Denton County Transportation Authority officials are seeking solutions to a couple of parking lot issues with the Highland Village/Lewisville Lake A-train rail stop.
Agency officials are hoping to get a handle on the problems — lot crowding with limited room for expansion, and drivers cutting through the lot — to improve safety and efficiency.
“What a great problem to have, that we don’t have enough parking,” said DCTA President Jim Cline. “The challenge we have, [and] we’re working very closely with the city of Lewisville, [is] what kind of options do we have to expand the lot and expand the capacity for patrons.”
Cline said the recent State Fair of Texas was an example of an event that can fill the lot during operating hours.
When officials estimated the number of spaces appropriate for each station, they used a 25-year ridership model, said Dee Leggett, vice president of communications and planning.
“The site that was chosen we knew couldn’t fully accommodate the 25-year need. At the time we selected that site, we discussed, with Highland Village and TxDOT, additional parking under Interstate 35E when expansion is done.”
Leggett said that with the lot averaging 85 percent to 90 percent capacity, and many days reaching capacity, the agency can’t afford to delay expansion for long.
“We don’t want anything to deter people from using our system,” Leggett said.
She said the agency is looking at property near the interstate and under it.
“With the elevation of the Garden Ridge [Boulevard] interchange, there may be land just north of our property that might become available,” she said.
Leggett said that with the long-term possibility of development around the station, parking could go vertical, but the cost of a parking structure would require some kind of public-private partnership to help fund it.
Leggett said there have been no security complaints from customers or law enforcement.
The other issue with the Highland Village/Lewisville Lake rail station is drivers’ use of the parking lot as a shortcut between nearby streets. A recent survey from DCTA officials showed about five to six vehicles cutting through every hour.
“It poses a safety hazard for our pedestrians walking through the parking lot,” Leggett said.
During a recent DCTA board meeting, Leggett laid out three phases of solutions to the problem.
Phase 1 would involve swapping out signage to be more clear and definitive that cutting through the lot is prohibited, installing some speed bumps in passenger drop-off lanes and adding some stop signs and working with the city on enforcement.
Phase 2 would involve improved signage, enforcement and the placement of speed bumps in a sawtooth pattern to make the shortcut inconvenient to drivers.
Phase 3 would be meeting with Lewisville officials about passing an ordinance to make it illegal to cut through the lot and working with the city to enforce it.
Cline said the agency should be able to do something about drivers cutting through the lot within the next couple of months. The ultimate issue is the expansion of I-35E.
“How can we react to that and be prepared for the expansion of I-35? That’s what we want to be ready for,” Cline said. “The most important thing for us right now is how we can give additional capacity in the short term without providing a huge cost burden to the agency.”
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .