Residents in Van Nest say they have been fighting against the Department of Transportation’s “Road Diet Plan” for years and now feel defeated as construction begins in their neighborhood.
Last week, the DOT tweeted that the road dieting plan for Morris Park Avenue from Adams Street to Newport Road would begin this week. This was after a judge ruled the work could commence.
“The community is not being heard. The citizens are not being heard. I just feel like we don’t have a voice. I understand the decision was made by the judge without even having a hearing to determine if there was credible evidence to support the opposition,” said Vice President of the Van Nest Neighborhood Alliance.
The area is a Vision Zero corridor. According to DOT, there were a total of 317 injuries in the area from 2012 to 2016.
The plan will transform two lanes of traffic in each direction to one lane, a bike lane and a turning lane on each side of the road. They say it would make the area safer, but opponents say it’ll only bring traffic in the shopping corridor to a standstill.
Following the announcement, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg released a statement saying, “DOT thanks Judge Suarez for his thoughtful decision that allows our critical safety project along Morris Park Avenue to move forward. As we have seen dozens of times under Vision Zero, simple road diets like this save lives and as with all our projects, we expect to be on the ground monitoring changes closely, with local stakeholders.”