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Leading Off (6/9/14)

DISD Recruit’s Mother Pointing Fingers at the District Post Death. Tammy Simpson knew it was illegal when DISD recruited her son, then living at the Dallas County Youth Village, to play basketball at Wilmer-Hutchins High School. But she thought the move would be the best thing for him. She says DISD forged residency papers, and her son, Troy Causey, hit the court. He died March 24 as a result of injuries sustained in a fight. Fifteen DISD employees, including coaches, administrators, and staff were fired Friday.

STARR Results Terrible Despite Success Initiative. In 2009, the Student Success Initiative was expanded to cover all third through eighth grade students who were identified as at risk of failing the state exams. Three years later, the Dallas Morning News is reporting that results show little improvement with widening gaps for some of the state’s lowest-performing students overall.

A New Orleans-Style Funeral For a Not-Officially-Dead-Yet Tollway. Some 50 residents and business owners in Bishop Arts gathered Friday to bid adieu to the Trinity Tollway project. They, as many have before, pointed out funding obstacles, environmental harm, and the overall impracticality of the project.

Ted Cruz Still a GOP Rockstar. He was quite the hit at the Texas Republican Convention over the weekend in Fort Worth.

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There’s a Funeral This Weekend for the Trinity Toll Road

ICYMI, the ghost of the Trinity toll road brought us some more entertainment yesterday. It started with an op-ed by the architect Larry Good, who, after a decade, has withdrawn his support of the dead project. Rudy Bush was pretty impressed with Good’s piece and piled on: “A few days ago, Wick Allison and I traded some tweets. I warned against declaring the toll road dead. Powerful people want this road. He agreed and said we need to drive a stake through its heart. Okay, here’s the stake.” That drove Rodger Jones nuts, so he apologized for Bush’s blog post. Maybe Jones and Bush really like each other. Maybe they eat lunch together in the cafeteria at the Morning News. But I prefer to think their relationship is hostile, that when they happen to ride the elevator together, they do it in silence.

If the two guys are friend, though, here’s something they can do together this weekend. On Sunday, an old-school New Orleans jazz funeral procession will leave Oddfellows at 5 p.m. From the Facebook invite:

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Richard Patterson’s Jaguar Is Dead

If you’ve been around this blog or our magazine for any length of time, then you’re familiar with the name Richard Patterson. He’s a British painter of some renown. Every so often, we trick him into writing something for us. Perhaps you recall what he had to say about the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. More recently, last summer, he wrote a piece for the magazine about a religious experience he had at a Fort Worth Jaguar dealership. Correction: he didn’t write that story for the magazine; he just sent along an email, to keep us apprised of what was going on in his life, and then we decided the email needed to be published. Richard is something of a Jaguar nut. He drives a 1994 XJS. Or, rather, he drove a 1994 XJS. Last week, someone plowed into his car, totaling it. I thought you might enjoy the obituary he wrote for his dearly departed car:

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Leading Off (6/2/14)

Trinity Tollway Loses Another Supporter. This time it’s Larry Good.

Design District Up for Sale. Well a portion of it. Lionstone Group scooped up some 30 acres in 2007. Now, they’re putting their remaining properties on the market, the majority of which fall on Oak Lawn Avenue and Hi Line Drive.

Woman Arrested for Allegedly Shooting Dog. I mean, really? A bus of school children came across the bloodied dog and her 10 pups on the side of the road. What a disaster.

Jesus Christ Superstar Canceled. You mean to tell me that Johnny Rotten couldn’t sell tickets? Please.

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Poll: Is the Trinity Parkway Dead?

Tim Rogers spelled out the matter in our May print product. The toll road that promised to bring with it transportation dollars that proponents said were the linchpin to making the entire Trinity River Corridor Project a reality won’t be built.

The plan is bad. The federal highway people aren’t crazy about the location. And, most significantly, we don’t have the money to build it. Yet a few local officials have continued to insist it’s a necessity.

So what do you think?

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Poll: Should We Bury Interstate 30?

The people have spoken about the future of Interstate 345, and the people (70% of them) agree with our May cover story: Interstate 345 should be torn down, and the street-scape along the eastern edge of downtown Dallas should be rebuilt.

Now we’d like to hear what you think of another of the proposals for which we’ve argued. As noted before, I’ll be surprised if we can’t reach an even greater level of consensus for burying a segment of Interstate 30. But some of you might have other ideas.

