One thing residents who live on Grace Street agree on is that speeders and increasing traffic are making their once-quiet, historic neighborhood too busy and dangerous.
But they don’t agree on how to address the problem, with residents split over whether closing Grace Street to through-traffic is the best solution.
The Glen Rose City Council heard both sides of the question Monday night. Roger and Ann Claybaugh, who live at the end of Grace Street just off Barnard Street asked the council to consider closing two of five entry and exit points to Grace Street at Barnard and at Walnut Street.
“The number one issue is safety,” Roger Claybaugh told the council. He said cars frequently speed down the street at 40 miles per hour or more, threatening walkers, joggers and children playing. The posted speed limit is 20 miles per hour.
Some years ago the city installed speed humps on the street, but that hasn’t deterred motorists, especially teenagers, from racing on the street, Claybaugh said.
“Some folks are afraid of going to their mailboxes for fear of being struck down,” he added.
He said he’s got a half-inch-thick stack of reports to the city police and county sheriff departments from residents on Grace Street concerned about speeders.
Several weeks ago Claybaugh said he was sitting on his front porch and heard an “extreme screeching of tires.” A Hummer and a black pickup truck were racing on Grace Street and when they got to the Barnard Street intersection almost collided with a tractor-trailer truck.
Ann Claybaugh read letters from some Grace Street residents expressing similar concerns.
Several other people who live on the street, however, showed up at the council meeting to say they don’t favor closing it. They cited safety reasons as well. Some were concerned emergency vehicles might not be able to get through gates or other barriers. Others said that trucks used the street to access businesses in the area. They wanted to see more research done before the council makes a decision.
Roger Claybaugh said he checked with the Somervell County Fire Department and there would be no problem getting emergency vehicles to the street if they were needed. He added that closing Grace Street to through-traffic would enhance the downtown district. The Glen Rose Economic Development Corporation is working on a project to possibly build a bridge across the Paluxy River at Walnut Street, connecting downtown with the Riverwalk and Heritage Park.
Christine Morgan, who owns the vacant lot at the corner of Grace and Barnard streets, opposed closing the street because it could affect her ability to develop the property.
“I think more study needs to be done,” she said. Any type of barrier “is going to be placed in front of my property. Will it devalue my property?”
The Claybaughs said they would be willing to pay for architectural designs of aesthetic ways to block traffic from using Grace as a through-street. The barriers could be large pots of blooming flowers or posts, Ann Claybaugh said.
Residents suggested adding stop signs or other measures short of closing the street.
Councilman Bob Stricklin said that a study should be done to explore options. He noted that the city is limited in closing certain streets because it has to provide evacuation plans in case of an emergency.
“I’m really not in favor of blocking the roads,” he said.
Residents said traffic is worst on the street during the morning rush as motorists use Grace Street to bypass cars stacked up at the blinking light at the courthouse square. Traffic also picks up in the afternoon.
The council decided to get more information about ways to control traffic and to discuss and possibly take action at a future meeting.