DART’s Board of Directors will vote today on approving $9.4 million in contracts with Brookville Equipment Corp., money that will be used to purchase two streetcars for the soon-to-begin Union Station-Oak Cliff line.
The Pennsylvania company was one of three groups that bid on the project, which will get underway in March with the closure of the Houston Street Viaduct. The cost of the cars is $8.9 million, plus a $449,000 contingency fund for “unanticipated expenses.” As a quick reminder, our Peter Simek thinks this whole thing is “largely a project for hipsters, by hipsters.”
For tonight’s board packet, hit the jump then flash to page 177:
Is the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System Overinvested in Real Estate? There are so many questions raised by this lengthy report on how the pension fund that owns Museum Tower ended up managing the luxury proprieties it propped-up with large cash infusions after the real estate bubble burst. For example: What are the properties really worth now? Should the pension fund be managing Hawaiian estates and Napa Valley resorts? Is fund administrator Richard Tettamant having too much fun hobnobbing on the taxpayer’s dime? If speculative land plays don’t pan out, is it really accurate to report them as investments in “natural resources?” Is Tettamant cutting sweetheart deals for developer buddies? Are his efforts to beat market returns putting the future of the our city’s finest – not to mention the pocketbooks of Dallas taxpayers – at considerable risk? Lots of questions. But here’s the one I want to ask: did the fund really need to pay to move a piano from Hawaii to the lobby of Museum Tower? I mean, they sell pianos in Dallas, right? Really nice ones, I bet.
As American Swallows U.S. Airways, Airline Field Thins: There was a time when airports were packed with brands like Pan Am, TWA, Eastern, Braniff — all of which have gone the way of the Concorde. Now the “extraordinarily complex” merger between American and U.S. Air leaves just four major carriers: American, United, Delta and Southwest.
Tim Tebow to Speak at First Baptist: The announcement that the incredibly meh quarterback will speak at Robert Jeffress’ First Baptist Church raises all the expected questions about whether or not Tebow endorses statements Jeffress has made in the past about homosexuality, Mormonism, Islam, and on and on. And I suppose those are pertinent questions to ask, even if I wish the only question surrounding anything regarding Tim Tebow was “who cares?”
Downtown residents eager to see where the city might drop its proposed extension of the light rail are invited to an open house one week from today – Feb. 13 – at 5 p.m., at DART headquarters, 1402 Pacific Avenue. Per a DART email: “Phase I of the D2 study was concluded in Spring 2010. In response to comments received, alternatives and refinements were made that will be presented at the meeting. A review of how the Phase II effort is being coordinated with other relevant transportation projects and recently completed downtown plans will also be shared.”
So, light rail. DART’s come up with a variety of different routes, which you can see here.
The Sylvan Avenue bridge into Oak Cliff is closed. The I-30/I-35 corridor Horseshoe is about to become an unrelenting helltrap of traffic. Union Pacific is routing cars and trucks all over West DallasÂ so it can perform track maintenance. So what’s closing one more entry point into Oak Cliff gonna do? From Roy Appleton:
Â Come March 11, there will be one fewer option for crossing the Trinity River in Dallas. The city will close the Houston Street Viaduct that Monday for construction of the downtown-Oak Cliff streetcar line.
Work has begun underneath the bridge. The system must be operating by Oct. 31, 2014, under terms of the federal grant that is funding more than half of the $48 million project. During construction, traffic will be rerouted from the Houston bridge to the nearby Jefferson Boulevard Viaduct, which will become two-way.
The Houston crossing now carries traffic from downtown to Oak Cliff, while traffic runs the opposite direction on Jefferson. Once the streetcar line is operating, the century-old Houston Street Viaduct will reopen to other traffic, said Keith Manoy, the city’s chief transportation planner.
It’s good news for the city, and for folks west of the Trinity. But these next couple of years are going to be a bear.
The blurry photo you see above is a new bike lane, a demo-project one, on Sylvan Avenue, between I-30 and Fort Worth Avenue. It was installed a few weeks ago, and I drive past it every day on my way to work. The problem is that while I drive past it, most people drive through it. It’s a matter of location – the I-30 service road dumps vehicles right onto it; there’s a bottleneck heading north on Sylvan, too – but also a matter of education.
I called Max Kalhammer, the city of Dallas’ bike plan guru, to ask him what the city could do to make sure cars use car lanes, and bikes use bike lanes.
“We’re hoping to improve and increase our outreach aboutÂ theseÂ tyes ofÂ facilities, and we’re still ramping up to do that,” he said. “Personally I’ve observed a vast majority of motorists are doing it correctly.”
And maybe that’s true – he mentioned a bike lane on Fort Worth Avenue which has 97 to 98 percent compliance, but that’s a wider road, with better-defined lanes – but the city still needs to do something. Signs are coming, he said, as is a media campaign. And the city applied for an almost $750,000 STEP grant from the Texas Department of Transportation to help finance this campaign; the awards are granted in July.
Until then, here’s a plea: stick to your own lanes.
I live in Oak Cliff, so when I leave our downtown offices I often take the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge home. And, since the bridge opened last year, hundreds of other west-of-the-Trinity residents have done the same thing every night. Traffic backs up on the bridge for commuters heading south on Beckley Avenue, forcing many of us to take Singleton Boulevard home. It’s not that big of a deal.
My route, though, will change starting today. As you can see from that blurry map above, the stretch of Beckley Avenue between Singleton and Commerce will be closed every day, starting, oh, 22 minutes ago. It’s for track repairs the Union Pacific Railroad is performing throughout West Dallas (Full list of detours and closures here). According to city hall, the stretch will be closed from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day, through WednesdayÂ
no end date has been set.
