Waco eyes plan for two-way, pedestrian-friendly 25th Street

Politics


Waco has big plans for the 25th and 26th Street corridor, with goals of slowing down cars and increasing foot traffic to businesses along the corridor.

Representatives from engineering planning firm Kimley-Horn briefed the city council on Tuesday about the results of a study of the corridor and plans for its future between Franklin Avenue and Maple Avenue. Overall, Waco hopes to turn both 25th and 26th streets into two-way streets while slowing car traffic and making the stretch more pedestrian-friendly, with “gateway” features such as art and landscaping installations.

City Manager Bradley Ford said the main goal of the project will be to emphasize and honor the corridor's Hispanic heritage. According to a 2021 American Community Survey, the neighborhoods surrounding 25th Street are home to nearly 7,000 Hispanic residents.

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“Many of the business owners in this corridor are Spanish-speaking or Spanish-themed businesses,” Ford said. “There is a very good opportunity to relate how we develop this corridor and with them in mind.”

Ford said the city plans to honor that heritage by using specific materials, street furniture, art installations, landscaping additions and “gateways” to create a unique and vibrant area. Along with artistic and design elements, the revitalization will focus on pedestrian safety to promote walkability and increase foot traffic for businesses, Ford said.

WATCH NOW: Waco Walks strolled through North Waco's bustling shopping district on Saturday, highlighting local landmarks like the past 25th Street Theater and Hispanic-owned businesses.



The council approved a contract with Kimley-Horn in August to come up with an implementation plan for the corridor's revitalization. A year earlier, Grassroots Community Development surveyed 25th Street residents and businesses about what they want for the future of the area.

Respondents talked about addressing the lack of parking, slowing traffic and making safe crosswalks for pedestrians, Ford said. Under the plan Kimley-Horn unveiled Tuesday, the residential areas on the north and south ends of the corridor would be two-way with parking on one side. In the commercial section, roughly from Homan Avenue to Columbus Avenue, there would be parking on both sides. Landscape features such as trees would be added and sidewalks would be repaved to improve walkability and accessibility.







The 25th Street Corridor Plan proposes a roundabout at Maple Avenue, where the one-way pair of 25th Street and 26th Street now meet at a northbound two-way 25th Street. Both 25th and 26th would become two-way, and 26th would end one block before the roundabout.


Rod Aydelotte, Tribune-Herald


While 25th Street is the main focus of the study due to its concentration of businesses, 26th Street, which is primarily residential, is also included as the two serve as a pair of one-way streets that travel in the opposite direction opposite Under the plan, both streets would be transformed into two-way roads running from Franklin Avenue to Maple Avenue. In Maple, a roundabout would take the place of the traffic light where the one-way pair now joins a northbound two-way 25th Street.

Instead of ending at Maple as it does now, 26th Street would end at Trice Avenue, one block south. Between Trice and Maple Roundabout, the former 26th Street space would feature a community garden and other pedestrian-friendly features.







Street 25

An image submitted to city hall shows the plan of the roundabout at 25th Street and Maple Avenue, with the image of Maple running vertically.


City of Waco, provided


The project has long been a goal of District 4 council representatives, including Dillon Meek, who is now mayor. Council member Darius Ewing, who now holds the District 4 seat, thanked Kimley-Horn for working with both city officials and the community to develop a plan for the corridor.

“It's incredibly exciting to see all the possibilities of the 25th Street corridor,” Ewing said. “I drive it every time I leave downtown on my way home, and I certainly know all the good things about it and all the things that are opportunities in front of us to improve our city as well.”

The city council is scheduled to vote on the formal approval of the corridor plan on May 14.



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