MANSFIELD -- An idea envisioned in the Mansfield Rising plan will come to fruition in a few days when Mulberry Street is converted to two-way traffic between Second and Fifth streets.
Mayor Tim Theaker announced Thursday afternoon that Mulberry Street, which has only had southbound traffic for many years, will be closed to all traffic Sunday and Monday as final steps are taken for the conversion.
The work is expected to be completed by Monday evening. Motorists, and pedestrians, are urged to use caution in the area. The conversion effort is adding a third lane to the street, creating two southbound lanes and one northbound lane.
The idea for the conversion was found in the plan developed by local residents who developed Mansfield Rising after attending the renowned South by Southwest Conference (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, in 2017.
SXSW is a world-renowned thought and ideas festival that brings the sharpest minds in government, technology, business and entertainment together in one place. The goal was for the team to come back with ideas to improve the downtown.
In part, the plan said, "Rather than design our streets and traffic flow to give favor to moving cars through as quickly as possible, traffic calming measures should be implemented to reduce traffic speed, reduce collisions and improve safety for other users."
Work toward the conversion has been ongoing since it was approved by Mansfield City Council on May 20.
In April, City Engineer Bob Bianchi, who developed the Mulberry Street plan, estimated the cost of the project at $120,000.
Of that, $18,000 would be used for signals and signage, funded by a license plate tax increase for downtown improvements approved in 2018. Those funds, estimated to generate around $220,000 per year, are earmarked specifically for downtown improvement projects.
Bianchi said another $42,000 would pay for concrete and parking space work, which would come from the permissive sales tax. The last $60,000 to resurface and re-stripe the street would come from the city's road resurfacing fund. Bianchi said private donations are expected for some of what he called ancillary work.
The engineer said 16 on-street parking spaces would be created during the conversion, all on the east side of the street.