Liveblogging Today's Trail-Tastic Quality of Life Committee Meeting

Categories: City Hall
Thumbnail image for GroupofNewTrailSafetySigns.jpg
Mind the gap?
Greetings to you, Unfair Friends, from City Hall, where the Quality of Life Committee kicked off their meeting about trash and trails today just after noon o'clock -- and after David Neumann gave a clowny and enthused interview to a TV camera. Willis Winters, Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation began with a PowerPoint presentation about Dallas' trail system. The death of a woman on the Katy Trail last fall has the city scrambling to improve safety. The QOL committee listened intently to Winters from their fancy new chairs, especially Pauline Medrano, who wanted clarification: how many miles of trail does Dallas have? The answer: 104 glorious miles of sweet, sweet nature. And concrete. And what-have-you.

Winters had some immediate points of action: working with DPD to increase police presence, implementing trail and street crossing improvements, updating safety guidelines. Later points of action include a trail advertising campaign, re-striping. In the long term, Winters said he's looking at continuing implementation of the trail master plan and 911 advisory signs along trails.

Those of you following along at home can check out the trail safety presentations yourselves. Winters noted that they're increasing police presence at Katy Trail from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, and continuing patrols on White Rock, which are the two heaviest trafficked trails in Dallas. Winters touched on meetings to determine "trail etiquette guidelines," which they're continuing to "tweak."

Winters also presented new trail signs to the committee -- "please don't take them out of context" -- he said. He promised, "these signs make sense." Super promise.

"Very importantly," said Winters, the Dallas Bike Plan will be a huge part of making the trails safer. Now, we're on to questions from the council, and ole' Sheffie Kadane is up first.

"That was a good presentation, and a lot!" said Kadane, who is as excited about this trail as I've ever seen him about anything. He wondered about separate-but-parallel biking and walking trails, which currently only exists on the Katy Trail but could be installed in future trails. "Could you implement them together and have one a soft trail and a hard trail and one wider?" Winters told him they were looking into the best way to do it.

Kadane also wanted to know about the Santa Fe Trail crossing at Munger -- it's a rough one, he says. Winters: "It'll be studied, and through a combination of pavement marking, signage and lighting," they're working to make it safer. Ah, studies. How Dallas does love them.

Neumann's up now! Join me in the comments for further updates.
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34 comments
sizzler
sizzler

sorry if brown people make you uncomfortable but i have never had a reason to feel unsafe riding the santa fe trail. the crossings could be improved but when i've ridden it most drivers at major intersections seemed fairly aware and accepting of the presence of pedestrians and bikers on the trail.

also, i don't know anything about the campaign but james childers is a dedicated and intelligent public servant so kudos for him getting in on the write up.

scottindallas
scottindallas

I don't know if those ice cream cart vendors sell drugs, but they sell great fruit paletas, If you think they are a front and don't move a lot of icecream and paletas you're missing out on a third of what this city has to offer. Here's another tip, try Taqueria Pinocho (that DOES end with an "O" like Pinocchio,) catercorner from the 7-11 at Columbia and Carroll Ave, they have awesome tacos, everything from beef fajitas, to lamb, brains, tongue and roast chicken, roasted in a bag, covered in red chili (the chicken, not the bag.) The offer an awesome Cantaloupe jugo among other typical flavors. It helps to habla, but you can point and they will take care of you. Taqueria Pinocho, on the Pope's end of the corner parking lot at Columbia and Carroll.

sizzler
sizzler

i'm a super mercado man but i'd be happy getting jacked on the santa fe trail if i had just finished a taco from pinocho followed by an la princesa arroz paleta for dessert

Joshua
Joshua

weren't more than that killed on the Dallas tollroad? Special power point presentation needed to discuss speeding cars, miles of concrete, texting drivers, old people driving habits, signs, speed bumps...power point...with some ANIMATION like words flying in and out and exploding...neat stuff for a bunch of government junkies...

guest
guest

Geez. While you "study" the Munger crossing issue, at least put in a light (like the one on Northwest HWY)...its an accident waiting to happen.

Joshua
Joshua

Maybe a full time 24/7 armed guard with a black baton, cuffs, Uzi, and kevlar vest. like at DISD.

Mmiller
Mmiller

Riding through that hood you don't time to slow down to cross the street. You just gotta pray. I think the hood rats wait for people to slow down at the crossing so they can jack them.

Might need to start packin heat when taking tha Santa Fe trail............

