Pedestrian safety a growing concern for downtown Buda

Concerns about pedestrian safety in downtown Buda is growing among residents and business owners following reports of a teen who was struck by a vehicle last year.

During the May 1 Buda City Council meeting, Buda business owner Jeremy De Alcala voiced worries about pedestrian safety after one of his employees was struck while crossing Main Street in 2017.
De Alcala said a car struck one of his employees, who is currently a student at Hays High.

“As a resident, I had long felt that the pedestrian crossings on Main Street were an issue. The drivers do not seem to pay attention. I just felt like improvements need to be made,” De Alcala said.

Other business owners on Main Street are also concerned about the issue. Margaret Goebler, owner of The Little Bluebird, a boutique located on the corner of Main Street and FM 967, also said that pedestrian crossing is “a major problem”.

“I’ve never seen anyone get hit, but I’ve had customers who’ve seen people get hit. But it is really a hard crossing,” Goebler said. “Sometimes, I also see customers just wait and wait there.”

When the signal allows them to cross, Goebler said there is not enough time for them to navigate the crossing. De Alcala said the issue has to do with people either not knowing or not caring about the crossings.
De Alcala said a solution could be to install permanent flashing pedestrian signals to catch people’s attention, as well as a public education campaign to educate drivers. De Alcala believed new residents to Buda might not be used to driving in a smaller downtown area.

The city has been aware of these issues and, although no changes have been made at this time, there are several projects in the works to address pedestrian safety.

A flashing pedestrian crossing and signal at Main Street and Ash Street is planned as part of the city’s five year Capital Improvements Plan. The $115,000 project is currently planned for Fiscal Year 2021, but Buda Public Information Officer David Marino said the city is vying to move the project up.

Another signal has been discussed near Buda Mill and Grain in the future, although it is not planned or funded yet.

De Alcala said May 1 that he championed pedestrian signage that was put up during the weekend of the Weiner Dog Races in Buda. Marino said the city would continue to deploy additional signage during city events.
“The city has been very responsive at addressing my concerns; they are open to any suggestions. I’m glad they’re working with us and business owners,” De Alcala said.

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