TxDOT Is Unmoved by Claims a Dallas Company's Guardrails Are Maiming Drivers

Categories: Transportation

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thisisbossi
Guardrails are supposed to save you from your own poor driving, but may sometimes kill you instead.
Since 1999, the guardrails manufactured by Dallas' Trinity Industries have been credited with saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of drivers across the country. Trinity's popular older guardrail design, called the ET-2000, is supposed to roll back when struck by cars, absorbing some of the impact and lowering the risk that the people inside the car will get seriously hurt or die.

But in 2005, Trinity Industries altered the design of its guardrail model, shaving off about an inch of metal on each guardrail. It was a minor change, the company has claimed, and one it said wasn't implemented to cut costs, even though a 20/20 news investigation this month uncovered emails from Trinity's own engineers calculating that the change would save the company $2 per each guardrail.

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Surprise! Yellow Cab's New App Looks Just Like Uber's

Categories: Transportation

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Uber, Curb and Lyft App Screenshots
Familial resemblance?
They've tried to beat them at the City Council, they're still trying to beat them with Michael Morris and the NCTCOG, now Yellow Cab is trying to join Uber and Lyft by offering an app that consumers might actually want to use.

See also: Vonciel Hill and Michael Morris Join Forces and Seek Delay on Car-Service Regulations

As you can see, Yellow Cab's newly rechristened Curb app is what would happen if Uber's app was skinned with its competitor Lyft's color scheme. Functionally, Curb seems to behave similarly to Uber's and Lyft's apps as well, down to the referral bonuses. You pinpoint your location with your smartphone's GPS and a cab is dispatched to you. Curb relies on Yellow Cab dispatchers, which means your cab will take anywhere between five minutes and six years to arrive.

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Texans Think They Can Solve Traffic With Retimed Traffic Lights

Categories: Transportation

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Jack Keene
If only the traffic lights weren't mistimed.
Breathe easy, Texas. Your long-term transportation needs -- the one lawmakers and policy experts have been fretting about for years -- have officially been solved. The masses, in their wisdom, which the Texas Transportation Institute has distilled in a just-published survey, have settled on a sure-fire way to address the state's congestion issues: Texas needs to do a better job of timing stop lights.

Tweaking traffic signals wasn't the only congestion cure respondents overwhelmingly endorsed. Their second favorite was "doing a better job of managing accidents."

Such results underscore a fundamental challenge in dealing with Texas' transportation needs in a meaningful way. Voters are in favor of solutions only so long as they involve no inconvenience and don't cost anything.

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NCTCOG Seems Pretty Enthusiastic about Letting a Dallas Company Build Texas' First Private Toll Road

Categories: Transportation

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via North Central Texas Council of Governments
The NCTCOG held its last public meeting about a new tollway proposal that is still being studied, in the ultimate Catch-22.

A few years ago, a private, Dallas-based corporation announced it would like to build a private toll road, all with its own money, connecting northeast Dallas County to somewhere around Greenville, running basically parallel to the Interstate 30 and passing near Lake Lavon and Lake Ray Hubbard. The Texas Turnpike Corp., has been so enthusiastic about its idea that the North Central Texas Council of Governments, the regional transportation planning agency, has agreed to get involved and examine it.

The tollway is just an idea that's being studied, the agency's transportation department director Michael Morris has assured the worried property owners whose land might be in the route's way. It's not a done deal, officials have said, and they don't even know where exactly the route would go, if they find the toll road is necessary at all.

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In Battle Pitting TxDOT Regulations Against The Ten Commandments, God Wins

Categories: Transportation

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Brent Moore
This is an example of a Ten Commandments sign that would not be OK with TxDOT, even under its newer, hipper and more constitutional sign regulations.
The Texas Department of Transportation's sign regulations are so strict that the agency once said that even the commandments of the Lord would require a permit. But the woman who owned the Ten Commandments sign in question fought back, and it seems that TxDOT is finally putting its rules into perspective. Now Texan homeowners who live along highways are free to warn passing drivers about what they shall not do, as long as they can keep the message on a sign that's smaller than 96 square feet.

