DART Rail Not Running Downtown Tomorrow, Adding Delays for Christmas Shoppers

Categories: Transportation

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Dallas Area Rapid Transit
DART says these bus routes will get you around the rail closure downtown this weeknd.
After this weekend, lord willing, DART's replacement of downtown's light rail track will finally be over. The work was scheduled to be done at the end of November, but bad weather has forced the final weekend of work to be pushed to tomorrow and Sunday, leaving Christmas shoppers downtown and all points south and east in a lurch.

For DART, using the upcoming weekend as a contingency is the lesser of multiple evils. It couldn't use December 6 and 7 because of the Adolphus Children's Parade and it couldn't use December 13 and 14 because of the marathon. Letting the work slide into January means greater potential for winter storms and conflict with the first College Football Playoff championship. The phases of the replacement, DART spokesman Morgan Lyons says, each require two full days of work, so missing one day means missing the whole weekend.

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It's Over: New Dallas Transportation-for-Hire Ordinance to Take Effect April 30

Categories: Transportation

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Screenshots from Uber, Lyft and Curb (Yellow Cab's app).
Starting in the spring of 2015, cabs, limos and app-based services like Uber will operate on a reasonably level playing field.

That's the end result of months of wrangling that culminated with three and a half hours of debate before the Dallas City Council voted 13-2 to approve a transportation-for-hire ordinance that will allow the app-based services to operate in Dallas with the city's OK. Only Dwaine Caraway and Carolyn Davis voted no.

All of the services' drivers will be required to carry commercial insurance when carrying paying passengers. All drivers will have to get a city permit and pass a background check. All vehicles being driven for the services will have to pass a city inspection.

All of the groups affected by the ordinance -- except for one -- urged its passing. They may not have been happy with all of its provisions -- the driver licensing is particularly onerous for UberX and Lyft drivers that only drive part-time -- but recognized the importance of creating a way for all the players to conduct business in Dallas under a consistent standard.

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Yellow Cab President Sees Writing on Wall, Makes Last Ditch Plea to Stop Uber

Categories: Transportation

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Flickr
This whole thing is almost over. We hope.
All signs point to the Dallas City Council adopting a new transportation-for-hire ordinance at their Wednesday meeting. The ordinance, fought over for more than a year, attempts to level the playing field for cabs -- dominated by Yellow Cab in Dallas -- and app-based services like Uber and Lyft. To this point, the tech services have been connecting riders and car services in unregulated, quasi-legal purgatory. Under the new rules, they will be required to hire certified drivers, perform background checks and guarantee anyone driving for them is carrying an appropriate level of insurance.

Jack Bewley, president of Yellow Cab and major contributor to many of the City Council members who've fought the new plan, doesn't think the regulations do enough. He sent out a warning Monday night: If the council doesn't reject the new ordinance, Dallas will become "the next New Delhi."

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D-Link Ridership Higher Than Expected, Will Get Even Better With Route Improvements

Categories: Transportation

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DART
I love this photo very, very much.
The D-Link has to be considered a success. The city-funded, DART-operated, free-to-ride circulator has done what it was created to do: connect many of Dallas' entertainment districts -- Bishop Arts, Downtown Dallas, the Arts District and Victory Plaza -- at a reasonable frequency. It's the only bus line that runs at least every 15 minutes during all of its operating hours.

Monday, the city found out that residents and visitors are actually riding the thing, too. Before the D-Link began running in November 2013, DART projected an average of 517 riders would take the hot pink buses each weekday. In January 2014, D-Link ridership exceeded that number for the first time -- 549 riders got on the buses every weekday -- and the most recent month reported by DART, October 2014, saw an average of 1,060 people use the D-Link each weekday.

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After Thanksgiving Parking Nightmare, Love Field to Add 4,000 Spots

Categories: Transportation

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City of Dallas
By midday Thanksgiving, Love Field's 4,000 parking spaces weren't enough. Each one had been sold and parked in, leaving those arriving to take afternoon flights circling hopelessly or forced to go home and take DART back to the airport. The influx of cars can be blamed on more than just the holiday; with the elimination of the Wright Amendment, there are 36 more flights leaving Love Field every day than there were at this time last year.

Next year, the number of flights leaving the airport each day is expected to increase even further, from 148 daily departures to 190. Basically, as bad as Thanksgiving was, the major travel holidays next year will be even worse. Despite a 2008 forecast that predicted the airport had enough spaces to meet demand through 2018, Love Field needs more spaces -- or a major change in culture that makes people previously unwilling to take the train willing to do so -- as soon as possible.

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DART Survey Results Show Riders Are Pretty Decent Transit Planners

Categories: Transportation

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Dallas Area Rapid Transit
The results are in from a survey we told you about earlier this month in which DART riders about things like frequency and what the agency could do better as it preps its latest 10-year plan.

Turns out, the riders did a really good job.

On the frequency question, the one where only one of the choices could reasonably be described as frequent, the results were overwhelming. Eighty-nine percent of those surveyed said 10-15 minutes was "reasonable frequency" for peak hours. Not a single person said 45 minutes or 60 minutes was frequent. In each of the other time frames DART asked about -- midday, night and weekends -- respondents also chose the most frequent option available (20 minutes).

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Dallas Tows That Went Horribly So Wrong That Someone Was Maimed Or Killed

Categories: Transportation

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Greg Houston
A Dallas tow company called Longhorn Wrecker may soon owe the state $88,900 in fines over towing violations. Reached for comment a few weeks ago, a bitter company representative said it was "all bullshit" and that his company had never been in trouble before. He apparently wasn't taking into account the civil lawsuit that, court records show, Longhorn Wrecker settled earlier this year with the family of a former employee who was killed on the job. The worker was shot and killed by an angry car owner, but his survivors would later blame Longhorn for putting him in a dangerous and violent situation.

The case, though unusual, isn't completely isolated. Over the past four years, there's been a few towing disputes that turned violent and deadly between employees of Dallas towing companies and pedestrians.

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Philip Kingston Is Pissed About the Mayor's Trinity Toll Road Breakfast

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Here you go, Mr. Mayor.
One thing is clear after Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings' 15-minute speech Wednesday at a Trinity Groves breakfast: It can't possibly be about what he said it was about. There is no way that after all the time, all the "balloon juice," that's been expelled over the issue, that he can possibly be befuddled over what the road will look like or how he feels about it.
"I don't understand how a guy can be the mayor of Dallas and say that he's confused about this project. I don't think that's acceptable," says Philip Kingston, Dallas City Council member and curator of the Trinity Toll Road Naughty and Nice List.


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There's Now a Charmingly Rudimentary McKinney Avenue Trolley Live Map

Categories: Transportation

The McKinney Avenue Transit Authority has heard your cry, trolley rider for whom 15 minutes is just too long of a wait. The Uptown transportation provider now has a live map showing where each of its vehicles is at any given time.

It is exactly what it looks like in the screenshot above. Flat pictures of trolley cars moving on a flat Google maps background. Look at it long enough, and it's actually pretty soothing, almost as good as it will be to watch Uptowners who waited until the last possible moment sprint to get on.

Anchia Survey Finds That Everybody Hates the Damn Trinity Toll Road

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Rafael Anchia
And the survey says...
The results are in from state Representative Rafael Anchia's survey of Dallas residents' feelings about the Trinity toll road. They are exactly what you'd expect.

Of 1,014 respondents who reported Dallas ZIP codes, only 42 said they supported the toll road, and 955 were against the toll road and. Somewhat inexplicably, 17 people cared enough to log in and take the survey but said they needed more information about a project that's been in the works for more than 15 years.

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