Dallas City Councilwoman Vonciel Hill's Vision of a Car-Free Downtown

Categories: City Hall

TimesSquarePlaza.jpg
Payton Chung
Main Street Dallas circa 20??
Dallas City Councilwoman Vonciel Hill: steadfast opponent of LGBT rights, veteran race baiter, lover of poorly designed inner-city freeways, and ... passionate advocate for walkable urban spaces?

So it seems. During a lengthy City Council discussion this afternoon on a pilot program aimed at revolutionizing how Dallas does downtown parking through new services like Zipcar and smartphone apps, Hill turned to Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan.

"Ms. Jordan, I want us to look at the possibility of no vehicles in the [Central Business District]."

See also: Trinity Parkway Should Be Built Because Other Roads Were Built Elsewhere, Vonciel Hill Says

Not just no more parking meters. No more cars. Downtown -- the central part at least, around Main Street -- would basically become a big pedestrian mall.

Hill traced the idea to her time living in England about 20 years ago ago, when officials there (she was presumably referring to London) were first tossing around the idea of pedestrian-only zones.

They first tried to discourage cars by charging them for entering downtown during peak hours (this presumably a reference to London's congestion charge), but many drivers simply absorbed the fees and didn't change their behavior.

Finally, they opted to close certain roads to cars altogether.

Dallas, needless to say, isn't London, or New York, or Paris, or any one of the other cities that have performed high-profile experiments with car bans. Our downtown isn't exactly brimming with pedestrians, though Hill thinks relegating cars to the outskirts could help change that. Maybe not tomorrow, but "I really would like us to keep that point in mind as we move forward. At least keep it in the conversation."

Lest you think that Hill has been transformed into some forward-thinking hipster urbanist, keep in mind that this proposal was immediately proceeded by an equally impassioned rant about the need for parking meters to accept coins from now to eternity, because "I do not want to put a parking charge on my credit card."

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

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42 comments
manpanties
manpanties

such overreaction.  maybe some whittled down version of this would be great.  she is just throwing out the blank that gets whittled. 

swimonedal
swimonedal

that woman is completely nuts...

kduble
kduble

Even a broken clock is right 2x a day.

monstruss
monstruss

Vonciel Hill is a fucking fool, don't get me wrong, but to be fair...Denver has done something similar with their 16th St. Mall (http://16thstreetmalldenver.com/) and it's actually neat. They have two free electric buses running down either side of the street making regular stops that work as an incredibly efficient people mover, and definitely makes hoofing it through all of the new shops and restaurants that opened surprisingly nice. She's a moron, but this isn't so bad. 

Cliffhanger
Cliffhanger

Any chance Vonciel will move back to London?

gm0622
gm0622

Pardon my language folks.

What the fuck has she been smoking this time? some of the fake pot or taking bath salts?


Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Main Street, between Field and Ervay, could most certainly be a vehicle-free zone during the hours of 6 am until 3 am.  Notice I said "vehicle", which would include bicycles, skate boards, and any accoutrements such as roller blades. 

WhiteWhale
WhiteWhale

They cannot provide basic services like keeping the roads pot hole free but the 'world class' schemes are limitless.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

Morons, while we are at it, lets just ban ALL vehicle traffic downtown.  Then we can run off all of our downtown based corporations so the walkable Dallas  folks can walk freely to nothing.

lakewoodhobo
lakewoodhobo

Why are Hill and Caraway always saying DUMB, DUMB things about Main Street and downtown? They want pedestrian zones and riverwalks when all downtown really needs is a simple critical mass of residents. 


What she should've learned from London's congestion charge is that tolls didn't keep people from driving there just like building the Trinity Tollway won't ease congestion here. Man, I wish the Rapture would get here so she would just float away.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

There are busses, cabs, and what appears to be sidewalk anarchy in the photo. Poor representation of V-Hill's Grand Vision. But on the upside, the photo credit at first glance looks like "Peyote Chug"

casiepierce
casiepierce

facepalm facepalm facepalm facepalm facepalm.................

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

How would the morbidly obese attend those darn meetings in the Horseshoe?

Lemmee guess - the council would exempt their one-ton city meat wagons.

Are the rest of the towns in our fair Metroplex so tortured by their elected representatives?

Between the condom handouts, plastic bag fees, knocking down overpassess to improve access, and catering to the homeless demographic, this clown show is morphing into some kind of serial soap that has no off button.  A two-bit Twilight Zone less the B actors.  All the gusto of a tasteless porn movie without the porn.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

She just continues to expand the universe of fool.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@kduble  

Are you trying to imply that broken clocks are right far more often than Vonciel?

kduble
kduble

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Disagree. We should ban cars but permit everything else, including scooters, mopeds and Segways. Diversity means vitality!

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin

Downtown Dallas will be a mix of shared bicycles, Segways, electric skateboards, rollerblades and pedestrians. A target-rich environment for Jimmy-John guys.

kduble
kduble

@lakewoodhobo Downtown does need a critical mass of residents, but that isn't all it needs. A lot of residents can fit into Museum Tower, but when the layout doesn't promote interaction, little of their wealth gets spent below.


