Almost three months after losing her two teenage sons in a car accident, Clarissa Lopez stood before the Fort Worth City Council on Tuesday night to ask them to address the overcrowded and neglected streets in the northern half of the city.
Her sons Isaiah, 17, and Elijah, 14, were killed in a car crash in September near the intersection of West Bailey Boswell Road and Twin Mills Boulevard. Three other people were injured in the accident.
Lopez said her push to get the roads fixed was motivated by her elder son, Isaiah, who would regularly ask her to give his Boswell High School classmates rides home to avoid dangerous roadways.
“It’s what he would have wanted,” Lopez said. “He knew how dangerous that road was, and yet he had to travel down it to get to school.”
Ally Surface, a close friend of Lopez, said West Bailey Boswell Road is riddled with potholes that often force drivers to swerve into either oncoming traffic or a narrow shoulder.
“So if a child is walking in the path next to you’re avoiding a pothole that’s another obstacle because there are zero sidewalks,” Surface said.
At a town hall two weeks ago at Boswell High School, District 7 council member Leonard Firestone told residents that a temporary road fix and traffic light were being added to West Bailey Boswell Road near the site of the accident. He told residents to come to city hall Tuesday to tell their stories.
“City hall and city staff hear these stories and understand the human side of what people are feeling,” Firestone said.
At a city council work session earlier Tuesday, Firestone and District 4 council member Cary Moon pushed city staff to dedicate more funding for the upcoming 2022 bond package to infrastructure projects in northwest Fort Worth.
According to the 2020 census, the population of District 7 in northwest Fort Worth grew 76% in the past decade. District 8 grew the second most at 27%.
City staff added $48.9 million to the proposed bond package Tuesday for street and mobility improvements. Topping the list from a survey of residents are two projects along West Bailey Boswell Road.
Lopez was happy the city moved so fast to make temporary fixes, and is confident it will act more urgently to address safety concerns in northwest Fort Worth.
“This is the beginning of a journey,” Lopez said.