By: Jessica Shorten
PORTER, TX – After a large public movement against the proposed plan to put raised medians along FM 1314 in Porter, more elected officials are stepping forward and sending letters to TxDOT regarding the issues the project could bring to the area.
After the Texas Department of Transportation unveiled plans to construct raised medians along FM 1314 with designated left turn entrances, the public and first responders expressed serious concerns of how the “improvements” would negatively affect traffic flow and emergency response. Due to this outpour of concern, Precinct 4 Commissioner James Metts and Precinct 4 Constable Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden have sent letters to TxDOT encouraging them to rethink the current proposed plans.
“As the Commissioner in this Precinct, and the Justice of the Peace for many years prior, I have always been supportive of law enforcement,” wrote Commissioner Metts. “This project will seriously impair the ability of all law enforcement in the area to respond in a timely manner to area needs as well as enforce traffic issue on this stretch of highway.”
A recently posted video from a business owner in the Porter area showed the difficulties two different sized fire trucks would have trying to make a left turn in a raised median area. Not only is the space and time a factor, but the location of left turn lanes along FM 1314 would cut off direct access to a number of businesses and side roads along FM 1314. In an emergency situation, first responders would either have to wait for the next available left turn opening, or risk damaging their vehicles by driving over the median.
“As an actively patrolled area which frequently requires Law Enforcement to be able to quickly change directions of travel in order to stop vehicles or respond to calls for Attempt to Locate, the raised median will prohibit this which could result in delayed responses and failed apprehension,” wrote Precinct 4 Constable Rowdy Hayden in his letter to TxDOT.
Constable Hayden also pointed out the open turn lane down FM 1314 is heavily utilized by law enforcement for clearing minor accidents while minimizing the disruption to the flow of traffic along the already busy roadway.
Constable Hayden continued, “The project could result not just increased traffic congestion for the area, but a reduction in the capacity for law enforcement to respond to emergency calls as well as increase the number of illegal U-turns, raising the likelihood of more crashes in that area.”
TxDOT is still accepting public comments on the project through February 28, 2022. Citizens can continue to provide their input by submitting an email through the project portal here: EmailMe Form - FM 1314 Ferne Drive to SL 494