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Trinity Toll Road is One of Nation's Biggest "Highway Boondoggles," Says New Report

Categories: Transportation

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Opposition to the Trinity Toll Road hasn't quite reached the torrential flood that will be needed to sweep it into oblivion, but there's at least a decent-sized stream that's been growing, drop by drop as former supporters realize it's a terrible idea.

This morning, the Texas Public Interest Research Group adds another drop with the release of its report, "Highway Boondoggles: Wasted Money and America's Transportation Future." The Trinity Parkway, according to the group, is one of the 11 stupidest highway projects in the U.S.

The specific arguments against the project -- that it will irreparably mar the planned riverside park, that it will hamstring a resurgent Downtown that is already ringed by freeways, that it won't really relieve congestion, etc. -- are well-established by now.

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Oak Cliff Streetcar Is Paid For, Inexplicably Stalled

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DART
When these cars start rolling, they won't really go anywhere.
In a memo prepared in advance of Dallas City manager A.C. Gonzalez' first of what he promises to be periodic progress report to the City Council, council member Scott Griggs outlined multiple issues with the city's Trinity office and transportation department. Among them is the stagnation of the Oak Cliff streetcar project meant to connect the Omni hotel downtown to the Bishop Arts District.

"In this department you've got the failing to do due diligence in the hiring of the convicted animal abuser to run the horse park, you've got the Houston Street viaduct not getting timely repairs and you have this [the failure to proceed with the streetcar project], the department is absolutely paralyzed," Griggs says.

Phase one of the project only goes the 1.6 miles from Union Station to the intersection of Beckley and Colorado, stopping about three quarters of mile short of Bishop Arts. Until phases two and three are complete, the streetcar doesn't really go anywhere.

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DART's Allegedly Public Board Meetings Are Locked Down Like Guantanamo

Categories: Transportation

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Flickr user Jeff Stvan
If you're looking for popcorn-worthy fireworks at a public transit-related public meeting, your best bet is to watch the Dallas City Council decide who should represent the city on the DART board, an exercise that invariably descends, as so many other discussions at City Hall do, into a bitter racial skirmish. The DART board meetings themselves, by contrast, tend to be eye-gougingly boring, filled with arcane discussions of insurance policies and widget contracts.

But the DART board is important, controlling almost a half-billion dollars in local sales tax money and setting policies that will shape Dallas and the region for decades to come. If Joe Q. Taxpayer wants a say in how that happens, he's welcome to stop by and drop his two cents.

He's technically welcome, that is. If he actually makes the trek to DART's headquarters at 1401 Pacific, chances are he won't feel very welcome.

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DART Is Wooing the Exurbs, but It's Losing to Texoma

Categories: Transportation

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Brace yourself, Dallas transit users. We're here to break some tough news: DART is losing.

We don't mean that the agency, now three decades old, has largely failed to woo people out of their cars. That's true, but it's not entirely DART's fault. Neither to we mean that the focus on building a commuter-centered hub-and-spoke system has come at the expense of a denser and more sustainable urban transportation network. There's room there for philosophical disagreement.

The loss we're referring to is far, far more humiliating, because of whom DART is losing to: the Texoma Area Paratransit System.

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Vonciel Hill and Michael Morris Join Forces and Seek Delay on Car-Service Regulations

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Jack Keene
Would be first among equals.
You could see the dark clouds gathering Monday morning. Word had come down from somewhere near Michael Morris' Arlington compound that someone from the North Central Texas Council of Governments was going to make a contribution to the city's interminable discussion about regulating Uber, Lyft, Yellow Cab and any other transportation-for-hire service.

See also: Never Try to Take Public Transit to DFW Transportation King Michael Morris' House

That person, it turned out, was Morris himself, who showed up at the Dallas City Council's transportation committee meeting to regale Vonciel Jones Hill and her charges with the dangers of the city going it alone in the fight to protect citizens from any car service that isn't Yellow Cab.

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