Walmart is deploying a fleet of new electric delivery vehicles, and the first place they're trying them out is none other than Dallas-Fort Worth.

According to a release, Walmart signed up in July to buy 4,500 all-electric delivery vehicles from Canoo, a high-tech mobility company based in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Walmart bought Canoo's Lifestyle Delivery Vehicle (LDV), an adorable rounded van that will be driven by Walmart employees to deliver online orders, groceries, and general merchandise.

The LDV is expected to hit the road widely in 2023, but first they're refining the configuration with a test run in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Canoo's LDV is an all-American commercial EV optimized for sustainable "last mile" delivery use cases. It's engineered for high frequency stop-and-go deliveries and speedy vehicle to door drop-off, including groceries and food/meal delivery.

The cargo space is 120 cubic feet, with a modular design, designed for small package delivery, and small enough to be driven like a regular car, says Canoo CEO, chairman, and investor Tony Aquila in a statement.

"Our LDV has the turning radius of a small passenger vehicle on a parking friendly, compact footprint, yet the payload and cargo space of a commercial delivery vehicle," Aquila says. "This is the winning algorithm to seriously compete in the last mile delivery race, globally."

The LDVs will also potentially be used for Walmart GoLocal, their delivery-as-a-service business.

"By continuing to expand our last mile delivery fleet in a sustainable way, we’re able to provide customers and Walmart+ members with even more access to same-day deliveries while keeping costs low," says Walmart senior VP David Guggina.

It'll also allow Walmart to deliver online orders in a sustainable way that contributes to their goal of achieving zero-emissions by 2040.

In addition to dedicated fulfillment centers, Walmart uses 3,800 of its stores to fulfill online orders. The retailer currently does this using a combination of Walmart associates, independent contractors driving on the Spark Driver Network, third-party delivery service providers, and in some locations, autonomous vehicles and drones, to make deliveries.

Last year Canoo, chose Walmart's hometown Bentonville, Arkansas, as its headquarters and Pryor, Oklahoma, as the site for its U.S. manufacturing — establishing an EV ecosystem in the heartland.

Carrollton Police Department

Big spike in thefts of catalytic converters is hitting Dallas vehicle owners

Crime News

Catalytic converter theft is not a new phenomenon, but there's a spike across the U.S. that's hitting Dallas-Fort Worth hard, including a large seizure in Carrollton and one theft caught on video in which the thief was confronted by the vehicle owner.

These anti-pollution devices use metals such as rhodium whose value has increased dramatically in the past few years. Particularly since the pandemic, thefts have skyrocketed across the U.S.: According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the number of thefts grew from 1,298 in 2018 to more than 52,000 in 2021, and according to AAA, Texas is a hot spot.

In 2021, Texas enacted legislation requiring that scrap metal buyers maintain records of purchases including proof of ownership, vehicle identification numbers, the seller's home address and driver's license numbers. Law enforcement professionals say that the law quelled thefts temporarily, only for about a month, before they returned with a vengeance.

Big bust in Carrollton
In late July, Carrollton Police Department detectives raided storage units thought to be used by a large North Texas fencing operation and recovered a big cache of stolen catalytic converters.

"Our detectives weren't surprised to also find rebar and chains attached to some of them," they posted on Facebook. "That was someone's attempt to protect their catalytic converter from theft, but the thieves cut right through it."

According to Jolene DeVito, Police Information Manager for the City of Carrollton, the seizure was the result of an investigation that started back in May.

"Fast forward to last week, they ran a search warrant on the house they believed was the fencing operation and then several storage units in the Rowlett/Rockwall area," DeVito says.

They recovered about 200 converters.

"We now have to prove that these suspects knew they were buying stolen converters," she says. "And this is just one fencing operation. There are more all over. Harris County had a bust the week before last that netted even more converters."

In late July, investigators in Houston seized 477 catalytic converters in a huge raid, resulting from an investigation into the death of a police Deputy Darren Almendarez, who was shot while trying to stop thieves from taking the catalytic converter from his own personal vehicle.

