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EDC grant to connect parking lots in north Marble Falls

Marble Falls, Texas, on U.S. 281

A Marble Falls city project to connect parking lots on the west side of U.S. 281 between Walmart and Hibbett Sports received a $15,000 grant from the EDC on Dec. 6. Staff photo by Nathan Bush

Pulling out of U.S. 281 businesses might get a bit easier for drivers after a $15,000 grant from the Marble Falls Economic Development Corp. is used to connect a string of parking lots on the north side of the city. Project plans include linking the backs of the lots on the west side of the highway between Walmart and Hibbett Sports.

“The goal is to have less traffic on (U.S.) 281 in a very small way,” Deputy City Manager Caleb Kraenzel told the EDC Board of Directors during a regular meeting on Dec. 6. “It is a big problem, and this is nibbling away at the problem.”

The city hopes the project reduces U.S. 281 cross-traffic by funneling shoppers to stoplights on Colt Circle and Nature Heights Drive. Drivers currently must turn directly onto the road when exiting several businesses located within the project area.

“In this particular section of highway, there is a lot of vehicle-queuing with people trying to make lefts across a highway that they have to wait upwards of five minutes to make a left,” Kraenzel said.

The project should also reduce the amount of motorists entering and exiting the highway to get to individual businesses.

“This interconnectivity allows them to migrate through parking lots to either signal but also amongst the businesses without having to enter the highway,” Kraenzel said. “Right now, if you want to go to (Ross Dress for Less) to Schlotzsky’s, you have to enter the highway.”

Kraenzel cited feedback from residents as the top reason for the city’s pursuit of the project.

“The biggest complaint in the community I hear is traffic,” he said. “We can do nothing with (U.S.) 281 as a local jurisdiction. The only way we can do something about traffic is to try to remove trips from the highway.”

EDC Director Lindsay Plante pointed out potential safety concerns as a result of the project.

“These are pretty long runs,” she said while viewing a blueprint of the project. “You could definitely pick up some speed going through there.”

Kraenzel explained stop signs would help that situation.

“We can add them for safety purposes,” he said. “They wouldn’t be for public right-of-way roadway traffic enforcement. It would be more cautionary.”

If successful, the city hopes to replicate the project in other areas.

“If we can do one set of businesses and get them interconnected, it becomes a model for other parts of 281,” Kraenzel said. “If we’re going to do it, we have to start somewhere.”

The project money comes from the EDC’s community leverage grant program, which provides $100,000 of matching funds each year to projects designed to improve quality of life for residents.

4 thoughts on “EDC grant to connect parking lots in north Marble Falls

  1. Now this is one of the best ideas I have seen in the last 10 years that the city might do. A row behind the a few of those stores is much needed.

  2. Glad to see some common sense thinking finally kicking in….have wanted this for the traffic situation for months as it is deadly at times to make our turns onto 281….our traffic is on overload as we all know and crashes are way too common recently……let’s “get ‘er done”…..ASAP??

  3. So in essence, you will be making shoulder roads alongside 281 thru parking lots? Sounds good to me!

  4. This is an excellent idea! It will reduce the necessity of entering the highway merely to go from one business to another, and it could increase patronage of the businesses along that stretch owing to more convenient access. Sooner the better.

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