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Lantana boards act on traffic study

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Lantana’s two Fresh Water Supply District boards approved a number of changes to the Lantana Trail/Stacee Lane intersection at their November meeting last week after reviewing a comprehensive traffic study.

The boards directed Kevin Mercer, Lantana General Manager, to replace non-compliant signage, add pavement markings at both ends of the school zone, place yield signs at the crosswalk, repair the flashing warning lights at the crosswalk, and modify the existing crosswalk to create a median refuge for pedestrians so they do not have to cross both sides of Lantana Trail at the same time.

“We need to set the intersection up properly and we’re going to have to continue to monitor that thing,” said FWSD #6 board member Bob Baird.

The study was prompted after an 8-year-old girl was struck by a vehicle at the intersection on her way to Blanton Elementary School in April.  She was not seriously injured.

This fall, the district worked out a temporary agreement with the Denton County Sheriff’s Department to have a deputy assist children in the crosswalk during morning rush hour for $100 per day while the traffic study was being completed.

The crosswalk improvements are expected to be completed by the end of the year in time for the start of school after winter break.  Board members will get a progress report at their December joint meeting.

“I wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending that we eliminate the school patrol officer next year unless all of these things were implemented in time,” said Baird.

The traffic study also looked at the need for all-way stop signs on Lantana Trail at Stacee Lane, Rayzor Road, Branch Crossing, and Bonham Parkway and found that only one intersection, Rayzor Road/Lantana Trail, would warrant one.

Traffic patterns during the morning and afternoon hours on Rayzor Road, which feeds into a day care center and E.P. Rayzor Elementary School, cause excessive delays for motorists turning onto Lantana Trail, according to the study.

Other recommendations in the study, completed by the districts’ engineering firm, Huitt-Zollars, included adding more speed limit signs on Lantana Trail along with the addition of radar speed signs, reducing sign clutter in certain areas, encouraging residents to use pedestrian tunnels, better enforcement of traffic laws, more community awareness and education on safe walking, bicycling and driving practices, and the continued usage of traffic crossing guards.

Mercer said that the district has budgeted for two radar speed signs to post along Lantana Trail.

The boards decided to delay acting on any other recommendations in the study and defer them to the Public Safety Committee until the pedestrian issues were addressed at Stacee Lane and Lantana Trail.

“Stacee Lane is what got us to this point in the first place and that is where we have an ongoing safety concern with pedestrians,” said Max Miller, FWSD #6 board member.

Board members also received an update from Lantana developer Republic Property Group on extending the hike and bike trail east of Stacee Lane behind Isabel over to the far north end of Lantana Trail across from Bandera.

Construction on the trail is expected to start next summer and it should be ready for use by residents in fall 2013.

“We think it will be a great addition to the community and a very well utilized trail,” said Jake Wagner, executive vice president at Republic.

Mercer provided the boards with an update on the new Lantana water tower to replace the existing tower in order to make room for a grocery store-anchored shopping center.

Advertisement for formal bids to build the water tower has taken place and the contract is expected to be awarded by the end of the year.

It will take about 12 months to build the new 600,000-gallon water tower on the north side of Lantana Trail and take down the existing one.

A future building to house the districts’ offices on the northwest side of Lantana Trail between the Bellaire and Azalea additions was also discussed.

The boards decided not to pay for the design of the building at this time; however the district will provide an elevation rendering to be made available for residents to review due to concerns about the building’s impact on surrounding homes.

Previously, the boards agreed to start a sinking fund to put toward the building for any revenue left over at the end of the year that was not already allocated.  The Finance Committee, made up of four board members, will meet to decide how much should put into the fund.

There is no time-frame for the construction of a new building.  The district currently leases office space in Bartonville Town Center.

The boards also discussed the termination of their agreement with Blackridge Consulting, an Austin-based governmental-affairs practice that consults the developer on bond issues and other matters relating to development.  No action was taken on the item.

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