"Criminals steal them and sell them to a fencing operation which has figured out how to recycle them outside the law so they end up with the precious metals," DeVito says. "Somebody somewhere is melting them down. It may not even be in Texas."

Design District
On August 4, Dallas Design District resident and photographer Clay Hayner spotted an attempted theft of the catalytic converter on his van parked outside. He watched on his live surveillance camera as a suspect carrying tools crawled under his van. NBC 5 has the video.

Hayner, who has already had two catalytic converters stolen, ran out and confronted the suspect, who was still under the car, then bashed him with a camera stand. The suspect got away.

White Rock Lake
According to the White Rock Lake Task Force, a local advocacy group, a catalytic converter was stolen from a visitor's car on August 4 while it was parked across from the Big Thicket near the pier.

"Working on cars in the park used to be pretty common," the Task Force noted. "If someone has their hood up, they are working on their car. If someone is slithering under the front end of a car, they are likely not working on it, but stealing catalytic converters. Please call 911 immediately if you see suspicious behavior."

The Richardson Police Department issued an alert that thefts are on the rise, warning that thefts occur quickly and can happen in broad daylight, as thieves armed with cordless cutting tools pull up to a parked car, slide under and cut off the converter.

Their steps to prevent theft include:

  • Park close to entrances for visibility
  • Paint/etch the converter to deter resale
  • Watch out for someone working under a vehicle in a parking lot
  • In parking lots, listen for sounds of drilling, cutting or grinding metal

Toyotas are the favorite make, especially the Tundra which account for 40 percent of thefts, followed by the Toyota Tacoma with 17 percent, and the Mitsubishi Outlander with 10 percent.

Other top targets include the Toyota Sequoia, Prius, Chevrolet Silverado, Chevrolet Express, Hyundai Tucson, Ford Escape, and Honda CR-V.

Photo courtesy of DART

Dallas is so hot right now that DART light rail is forced to go slower

Train News

If you're in a rush to get somewhere, then DART Rail is not your best choice for the next day or two.

According to a release, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is implementing speed restrictions on its light rail service between 2- 9 pm, through Wednesday, July 20.

Light rail vehicles will operate at no more than 30 miles per hour during this time. DART light rail passengers should expect delays of 10-15 minutes due to these speed restrictions.

The slowdown is due to the record high temperatures across North Texas, which are expected to last for the next several days according to the National Weather Service.

When many miles of rail are subjected to intense heat, the rail becomes hot, which can cause them to increase in length, and can develop bowing known as a "sun kink" or "heat kink."

"Right now, we're registering temperatures between 145 and 150 degrees on the rail," a DART spokesperson says. "This can lead to warping of the rails and the catenary lines to sag."

When temperatures reach 100 degrees or higher, it's not uncommon for transportation agencies to reduce train speeds to no faster than 35 mph.

According to CNN, the U.S. is experiencing a dangerous heat wave that is expected to affect a large portion of the country, with more than 100 million people under excessive heat warnings or heat advisories as of July 19. One-third of the US population is under heat advisories and excessive heat warnings July 19-20, with more than 80 percent of the population (around 265 million Americans) seeing a high above 90 degrees over the next seven days.

The above-average heat is expected to continue into at least Sunday, with every day reaching the triple-digit mark.

DART will continue to monitor the weather conditions across the North Texas area for the safety of our passengers and employees, and to determine if future speed restrictions will be necessary.

Riders can stay informed about service changes by registering for DART Alerts at www.dart.org, or by contacting DART Customer Information at (214) 979-1111.


Alto ridesharing relocates HQ to new address in Dallas Design District

Design District News

A buzzy ride-sharing company has made a new home in Dallas' buzzy Design District: Dallas-based Alto has relocated its headquarters to a 16,000-square-foot office space at 141 Manufacturing St., in what used to be a printing company called Register Marks.

The new headquarters will be home to approximately 100 employees, including Alto's executives, engineering, marketing, and operations teams, as Alto explores growth and expansion into additional markets.

