by Kevin Bryant, Flower Mound Mayor Pro Tem
I’ve been looking into the Morriss Road expansion in great detail for the past several months. I wanted raw data to assist me in determining the path we should take regarding this traffic corridor in our town.
Taking the traffic study that was completed in January of 2017, I put together the line chart below. It shows two peaks at 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. between Forest Vista and FM 3040, northbound and southbound with the largest number at Forestwood Middle School.
Those are the only two time periods when Morriss Road has a level of service (LOS) below a “C” according to our SMARTGrowth policies. In fact, these two times are the only times when any part of Morriss Road are lower than a “B” LOS.
For those who are not versed in our SMARTGrowth policies, our LOS is based on the number of vehicles that travel each lane over an hour. For a four-lane divided roadway, a “C” LOS is 620-700 vehicles per lane, per hour. Our traffic counts include both lanes so it would have to be over 1400 vehicles to be lower than a “C” LOS.
The other sections of Morriss during this peak usage are not even in the “C” LOS range as they are less than 1240 vehicles per hour. According to this study, for 22 hours out of the day the entirety of Morriss Road has a service level of “B” or better.
Looking deeper into the numbers, the further north one travels on Morriss, the smaller the traffic counts. This is showing that even though this study was completed when there was construction on FM 2499 and on I-35E the traffic on Morriss seems to be primarily people traveling to destinations on or near Morriss, the bulk of the travel is residential.
People are generally not using Morriss as an alternative to travelling on FM 2499. Morriss ends at FM 407 and FM 3040, where it becomes Gerault and ends at FM 2499 so if they were using Morriss as an alternative to FM 2499 to go north or south they would have to get back on FM 2499 to continue north at FM 407 or south at the end of Gerault.
This leads me to believe that expanding Morriss to six lanes will not be a large relief to FM 2499. The traffic patterns don’t indicate that usage now. If people were using Morriss as an alternative to FM 2499, the usage would not just spike for one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening and would also not show the greatest concentration of traffic to be at the middle school.
During the work session when council discussed traffic flow, I stated that we should work to find relief that takes traffic off FM 2499, not just move it over for a little while. I stressed that we should move forward with the Lakeside Parkway expansion that connects southern Flower Mound to Highway 121 and improve traffic flow on Garden Ridge Road, south of FM 3040. This would provide a great alternative to traffic to completely avoid the FM 2499 & Gerault exchange. I am pleased that the City of Grapevine is working with us to help make the Lakeside Parkway portion of these projects a reality.
I do not believe that adding lanes to Morriss Road would bring improvement to our north/south traffic woes. I will continue to work to find other options that do not take away the charm and safety of our great town.
If you have any questions or comments about this or any other town topic, please email me at [email protected]