Almost any night, one can sit in the Deer Valley subdivison off of Garden Acres Drive and hear the engines running for the trucks parked at the Love's Truck Stop just up the road. The low roar from the idle engines had become a nuisance for those who chose this neighborhood for its distance from the city and who expected the solace of a country neighborhood. Having to deal with the rumble of the engines while trying to get to sleep, though, was the extent of this nuisance.
A danger is created, though, when the truck parking at the Love's is full. Rogue truck drivers go across the street to park along Garden Acres Drive, which is dotted with No Parking signs, blocking the view from Old Burleson Road at the intersection between the two streets. By being parked along the westbound side of Garden Acres, these trucks make it virtually impossible to see traffic coming down the road. This has led to too many "near misses" to count, as well as to several minor and a few major accidents at this intersection.
Because of the layout of the area, this intersection is vital to those coming from the Deer Valley subdivisions who need to head either north or south on I-35W. Those leaving these subdivisions do have alternative routes out of their neighborhoods to I-35W, via Coad Road and Coin Street, both of which would take them to the service road for Northbound I-35W where they would have to negotiate the intersection of the service road and Risinger Road. Normally there would be another option of traveling northbound on Old Burleson Road until it meets Risinger Road, then heading west on Risinger Road to the intersection with the I-35W service road; but, this route is currently closed due to construction of a new Amazon distribution center and campus that will take up both sides of the road.
These routes, though, take those leaving the neighborhoods along a more time-consuming route and to entrance ramps to I-35W farther than those at Garden Acres. So, the preferred route in almost all cases is to take Old Burleson Road to Garden Acres Drive, then turn right and head either north or south on I-35W.
The consistent issue of semi-trucks parking along Garden Acres Drive makes this a difficult and dangerous decision for those in the neighborhoods.
Having heard of multiple minor vehicle accidents at the intersection, and even more "near misses," as well as at least one major accident there, one resident of the neighborhood took to not only reporting the illegally parked trucks to police, but also to reporting them and their carriers to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
In taking pictures of the trucks parked illegally to include with the FMCSA reports, the resident noticed that one of the No Parking signs had been defaced. The "No Parking" portion remained unvandalized, but the arrows indicating that the No Parking Zone extended in both directions, as well as the words "Any Time" had been covered with white spray paint. So, the resident notified the city via the MyFortWorth app in hopes that the sign would be replaced.
Even with these efforts, the illegal parking continued, so the resident contacted the newly-elected Fort Worth Mayor, Mattie Parker, through the city's website for assistance.
With the message to the mayor's office written in the early hours of the morning of July 15, the resident was surprised to have received a response that very morning stating that the mayor's office had received the concerns and was reaching out to the appropriate city departments to work on a resolution. Further, the resident received another email just that very afternoon stating that both departments - the Fort Worth Police Department (FWPD) and the Fort Worth Traffic/Public Works Department (T/PW) had been notified at the upper levels and were reviewing options to resolve the situation.
The very next afternoon, on July 16, it was noticed that FWPD had apparently been to the site and erected new police tape along the area in an attempt to prevent truckers from parking there and to prevent the need for responsive action. Similarly, within the next week, T/PW was seen in the area and it was found that the defaced sign had been replaced.
Even though the police tape had been torn down a few days earlier and trucks had been found parking there illegally the night before, it was found on July 27 that construction had started on the placement of bollards in this area to further deter rogue truckers from parking in this area. With the installation of the bollards, trucks who continue to ignore the "No Parking" signs will have absolutely no excuse for creating a severely dangerous situation.
With all of the jokes about the tortoise-like speed of government, Mayor Parker's office responded to the citizen's concerns within hours, and had action beginning to take hold within only another day. In less than two weeks, a construction project was started, one that would normally take months or years for planning and preparation, at least by bureaucratic standards. In working this quickly, Mayor Parker's office has bucked the norm for getting government to take action, and is making an intersection immeasurably safer for residents of the area.
Upon receiving an email thanking her office for their quick work on this situation, Mayor Parker responded, "The goal is to have (a) world class City Hall that works for every citizen of Fort Worth, and that starts with exceptional customer service." As a particular member of her staff, Tenisha Brewer-Jones, was praised for her work on this project, the mayor continued, "I know our City Staff are striving for that excellence every day with every resident, particularly Tenisha, who is a longtime employee of the City and a true rockstar. I'm heartened to hear that (the resident) had felt that intentional care from our staff in addressing his concerns."
Article updated to include comments from Mayor Mattie Parker.
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