H.R. No. 593

WHEREAS, In the spring of 1969, children attending schools on either side of Interstate Highway 635 in north Dallas County were endangering themselves and motorists when using an elevated, uncovered pedestrian walkway to cross the interstate on their way to and from school; and WHEREAS, Some children were dropping schoolbooks, lunch boxes, and other objects over the walkway's edge and onto motorists using the highway that runs beneath the walkway; other children were walking its narrow, unprotected ledges and even dangling themselves and others over its sides; and WHEREAS, Concerned parents, parent-teacher associations, and neighborhood groups had been concerned about this hazard for some time but were frustrated and angry because they had been unable to get any positive response or action from state or federal officials to address this dangerous situation; and WHEREAS, After reading a newspaper story that highlighted the dangers posed by the walkway, State Representative Joe Ratcliff, a member of the Texas House of Representatives in the 57th, 60th, and 61st legislatures, promptly investigated the situation; and WHEREAS, Representative Ratcliff contacted the officials and agencies having jurisdiction over IH-635 and the walkway; he met with local law enforcement and safety departments and affected parents and school groups and promised all who were concerned that the problem would be fixed; and WHEREAS, Representative Ratcliff vowed to pass legislation directing that the walkway be covered to protect the children, prompting the agency to cover the walkway and all others in the state, especially those used by children; and WHEREAS, The simple, heartfelt actions taken by Mr. Ratcliff more than 30 years ago led to the addition of significant safety features that today continue to ensure the safety of the children using that walkway and others across the state and of motorists on IH-635 and other Texas roads; his contribution to the well-being of Texans everywhere truly merits appropriate public recognition; now, therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives of the 78th Texas Legislature hereby request the Texas Department of Transportation to designate the pedestrian walkway that crosses IH-635 and connects the city of Farmers Branch to the city of Dallas as the Joe Ratcliff Walkway; and, be it further RESOLVED, That the secretary of state forward an official copy of this resolution to the executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation. Goolsby ______________________________ Speaker of the House I certify that H.R. No. 593 was adopted by the House on March 26, 2003, by a non-record vote. ______________________________ Chief Clerk of the House