North Texas Daily

City of Denton considering plan to decrease parking, traffic issues near UNT

City of Denton considering plan to decrease parking, traffic issues near UNT

City of Denton considering plan to decrease parking, traffic issues near UNT
February 09
10:11 2018

With a steadily growing student body, UNT has been at the center of extensive development over the past few years. Now, authorities are attempting to address the issues that come with rapid development before they arise.

City planners are developing a plan called the Oak Gateway Area Plan to mitigate traffic and parking issues new developments may bring to the neighborhoods surrounding UNT. The plan focuses on making the area compatible with development and growth.

The plan targets the area between Panhandle Street, Carroll Boulevard/Fort Worth Drive, Bonnie Brae Street and Interstate 35.

Boundary Map

Planners want to preserve the historic neighborhoods in the northern section of the area and accommodate areas undergoing development.

“We are looking at providing some plan, direction or guide for the area,” said Ron Menguita, the long-range planning administrator for Denton. “We’ve got a lot of development activity in the area. The main issues we are trying to deal with is parking, traffic and how these new developments are compatible with the surrounding area.”

The plan looks to address issues such as lighting, bike lanes sidewalks and creating more open spaces such as parks.

City planners are collaborating with stakeholders, students, residents, real estate agents, builders and the university for input. The city also hired a consulting firm to help lay out the plan.

“We want to make sure we reach out and address everyone’s concerns,” Menguita said. “We may not have all the solutions and all the answers but we are going to try to do as much as we can.”

Students who can’t find parking on campus often park in the neighborhoods surrounding UNT, Menguita said, which leads to blocking driveways and parking near intersections.

Menguita said he wants to address this with the area plan and create parking for everyone without impacting neighborhoods. He said he believes the plan will make UNT students safer with more lighting and bike lanes.

“The university is growing and we want to make sure we grow with it,” Menguita said.

Although the university is a partner, the city does not have jurisdiction over UNT so the plan will not make any changes to campus. 

“We are hoping it will continue compatible growth between the university and the city,” said David Reynolds, the associate vice president for facilities at UNT. “It’s a symbiotic relationship between the city and the university. I think it is a good effort to have us working together in the planning process.”

UNT’s Student Government Association (SGA) is on the planning committee for the area plan. SGA President Barrett Cole said a majority of students live in the neighborhoods that will be affected by the plan.

She said the ultimate goal of the project is safety and improving the lives of people in the community.

“I think city improvement is much needed in this particular area,” Cole said. “The idea that they are even hiring a consulting firm to look at the area is a positive. The fact that they are willing to spend so much time reaching out to different constituent groups and people in different areas says a lot. I am excited to see how that culminates into a final project.”

The project is still in its early stages as planners gather information and collect data. Funding and specifics have not been discussed.

“It’s not intended to be a restrictive code or that type of thing,” Reynolds said. “[The planners] are just trying to get a feel for the city’s growth and the type of things the city residents would like to see in the area in terms of the land use, housing or businesses.”

Those involved will present a plan to Denton’s city council for consideration by summer 2018.

Officials will host a community workshop at 6:00 p.m. on Feb. 22 in the Calhoun Middle School cafeteria for public input.

Featured Image: File

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Devin Rardin

Devin Rardin

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