Dallas City Council OKs Studying a Low-Speed Trinity Parkway, but Toll Road Plan Still Lives

Categories: Transportation

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for trinitycommonsnewwatercolor.JPG
Trinity Commons Foundation
The Trinity River toll road, that high-speed, six- to 10-lane highway between the levees that even Mayor Mike Rawlings' appointed "Dream Team" of urban planners said was a truly bad idea, is not dead. It's just looking a little peaked after a long, crowded City Council meeting where toll road opponents still couldn't muster the strength to kill what's the highway -- aka Alternative 3C -- in favor of the meandering, low-speed parkway the Dream Team and loads of former highway supporters now say is the best option for the Trinity.

The council did agree to implement a study about implementing (yes, that's right) the Dream Team's parkway proposal, but good old Alternative 3C is still an option.

Not that it will necessarily rise again like Christopher Lee in a Dracula movie, but that wouldn't be a bad way to bet, given the project's history. If you've followed this issue for a while, what you're feeling right about now is called deja vu.


More »

With the Trinity River Corridor, It's Always the Tail Wagging the Dog

Thumbnail image for trinityparkwaytollroad.JPG
At this late date, exactly where the idea for the Trinity toll road sprang from, and how it metastasized from a pleasant country lane into a beauty-killing concrete monstrosity, is a moot point. The project long ago developed its own queer logic and momentum and became, in a way, untethered from facts and history.

But understanding the history is important, as it illustrates how policies can be shaped by powerful interests and insider deals. In his piece on the toll road this morning, The Dallas Morning News' Brandon Formby lays out the broad strokes of the Trinity Parkway's history. The common thread is that engineering firm Halff Associates kept pushing the project and kept making money. To wit:

More »

Everybody's Getting in Line With Rawlings' Dream Team's Recommendations. So What?

Categories: Transportation

Thumbnail image for trinitycommonsnewwatercolor.JPG
Trinity Commons Foundation
The public reaction to Mayor Mike Rawling's "Dream Team's" coming-out party yesterday has been startling for its lack of cynicism. D Magazine Editor Tim Rogers wrote a piece headlined "Larry Beasley Just Killed the Trinity Toll Road" -- Beasley is the leader of the Dream Team. The Morning News ran a glowing editorial officially changing its position on the potential road through a Trinity River park, and the American Institute of Architects in Dallas issued a statement Wednesday saying it supported the plan.

See also: Trinity Toll Road "Dream Team" Says Dallas Does Not Need Highway Through a Park

All of this despite the fact, as Dallas City Council member Philip Kingston made clear, that it's hard not to feel déjà vu. Each time Dallas has been promised a low-speed, meandering parkway, the plan's slowly evolved into a big, honking freeway. Forgive us, but as long as Alternative 3C -- the plan that requires any road to be built on a shelf large enough to accommodate six lanes plus shoulders, minimum -- is the only thing that's been approved by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Highway Administration, it's hard not to be dubious. Still, let's acknowledge the possibility that things could be different this time, if only because thinking we live in a deterministic universe can be depressing.

More »

Over Objections from Law Enforcement, Texas Senate Panel Moves to Kill Red Light Cameras

Categories: Transportation

RedflexFlickr.jpg
Yousuf Fahimuddin
Police from across the state lined up at a hearing of the Texas Senate's Transportation Committee to vouch for red light cameras. The cameras are not merely revenue generators, they prevent accidents and injuries, officers said.

"If I could put a police officer on every corner where I have a dangerous intersection, we would have [a] change of driver behavior," William Breedlove, a Corpus Christi police officer, said. "This is just a different way of using technology to gather information, and then a police officer looks at that information and determines whether a violation has occurred."

Breedlove testified against SB 714, legislation written by Senator Bob Hall that would ban any additional red light cameras and prevent cities from collecting the civil fines that fund current cameras.

More »

Dallas' New Streetcar Makes Its First Trip, Will Be Cool Once It Goes Somewhere

Categories: Transportation

dartstreetcar.jpg
Dallas Area Rapid Transit
Ooh, look. A train.
The trains themselves are pretty damn neat. Slick, good looking and capable of operating without overhead wires, the city of Dallas' new Union Station to Oak Cliff streetcar looks the way one might wish the transit authority's light rail vehicles looked. The thing is, and this should change later this year, the new baubles follow a route that doesn't go anywhere.

After a train-led ribbon cutting ceremony this morning, the new streetcar finally made its first public trip, connecting Union Station to the intersection of Beckley Avenue and Colorado Boulevard in Oak Cliff. Eventually, the train, built in part with $23 million in federal grant funds and at a total cost of about $50 million, will connect the Omni Convention Center hotel to the Bishop Arts District and may link-up to the McKinney Avenue Trolley at some point. That's good, because as it stands, the thing connects Cindi's Deli downtown to the Oak Cliff El Fenix and not much else.


More »

Uber Beats Cabs for Dallas Business Users, Report Says

Categories: Transportation

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for YellowCabsFlickr.jpg
Jack Keene via Flickr
Just before Dallas' revamped transportation-for-hire regulations go into effect on April 30, a new report shows how deep of a foothold app-based car service Uber has carved into the city.

Dallas and San Francisco are the the two cities that saw more business users take trips in an Uber car than in a cab, according to Certify, a travel and expense software company. Fifty-six percent of paid car-rides by business users in Dallas were taken with Uber during the first quarter in 2015, more than double the 27 percent share Uber rides took in the first three months of 2014. Lyft, another ride-sharing app that many see as Uber's competition, barely made a blip on the expensed-trip radar, accounting for less than 1 percent of business rides nationally, according to Certify.

More »

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

TextingDrivingLordJimFlickr.jpg
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.

More »

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.
More »

Dallas Finally Fixed the Pot Hole from Hell, and It Looks Lovely

Categories: Transportation

potholefromhell.jpg
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.


More »

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

Categories: Transportation

dartsparksyoutube.JPG
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.

More »
Loading...