City News Roundup

Toll road body-check clobbers Dallas news this week

Toll road body-check clobbers Dallas news this week

Beasley Trinity toll road
This dreamy photo of the Trinity toll road shows more park than road. Photo courtesy Trinity Common Foundation

The week opened with a damning meeting on the toll road that likely did not go as advocates hoped. There was a yes vote for transparency, but a no vote on marijuana.

Here's what happened in Dallas news:

No more boondoggle
Trinity toll road advocates got body-checked on Monday, when a citizens advisory committee made a hastily-called presentation on the toll road project. This was the committee appointed by Mayor Mike Rawlings and Dallas city council member Sandy Greyson to review the toll road design by the so-called dream team.

The presentation included a soporific animation of how the roadway would look while driving; a less popular companion video shows the aerial point of view.

Greyson's appointees — former city council member Angela Hunt, state representative Rafael Anchia, and Dallas architect Robert Meckfessel — politely pointed out contradictions in the dream team plan, such as the fact that the road's curves would enable cars to travel at higher speeds than the official 45 mph. Hunt has a summary of their position on her website.

The Observer did a great recap, highlighting how the culture of Dallas politics has changed for the better; the Dallas Morning News listed "6 takeaways." City council member Philip Kingston wondered why no one questioned the misrepresentations made by committee members such as Lee Jackson, who claimed that design cannot predict speed. "I could drive the proposed road at 90 mph in your grandmother's Oldsmobile," Kingston said.

Council member Adam McGough asked why there were no representatives from the Parks department at the meeting, since the proposal is supposedly about building a park.

Council member Scott Griggs said the word "boondoggle" three times: "I am extremely concerned that this boondoggle continues. I am also extremely concerned about the lack of transparency. It's completely unacceptable. The public has said time and time again they want this boondoggle to end. 'Fix our streets!' Of course you don’t want public involvement, because the public will rise up and say, 'No more boondoggle!'"

No dope
The city council rejected a 6-month pilot program that would have streamlined marijuana arrests. Arrestees would have gotten a ticket instead of being booked and paying a $200 bond. Oddly, the council members in the districts with the most arrests for marijuana voted against it. Weird. Voting in favor were Adam Medrano, Lee Kleinman, Mark Clayton, Phillip Kingston, and Scott Griggs.

Exxxotica expenses
The city council passed a resolution requiring the city manager to bring all expenses in the Exxxotica lawsuit to the council for vote. It will allow the public to track the accounting of the lawsuit.

Voting against: Mayor Mike Rawlings, Adam McGough, Carolyn King Arnold, Erik Wilson, Monica Alonzo, and Tiffinni Young. All of them also voted to ban Exxxotica, meaning they're the ones potentially costing us money on a pointless lawsuit.

Casey Thomas, Jennifer Staubach Gates, and Rick Callahan were more accountable, voting for transparency, along with Griggs, Kingston, Greyson, Medrano, Clayton, and Lee Kleinman.

DART updates
According to this Brandon Formby tweet, the Dallas streetcar will connect to the Bishop Arts District by August, and the Blue Line will reach UNT Dallas in October.