104,250 vehicles a month, 3,475 a day traveling through neighborhood on short cut to Lytle businesses

Citizens pleaded with the City of Lytle council and mayor to help find a way to divert traffic from their residential neighborhood which is seeing between 3-4,000 vehicles per day travel the short cut to HEB/McDonalds/Taco Bell/Bill Millers business district by using the Lytle-Somerset Road, which accounts for 90,000 to 120,000 vehicles per month. “We have to wait 10 minutes sometimes just to back out of our driveways,” said one resident. “And then you better hurry it up and hope they don’t hit you or speed past you in a hurry” she said.
“There are two stop signs at the ends of the road which people run all the time. Our houses are close to the road. Most of the traffic is people just passing through, often times distracted on cell phones, or speeding or drag racing,” said resident Karen Bragg. “Recently when there was a flood issue and the street was temporarily close it was so nice, huge difference. Maybe the city could reduce the speed to 20 MPH, or place speed bumps, or close the road. We would appreciate any help we can get to slow down the traffic and/or divert some.”
A neighbor said the traffic is busy anytime of the day. It takes me 10 minutes to back out sometimes. She has even been hit just turning into her driveway.
Sometimes big rigs exit the car wash not realizing it is a residential neighborhood with a narrow road.
Another resident proposed speed humps as well as a solution to slow people down. As many as needed, 10 to 12 if that is what it takes what discussed.
“We have done traffic studies on the Lytle- Somerset road, as recent as April. During the 21 day study 72,995 vehicles traveled that neighborhood! That’s an average of 3,475 vehicles per day on Lytle- Somerset Road,” said Richie Priest, Lytle Police Chief. ” Or 104,250 per month.
“Our town is not designed for the amount of traffic we have. There are other streets with the same problem across the city. Stop signs have worked the best in the past. We have installed speed humps on Prairie Street and it did help some, but not as much as we had hoped for. Anytime I can do is minimal, but we will do what we can. We so need a long term solution. Once the traffic is diverted from one street it impacts the next street and those people are having problems and complaining.”
“We need to look at a bigger solution. What we need to do is to help the flow of traffic in the city. With the subdivisions coming in, the access roads will get even busier. And then when TXDot closes one of the access roads to do some work it will be even more congested”, said Chief Priest.
Closing the street was not a viable option as it would hinder emergency crews.
“Covid slowed us down, but we are firing it back up and are making more traffic stops and handing out tickets. It is hard to stop someone speeding on the Lytle- Somerset road as it is so narrow and you can’t turn around. By the time we catch up to them they are already in line at a restaurant or have pulled into HEB or another business.”
The council voted to have the police department look into the cost of speed bumps/humps and suggest how many and where they could be placed on the Lytle- Somerset Road and vowed to continue to try to find a solution.
“Research the numbers and price and make a recommendation to us,” asked Councilman Jerry Stone.
Mayor Ruben Gonzalez thanked the citizens for coming to the board meeting and letting them know of their concerns, “We appreciate your time. It does make a difference. We will work on it”.
Growth brings progress but also aches and pains. Finding the balance is always a challenge for small town America. Lytle is growing fast and will have many challenges over the next few years. The leaders are aware of this and are meeting twice a month, sometimes more, now to help work through all of them and help the citizens and businesses. Mayor Gonzalez reported that he will have some updates soon to share. Watch the newspaper, website and social media.
Next time you head to the business districts in Lytle, or any small town, if you will take the main roads it will help keep the neighborhoods safer. It’s what we can do to help out our neighbors.
Kids are out for the summer and like to play in yards and ride their bikes around town.
By Kathleen Calame