Dallas re-striping problem crosswalk highlighted in TV report – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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The City of Dallas is taking a first step to address a danger zone identified in NBC 5 Investigates’s ongoing series, “Driven to Death.”
The city has now painted a crosswalk at the intersection of Ferguson Road and Materhorn Drive, a spot where NBC 5 cameras captured Dallas ISD students wading through traffic and even sprinting to get across a six-lane street with no designated place to cross.
Neighbors told NBC 5 they appreciate the city painting a crosswalk to assist students at Bryan Adams High School. But a draft of a city traffic study NBC 5 Investigates obtained from a source suggested much more substantial improvements are needed at that intersection.
What is not clear is whether the city will follow through on the report’s recommendations.
In November, NBC 5 cameras captured images of students dodging cars at Ferguson and Materhorn while crossing in the middle of the street. That stretch of Ferguson in the Casa View neighborhood has a narrow median in the middle of the street that offers little protection as people attempt to cross all six lanes of traffic.
After NBC 5’s report, neighbors and Dallas ISD school officials expressed concerns to the city’s transportation department.
In a statement to NBC 5, the city’s transportation department said, “We received two requests … including one from [the] Dallas Independent School District requesting improvements near this intersection.”
The statement also said, “The existing crosswalk at Ferguson and Materhorn already was scheduled for maintenance as part of our annual program for routine maintenance of signs and striping.”
Historical images of the intersection NBC 5 Investigates reviewed on Google Street View suggested that the crosswalk has been faded and barely visible for much of the last 15 years.
A Google image from 2007 showed only remnants of crosswalk lines remaining on the street. Additional Google Street View photos taken in nine different years between 2008-2022 also show just small portions of faded crosswalk lines.
NBC 5 Investigates also visited the location in November 2023 and noted it was hard to make out any crosswalk lines at all.
Meanwhile, NBC 5 Investigates has learned a consultant hired by the city to study traffic dangers on the Ferguson Road corridor has suggested much bigger changes to protect pedestrians at the Ferguson and Materhorn intersection.
A draft copy of the study obtained from a source said, “A marked crosswalk at Ferguson and Materhorn should be accompanied by a PHB (pedestrian hybrid beacon) or a (traffic) signal.”
PHBs flash to warn drivers that pedestrians are about to cross and then turn red, stopping traffic.
The study also suggested the city, “Consider installing a median refuge island on Ferguson,” a wider place for pedestrians to take cover while crossing.
The draft report said those improvements, “will accommodate for students observed crossing Ferguson midblock” in images captured by Google Streetview.
That’s right, Google Streetview images from 2022 also showed students standing in the narrow median and then walking right next to moving cars as they tried to get to the other side.
It’s not clear if the city will install pedestrian beacons or the wider, safer median suggested in that consultant study.
In a statement, the transportation department told NBC 5 Investigates, “We are diligently working to generate the final set of improvements, which will be shared with the community before finalizing an implementation plan.”
“We can study, study things forever, you know? People definitely want action and we’re all a little bit impatient,” said Rev. Paul Burns who leads St. Mark Presbyterian Church just down the block from Ferguson and Materhorn.
Burns said neighbors along Ferguson would like to see the city do more over time to make Ferguson more pedestrian friendly and calm high traffic speeds.
“I put out on Facebook, ‘What are the needs of the neighborhood?’ and everybody, ‘Traffic, traffic, traffic, traffic.’ That was the big thing that they were worried about here,” said Burns.
Burns said he is encouraged by the city’s efforts to examine the dangers along the corridor and is offering his church as a place for neighbors and the city to come together to talk about a more peaceful future on Ferguson Road.
“You want safety, you want the kind of neighborhood where people feel like they can be out and about and see each other,” said Burns.
In 2021, 73-year-old Linda Pearson was struck and killed while walking her dog just two blocks north of Ferguson and Materhorn. Police said a driver who was racing another vehicle crashed into her.
The Ferguson Road draft traffic study viewed by NBC 5 Investigates suggested much more potential sweeping safety changes all along the Ferguson corridor. More on that Wednesday night on NBC 5 News at 10 p.m.
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