Magnolia Market, a newly opened furniture and antique store by Chip and Joanna Gaines, also known as HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” couple, has sparked interest both in and out of Waco. An area that was previously just run-down, old property was converted into one of the best new tourist locations in Central Texas.
The surrounding area of Magnolia, however, has perhaps felt the downside of this phenomenon in Waco. Although the area is small, the popularity and sheer mass of people trying to get into Magnolia has put a significant strain on parking and traffic in the couple of blocks affected by the area.
Specifically, the adjacent school, Live Oak Classical School, and the school zone traffic area have been put in a predicament.With many of the Magnolia visitors being tourists, it is likely that they are oblivious to the school’s existence prior to arriving on Sixth Street, where both are located. Because of this, tourists may be unaware of the need to look out for children crossing the street. Drivers searching for parking and not knowing the area is dangerous combination for children who need to cross.
The city of Waco should take the necessary measures to ensure these two things: (1) sufficient traffic lights and signs; (2) adequate parking provided for the elementary school and Magnolia visitors and making sure there is no overlap between the two.
Recently, four-way stop signs with flashing red lights were placed at a couple of the intersections in the area. These signs have done some good and show the city of Waco acknowledges the need of improved traffic facilitation in the area. However, in some places, these signs are hard to see by being obscured by trees or being too far out of sight.
The stop signs were a step in the right direction, but the city of Waco may want to improve the visibility of stop signs and incorporate traffic lights to ensure a better flow of traffic. Most of all, traffic lights should be put in place in the school zone areas for the safety of children.
Concerning the parking, many Magnolia visitors have used just about any parking available in the area and some regard the elementary school’s respective parking spots as fair game too. Some of this issue comes out of a lack of obvious signage for Magnolia’s own parking area. Even for visitors that want to find Magnolia’s parking, there isn’t much that tells them where to go.
There is no denying that Magnolia has brought a substantial increase of positive attention to Waco. Tourists have a history of being good for economies, and Magnolia visitors are no different for Waco. However, with great popularity comes great responsibility. The market and the city need to work together to ensure that pedestrians stay safe in the middle of this newly-busy area.