Highland Village city officials are asking the Texas Department of Transportation to consider allowing a traffic light at the median opening at FM 2499 and Barton Creek.
Recently, traffic restriction delineators were installed, limiting cross traffic at the intersection as well as left turns out of The Shops of Highland Village on the west side of FM 2499 and Marketplace of Highland Village on the east side. However, City Manager Mike Leavitt sees the traffic delineators as a short-term solution.
“A delineator is a temporary solution,” he said. “It’s good for 120 days.”
A recent study of traffic incidents at the location showed 16 major traffic accidents at the median site and 221 calls for service related to the location from 2010 through August 2014. Of the 16 major traffic accidents, 10 resulted in injuries, records show. Of the 221 calls, 198 were directly related to traffic issues. A total of 12 calls were related to assisting motorists at the location while the remainder ranges from animal complaints to suspicious vehicles.
“We tie up a lot of resources for a very functional median that was constructed properly but, with additional traffic” has proven problematic, Leavitt said.
A video from a camera overlooking the median intersection shows the impact of an accident in which one vehicle was traveling the 40 mph speed limit on FM 2499 while another vehicle was attempting to drive across FM 2499. The impact left one vehicle on its side with debris strewn across the road.
With the recent opening of Whole Foods Market as well as a number of other specialty shops in the retail mecca at FM 407 and FM 2499, the area draws a substantial amount of traffic, officials have said. Whole Foods Market told city officials they anticipate drawing an estimated 2,500 customers daily to their new location.
The smorgasbord of retail also draws people from outside the area. “You have even more people not familiar with that intersection,” Leavitt said,
The town sent a letter with documentation of traffic incidents to TxDOT’s Denton district office on Sept. 11. The letter states in part, “the city would prefer a signal as the permanent solution due to the traffic that is generated by the center’s tenants. … We are requesting TxDOT to review this proposed solution and authorize the installation of a permanent traffic signal.”
Leavitt said city officials opted to ask TxDOT to review documentation that he believed would support a signal despite the proximity of nearby traffic lights on either side of the median.
“We’re waiting to hear from TxDOT,” he said.
Leavitt said his concern is that, without a traffic light, the potential for a fatality at the location is high. “I want people to come to Highland Village,” he said. “I don’t want the Highland Village police and fire to have to help them” because of an accident.
“We want people to be safe.”