Uptown News

Uptown Dallas, Inc. looks to future with scooters and two-way streets

Uptown Dallas, Inc. looks to future with scooters and two-way streets

McKinney Avenue trolley December 2017
McKinney Avenue Trolley toodles along. Visitdallas.com

Uptown Dallas Inc. cast an eye towards the future at its annual meeting on May 19 with updates on two neighborhood initiatives in the works.

The nonprofit dedicated to the Uptown district is focused on the conversion of McKinney Avenue and Cole Avenue from one-way to two-way streets, and on creating an ordinance that would help keep a lid on late-night venues.

An audience of about 80 residents and business owners turned out at the Canopy by Hilton to hear the latest developments and agenda items for the remainder of 2022.

Two-way street conversion
The idea of transforming Cole Avenue and McKinney Avenue from one-way streets into two-way has been on the table since at least 2015. Such a conversion would slow traffic through residential and commercial neighborhoods, reduce the number and severity of accidents, and make it safer and more walkable for anyone not in a car.

Studies have been done, stories have been written, and public meetings have been held. Walkability guru Patrick Kennedy is involved.

The following roads will be converted from one-way to two-way:

  • McKinney Avenue from Allen Street to Harvard Avenue
  • Cole Avenue from Harvard Avenue to Carlisle Street
  • Harvard Avenue from McKinney to Cole
  • Carlisle Street from Cole to Allen
  • Allen Street from Carlisle to McKinney

They'll also need to replace signs and traffic signals, make pedestrian improvements including sidewalks, ramps, lighting, crosswalks, plus add curb extensions with parking; and relocate the McKinney Avenue Trolley at certain spots including Cole Avenue and Allen Street.

The estimated cost is $21.1 million, with funds coming from a partnership between the city of Dallas, which is investing $7.3 million from a 2017 bond; $1 million from Uptown Dallas, Inc.; $1 million from TxDOT; and $11.8 million in federal funds via TxDOT/RTC.

Katy Slade, who serves on the organization's Two-Way Conversion Committee, said they anticipate getting it done within 18 months, calling the process both "simple, yet complex."

In 1969, all streets were two-way. The one-way template was added in 1972, to provide an alternative route to downtown and add capacity while US-75 was being expanded.

In a guest appearance, Dallas City Council member Paul Ridley said that scooters are likely to return to Dallas, but with a new more stringent set of restrictions that include:

  • Limit the number of scooter vendors allowed to operate in the city to three
  • Limit the number of scooters overall
  • Limit the hours, from 5 am-9 pm
  • Limit the kinds of scooters to those that can be shut off remotely after hours
  • Ban their use on sidewalks
  • Create parking zones

Promoter ordinance
Ridley shared intel on a promoter ordinance currently under consideration by the Dallas City Council, an outgrowth of a tragedy that occurred in southeast Oak Cliff in early April at an event called the Epic Easter Bike Out and Field Party that ended in a shooting with one person killed and 15 injured. The event did not obtain proper permitting which might have provided oversight.

The city has since filed a lawsuit against the property owner, identified as St. John Missionary Baptist Church, Inc. in Dallas, and the promoter, Germaud L. Lyons, aka Bossman Bubba.

SUP ordinance
Ridley also revealed an SUP ordinance in the works that would require new late-night venues in Uptown to apply to the Dallas City Council for a special-use permit, which would periodically need to be renewed.

It would put the bar owners on the city council's radar, and if the bars were not operating responsibly, their permits could be revoked.

"Bars in Uptown currently don't have to register, and as a result, we're having problems with things like crime and litter," Ridley said. "It's not an immediate panacea, but there's a quick turnover with most bars. This has worked very well on Lower Greenville and made it a safer and saner place to be at night."

The trolley
In an effort to improve its performance, especially in the frequency of service, The McKinney Avenue Trolley is now running 3 cars at all times and 4 cars on weekends. Some riders complained of long wait times.