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Virgin America Officially Gets Love Field Gates

Not that anyone is particularly surprised, since the Justice Department gave the city no choice, but city manager A.C. Gonzalez officially decided today to accept American Airlines’ sublease of its two gates at Love Field to Virgin America:

“Rather than simply signing the sub-lease presented to us, we took some additional time to make sure our actions would be responsible and capture the vision of the Justice Department’s selected carrier. This was accomplished by incorporating Virgin’s publicly stated intentions into a compliance agreement,” Gonzalez said in a statement.

The agreement includes Virgin America committing to the city’s noise abatement program and clarifies how any unused gate space may be made accessible to other airlines.

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Last Night, Sir Richard Branson Joined The Love Field Debate, Drank Tequila, and Talked to Us

On Monday night, Sir Richard Branson dropped into town to address the latest front on the airline war, Virgin America vs. EveryoneElseThatWantsThoseGatesAtLoveField. The airline hosted a party at The Rustic in Uptown Three of us—me, Cristina Daglas, and Glenn Hunter—attended. Each of our individual thoughts follow. One common thread between all of our thoughts: tequila. There was a lot of tequila.

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Poll: What Should Dallas Do About Interstate 345?

You’ve read the argument made in the May issue of D Magazine, that Interstate 345 — the connector road between U.S. Highway 75 and interstates 30 and 45 with a stranglehold on the east side of downtown — ought to be removed.

And you’ve read much of the case made here on FrontBurner: Highways are bleeding Dallas of its people, that removal could long-term decrease South Dallas commute times, that the city has lost its jobs to the suburbs, that 345 isn’t always the best option for drivers anyway, that changes are needed to close the North vs. South gap, and that tearing down the road isn’t going to suddenly leave 200,000 drivers with no place else to go. There was more, but I’ll leave it at that.

So what do you think?

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Surveys: Millennials Don’t Want to Live in Car-Centric Cities Like Dallas

Granted, there are a goodly number of Millennials roaming the streets of our fair city. But a couple recent surveys, cited today on the Atlantic Cities, suggest that the cohort born between 1982 and 2001 want to live in walkable environments, not those crisscrossed every which way by expressways out of town.

Says one of the polls:

They found that 54 percent of Millennials surveyed would consider moving to another city if it had more or better options for getting around, and 66 percent said access to high quality transportation is one of the top three criteria they would weigh when deciding where to live. Nearly half of those who owned a car said they would consider giving it up if they could count on public transportation options. Up to 86 percent said it was important for their city to offer opportunities to live and work without relying on a car.

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What AIA Dallas Thought About the Trinity Project in 2001

Last Thursday, in advance of the last public hearing on the Trinity toll road, I rushed to post a document I’d been given. It was an appendix to a full policy report on the Trinity project issued in 2001 by the Dallas chapter of the American Institute of Architects. None of this stuff was online. With only the undated, unsigned appendix — which said damning things about the proposed Trinity toll road — I asked the current AIA Dallas executive director, Jan Blackmon, if she could help me figure out the context in which the thing was written. Blackmon was able to track down an old hard copy of the full Trinity Policy document, which she scanned and sent to me. I’ve been meaning since then to put it online, because, as Blackmon pointed out to me, the appendix I posted was good for discussion, but the full document presents a complete picture of what her group was thinking back then, and, in her words, “it makes timeless recommendations that need to also be part of the discussion.”

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200,000 Drivers a Day on Interstate 345 Is Not a Fixed Number

Recently on The Atlantic Cities site, an article examined the case of Seoul, South Korea, and its success tearing out what the author (a fellow at an urban planning nonprofit) refers to as an “apple-corer” highway. Our own Peter Simek also wrote about Seoul, along with a few other cities that’ve undertaken similar projects, in the May issue of D Magazine.

One portion of the Atlantic piece in particular struck me because it underlines the reasons that proponents of tearing down Interstate 345  aren’t discouraged when opponents swear that the idea is a non-starter because of one simple fact: 200,000 drivers traverse that connecter highway on the east side of downtown. Surely you can’t remove a road that so many people drive. Except, yes, you can. For a few reasons:

First of all, traffic is not some sort of fixed volume. People drive cars, and if a highway isn’t there, they may take a bus or bicycle to work. They may telecommute, or they may sell their suburban home and move to the city. There is no set number of driver, for which you build roads.

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What Vonciel Jones Hill Should Have Said About The Trinity Toll Road

Before I get going, I will admit that I, like most of my colleagues, or at least the ones who regularly blog here, think building the Trinity toll road is a mistake. Not going to dwell on that right now. What I want to focus on is what Vonciel Jones Hill — city councilwoman and chair of the Dallas City Council’s Transportation and Trinity River Corridor Committee — said a few days ago, and what she should have said, if she wants to stick with the idea that we need to come up with some “creative funding” to build the dang thing.

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