Tenant amenities will include:

  • Lounge 141, a rooftop lounge with kitchen and balcony that features views of downtown Dallas
  • a recently constructed rail spur walking trail
  • Triumphs coffee shop, from State Street Coffee, set to open in July with mixologists, small bites, and plates
  • The Grove, an outdoor community lounge with picnic tables, greenspace, and 6G Wi-Fi

Alto is the on-demand rideshare company founded in 2018 currently servicing Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Washington D.C., and Silicon Valley. They hire vetted, uniformed drivers and manage a fleet of luxury SUVs for consistent, personalized passenger experience. They clean with EPA-registered disinfectants between every ride and shift, and have an app in which passengers can set music and conversation preferences.

QIP has acquired more than 25 properties in the last two years. In May, they broke ground on Thirteen Thirty-Three, a 10-story office building at 1333 Oak Lawn Ave., and River Edge, a five-story office building with three planned on-site restaurants at 161 River Edge.

Transwestern Real Estate Services and Shop Companies are handling leasing for both properties with delivery estimated for Q4 2023.

According to Transwestern research, the Design District has seen nearly $1 billion in private investment over the last 15 years including local and out-of-market restaurants, new retail concepts, nightlife, and entertainment destinations.

"For the last three and half years we have been almost exclusively focused on the Design District," says Chad Cook, Founder of QIP. "Thanks to a lot of help from the real estate community, an incredible lift from our team at QIP, and a little luck along the way, we have been able to aggregate 27 sites in very close proximity to each other. We look forward to delivering our vision over the next several years."


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

Uptown News

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.

Courtesy of RedCoach

Affordable luxury bus rolls out new Texas routes with $15 fares

On the road

A luxury bus service is adding a new Texas stop to its map.

On April 28, RedCoach will launch service in San Antonio, marking the eighth Texas city served by the company. The new stop will provide luxury transportation between San Antonio and Dallas, as well as nonstop service from San Antonio to Austin, Houston, Richardson, and Waco.

Fares are priced as low as $15 each way, and the San Antonio stop is at 165 Bowie St., near the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter.

“We understand that the travel industry is causing stress for residents with increased gas, airline, and car rental prices, so RedCoach is thrilled to add a San Antonio stop to our Texas routes. We have now completed the ‘Texas Triangle’ and are serving the state’s five largest cities,” Florencia Cirigliano, vice president of marketing and sales at RedCoach, says in a news release.

(Wait, is Waco bigger than Fort Worth? Poor Fort Worth, always getting left out.)

The transportation company serves Texas with 26-seat luxury buses featuring amenities such as bed-like seats that recline up to 140 degrees, complimentary Wi-Fi, 110-volt power outlets, on-board entertainment, reserved seating, and no baggage fees.

Last October, RedCoach launched nonstop routes serving Houston, Dallas, Austin, Waco, and College Station. In February, RedCoach added two stops in Katy and Richardson and conducted a flash sale with $1.50 fares.

According to RedCoach’s website, the company plans to expand in the near future to Fort Worth and San Marcos. (Finally, Fort Worth gets its shot.)

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Gala led by Dallas' most VIP couple scores top spot in this week's 5 hottest headlines

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. Dallas' most VIP couple leads all-star gala for Perot Museum 10th anniversary. The 10th anniversary of a Dallas landmark deserves a star-studded party and a few fireworks, too — and that's exactly what the Perot Museum of Nature and Science did to celebrate its milestone birthday. Dallas' most VIP couple led the festivities. Dirk and Jessica Nowitzki co-chaired the 10th anniversary Night at the Museum Gala on Saturday, November 12.

2. Dallas hires Martine Elyse Philippe as new director of arts and culture. The city of Dallas has a new Arts boss: Martine Elyse Philippe, who has worked in arts administration and the nonprofit world, has been appointed Director of the Office of Arts & Culture, a division of the City Manager's Office that fosters partnerships and support with arts and cultural organizations.

