Foundation presents plan to relocate Car 411
The present placement of Interurban Car 411 has proven to be an obstacle to Burleson's creation of a plaza in the immediate vicinity of City Hall, but a solution may have been found.
Burleson Heritage Foundation representatives presented a plan at the May 16 City Council meeting for the relocation of the historical car, so that it could still be accessible to the community and not obstruct plaza development.
“We recognize that the current position of Car 411 is an impediment, but what if we could relocate Car 411 to a place where it would still be accessible [and] wouldn’t clutter the plaza?” said Chuck Williamson, of the Heritage Foundation. “I want to submit a plan that would relocate Car 411 behind the museum. This would allow us to continue to have access for the community with the staff that we have and it would also benefit the city in that Car 411 would not be in the middle of the plaza.”
Ken Richardson, a representative with the Foundation, said the members decided to devise a plan with renderings because they knew the car would have to be moved so the plaza could be built, no matter what. He wanted to make sure that they proposed a relocation that would work best for the community.
“This is just a compromise so that we can have the best place to move the car that our volunteers can still show it, and where people can come down and see it without having to move it to a new location altogether, because we wouldn’t be able to staff two locations,” Richardson said. “It’s going to be better for the community. It’s going to be better for visibility because you’ll be able to see it from Ellison Street and you’ll be able to see it from Renfro Street. So I think that will be a benefit for people to be able to see it from a major street."
If the plan were accepted, Car 411 would be relocated behind the museum, and in front of the drive through bill payment alley in the City Hall parking lot. The representatives proposed the curbs at the location be extended three to five feet in order to prevent overhang of the car.
“A couple of points on that plan is that while the entry into the drive through bill payment is a bit narrower, it’s still sufficiently wide enough for access by vehicles,” Williamson said. “We think that while it may not be absolutely necessary, we can slant parking to the existing three slots that are there, and depending on how much you want to move the curbs … the access can be made even broader.”
Mayor Ken Shetter expressed gratitude to the representatives for bringing forth a proposed plan of action, and noted his agreement with the representatives that ramps should be added to the platforms of the cars in order to increase accessibility for all citizens.
“I think it’s a really valid concept; its a really interesting idea,” Shetter said. “I’d ask staff to add this into the input we have already received and make sure that as our development team and our plaza team moves forward, that this gets prominent and quick consideration.”
City Manager Dale Cheatham said, so far, the proposal has been received positively.
“We certainly think it’s a possibility,” Cheatham said. “We’ve been looking at different options, and that was something that was submitted a couple months ago and the preliminary feedback was very positive. So it is certainly an option that we think is viable at this point in time.”
Shetter added, the city has committed to, in terms of the plaza’s development, opening the process to residential input and to allow them to serve as the public space experts when it comes to how it should be improved and programmed.
“So I would like to specifically include this proposal not only into our cost effective estimates, but to specifically put this proposal out there and get the public’s input on reconfiguring the cars as we go through that process,” he said.
Deputy City Manager Bradley Ford said the staff is appreciative of the design.
“A lot of times people come to a situation noticing all the problems, and this is one where somebody’s come with a solution,” Ford said. “We just appreciate the work that has been put in.”