Parking, congestion are concerns for Bush library neighbors



Posted on December 8, 2009 at 2:47 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 8 at 3:01 PM

UNVIERSITY PARK — A public hearing was planned Tuesday afternoon to discuss plans for a parking lot next door to the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the SMU campus.

An engineer hired by the city says homeowners have legitimate concerns about the traffic the library will bring to the area. The proposed parking area is currently a grassy field with trees that abuts the a row of homes north of the library site.

Homeowner Sheri Kpoidlansky's property on Dyer Street couldn't be closer to the proposed parking lot.

"We are absolutely for the library. We have no qualms whatsoever about the library coming to Dallas, sitting south of us ... we just don't want the parking lot right here," she said, pointing to the field behind her driveway.

Kpoidlansky said she is thrilled with new findings from a traffic consultant hired by University Park who echoes concerns that neighbors have had all along -- that the Bush Foundation  Commission traffic study failed to account for the impact of library visitors until 2013 -- two years after it is scheduled to open.

Typically, attendance spikes in those first two years.

Another criticism? There is no documentation to indicate that the library will attrack only 250,000 visitors a year. Other presidential libraries have seen 300,000.

Neighbors gripe that streets around the picturesque SMU campus are already teeming with traffic.

"On a daily basis, when school is in session, there's a ton of traffic," Kpoidlansky said.

The City of University Park is already processing the report from their traffic consultant, saying that as late as Monday the Bush Foundation submitted additional studies of its own.

"The neighborhood has been meeting with the city and the traffic consultants for the foundation on a number of occasions and we'll continue those discussions," said University Park spokesman  Steve Mace.

A Bush Foundation spokesperson said they are standing by the results of their traffic studies, adding that they will continue to work with University Park and neighbors to come up with a solution that works for everyone.