As Burleson grows, Wilshire woes continue
Wilshire Boulevard, can’t live with it, can’t live without it. The main drag in Burleson also named Highway 174, connects travelers to businesses and homes all the way to Cleburne. According to the Burleson Police Department, for the first two quarters of 2018, there were 106 crash reports made for crashes on Wilshire.
By far, police report, these crashes were caused by distracted drivers. A fatality accident did occur on Wilshire on July 11 and is still being investigated by police.
Highway 174 begins in Bosque County and travels through Meridian, Morgan, enters the hill country, passes north of Lake Whitney into the town of Blum before it gets to Johnson County. It passes through Cleburne and Joshua before it meets Burleson and comes to an end at Interstate 35W.
The highway is an old one. It originally routed from Iredell to Walnut Springs. In 1936, it extended to Cleburne and by 1939 made its way to Burleson.
For many years, the highway kept pace with growing traffic, but as Johnson County continues to grow drivers will experience more traffic that they need to be diligent about, Sergeant D. Pool, a crash investigator with the Burleson Police Department, said.
“The main thing I tell people is to drive defensively,” Pool said. “With this much traffic on the roads these days, you have to expect the unexpected. Especially on Wilshire where you have so many signal lights, I tell everyone to approach every intersection with caution.”
Pool said drivers should expect other drivers to run red lights and should always be prepared to take some action.
“Always try to give yourself an out and space in front of you,” he said.
Pool said it doesn’t help that we now live in a high-paced society where drivers are impatient to get to their destinations.
“We’ve gotten really spoiled about having everything right now and I think that translates to our driving,” he said. People need to take a breath and leave five minutes earlier so you don’t have to rush.”
As we have more technology available at the tips of our fingers, distracted driving is becoming more of a problem, Pool said. Drivers aren’t paying attention to their driving and are talking or texting on their phones instead of being diligent drivers.
“Those are huge issues that contribute to a lot of crashes,” he said. “If it’s that important, pull off to the side of the road to make a phone call.”
As traffic continues to increase on Wilshire, Pool urges those driving from Cleburne and Joshua to use the Chisholm Trail Parkway instead of Wilshire.
“It’s a quick and easy way to get to Fort Worth,” Pool said. “That was one of the big selling points for Cleburne when they opened it because they can now avoid traffic on 174. I don’t know if as many people could take advantage of it as they should. Johnson County is still growing, Burleson and Cleburne are still growing and unfortunately, there is just so much they can do with 174.”
Wilshire cannot be widened anymore than it has because of businesses lining it on both sides.
“We’re kinda stuck with what we have,” Pool said.
However, Pool has seen a decrease in crashes after the center median was added on Wilshire. The center turn lane, which has been eradicated by the median, caused a lot of headache for drivers, and Pool.
“People would use it as an acceleration lane, not as a turn lane,” he said. “People would turn out of a parking lot and speed up and that would cause quite a few crashes. That has stopped mostly because of the median.”