City News Roundup

Last-gasp DART disruption adds urgency to this week's city news in Dallas

Last-gasp DART disruption adds urgency to this week's Dallas city news

Dart train
DART's West End is one of the downtown stops closed this weekend. Photo by Claire St. Amant
Austin Photo Set: News_Ryan_plastic bags_Dec 2011_reusable bags
Coming to Dallas January 1.
Trinity River toll road rendering
Our favorite photo for any city news roundup. Photo courtesy of Trinity River Corridor Project
Dart train
Austin Photo Set: News_Ryan_plastic bags_Dec 2011_reusable bags
Trinity River toll road rendering

Surprise last-minute weekend shut-down of DART and some toll road ruminations are in the highlights of news around Dallas this week. And get your canvas bags ready, you're going to need them soon.

DART downtown shutdown
Just as it did over Thanksgiving weekend, DART is shutting down train operations through downtown stations to continue replacement of aging tracks. The lines are shut down between Victory and Union stations to Pearl/Arts District. They've brought back buses to shuttle riders through the affected downtown stops.

This might be relevant if you're attending the Dallas Mavericks-San Antonio Spurs game or one of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concerts at American Airlines Center. (Although one might ask, "Really, TSO? Why why why?")

According to DART, rail replacement near Houston Street could not be completed as planned "due to inclement weather the weekend of November 22-23." Uh huh, DART, "inclement weather," likely story.

Bag ban coming
The day is nearly upon us when plastic bags will no longer be handed out for free at stores. Beginning January 1, single-use bags will have a 5-cent fee. If that was too hard for you to read, the City of Dallas made a pointless video "explaining" it with grating music and a list that reads 1) we spend millions on litter, and 2) you can avoid paying a fee by bringing your own bag. The video so far has received 244 views and nine likes; maybe the city's green department had money it had to spend before the end of 2014?

I want candy
The "dream team" of outsider urban planners hired by the Trinity toll road advocates "quietly" began their work this month. Former city council member Angela Hunt comes through with a metaphor, comparing the design forum situation to a 2-year-old asking for candy, with us being the 2-year-old asking for a decent resolution and the toll road advocates being the parents who say we can have the candy later in the hopes that we'll forget what we asked for.

One clever commenter on that DMN story recommends that the dream team create a design so terrible that the road can't ever be built. "If you are going to play their game, then make it toxic," 1DalM says.

Toll road vs. bird sanctuaries
Following a town hall meeting in early December about the toll road, the Dallas Observer outlines the way Dallas politicians forced the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to approve the toll road, despite its objections. Former Mayor Tom Leppert persuaded U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison to get the road exempted from a law that protects parks from being damaged by highways.

"Unlike the rest of America, Dallas can jam its toll road through parks, recreation areas, game refuges, bird sanctuaries and any and all types of historic sites, and the feds can say nothing about it," Jim Schutze observes.

Katy Trail mid-rise vs. Highland Park
There was back-and-forth this week on the seven-story, multi-family apartment complex planned along the Katy Trail, which the Town of Highland Park does not want. On December 17, Judge Craig Smith denied Highland Park's request for a temporary injunction against the building, saying that Highland Park's protests are not valid. Highland Park officials say they're considering their options and have not ruled out an appeal.