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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

City of Bryan aims to improve safety, traffic with William J. Bryan Improvement Project

William+J.+Bryan.jpg
William J. Bryan.jpg

Underway since 2017, the William J. Bryan Improvement Project plans are nearly complete. The project’s goal is to improve safety and traffic congestion in the Bryan-College Station area.
The City of Bryan aims to make traffic flow improvements from the areas between Villa Maria Road, Earl Rudder Freeway and Highway 6. The City of Bryan is providing and funding the design, The Bryan Metropolitan planning organization is funding construction and the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDoT) will take charge in managing the construction. Community members have been contributing to the project by bringing forth safety concerns and ideas including lighting suggestions, sidewalks on each side of the street and trees strategically planted to provide shade in the summer.
City engineer Paul Kaspar has been working with the City of Bryan and TXDoT said the team wanted to understand the public’s perspective throughout the process.
“We definitely took a bigger community outreach approach on this project than we have on other improvement projects,” Kaspar said.
Public meetings held to discuss what the community thinks revealed that many people were concerned about safety for pedestrians, bikers and drivers. To address these issues, the project will include extending the turn lanes and adding roundabouts. Additionally, Sue Haswell Park is wedged in the middle of the corridor, so adjustments will be made to accomodate park goers.
“We have two roundabouts that are planned to be put on each end of the park that will, by design, force cars to slow down as they go through the roundabout,” Kaspar said.
Executive director of the Bryan-College Station Metropolitan Planning Organization Daniel Rudge said the project is centered around what would be best and safest for the community.
“One of the nice things about the William J. Bryan project is that it was really citizen-driven for the design, as opposed to typical roadway designs where the engineers come up with some ideas and then bounce them off the public,” Rudge said. “In this particular case [the engineers] came forward and said ‘we don’t have anything to show you — we want to you to tell us what you want.’”
Rudge said the updates in design will provide increased safety for cyclists and pedestrians.
“A lot of people don’t know this, but every day since Nov. 7 of the year 2000, someone has died on a Texas roadway,” Rudge said. “Safety has become a really big focus on a lot of the design work that’s going on around the state.”
The unconventional community-first approach is what Rudge believes will lead to the success of the WJB Improvement Project.
“That’s a little bit different than the way things traditionally have been done but I think in the long run everybody from citizens, to traffic engineers, to local politicians believe that this is a fantastic project and that it reflects the way things should be done when developing roadway improvements that are intended for the citizens,” Rudge said.

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