The city of Waco won two of three state grants it sought to fund accessibility improvements, new pedestrian signals and traffic signal upgrades for accident-prone intersections.
The intersections of Bosque Boulevard and the 25th Street-26th Street corridor and 19th Street and Lake Shore Drive will see those improvements by this time next year and 2021, respectively, said Jim Reed, the city capital improvement manager.
“It was a priority with our council that we go out and try to find alternatives especially with all the needs of aging infrastructure,” Reed said. “We were extremely excited to have the opportunity to extend the value of our dollars. That’s always a goal within public works to be able to find those types of mechanisms.”
The value of the two grants is about $325,000, he said, and the city will fund 10 percent of each project.
The intersection of Bosque Boulevard and the 25th Street-26th Street corridor has seen 86 crashes in the last five years, according to city data.
Raul Vallejo, who has renovated several buildings in the area and operates an auto repair shop, welcomes the improvements to traffic lights, where he has seen confusion among drivers regarding right-of-way.
“I never go through the area whenever it’s a yellow light simply for that reason,” Vallejo said. “Because the traffic coming down Bosque, sometimes they tend to come down pretty fast and they try to run that yellow light and that’s whenever accidents happen. It’s a pretty well-known danger spot.”
The second grant to be used in 2021 for 19th Street and Lake Shore Drive is also aimed to benefit pedestrians. The city data show there have been 40 crashes in the last five years.
The unsuccessful grant application was for similar improvements at the intersection of 19th Street and Park Lake Drive. Reed said the process was “highly competitive,” and the city will continue looking for ways to improve the area.