This roundup of Dallas city news covers elections, public transportation, safety downtown, and a new plan for Fair Park. There's a new honcho in charge of the West End, and a partnership between DART and Uber.
Here's what happened in the city of Dallas this week:
Check up on your vote
Vote America has released an online tool at txballot.org to track mail-in ballots as they arrive at elections offices across the state. The nonprofit created this site as a courtesy to voters because the $&%! State of Texas does not provide this type of transparent system to its own voters. You can also check if you voted early.
If you haven't mailed in your mail-in ballot, you can drop it off at Dallas Elections Headquarters at 1520 Round Table Dr., Dallas, or take it to your polling place to get it canceled and vote in person. If you requested a mail ballot and it hasn't arrived, call 214-819-6359 to have it canceled and vote in person. Voting in person is also provisionally allowed and that vote will be counted if the mail ballot does not arrive.
Friday October 30 is the last day for early voting, maybe just go do that right now.
Fair Park Master Plan
The Dallas City Council approved the 2020 Fair Park Master Plan Update, which outlines the vision and future planned development for Fair Park. The Master Plan Update was presented by Fair Park First, Biederman Redevelopment Ventures, and Spectra—the team tasked with Fair Park's management, operations, and development. The approval precedes an upcoming announcement of the park designer for the new Community Park within Fair Park's 277-acre campus, which is one of the Master Plan Update's first priorities.
The planned Community Park design will include a large lawn, children's play area with interactive water feature, naturalized plantings, remembrance gardens, pavilion for gatherings, and movable tables and chairs. The Community Park will also provide free programming for children, adults, and seniors such as fitness classes, musical performances, art workshops, drum circles, a reading room, and outdoor movies.
Downtown Dallas, Inc. (DDI) has buffed up its Field Operations services, including an enhanced safety and security program and more robust cleaning, maintenance, and homeless outreach services. DDI first launched the Downtown Safety Patrol in 2004 to serve as additional eyes and ears for local law enforcement partners, serve as a friendly face of security downtown, and be a resource for the downtown community. The now-renamed Downtown Dallas, Inc. Security team has 10 new hires, bringing the total number of officers downtown to 55, its highest to date. Officers also have new royal blue uniforms and brightly wrapped and lit micro-vehicles (gem cars, T-3s, and bikes), with strategically placed security stations in downtown parks.
DDI also funds the Downtown Clean Team, a group of 17 full-time employees who pick up litter, maintain parks, remove graffiti, and assist with public improvement projects in Downtown Dallas.
New West End Prez
The Dallas West End Association (WEA) has named Tanya Ragan, an entrepreneur and West End building owner, as its Interim President. She will serve in that role until the Association's annual meeting in December, when a new slate of officers will be elected. Ragan is President of Wildcat Management, one of the larger building stakeholders in the West End District. She's been part of the Dallas business community for several years and has played an integral role in developing large real estate projects and properties all over the country. She recently completed a renovation of the historic Purse Building at 601 Elm Street in the West End, and has joined an ongoing effort to rejuvenate and revitalize the entire district.
DART + Uber
Dallas Area Rapid Transit's Board has approved an amended three-year contract with Uber for shared ride services that will supplement their popular GoLink service. Beginning November 2, two new transportation services will begin service in the Inland Port area of Southern Dallas County: An on-demand microtransit service provided by Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and STAR Transit known as "GoLink", as well as a new rider subsidy program provided by Uber called "Inland Port Rides."
These new services have been created and funded by the newly formed Inland Port Transportation Management Association (IPTMA). The IPTMA is a nonprofit, membership organization designed to connect workers and businesses to transportation solutions in the Inland Port area. Members include private businesses, nonprofit organizations, city and county governments and local government agencies.
The Inland Port GoLink service is available weekdays 24-7 with Uber serving as backup. It'll be available to all businesses until December 31. After that, businesses must join the IPTMA. Trips should be scheduled through the DART GoPass app or by calling (877) 631-5278.
DART has been implementing GoLink zones as a cost-effective alternative in areas where traditional fixed route bus service does not make sense. It's already available in Farmers Branch, Far North Plano, Glenn Heights, Inland Port, Kleberg and Rylie, Lake Highlands, Lakewood, Legacy West, North Central Plano/Chase Oaks, North Dallas, Park Cities, Rowlett and Western Carrollton.
Scooter company Bird is piloting three new ways for riders to transport safely and affordably while remaining socially distant. The new Bird Ride Pass offers bundles of free weekly or monthly scooter unlocks for one low fixed price. The Commuter Pricing option offers automatic discounts for anyone riding during peak congestion times Monday through Thursday from 4 am to 6 pm. Transit Parking Incentives are for those who use Bird to complement their public transit journey; ride credits will be applied for neat and orderly parking.
635 East begins
Texas Department of Transportation officials plus federal, state and local leaders marked the groundbreaking of the 635 East Project, TxDOT's five-year plan to rebuild and widen the I-635 corridor and rebuild the I-30 Interchange in Dallas County. The 11-mile $7.1 billion, yes billion, project on I-635 from US 75 to I-30 will build continuous frontage roads, reconstruct and expand the mainlanes from eight lanes to 10, and rebuild all cross streets, as well as the I-30/I-635 interchange.