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Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will hold a public meeting on Tuesday, July 15 at Anna Middle School, 1201 North Powell Pkwy from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., concerning expansion of Hwy. 5 through Melissa, Anna, and Van Alstyne. TxDOT states the purpose of the public meeting is to “present the proposed project and receive comments,” which are due within 10 days of the public meeting, in writing.

The proposed project would widen Hwy. 5 from a two-lane to a four-lane (possibly six-lane) divided urban roadway with an 18-foot to 42-foot wide raised median, which will include 12-foot and 6-foot wide sidewalks. This proposal would “potentially” require 40 acres of right-of-way while displacing 12 private, seven commercial and two public properties. There is no mention of what the speed limits will be. You may find the public notice here: http://www.keepitmovingdallas.com by searching “SH 5.”

As our cities continue to expand and grow, we encourage every citizen to be involved in the process of planned expansions, especially when TxDOT and other government entities are involved. As residents of Van Alstyne, we are concerned about the future of our historic district and maintaining it as a friendly area for pedestrians and cyclists, including our children. You only need look to the revitalized, walkable and flourishing historic districts of Plano and McKinney to see “major” roadways, especially four or six lanes, cutting straight through historic districts are not necessary to bring business and commerce to the area.

Residents of Melissa, Anna, and Van Alstyne should have a vision for their “town square” and any expansion of Hwy. 5 should fit our community mold, rather than our communities working around TxDOT’s vision. More importantly perhaps, is TxDOT’s adoption of Context Sensitive Urban Thoroughfares – “walkable cities.” In any public process, they have to consider walkable options.

Again, we encourage every resident of these communities to attend this vitally important meeting on Tuesday night. The future of our historic towns and the execution of their expansions needs your voice.

Sincerely,

Joe and Lisa Walker

Van Alstyne