A few things downtown needs, for a start: 1) a construction ban on single-purpose structures, 2) an end to minimum parking requirements -- businesses are perfectly capable of determining such matters for themselves, 3) a moratorium on implosions, 4) no more demolition permits for surface parking -- if you're going to knock something down, you have to put something up in its place, 4) more sidewalk amenities, such as lighting, benches, waste receptacles, bus shelters and bicycle lockups. Main Street looks great, but we need this look on other streets, 5) a complete redo of City Hall Plaza, the worst-designed urban space on the planet, 6) a coffee shop in the library, 7) close Main Street between Record and Market to make one big park; replace it there with meandering sidewalks for pedestrians and Segways, and a path for bicycles, mopeds, skateboards, 8) bring buses back to Main Street, along with a streetcar, but ban personal motor vehicles; allow only vehicles with permits, including taxis, limos Uber, Lyft and similar service for drop off, but no parking.

d-may
d-may

@holmantx  I think you can thank Angela Hunt for that. It used to be a City Council reps job to sit back, take their kick-backs, and agree with staff for whatever the issue at hand. Then Angela Hunt came along and -you know- did things. She had to go off and treat the job like it was her job or something. Now every city council rep feels like they should do things, except most are complete idiots that shouldn't be doing anything. 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@TheRuddSki  and now Frontburner is polling its readers on if the want to get rid of I30.........


On a side note, traffic this morning was horrible due to I345 being shut down from a car fire.  IF that is anything close to resembling not having I345, fuck that

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@Oxtail @ScottsMerkinmaybe they should let them throw the broken down cars off the overpass.  Within 30 minutes of a slowdown on 345, all the surface streets in the area are hopelessly snarled anyway.

Besides, I'd kinda like to watch that from the train.

Oxtail
Oxtail

@The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley Those are the streets within the LBJ corridor for the people that live near or within that boundary. Those folks are probably already often taking those routes with all the LBJ construction anyway. Plus it's the same streets that one would take when one gets into their car and hears on the radio that Central Expressway is backed up because of any accident south of Forest Lane (which sounds like it happens every day). People north of LBJ would adjust their route to the East or West on 635 If their trip involved traveling past downtown Dallas.

The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley
The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley

@Oxtail

"Others would take Greenville ave, Hillcrest, Preston,  Midway, I-35, etc."  That is a lot of people commuting outside of the affected area who are being affected.    

Oxtail
Oxtail

@ScottsMerkin You would lose a lot of that traffic that came from the north of LBJ because they would re-route away from using Central. Others would take Greenville ave, Hillcrest, Preston,  Midway, I-35, etc. You would lose a lot of the southern traffic for similar reasons. Traffic from the east could use a myriad of choices. Opponents are using binary thinking, "if you take it away then what will replace it?" rather than septenary or octonary level thinking which is, "if you take it away, how can i adjust my routine?"

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Oxtail just FYI, I dont get on 345, but the traffic that uses it would eventually affect my route if gone, as I saw this morning.  There are good and bad to both, but no one has even put out an idea that makes sense and would actually work, and no, building a tollway in a flood way is not an idea

Oxtail
Oxtail

@ScottsMerkin  Its an option on mornings like this. I don't think tearing down I-345 will take away your route. It will just remove the blight surrounding your route. To me, a worse possible scenario with the teardown would add maybe 5-10 minutes on to other peoples' route. I think that is a fine exchange of time for the money that would be added to my city's tax base, not to mention how much more aesthetically pleasing and enjoyable our downtown area will be. 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Oxtail sweet. glad you could.  And nice to know you already have your route to work, why must you want to take other peoples routes away?

Oxtail
Oxtail

@ScottsMerkin No. It was nice and cool this morning. I rode my bike to work. I took the Santa Fe Trail and there was very little traffic.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Oxtail blah blah blah,  I knew the road was shutdown before I left.  Traffic was still a fucking mess.  Thousands of cars diverted onto other roadways and side streets.  were you over there this morning?

Oxtail
Oxtail

@ScottsMerkin  No. Had you known that I-345 was shut down before you got in your car this morning, you would have plotted a timely route to not use it. If I-345 was a street, a broken down car could easily be moved off to a side street and/or a tow truck/first responders could approach the situation from any direction . On I-345, they will not let you throw a broken car off the overpass so you have to wait in stopped traffic and hope that the tow truck, fire engine, and anyone else can squeeze through stopped traffic on a constricted freeway to remedy the problem.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@WylieH oh goody, I guess that means it will be worse!  Anyhow, nice work over on the aviation blog comments at DMN sir

NewsDog
NewsDog

@TheRuddSki   Hold on there a minute. I'm a diabetic and even in some of my most critical low-blood-sugar episodes I'm not as stupid as the esteemed members of the Council.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@casiepierce

The correlation between Myrna's trips to the bodega and reduced efficiency in Dallas government because of delayed and less-than-fresh Jimmy-John double-meat Italian subs is in chart #16.

But TheRuddski, as usual, has a solution for the low-blood-sugar hallucinatory episodes suffered by councileers which result in such flights of fancy and increases the safety of our lunchtime cycling heroes. Yes, another twitter campaign!

#keepmyrnaoffsidewalksatlunchtime.

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