The Dallas City Council had a big week, approving several high-profile items including eliminating library fines and approving Emmitt Smith's proposed development in southern Dallas. Just in time for summer, bicycle accommodations have been expanded, and Dallas Parks' "sprayground season" has begun.
Here's what happened in Dallas this week:
Seemingly willy-nilly sidewalk and street closures are about to fade. The City Council bolstered its Right of Way policy aimed to prioritize neighborhoods over developers. The revised policy requires developers and city contractors to submit detailed traffic control plans to minimize disruption for pedestrians and motor traffic.
They have to maintain sidewalk access in most cases, either with scaffolding or declining to block the pathway at all.
If streets are dug up, metal plates must now be secured to the ground so they don't clang and rattle as cars barrel across. Street or sidewalk damage must be restored to original condition or better.
There are a litany of more stringent rules that all come with $500 fines for violations. The measure is months in the making and stems from citywide complaints of bad contractors and from cost and timeline overruns.
Dallas City Council continues its focus on bicycle accessibility with a newly-approved street redo and trail expansion.
- In the Cedars, Ervay Street will get skinnier as redevelopment of the Ambassador Hotel gets underway.
- A section of Ervay Street will be reduced from three lanes to one in each direction, with designated bike lanes from I-30 south for about a half mile.
- St. Paul Street south of I-30 will be removed altogether; Ervay Street and St. Paul Streets currently carry one-way traffic, with southbound traffic on St. Paul Street.
Jim Lake Company will foot the bill for the enhancements as part of its redevelopment of the Ambassador Hotel.
In North Dallas, Northaven Trail finally gets its planned extension. The trail used by about 8,000 residents each month runs beneath utility lines near Royal Lane from Preston Road to Central Expressway.
The expansion will connect Northaven to the White Rock Creek Trail and the future expansion of the SoPac Trail. The half-mile extension includes a fancy pedestrian and bike bridge featuring bright white arches crossing Central Expressway north of the Royal Lane overpass.
Once future phases of the trail are complete, Northaven will run from the Denton/Walnut Hill DART Station on the West and the White Rock Creek Trail to the east. It will be the only trail connecting to Love Field.
Lastly, the City Council approved $4 million in federal transportation funding for the northward extension of the SoPac Trail. This follows the recent push to convert streets and pave more trails.
The Dallas City Council renewed its commitment to the Great Trinity Forest. A resolution passed May 22 creates a team at City Hall responsible for stewarding the forest.
The council directs the city manager to survey the forest and propose zoning improvements that preserve and conserve the natural habitat. The resolution also calls for the city to acquire land where appropriate to protect more of the natural resources for the public to enjoy.
Importantly, City Council backed existing local, state, and federal plans and not undertake other strategies for the Trinity.
The Great Trinity Forest is 6,000 acres of wooded river bottom along the Trinity in south Dallas.
The City Council will continue discussing the future of the forest at a committee meeting June 10 and before the full council June 12.
Dallas Park and Recreation Department's "spraygrounds" season begins on Saturday, May 25, at 11 of the city’s 17 spraygrounds.
Spraygrounds will operate daily from 10 am to 8 pm, until late September. For locations and hours of operation, visit dallasaquatics.org.
Popular with children and families, these zero-depth water play areas feature stationary and interactive toys that children can activate with buttons.
Two newly renovated spraygrounds will have a delayed opening, to allow for curing times for the addition of a new cool deck-type surface and other improvements:
- Pemberton Hill Park Sprayground will open Sunday, May 26.
- Danieldale Park Sprayground will open Monday, May 27.