Reporting Robbie Owens
ARLINGTON (CBS 11 NEWS) – A stretch of one of Arlington’s busiest streets is about to get a makeover – and commuters say it’s about time.
Cooper street in Arlington handles some 60,000 vehicles each day. And according to Jessica Casadaban, when commuters move through – they’re really moving.
“There have been a few times I’ve been pretty scared because people will come up on you so quickly! It just seems you can’t get out if you don’t pull out and be a little bit more aggressive, you’re not going to be able to pull onto the street.” said Casadaban.
She also visits an office in the area a couple of times a week and says she careful to avoid the fast moving traffic and the pedestrians from nearby apartments who often stand or stroll in the middle of the street.
“You don’t see them,” says Adam Calbreath, “they don’t wear like construction clothes or nothing, they just run out and cross the street!”
This particular stretch of Cooper – North of Pioneer Parkway and South of Mitchell – does not have raised medians. And that provides too much temptation for many drivers who are not forced to stay in lanes and leaves pedestrians with no protection. But, transportation officials say adding those medians will make the roadway safer.
The medians will be similar to those added to a stretch of South Cooper nearly six years ago.
“You have a scenario in that area that we didn’t even have on the South Cooper portion, you have more pedestrian access to the road. We’ve actually had some fatalities in the area because of pedestrian access,” says Rebecca Rodriguez, spokesperson for the City of Arlington.
According to Rodriguez, after the medians were installed on South Cooper the number of car crashes dropped significantly, down 47% on one stretch of the roadway and down 42% in another.
Since Cooper is also State Highway 157, the Texas Department of Transportation will pick up the roughly $6 million price tag for the project. The City of Arlington will pay to add sidewalks and drive approaches.
Commuters like Adam Calbreath say it’s an idea whose time has come. “It’ll ease a lot of congestion. They did it down there a little ways and made it a lot better, so doing it up here will make it a lot better because a lot of people just dart off and shoot across the road and you’ve got to dodge people walking across the road all the time.”
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