At a Highland Park Town Council study session this morning, the most debated topic up for agenda consideration was the resident-proposed pocket park at Mockingbird Lane and Airline Road.
At the July 21 study session, the council discussed the resident-proposed pocket park and asked the staff to assess the park proposal’s impact on public safety, review traffic activity before and after completion of the recent Airline Road intersection construction, review the need for a pocket park at the location, and provide a recommendation.
The HP Department of Public Safety provided the following assessment:
- After a review of police reports, the HPDPS found there would not be a considerable reduction in crime with the development of the park.
- HPDPS evaluated emergency response and transport times, comparing potential impacts at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. on a Tuesday and Thursday. This gave response teams a chance to compare heavy and slow traffic times. As shown in the agenda briefing below, the response times would be slower if access to Airline Road were closed.
- Looking at the volume of traffic on nearby streets off Mockingbird — Sewanee, Abbott, and Hillcrest — HPDPS found that traffic was drastically increased on each without the access to Airline Road.
The final recommendation as provided on the agenda briefing states:
“Consistent with previously provided recommendations to not close the intersection by a nationally recognized urban planner, traffic planner, and a regionally recognized traffic engineer; staff does not recommend the creation of a pocket park at the proposed location.”
Mayor Joel Williams allowed eight residents to speak on the topic — four for the park, four against. Points were made noting children’s safety, the shift of cut-through traffic to nearby roads, and the safety of pedestrians and bikers who use Airline Road as an access way to the Katy Trail.
Taking all these details into account, the council agreed that the issue not be placed on the agenda for the next meeting.