Bill
Bill

Really? Because every time I have been down the Santa Fe Trail it has been full of small children and pregnant women. The only thing I seriously wonder about is the house where they are always burning insulation off copper wiring, hundreds of feet at a time. They burn so much of it that it looks/smells like they are burning car tires from afar.

Joshua
Joshua

But drug sales out of the pushcart vendors is a create entrepreneural and kitchsy surprise for trailriders...not like just getting bottled water or boring stuff like that...hey, its East Dallas....surprises around every corner.

LongTimeRider
LongTimeRider

I tried to ride the lower Santa Fe Trail once. Between trying to figure out where it started and all the glass (better make sure you have Kevlar and goo tires!) - there were too many street crossings to really make it rideable. I prefer to ride Junius or Swiss up and then cut back over to the Santa Fe. Can't beat looking at the historic houses....

Andrea Grimes
Andrea Grimes

Medrano talks about Reverchon Park, which underwent clean up and got an iris garden planted all up in itself, and "now it's something that is a real jewel that we can be proud of. So that's something that we could kind of hang your hat on."

Now, we're adjourned!

scottindallas
scottindallas

Irises? Irises look great for a couple of months, then pretty ratty. I'm gonna have to go see what they've done. Don't really roll through Reverchon much. Don't really do the "rodeo"

Joshua
Joshua

Yes...fields of Iris are so attractive to the bathhouse for lunch bunch frequenting Reverchon.....

Andrea Grimes
Andrea Grimes

Now to Carolyn Davis, who asks are we gonna have a party in the Flag Room to launch the website? Childers says they've been "strategizing as to how we're going to get the word out." Davis would really like for Dusty the Dumpster to be there.

Andrea Grimes
Andrea Grimes

"I am a very, very simple minded person, I don't get that complicated because my mind won't work that long," but clean is something Vonciel Jones Hill says she can get her head around. When things are clean, "Our crime stats go down, our prosperity goes up."

Andrea Grimes
Andrea Grimes

"Dusty? Dusty is THE BOOOOOMB!" says Jones Hill. "I want my picture taken with Dusty. I like Dusty!"

Andrea Grimes
Andrea Grimes

Medrano passes things on to Vonciel Jones Hill, who says, "thank you, thank you, thank you." She says she is "peacock proud, hyena happy, and baboon beside myself" to have TRASH ATTACK going citywide. She stopped just short of slam poetry, and I have to say, I am a little disappointed.

"What can I do to help?" she says her constituents ask her all the time. And now she can tell them, "You can be involved in TRASH ATTACK." When "you learn to clean up, you learn not to mess up." Jones Hill says TRASH ATTACK will help with neighborhood pride.

One corner in her neighborhood used to be a disaster, she says, but "now neighbors protect that spot" because they cleaned it up themselves.

Andrea Grimes
Andrea Grimes

Medrano is really on a reminiscing kick. She's telling a story about organizing things and taking one's time with not jumping the gun on clean-ups. Take it slow, y'all. Sign up volunteers. Get your shit together. I paraphrase.

Andrea Grimes
Andrea Grimes

Pauline Medrano also likes Dusty. "I think he or she is cute." She thinks it'll "work in every community" and "it could be a poor community, but it could be a clean community."

Medrano then reminisces about partnering with an ice cream vendor in her neighborhood, asking the vendor to tell kids not to litter when they sell their wares. "They're working hand in hand with the vendors that are coming down their neighborhood streets," she says. "It's a good lesson, and these business folks are teaching these to our kids. It's a lesson for a lifetime."

Joshua
Joshua

Reminds me more of the pink rabbit ears on the old Dallas downtown "Hop-a-Bus"...My lord but this city has Creativity coming out of all orfices....

Andrea Grimes
Andrea Grimes

I see Steve Salazar here. I've seen him at City Hall in the past. But has anyone heard him say anything in the past few months? Duder is flying low under the radar.

Andrea Grimes
Andrea Grimes

Assistant City Manager Forest Turner's here, and he pops in to advise the committee about students who need to do community service but not all at once, which will "give us an opportunity for them to schedule that."

"Do we have a number we can call to set up a TRASH ATTACK or graffiti wipe-out?" asks Sheffie. "I can call and get a person and that's all they care about?"

Childers says maybe they could do something through 311.

Andrea Grimes
Andrea Grimes

"Code has really done a wonderful job throughout the city," says Davis. (Fun fact: code is the department into which Dallas Animal Services falls. Discuss.)

