Texas' Looming Texting-While-Driving Ban Will Only Give Cops Another Excuse to Pull You Over

Lord Jim via Flickr
On Wednesday, the Texas House overwhelmingly approved a statewide ban on texting while driving, the third session in a row where this has happened. In 2013, the measure died in the Senate. In 2011, it was killed by Governor Rick Perry, who vetoed it on the grounds that it was a "government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults." With Greg Abbott now in the Governor's Mansion, it has at least a marginally better shot of being signed into law.

That's too bad, because Texas' proposed texting ban, which would impose up to a $200 fine on repeat offenders, is a mess.

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American Institute of Architects Dallas Leaves No Doubt Where it Stands on Trinity Toll Road

Categories: Transportation

Thumbnail image for trinityfever1.jpg
The Trinity Trust
They're right, these are confusing.
It's not about the road. It's about the park.

So says the American Institute of Architects Dallas chapter, which released a statement Wednesday condemning the long-planned, under-funded Trinity toll road.

AIA Dallas supports a great Trinity Park as essential to the future health and prosperity of Dallas. Any highway similar to the Trinity Toll Road will divide our city and destroy the park's unique potential and its recreational, economic, and environmental benefits. We oppose the Trinity Toll Road; it is an outdated approach from the past and will not solve the current or future mobility needs of our region.
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Dallas Finally Fixed the Pot Hole from Hell, and It Looks Lovely

Categories: Transportation

Amy Silverstein
This used to be a terrible pot hole, but now it has been repaired.
For two long weeks, workers at the Carmel Car Wash on Mockingbird Lane heard a constant "bang bang" sound. It wasn't gunshots. It was cars going through a pot hole so bad that complaints of tire blow-outs were common. In the Lakewood Advocate, Rick Wamre wrote four days ago that the pot hole cost his son $197. On Facebook, Lee Harvey's warned everyone about blown-out tires, bent rims and a DART bus that drove over the hazard marker that was placed for the pot hole, sending more hapless souls into the hole's clutches.

Finally, sometime late Tuesday, the city of Dallas repaired the pot hole, just before we managed to get out there to snap a picture of the MOAPH*. Sure, now the city's efficient. Not that we're bitter.

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Watch Sparks Fly and an Evacuation as DART Train Gets Stuck on Bridge in Carrollton

Categories: Transportation

Blake Taylor via Youtube
Overhead electric lines spark near DART's Downtown Carrollton Green Line station.
We've been highly critical of DART's handling of winter weather here at Unfair Park. The agency's cuts to bus service during inclement weather leave Dallas without adequate public transit at the time when it's most needed.

That being said, the limits Winter Weather Scenario One places on rail service make sense, given the limitations of trains powered by overhead electrical lines. Last night's ordeal endured by a train full of passengers who got stuck near downtown Carrollton show why.

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DART Severely Cuts Service Due to Bad Weather, Is an Embarrassment to Us All

Categories: Transportation

Dallas Area Rapid Transit
Icy DART power lines in December 2013
In advance of the thundersleet-bearing storm that's currently causing a minor inconvenience throughout North Texas, Dallas Area Rapid Transit put its new winter weather contingency plan into effect for the first time.

It was fitting capper to AIA Dallas' car-free week: Dallas' already suspect public transit system significantly cutting service just in time for the type of day that could most benefit from there being fewer cars on the road.

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Dallas Woman Gets Her Towed Car Back, Minus $1,400 She Had Inside

The last time we wrote about Excalibur towing, the person whose car had been towed wondered if someone broke into her car to rip off her parking sticker, possibly causing her car to be towed -- assuming the sticker went missing before her car was hauled away instead of after. "The only explanation I have is that it either fell off and I didn't notice it or someone took it off," the woman said.

Now, a different person whose car was recently towed by Excalibur says that $1,400 she had in her car disappeared somewhere along the line before she got it back.

See also: A "Missing" Parking Sticker, a Bus Ride and a Miscarriage: A Dallas Towing Nightmare

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Former State Senator John Carona Joins PAC Supporting I-345 Demolition

Categories: Transportation

Matthew Rutledge via Flickr
When word came down Tuesday of a new PAC intended to support getting rid of Interstate 345, the freeway bridge that cleaves downtown Dallas from Deep Ellum and connects I-45 to U.S. 75, one of the most interesting names listed among the PAC's supporters was former state Senator John Carona.

Carona, who was ousted by a primary challenge from the Tea Party-backed Don Huffines, has stuck his neck out on the Trinity toll road as well, changing his mind on a project he'd long backed. We gave Carona a call to ask him about I-345 and his change of heart.

"If we don't take a much broader look at economic development and planning in the city, the day will come, I'd argue sooner rather than later, when people simply can't afford to live in Dallas anymore and the continued migration to the suburbs only accelerates," he says.

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Whatever You Do, Don't Take I-30 Through Oak Cliff Friday Night

Categories: Transportation

Google Maps
Artist rendering of I-30 Friday night.
Lest you consider, not that you would, heading to Arlington for any pre-Valentine's Day fun via I-30, Unfair Park has a few words of advice: Don't. Unless you don't care if you actually make it back to Dallas.

TxDOT will be closing the two left lanes of the eastbound side of the freeway between Westmoreland Road to Loop 12 in Oak Cliff so the agency can "change the traffic pattern" of that stretch of Tom Landry Freeway.

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Meet the Beetles: DFW Customs Agents Keep Finding "the World's Most Destructive Insect"

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol
Gross. Khapra beetle larvae.
The khapra beetle, considered the world's most destructive insect, has popped up in DFW luggage screens on five different occasions in recent months. In each instance, the beetle has been found in dried food a passenger was attempting to get past customs, despite not declaring the packages of rice, dried beans, coriander seeds or fava beans on customs forms. The packaged food originated in India and Sudan.

The beetles present a tremendous threat to the United States' food supply if they were to enter the country in large numbers. According to Customs and Border Patrol Port Director Cleatus Hunt, the "consume and contaminate stored grains like rice, wheat and oats.

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Sites Selected for Potential Dallas-to-Houston Bullet Train Station

Texas Central Railway
The first potential site, completely south of Interstate 30.
Texas Central High-Speed Railway, the private company backing high-speed rail that, potentially, would provide service from DFW to Houston in 90 minutes, announced two preferred sites for its Dallas hub as well as a development partnership Friday morning.

The preferred station sites, part of a list of seven submitted to the feds for environmental evaluation, are both located just southeast of Union Station downtown. The first is an undeveloped tract of land just south of I-30 in the Cedars. The second connects a portion of that area to the area surrounding the convention center and the Omni by bridging I-30.

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