Two of the busiest roads in McLennan County may soon be getting a face lift. Valley Mills Drive and Hewitt Drive are constantly packed with more cars than they were originally designed to have. And that's causing some safety concerns.
There was a meeting Tuesday to get input from the people who drive down Valley Mills every day. A few dozen people showed up and one thing that really stood out was that in the last 3 years there have been over 800 crashes on that street alone.
Something that worries local store owner Mary Lou Pesina. She owns a hair salon on Valley Mills Drive and knows that street's problems very well. "We would like to see some sidewalks put in that area and the intersection lights readjusted to it wont be such a long wait," says Pesina.
Opinions like her's are just what planning organizers are looking for. A consulting firm has been hired to look at statistics and come up with a 25 year plan. But they want a more human approach. "We wanted to bring the public in to get their thoughts about what are the real issues and what should we be focusing our attention on," says Chris Evilia, Waco Metropolitan Planning Organization Director.
815 crashes have been reported on Valley Mills Drive since 2009. That adds up to $18.6 million in damages. Accidents that some say could be avoided by barriers or easier turn lanes.
While driver safety is a big issue, Bill Franklin worries about those on foot. "It's unsafe to cross and we need some better pedestrian, some pedestrian crossings really. There's virtually none," says Bill Franklin, who constantly drives down the street.
As for Mary Lou, she's just glad they're listening. "I think its great at least they get ideas of what we think needs to be done and they can either use it or not use it," says Pesina.
The next public meeting is expected for August or September. By then they should have some possible ideas together.