Dallas Councilwoman Vonciel Hill: I-345 Tear-down Would Be a Disaster

Categories: Transportation

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The Dallas Morning News' Brandon Formby spent days, maybe weeks, trying to chase down Councilwoman Vonciel Jones Hill to get her views on tearing down I-345, the short nub of freeway dividing Deep Ellum from downtown. She wouldn't talk, twice begging off because she was too busy, then just not returning phone calls.

Hill, chair of Dallas' Transportation and Trinity River Corridor Committee and one of the city's four representatives on the powerful Regional Transportation Council, will have a strong voice in deciding the fate of 345. She put any doubt about her position to rest at Thursday's RTC meeting in Arlington.

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Unpaid NTTA Tolls Can Apparently Land You In Jail

Categories: Transportation

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Florence Moka
Of late, the North Texas Tollway Authority has been testing out a host of new methods to encourage drivers to pay their tolls. The agency will block your vehicle registration and impound your car. It will publicly shame you. It will sue you.

Sometimes, though, nothing works as well as a good, old-fashioned jailing, like the one given to alleged toll scofflaw Florence Moka.

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Transportation Planners Hesitant to Tear Down I-345, Because Poor People

Categories: Transportation

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The Texas Department of Transportation and its transportation-planning surrogates have unsheathed their latest weapon against the proposal to tear down I-345, and that weapon is poor people.

The argument was first voiced by Dallas Morning News editorial writer Rodger Jones, who wondered a few days ago why the urban types so eager to rid the city of the two-mile stretch of freeway separating downtown and Deep Ellum weren't equally concerned about S.M. Wright, which bisects a poor, black neighborhood in southern Dallas. As Zac Crain pointed out on Frontburner, Jones' argument is based on some faulty assumptions and just so happened to mirror TxDOT's talking points.

Yesterday, North Central Texas Council of Governments transportation director Michael Morris played the poor-people card once again, telling the DMN that the freeway is used heavily by the residents of South and East Dallas, many of whom are poor minorities. He referenced a meeting he attended recently with tear-down proponents.

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Dallas Now Has a Bike Task Force, and It's Hellbent on Killing the Helmet Law

Categories: Transportation

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Philip Kingston for City Council
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, with Dallas City Council members Philip Kingston and Lee Kleinman at the Northaven Trail on Saturday.
In case you missed it, NPR ran a piece yesterday about Texas' moderately surprising move toward bike-friendliness. The state, especially its cities, have been adding trails, bike lanes and pro-cycling policies at a respectable, if not quite Portland-esque, clip. Just look at Dallas' ambitious bike plan, with its plans to lay out 1,100 miles of bike lanes over the next decade.

What the story doesn't mention is that City Hall has been slow-walking implementation of the bike plan ever since it was finished in 2011. Sharrows -- car lanes with the bicycle icons on them -- aren't hard to find, but the more substantial bike infrastructure that's been promised (i.e. dedicated bike lanes) has been slower in coming.

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Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings: Fix I-345 First, Talk About Teardown Later

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Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings is still officially on the fence about tearing down I-345, the two-mile stretch of freeway between downtown and Deep Ellum. He's spent the last several months meeting with, in his words, "local business leaders, concerned citizens and the Texas Department of Transportation."

Even after meeting Tuesday with TxDOT district engineer Bill Hale, Rawlings hasn't officially decided on what the freeway's ultimate fate should be. He did, however, say that, in the near-term, repair is the only option.

"Canceling or postponing renovations will increase safety concerns for travelers on the highway, and I refuse to compromise the safety of our citizens for any idea, regardless of its merit," he said in a statement released Tuesday evening.

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Dallas Executive Airport's Neighbors Say The City's Been Tight-Lipped About Renovation Plans

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Eric Salard
Dallas Executive Airport
Karen Cameron doesn't spend much time in her front garden anymore. Her yard, though separated from Dallas Executive Airport by Ledbetter Drive and a winding, tree-lined front driveway, is made unbearable, or at the very least extremely unpleasant, by the roaring engines and noxious jet fuel that waft over from the nearest runway.

Cameron more or less accepts that this as part of the bargain. Planes are loud, jet fuel stinks, and neither noise nor smell cares much for property boundaries. She just doesn't want it to get any worse, and she's worried the city's $35 million runway expansion could do just that. Or maybe not.

"I'm not saying that I am against it," she says. "I'm just saying they've [the city] not been transparent."

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DART Will Open its Long-Awaited DFW Airport Train Station in August

Categories: Transportation

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When intrepid Observerer Amy Silverstein recently took DART to DFW International Airport, she missed her hypothetical flight and narrowly avoided being devoured by coyotes. She ultimately discovered that there was a bus that took her to the terminal, but the trip was long, arduous and complicated.

That problem will be solved on August 18 when, four months ahead of schedule, DART is set to open an Orange Line station at the airport. The station is located between International Parkway and the North Service Road, near Terminal A.

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Adventures in a Car-Free Dallas: You Can Take DART to the Airport, but Beware the Coyotes

Categories: Transportation

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As part of our look this week at what it means to live in Dallas without a car, Amy Silverstein put DART to the test to see how well it could get her from our offices at Oak Lawn and Maple avenues to D/FW International.

There's a United Airlines flight leaving Dallas at 6:33 p.m. on a Wednesday. Google Maps tells me I can get there in an hour and 15 minutes by public transit if I catch a 4:23 p.m. bus outside the Dallas Observer office, and then take the TRE, then take another bus and then walk for half a mile. Two transfers and a 10-minute walk? That's not bad at all.

It says I will arrive by 5:38, giving me just enough time to run through the airport and barely make it for boarding time. I accept this challenge.

See also: Adventures in a Car-Free Dallas: I Want My Damn Car Back
Adventures in a Car-Free Dallas: Cabbies Find Ways to Survive in a Tough Business
Adventures in a Car-rFee Dallas: Which Transportation Alternative Is Right for You?
Adventures in a Car-Free Dallas: Catching a Ride Where Cabbies Fear to Tread


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Adventures in a Car-Free Dallas: Which Transportation Alternative Is Right for You?

Categories: Transportation

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Don't have a car but the bus isn't your style? As part of our look at car-free Dallas living, Amy Silverstein weighs the pros and cons of other ways to get there from here.

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Pro: Even if you're partying in a sketchy part of town, calling Yellow Cab guarantees that the operator will say, "We'll send the next available driver, with an estimated wait time of 20 to 30 minutes." Awesome!
Con: Sometimes the operator is lying.

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Adventures in a Car-Free Dallas: Catching a Ride Where Cabbies Fear to Tread

Categories: Transportation

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Critics of Uber say that without the heavy hand of city regulation, the app-based limo dispatching company won't serve residents in poor neighborhoods. Critics of Yellow Cab complain that's pretty much how things often work now. For our look at living car-free in Big D, Amy Silverstein pitted Yellow Cab vs. Uber to see who would come fastest when she called from a places drivers might prefer to avoid.

3 p.m. I am sitting in front of 2015 Masters Drive in Dallas, once the home of Bruton Food Beer & Wine, now an empty storefront in a half-empty plaza in Pleasant Grove. What are the chances that either Yellow Cab or Uber will come to an empty plaza in Pleasant Grove? Let's find out.

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