Noting that Grant carries 18,000 vehicles per day, Kerr said, “We’re trying to help the downtown businesses do better and would like to meet with the owners in the next month or two.

“We will ask them what kinds of thing would be beneficial. We don’t want to make anybody nervous. We’re not coming in with a preconceived idea of, this is what’s going to happen. How much more functional can we make it so we can enjoy the downtown area?”

Asked if tax revenues should be used to make the roads safer and more drivable or to please local business owners, Turner said safety is the primary concern. “We have had such a dramatic increase in traffic,” he said.

“University is handling more capacity than it’s supposed to and the east end of University needs to be rebuilt.”

Kerr said the city’s revitalization project is being undertaken in conjunction with the recent opening of the Marriott Hotel & Conference Center on Texas Avenue, which could be a parallel route to expand downtown.

A 2023 expenditure of $13.05 million is called for in the city’s capital improvements plan for North Grant from West Second to West Eighth.

From West Second on Grant or 385 south to I-20, a commercial boulevard zone or “streetscape” is envisioned with a suburban look and beautification, Americans with Disabilities Act compliance and a raised, illuminated median for $1.32 million between 2025 and 2030.

City Councilman Malcolm Hamilton, whose District 1 encompasses downtown, said Monday that the plan is indefinite as yet. “We will wait till we get all the feedback and go from there,” Hamilton said.

Kimley-Horn Vice President Jeff Whitacre is also waiting to see what the council does. “They haven’t figured out what the next step will be,” Whitacre said.

“There are a bunch of options. They will coordinate with the property owners and decide what they want to do.”

Leading the city’s new 2020-30 capital improvements plan is widening North Faudree Road from East Yukon Road to Highway 191 with $2.45 million in expenditures planned next year and $17.22 million in 2021, fueled by the $93-million certificate of obligation that the council took on Aug. 13 without the voters’ approval.

Asked why the top priority outside downtown should be Faudree, Turner said the three most dangerous roads or streets between Odessa and Midland are I-20, Highway 80 and 191. “We’re looking for another access and Faudree goes through the city like 42nd,” he said.

“TxDOT will build an overpass at the Loop and Yukon and connect that to 191, which will alleviate 42nd.”

Whitacre has suggested that other funding sources could be the Odessa Development Corp., a one-time impact fee for new developments and re-developments and a $1 street maintenance fee added to monthly water bills.

Turner said the much-protested parks maintenance fee was enacted before he became mayor and that there is nothing in the mill about a street fee. “It’s not in our discussions,” he said.

“It’s just something the consultant said other cities have done.”

The Bicycle Master Plan calls for an east-west lane on Seventh Street, paths on Lee and Texas avenues, sidepaths on Dawn Avenue, Yukon Road and 42nd Street, a Monahans Draw trail continuing Comanche Trail through Monahans Draw in West Odessa, a County Road West sidepath to span the city and an east-west utility easement trail connecting UTPB and Midland College,

Turner said the UTPB-to-Midland College bike path is being considered by the area Metropolitan Planning Organization and that, if constructed, it would be financed by TxDOT and run “just off the 191 service road.”

At a cost of $400,000 per signal, signalized intersections are planned at the TxDOT-funded East 191 and Billy Hext Road and East 52nd and Northeast Loop 338 and the city-funded East Yukon Road and Dawn Avenue, Lyndale Road and North Grandview, East Eighth and Royalty Avenue, Northeast Loop 338 and North JBS Parkway and Eastridge and Rocky Lane roads.

Various other improvements suggested by the plan are on:

>> East 52nd Street from the Andrews Highway to North Grandview Avenue, $14.94 million in 2021.

>> North Dixie Boulevard from East 52nd to East 49th Street, $1.08 million in 2021.

>> East Yukon from Kate Reed Drive to West 191, $7 million in 2021.

>> East University Boulevard from North Grandview to North JBS Parkway Road, $22.22 million in 2022.

>> East 52nd from North Grandview to North JBS Parkway, $8.02 million in 2022.

>> East 58th Street from East Loop 338 to North Faudree, $2.46 million in 2020 and $11.03 million in 2022.

>> South Crane Avenue from West Murphy Street to West Clements Street, $4.21 million in 2023.

>> South Crane from West Clements to south of West I-20, $1.20 million in 2023.

>> South JBS Parkway from I-20 to FM 3503, $19 million in 2023.

>> Dawn from East 87th Street to East Yukon, $1.67 million in 2020 and $7 million in 2024.

>> West Murphy from Southwest Loop 338 to South Crane, $12.63 million in 2024.

>> West Murphy from South Crane to South Grant, $1.5 million between 2025-30.

>> East Murphy from South Dixie Boulevard to South Grandview, $1.7 million between 2025-30.

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