Visitors to Denison’s Waterloo Lake Dog Park may soon need to find a new place to park. The Denison City Council recently approved an ordinance change that will add a no parking section along Waterloo Lake Drive, following safety concerns due to heavy street parking.
City Manager Jud Rex said the area has seen an increase in traffic since the city opened its new dog park in Waterloo Lake Regional Park last year. This new attraction has led some to park on the street and spurred concerns about traffic flow and safety.
“It is really just people using the street to get closer to the dog park that probably shouldn’t,” Rex said. “They see that there is a patch of grass across from the the dog park and decide to use it to get there.”
At times, there can be cars parked on both sides of the already narrow roadway. This has created a hazard not only for traffic on the road, but also pedestrians who are moving to and from the dog park, Rex said. The site also has visibility issues due to curves in the road.
Rex said the park has ample parking just 500 feet from where many of the dog park visitors typically stop. The biggest trouble spot for the parking is at the intersection of Lang Avenue and Waterloo Lake Drive, Rex said.
Denison is also attempting to stem future hazards at the intersection due to other development there. The intersection of Lang and Waterloo Lake will also feature a crossing of the future Katy Trail — a hiking and biking path along the former railroad right-of-way — leading to additional foot traffic in the area.
The new designation would make it a traffic offense to park at the intersection. While there has not yet been an accident to his knowledge, Rex said he hopes this change will prevent any future incident from happening.
Despite the safety concern, Rex described this as a good problem to have as it showed how popular Denison’s new dog park has been with the public. The high use has come during some of the colder months of the year and led city staff to speculate on how high the traffic might be during more moderate months.
“I think having a lot of foot traffic now is a good sign and I am anxious to see it in the spring,” Rex said.
Rex said the city has not put any consideration into creating another dog park as a way to moderate traffic at Waterloo. However, he said the future installation of the Katy Trail could create even more parking options in the coming years.
While Rex said the signs would be put in place as soon as possible following the council’s action, “No Parking” signs that appeared to be freshly installed were already in place at the intersection prior to the meeting.