Berry Street Initiative moves forward with road work

Construction scheduled to begin in the next two to three weeks at the intersection of Berry Street and Waits Avenue may disrupt traffic and parking in the area, a Fort Worth senior planner said.

Arty Wheaton-Rodriguez said his main concerns with the Berry Street Initiative construction were how it would affect high school and TCU graduations in May and the entire football season in the fall.

“We will always have one traffic lane open in each direction,” Rodriguez said. “What we have talked to TCU about as we get closer to construction is actually starting to publish alternate routes, especially during graduation and football season.”

Lisa Albert, director of communication at the university, said while TCU is not directly involved in the construction of this project, it would affect parking and traffic around campus.
However, Rodriguez said the goal of the Berry Street project would outweigh the inconveniences.

The construction on Waits Avenue would create a pedestrian area for TCU students and visitors of retail stores in the area, mirroring the project’s phase one construction on Forest Park Boulevard, he said.

“We have a lot going on soon,” Rodriguez said. “Starting in the next two to three weeks, we will have two small water projects, and those will take about three to four weeks to complete. Then we will start with our larger street reconstruction of the area. The duration is contracted at 300 calendar days.”

Other plans include construction of landscape planter boxes within the sidewalk area, street trees, benches, trash receptacles and both roadway and pedestrian lights.

“We are also going to be constructing medians throughout that area, and we will be eliminating one travel lane that is currently on the ground right now in each direction,” Rodriguez said. “What we are doing with that travel lane is extending out-on-street parking spots.”

Rick Kubes, manager of Kubes Jewelers Inc. on Berry Street, said the project was only a minor inconvenience for his business.

“Generally, everyone was very pleased with the process, and we are extra pleased with the results because it has made the street a much nicer area to go to,” Kubes said.

Phase two of the Berry Street Project is three blocks as opposed to the six blocks completed in phase one. Kubes believed phase two would go even smoother.

“The community can’t thank TCU enough for taking over the landscaping to make sure the six blocks of phase one and now the three blocks of phase two are always looking nice,” Kubes said.