City drops metered parking proposed in Stockyards transportation makeover

dfwnewsa | March 4, 2024 | 0 | Fort Worth , Fort Worth News

City drops metered parking proposed in Stockyards transportation makeover

Metered parking will no longer be placed along West Exchange Avenue in the Historic Stockyards after pushback from some business owners. (Sandra Sadek | Fort Worth Report)
” data-medium-file=”https://fortworthreport.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/IMG_1568-scaled.jpg?fit=300%2C225&quality=89&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://fortworthreport.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/IMG_1568-scaled.jpg?fit=780%2C585&quality=89&ssl=1″>
Tourism in Fort Worth’s Historic Stockyards is booming, making a proposed transportation makeover even more timely. 

However, city staff members are now revisiting some of the short- and long-term goals of the Stockyards Transportation Study after some business owners and the area’s council representative raised concerns about pedestrian and traffic safety improvements.

Sponsored

The main concern stems from a proposal for metered parking to be added to several streets in the district, most notably on West Exchange Avenue. Some business owners on West Exchange Avenue pointed out during the city’s stakeholder meetings how metered parking may remove the free street parking available in front of their stores for clients.  

The Stockyards welcomed about 9 million visitors in 2023, and traffic congestion has become a point of friction in the district, where road expansions are limited due to historical constraints. 

Customers who have to pay for parking may stop coming, said Ruth Hooker of Hooker’s Grill on West Exchange Avenue. 

“On the west side of Exchange, where we are, there’s a lot of office buildings — there are attorneys, there are insurance agencies — there’s different types of businesses on our end that just have regular folks that are coming to do business. And we did not think that it was fair for people to have to pay to conduct normal business,” Hooker said. “I don’t personally want my customers that are coming here to eat burgers, to have to pay to come and enjoy a burger.”

See also  Here are Mansfield ISD’s school board candidates for May 4 election

The Fort Worth Stockyards Business Association met with city staff to voice these concerns and is currently working toward a resolution, Cheryl West, the group’s president, said. 

The association also helped prioritize the proposed transportation projects they want to see first in the Stockyards. 

Council member Carlos Flores echoed these concerns to the city’s transportation and public works department during a Feb. 13 Mobility and Infrastructure Committee meeting. 

The department had identified metered parking as a short-term goal and funding was already set aside for it. 

Flores asked staff to not proceed with the proposal along West Exchange. 

“What I didn’t want to create was any unforeseen hardship on the businesses there that operate at different times of the day,” Flores told the Fort Worth Report.

This move will also help keep parking from spilling into the adjacent neighborhoods, Flores said. 

While parking hasn’t penetrated deep into the neighborhoods yet, Flores said, adding metered parking on West Exchange Avenue could incentivize people to park in the neighborhoods. 

“I’m a very proactive sort of person, so I look at things as cause and effect,” he said. “We do one thing to resolve a problem, what effects does that have?”

This decision comes as Majestic Realty Co., one of the companies behind the redevelopment of the Stockyards, is entering the next phase of its construction project, which may include a vertical parking garage. That could help solve some of the parking gridlock in the district, Flores said. 

“I wanted to make sure that any deployment of parking meters occurs at the appropriate time if that’s the direction we decide to go,” Flores said. “I think that there are other, more pressing infrastructure needs we can look at right now instead of looking at parking meters.”

Other proposed improvements in the Stockyards as part of the study included widening sidewalks, restriping lanes, adding signals and making areas more compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

At this time, those suggestions will be moving forward. 

“We need to take the opportunity to invest in that infrastructure to make sure that the development has everything it needs from a public infrastructure standpoint to continue trending in the correct direction,” Flores said. 

Hooker said the Stockyards is an entertainment district and visitors should be able to enjoy it for however long they want. 

“When you build a district for entertainment, and they’re already coming to spend a lot of money to eat, shop and do, we just didn’t think that parking meters was the right thing to do,” she said. “We don’t want to be associated with things that feel like downtown, (like) West 7th.”

Sandra Sadek is a Report for America corps member, covering growth for the Fort Worth Report. You can contact her at sandra.sadek@fortworthreport.org or @ssadek19. 

At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts

Recent Comments