3. Record store in Dallas' Oak Cliff to spin off hip new restaurant-lounge. There's a hip new lounge bar restaurant opening in Dallas' Bishop Arts: Called Ladylove, it's going into the favorably located space previously occupied by Dallas Grilled Cheese Co., and is forecast to open in early 2023. Ladylove, whose subhead is "Lounge & Sound," is from David Grover and Kate Siamro, the same amazing team who own Spinster Records, the vinyl record store in Bishop Arts.

4. New Uptown Dallas movie theater sets opening date in time for the holidays. A little over a year after it was first announced, Violet Crown Cinema will open its first Dallas theater in West Village in early December. The theater is located in the former Magnolia Theater, which closed when the pandemic hit in March 2020 and never reopened.

5. Dallas university among best in U.S. for entrepreneurship programs, says Princeton Review. Dallas entrepreneurs, take note. The University of Texas at Dallas is near the top of its class among the country's best entrepreneurship programs. UTD's Naveen Jindal School of Management appears at No. 12 for best graduate entrepreneurship program and No. 25 for best undergraduate entrepreneurship program on new lists from The Princeton Review.

Longtime Mexican restaurant in Deep Ellum closes, breastaurant on the way

Deep Ellum News

A longtime Mexican restaurant in Deep Ellum is closing: Maracas Cocina Mexicana, which has been in business at 2914 Main St. in one form or another since 1992, will close this weekend, to be replaced with another concept whose identity is still to be (officially) announced.

The restaurant is going out with a goodbye party on November 25, at 5 pm, with a DJ and its signature cheap drinks.

They've already started clearing out equipment and this will be their final weekend. A staffer speaking for the restaurant said that current owner, who asked not to be named but also owns a number of Mexican sandwich shops around DFW, is doing a rebranding.

"It's re-opening as a breastaurant, and the menu will be more focused on Mexican seafood," the staffer said.

The working title for the new concept is La Toxica Mariscos Y Micheladas.

Maracas' long history began in 1992 when it was was founded as Monica's Aca Y Alla, named for founder and veteran restaurateur Monica Greene, who opened it on what was then the eastern, rather sleepy edge of Deep Ellum. (Actually, it was originally Eduardo's Aca Y Alla, founded prior to Monica's transgender transformation in 1993.)

By 2012, Greene became restless after 20 years with what she perceived as sluggish development in Deep Ellum — a sad irony since the neighborhood started to blow up just a couple of years later.

She handed over the reins to managers Jose Sanchez and Angel Borjas, who kept much of what it had been — cheap and affordable Tex-Mex, a laid-back party atmosphere — and rebranded it as Maracas. The current owner came on board in 2014.

At 30 years, the restaurant is easily one of the longest running in Deep Ellum. When it opened, restaurants were somewhat of a minority in a neighborhood dominated by live music clubs. Now restaurants are the majority, and clubs have become the minority instead.

Some of Maracas' employees have worked there for decades, and are reportedly being given the option to work at the owner's other establishments.

The Friday night party will be $15 at the door, which gets you appetizers. Otherwise, patrons can order off the menu. House margaritas will be $4.50 and beers will be $5.

The restaurant will be be open as Maracas for the remainder of the weekend, including brunch: from 11 am-11 pm Saturday and 11 am-9 pm on Sunday.

"It's been a watering hole for many of us for so many years!" says Kendell Liptrap, a regular.

Where to eat on Christmas 2022 at Dallas restaurants

Holiday News

It seems impossible to fathom but we've reached that point where we are starting to think about Christmas, and restaurants are already cooking up options, whether you're looking to dine out or grab something to take home.

This list has a little bit of everything: places that are open on Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, or places doing take-out only. As the holiday draws nearer, the list will surely grow; check back for updates, which we'll make as they come in.

Here's our list of Christmas dining options. (Restaurants with names in bold are open on Christmas Day.)

City Hall Bistro. Restaurant at the Adolphus has a three-course menu featuring squash & kale salad, honey baked ham, cornbread dressing, candied yams, pumpkin pie, and Texas praline crunch brownie. Additional items are available for an extra cost including prime rib and salmon. 12–8 pm. $70. 214-651-3686.