So, west-of-the-Trinity commuters: find a new route.
From The Hill, yesterday afternoon:
Another woman named as a possible Transportation secretary by some sources is Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), who left Congress this month after serving 20 years in the Senate and would give Obama a chance to add a Republican to his Cabinet.
Hutchison is a former ranking member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and was a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Transportation, Housing and Urban Development subcommittee. She pushed successfully for the passage of more stringent bus safety regulations, including requiring seatbelts and stronger windows, after a string of deadly crashes.
— Jack Fink (@cbs11jack) January 11, 2013
Spokeswoman says fmr #TX Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison wants a career in the private sector, not a job in the Obama administration.
— Jack Fink (@cbs11jack) January 11, 2013
So that’s settled until it’s not.
Yesterday, Robert Wilonsky brought us a computer-animated video of what the bigger, badder LBJ will look like when construction wraps up in 2015. The video is pretty slick. No question it has a bitchin soundtrack. So Zac and I did a voiceover for your entertainment and edification. Special thanks to Peter Simek for working the 1s and 2s on Final Cut Pro for us. After the jump, for those who care, we’ve provided a helpful guide to a few of the references made in the voiceover.
The proposed streetcar line from Union Station to North Oak Cliff may soon be getting a $30.87 million boost from the North Central Texas Council of Governments, documents indicate.
According to a presentation slated to be given Thursday, NCTCOG’s Regional Transportation Council could reallocate $30.87 million from a shelved Love Field project to the Dallas streetcar project. Those funds would allow the streetcar line to expand: to the Zang/Davis intersection in the south, and to the Dallas Convention Center in the north. The current 1.6-mile route is slated for construction this year, funded largely by a federal TIGER grant.
Dallas City Council input is also being sought. Jump for the full presentation:
Says so right here, on their Facebook page:
And, with the new tracks and routes coming, this is probably the lowest ridership numbers will be for a very, very long time.
Due to increased traffic and circulation issues from Klyde Warren Park, Harwood Street may soon become two-way, city officials said Friday.
The item – along with dozens of other one-way, speed limit, and school zone changes – is up for City Council approval Jan. 9. Harwood, south of the park, is currently three lanes of southbound, one-way traffic, plus parking on either side. Harwood continues northward, but is now interrupted by the park.Â The traffic pattern would change to help draw people to and from the park, saidÂ senior transportation planner Keith Manoy.
“It was always anticipated that with the park opening, and that street being closed, that the likelihood of needing the capacity that four lanes in oneÂ directionÂ provides would diminish,” he said.
No parking would be lost, and the only cost to the city isÂ re-stripingÂ and signal work. There’s no timetable set for the conversion, provided it’s approved. All the changes can be read in the City Council agenda.
tp://frontburner.dmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/george-bush-ford-f150-300×179.jpeg” alt=”" width=”300″ height=”179″ /> George, strikin’ a pose. Source: Barrett-Jackson, “the World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions”
A pickup former President George W. Bush used on his Crawford ranch will be auctioned off to benefit Fisher House Foundation, a program dedicated to assisting U.S. military families.
Let’s go straight to the announcement:
“President Bush has used this stunning white F-150 at his Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas, since shortly after he left the White House in 2009. With a 5.4-Liter V8 engine commanding 310 horsepower, this impressive truck has a luxurious adobe King Ranch premium leather interior and 11,200lbs towing capacity. President Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush have since used the truck to work around their ranch; entertain friends, family, and dignitaries and to give tours of their Crawford property.”
The most interesting thing to me: he used the truck to “entertain friends.” Donuts, presumably, or maybe some sort of demolition derby. Also, why’d he stop at the 150 model? Seems like a man who’d at least go F250, with all that ranching.
The auction is January 19, in Scottsdale, Ariz. Get more info and tickets (tickets?) here.
Dallas Morning News: ‘Affirm The Right of Gay Couples to Marry:’ As the Dallas Voice points out, as recently as last year, the Dallas Morning NewsÂ refused to publish paid same-sex wedding announcements in their Weddings section. On Sunday, the newspaper came out in support of same-sex marriage in this editorial.
Is It Time For Sobriety Checkpoints? Every legislative session since 1994 has dealt with the controversial proposal to introduce police checkpoints as a way to address drunk driving. Looks like it will do so again.
Can We At Least Agree That Guns Are Scary? Of course we can’t. This is Texas. But listen. They’re scary when someone threatens to shoot-up a local high school. They are scary when a burglary turns into a Wild West shoot out and no one knows what the hell happened. They are scary because when a mentally disturbed man can only get his hand on a knife, no one dies, but when he can grab a gun, local TV news channels scramble to find the local connection. There’s always a local connection.
Should Josh Brent be on Cowboys’ Sideline? I know, I know. Phil Simms says the ‘boys are “special.” Tony Romo has now thrown for 25,000 career yards. The team is somehow tied for first place. And Jerry Jones is even trying to look good by donating $5 million to the Perot Museum of Nature and Fracking. But here’s the real Monday morning question coming out of the Cowboy’s weekend: should Josh Brent have been on the sideline during the Cowboys’ win over the Steelers Sunday? Former quarterback and CBS analyst Boomer EsiasonÂ doesn’tÂ think so. He tweeted:
“Am I the only one that is wondering what in the world the Cowboys are thinking with Josh Brent on the sideline?”
My guess as to the Cowboys’ thinking: suicide, and ways to avoid it.
This time-lapse video gets a bit tedious after the …..JESUS WHEN WILL THIS THING END? If this video is any indication, it takes weeks or months to wrap a DART train. I think Jim Jackson was on the original design.