City Official Provides Update on Traffic in Plano

The Legacy Business area his full of new development: resident, commercial and more. A recent study explored how all the change impacted transportation in the area.

Over the next 12-18 months, about 15,000 new employees are coming to Plano, thanks to several corporate headquarters calling west Plano home. But as Liberty Mutual, Toyota USA, FedEx and JP Morgan Chase come online, traffic congestion in the area will continue to be a problem.

During Monday night’s City Council meeting, Peter Braster, director of special projects, presented an updated mobility study, suggesting the city establish a transportation management association (TMA). “We’re drawing up the papers for the nonprofit corporation,” Braster said.

TMAs are groups of employers, developers, building owners and government entities who work toward addressing transportation problems. By collaborating, employers can stagger work hours or explore other options for commuting to and from work.

By February 2018, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) will launch its Mobility on Demand (MOD) technology to beta test a tool to track traffic circulation and last-mile connectivity within Legacy. A collaboration between the TMA and DART would also open up more opportunities for carpool transportation.

Studies show TMAs, carpooling and recalibrations can improve traffic in Plano.

So far, the city has worked to calibrate the red lights across Plano to ease congestion. The Avenue K recalibration has been complete, Braster said, and other lights will be calibrated in the coming months.

Through back-end computer retiming, Avenue K will have a “rolling green light,” Braster said, where residents traveling north or south would hit continuous green lights, so long as they drive the speed limit. “The key is you have to go the speed limit,” he said.

“Traffic in Plano is always a work in progress, and we’re always looking to improve it,” he said.

Legacy Drive and the west Plano area is caught between construction on Dallas North Tollway, Liberty Mutual and other corporations coming online. Currently, Tennyson Parkway is down to one lane of traffic, so “there’s some physical improvements that are happening right now that are interrupting traffic flow, not impeding,” he said.

Construction teams are working to create more walkable options, like converting the U-turn lane of Dallas North Tollway into a walkable hike and bike trail that connects residents to both sides of Legacy Drive, specifically its shopping centers: The Shops at Legacy and Legacy West.

However, the congestion in the area is still sluggish, especially at peak commuter hours, and will continue to be congested this summer. A proposed TMA could make a large difference on spreading the message, but Braster said residents must be open to changing their commuting habits.

According to the November 2016 mobility study, 41 percent of residents are curious about other travel options aside from solo travel, so the more residents explore Uber, Lyft, and carpool options, hopefully, a noticeable difference can been seen.

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