Plans for the new Lake Highlands DART Station (the one adjacent to the proposed Lake Highlands Town Center) are progressing, and the question of pedestrian and bicycle access to the station from the neighborhood — not just from the town center — is causing many residents of Lake Highlands North to take sides, as reported in this recent WFAA story.
The point of a new website, LHDARTForward, is not necessarily to be the pro-DART side, says Catherine Stansberry, whose driveway backs onto White Rock Trail close to the planned DART Station. Instead, she says, it’s to be another voice of opinon from the letter sent to DART from the Lake Highlands North HOA.
"We felt like it didn’t express the true desires of our neighborhood," Stansberry says. "We were fearful that if all DART hears is negative, they would run away." Stansberry says she grew up in Lake Highlands, and remembers the proposed station at Royal and Audelia roughly a decade ago, which never materialized because of of neighborhood outcry. "We want [DART] to know we are excited," Stansberry says of plans for the new station north of Walnut Hill, including the plans for pedestrian access from White Rock Trail.
Read more after the jump, including details on next week’s community meeting that will focus on the Lake Highlands DART Station:
The LHDARTForward website (which shares a color scheme and design aspects with the Lake Highlands Town Center website; not sure if that’s intentional) claims it is "dedicated to advancing the idea of providing pedestrian access from Lake Highlands North and White Rock Valley to the Lake Highlands DART train station and the Lake Highlands Town Center. If the design moves forward, we will all gain access to DART’s 46 miles of track (which will double in five years), and benefit from an easy access point to the Lake Highlands Town Center."
The site includes an open letter to DART, and Stansberry and her husband, Brad, are the first names listed on the signatures. (Stansberry says her husband is the researcher, and she is more of the cheerleader.) Others listed include former Councilman Bill Blaydes as well as the Lake Highlands North HOA board’s membership vice-president, treasurer and newsletter chairperson, though asterisks make clear that the opinions expressed are theirs alone and do not represent the board as a whole or other HOA residents. Anyone can join the effort, the website states, who is interested in "working for east side access while addressing neighborhood concerns."
For her part, Stansberry says she was surprised to find out that anyone was against pedestrian access for Lake Highlands neighbors. "Our driveway is the first driveway that backs onto White Rock Trail, and I was like, sweet! Walk out the back door, take the kids to Mavs games and the zoo … it didn’t even occur to us that people wouldn’t be excited about that."
I’ll be writing more about this topic next week on the Back Talk Lake Highlands blog, leading up to the Thursday, June 11, community meeting where DART will present plans and welcome neighbors’ feedback. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. and takes place at the Lake Highlands North Recreation Center.