Commons Club at Virgin Hotels Dallas. Open Christmas Eve for breakfast, lunch, and dinner from 5-10 pm. Open Christmas Day for brunch 11-2 pm, and Christmas Day dinner from 5-10 pm. 469-359-7700.

Dive Coastal Cuisine. To-go items include mini potato latkes, bruschetta ciabatta crostinis, charcuterie, chicken, beef tenderloin, whipped or whole sweet potatoes, holiday everything salad, and whole key lime pie. Order by December 21. 214-891-1700. Closed Christmas Day.

Dolce Riviera. Special edition Feast of the Seven Fishes menu. $85. December 19–December 24. 469-458-6623. Closed Christmas Day.

Encina. Oak Cliff restaurant is open Christmas Eve for brunch and dinner, plus brunch on Christmas Day, with the full regular menu as well as seasonal offerings including Strauss Farms veal cheeks with truffled polenta, ricotta cavatelli Bolognese, and Sonoma Farms duck leg confit with chermoula cauliflower & curried squash. Brunch 10 am-2 pm, dinner 5-8 pm. 469-620-3644.

Fogo de Chão. Open Christmas Eve 11 am–9:30 pm and Christmas Day 11 am–9 pm.

Gorji. Open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 6-8 pm with 3- or 4-course meal featuring choices from garlic and Bulgarian feta with pita, chili & yogurt over grilled chilled avocado, baby greens & strawberries, Romaine & kale Caesar, turkey, pork chop, langoustine tails, sea bass & shrimp over cauliflower puree, 6-oz tenderloin with gorgonzola gnocchi, spinach cheese lasagna, strawberries and kefir, or flourless chocolate cake. $99 to $115, no-tip required. 972-503-7080.

Knife Dallas. Open Christmas Day 5-10 pm with regular menu. 214-443-9339.

Kona Grill. Open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 11 am-11 pm, with full menu as well as holiday specials. 214-945-2500.

Mercat Bistro. Christmas Day brunch with festive 3-course menu. $68. Make reservations to sit in the restaurant’s famous Polar Bear section. 10 am–3 pm. 214-953-0917.

Magnolias Sous Le Pont. Open Christmas Day morning with winter themed beverages including Toffee Crunch Affogato, Mexican Hot Chocolate, and frozen peppermint mocha. 469-249-9222.

Postino WineCafe. Family-size to-go menu feeds up to 15, including two starters, bruschetta platter, and salad. Add-ons are available for an additional cost. $285, Order by December 23. 972-210-2102. Closed Christmas Day.

Tacodeli. Chile En Nogada and Spiked Horchata, available for dine-in or to-go.Available through December 23. West Dallas – 214-760-1930; The Hill – 214-206-8980; Park & Preston (Plano) – 972-200-5101; Parkwood (Plano) – 214-997-6047. Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

TJ’s Seafood Market. Holiday to-go menu includes holiday platters, shrimp, smoked salmon, oysters, and gumbo. Order by December 23 for pickup December 24. Preston Royal – 214-691-2369; Oak Lawn – 214-219-3474. Closed Christmas Day.

Sassetta. Joule hotel restaurant is doing a Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner December 23-24 from 5–10:45 pm. Courses include dip with crostini, scallop crudo, cioppino, pasta vongole, pasta puttanesca, and branzino. $130, includes valet and complimentary cocktail. Menu is online. 214-290-7555. Closed Christmas Day.

SusieCakes. Christmas desserts include chocolate candy cane cake, holiday cupcakes, cupcakes, frosted sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, and decorating kits. Order by December 24. Preston Center – 214-983-2253; Hillside – 945-245-2253. Closed Christmas Day.

Ten50 BBQ. To-go smoked meats, sides, and desserts. Order by December 21 for pickup by December 24. 1-855-QUE-1050 or email catering@ten50bbq.com. Closed Christmas Day.