"I think that this is the right way to go, you got Dusty the Dumper, which is a great name," says Davis. She thinks the name is adorable. "It fits TRASH ATTACK. That attacks trash."

Joshua
Joshua

Major drama ahead when Dusty the Dumper gets into gang turf war with Soli the Shovel and Pasquale the Pushbroom and Tremonisha the Trashcan.

Andrea Grimes
Andrea Grimes

Now it's time for questions, and Carolyn Davis is first.

"This is good, we finally got it right. This is really, really, really good," she says. She is especially impressed with the website. "This is really good." Also, she is "thoroughly, thoroughly impressed" with Dusty. "I'm ready to see it."

Childers assures her that Dusty will show up at the code conference this year.

"Is Dusty a she or a he?" asks Medrano.

"Uh, neutral? Whatever you want 'em to be." says Childers.

Andy
Andy

Not to overstate things, but uh..our country is doomed.

Andrea Grimes
Andrea Grimes

Childers is real pumped about the community code conference at the convention center this year, "it's a great opportunity for folks to coordinate, meet up, and learn how they can deal with issues in their community."

Childers says they're also working to build a community outreach website--http://www.dallascomm...--which will someday include an interactive calendar about clean-up days and events. Folks can sign up directly for events through the calendar.

They'll also be building a volunteer database via the website. "We want to be able to tap people on the shoulder," if they have signed up before. THEY'LL FIND YOU.

Andrea Grimes
Andrea Grimes

"I can't say how hard our city worked" year round getting graffiti down, said Childers, but he was super proud of their work in advance of the Super Bowl. Fifteen citizen groups have signed up to help clean graffiti as of last week.

Second quote to be taken out of context today, from Childers: "That's the senior source green team, and boy, they got at it."

Andrea Grimes
Andrea Grimes

Childers calls TRASH ATTACK "a great brand," and every city-sponsored clean up event this spring will be a TRASH ATTACK event. "Because everybody will see that brand," he says, "we feel it's going to go a long way toward helping people promote these activities."

TRASH ATTACK events come with custom roll-off Dumpsters and hand-tools. They also come with Dusty the Dumpster, because "we have to start building a connection with the youth." I know the last kid I talked to was wondering where were all the clip-art trash cans these days, because she was like, I have no role models.

Joshua
Joshua

Wonder is ANYONE noticed how the Egyptian Private Citizens all were sweeping streets and picking up trash from their week plus of mass protest of hundreds of thousands in Cairo .... unlike ANYTHING here...thinking about the tons of trash in Washington following the million (hah) man march....but watching those Egyptians, mostly unemployed, young and old, going quietly about cleaning THEIR OWN STREETS...somehow made me ashamed of OUR CITIZENS attitudes....just leave the mess for the government to clean up....like, Americans don't do Windows...

scottindallas
scottindallas

Don't know if you've been over there or not, but generally they are litterbugs. So this is likely novel. In Algeria, when I was there, I wanted to encourage street cleaning as a form of protest. How effective would it be if throngs of youth deposited bags of trash, collected from their neighborhood on the spotless gov't buildings and military installations. They were scared in 08 when I was proposing this. Now, the EU and US are so broke NATO is in shreds. We've lost operational influence that we relied on the French for. The French aren't spending as much on military as before the crash.

Andrea Grimes
Andrea Grimes

David Neumann of Oak Cliff was all about the positives for his part--"Great presentation! Great start!" The man is damned enthusiastic. "I wish I could import the Katy Trail to my district, it's a great spine!" he said. He thinks the trail folks are making "great progress" and is "anxious for the Katy Trail to connect with our Trinity network."

"We need to make sure we calibrate citizens' expectations appropriately," said Neumann, and advise citizens that all this isn't going to be done tomorrow. So, you guys have been warned. The city of Dallas isn't gonna run out and fix your trails by lunch. Do try to contain your shock.

Speaking about some trail info, Kadane jumped in with your quote to be taken out of context for the day: "You get me some when you get some."

Pauline Medrano wants to understand which areas are being looked at for improvement--she's thinking of a crossing at Fitzhugh that needs help. "Will it automatically be studied or do we need to tell you?" A blonde city rep jumps in and says people need to let them know where the problems are, because they have certain major crossing areas under study right now, but not all of them.

And then: TRASH ATTACK! James Childers, Assistant Director of Code Compliance, brought up his interns and his Power Point presentation to talk about community clean-up events that'll be held this spring. "Community clean-ups are a great thing," that help neighborhoods clean up areas that city staff can't get to quickly.

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