We like the direction that the city of Denton is taking on Oak and Hickory streets between Avenue C and Bonnie Brae Street.
Coming in the new year, driving between the Square and Bonnie Brae will be one-way all the way.
The city’s Traffic Safety Commission recommended that these sections of Oak and Hickory streets be changed from two-way to one-way. The streets are already one-way between the Square and Avenue C.
The plan was dormant for a while, as city officials got feedback from the neighborhood in regard to the change and whether the two streets would be appropriate for bike lanes, City Engineer Frank Payne told us, but once the city determined that bike lanes were a good fit, the city traffic department began the conversion.
At the end of October, crews installed “No Parking” signs on the north side of Oak Street and the south side of Hickory Street.
We agree that the change seems like a good fit for this part of town. It should improve traffic flow, and the bike lanes should prove to be a popular feature. Plus, making the streets one-way all the way will be a lot less confusing for drivers — especially those who aren’t familiar with the area, which should improve safety.
Because of its proximity to the University of North Texas, this area is notorious for on-street parking and traffic problems, and a change in direction has long been needed.
We realize that the change means the loss of a lot of parking spaces near the university, and we understand how that will set with those who forgo the cost of a university parking permit and park for free on city streets.
But in our view, it’s a good trade.
The police department is currently leaving warning notices on cars parked along these two streets, but the grace period for ignoring the no-parking signs will soon expire. Beginning Monday, the department will be issuing parking tickets, according to department spokesman Ryan Grelle. The fine for parking in a prohibited zone is $50.
In the coming days, crews will be putting up large, temporary signs to let drivers know the directional change is coming, Payne told us. The notices will be at both ends of Hickory and Oak streets, as well as their intersections with North Texas Boulevard, a campus arterial.
In early January, crews are scheduled to put up the directional signs but cover them until the streets are striped.
Beginning Jan. 7, crews will set up traffic control on one of the streets and begin striping the next day. Crews will repeat the procedure on the other street beginning Jan. 9.
To help drivers get used to the new configuration, the city will keep traffic control in place for two or three more days, Payne said. He said that sometime after the change, the city will likely meet again with the neighborhood, and if the neighborhood thinks more deterrents are needed, the city may offer other options to control traffic and parking in the area.
The change may not be popular with everyone at first, but we believe it will ultimately result in worthwhile improvements.
It’s a much-needed change in direction.