FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) — A single block of Lancaster Avenue in east Fort Worth is now divided by a black, metal fence to address a problem that Neighborhood Association representatives asked about two years ago.
It is between seven and eight feet high, it doesn’t keep anyone in anywhere and it doesn’t keep anyone out. Though, it does force people to go to one end or the other, to get across State Highway 180.
And that’s exactly why it was built.
TxDOT installed the fence this summer, at a cost of $40,000, between Oakland Blvd. and Sargent Ave.
Neighborhood Association representatives took issue with people going back and forth between a Trinity Metro bus transfer station, convenience stores, a McDonald’s and a blood donor center. They said people rarely used a cross walk to get across the six-lane highway.
Accidents between cars and pedestrians happened regularly. A study for the Fort Worth Safe Communities Coalition found the two intersections were among the seven worst in the city for those type of incidents.
“We talked about what in the world could we do, to keep people from being hurt,” said Wanda Conlin, with the East Fort Worth Business Association. “Because it was just getting more intense. Traffic was getting worse along there.”
Conlin and two other representatives met with TxDOT and suggested solutions like landscaping to discourage jaywalking, but managers didn’t think it would help.
She said the agency promised to do something, but she had put the issue on the back burner when the fence started going up this summer. The design was unexpected, but Conlin said she likes the result and hopes the agency will consider extending it.
TxDOT said while it’s the only location for now, it is considering another spot on the highway. The agency said it uses landscaping, berms and planters in other locations around the state for the same purpose.