Upset Plano homeowners vote to remove traffic-calming islands

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on July 18, 2013 at 6:23 PM

PLANO -- Some Plano neighbors say concrete islands installed along their street to slow down traffic and protect parked cars are "ridiculous" and a "waste of money."

If you remember, Plano drivers complained about $1 million traffic-calming project at a busy intersection called a "Michigan Left." Plano is now tearing up that project.

Now, the city is having to rip up another project, located on Baffin Bay Drive, bordering the controversial housing construction at the century-old Haggard Farm.

The concrete-and-brick islands, known as traffic-calming devices, upset homeowners who say they couldn't understand why they were installed.

"I just thought, 'what purpose are they?' I thought they looked ridiculous," said Gretta Marder, who lives on the street.

Some drivers ran into the islands.

"It was at night," said Colleen Brasier, who lives on Baffin Bay. "And so the curb extender only has little lights on the bottom of it, and I hit it when I was making the turn."

Plano's public works director said since the street is so wide, the city wanted to take steps to make it safer.

"We wanted to put the islands in to protect the cars parked on this side and effectively tried to narrow the road; trying to cut down on speeding through here," said Gerald Cosgrove, Plano’s public works director.

But when homeowners started complaining, the city decided to put it to a vote, asking if the islands stay or be removed. The results came by letter, informing homeowners the islands would be taken out.

Even though she ran into an island, Colleen Brasier voted for them to stay.

"I do think it was good, because it was keeping traffic away from the parking lane over here," Brasier said.

Plano officials admit they could've done a better job warning motorists about the islands, including placing reflective buttons on the street in front of them.

"If we did a better job implementing it, maybe people would accept it a little better," Cosgrove said.

The developer building homes at Haggard Farms paid $5,000 to install the traffic islands. Taxpayers will foot the bill to take them out, which city officials say will cost even less.

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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