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Trinity Toll Road Backers Launch Misinformation Campaign

This morning the Dallas Business Journal ran a commentary piece by Alice Murray, President of the Dallas Citizens Council, and I couldn’t help but wonder that if this had been 2006, the article would have appeared in the Dallas Morning News. Regardless, in the DBJ, Murray argues that we should build the Trinity Toll Road. Why? Well, because Dallas:

Quick: What do DFW Airport, DART, Victory Park and Klyde Warren Park have in common?

Give up?

Answer: All began as major public improvement projects that Dallas leaders were wise enough to support, and all have paid off big time in providing massive economic, social and cultural benefits to Dallas and the surrounding region.

And here’s another thing that they all have in common: All had vocal opponents who predicted all sorts of doom and gloom if these projects went forward.

Okay, so, you get that? Here we go.

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How Should the City Respond to the Uptown Sam’s Club? Establish a Parking Levy to Fund Public Transit

This morning Tim pointed out that the new Richards Group building includes 10 stories of parking. That building is located across Central Expressway from the planned Sam’s Club that those lazy, unethical developers at Trammell Crow, enabled by their less-than admirable financial backers, MetLife, are shoving down our throats. Together, just these two developments are providing space for a lot of cars in what is supposed to be the growing cluster of Dallas’ most dense and urban environment. They are going to attract more cars to the area, and those cars are going to make traffic problems on Central Expressway even worse. That’s going to make the imaginary number counters at the NCTCOG claim that we need more lanes and roads and the sky is falling and toll roads and blah, blah, blah. It all fits together.

Meanwhile, last week the DMN reported that during DART’s board retreat, in which the heads of our public transit agency stepped back to take a look at long range ideas to make public transit in Dallas better, these transit geniuses came up with “toll road.” I know. I know. Insanity. More that tomorrow.

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Downtown and the Homeless: Is It Time to Consider Relocating The Bridge?

Last week I was invited by the Dallas Homeowners League to moderate a panel which included representatives from four central Dallas neighborhoods: The Farmers Market, Deep Ellum, The Cedars, and downtown. There was plenty to talk about, from connectivity, to public safety, to development, to schools, to highways, to greenspace, and on and on. We probably could have jabbered on for hours and hours, but the DHL folks run a tight ship and the pug was pulled promptly at 8 p.m.

The last topic we discussed was probably the one most residents in those four areas were most concerned about: homelessness.

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Oak Cliff Filmmaker Makes Video Protesting Rezoning and Is Threatened With Lawsuit

If you’ve hung around Dallas music for any length of time, you know the name Kirby Warnock. Back in the day, he edited Buddy, one of first print mags to cover the Dallas music scene. Since then he has become a filmmaker, and his movie When Dallas Rocked showed at a film festival and on PBS (more on that here).

Warnock is also a staunch Oak Cliff-er; he’s been there long before it was the hip place to be. And he’s not happy about some of the attempts to rezone formerly single family lots on Hampton Road.

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Dallas in 2030: Many More People, Much More Hispanic

You’re probably not surprised to read that 15 years from now the population of the Dallas area is projected to be significantly larger than it is now, with Hispanics accounting for a significantly greater share. The Urban Institute today has released a new interactive map that allows you to see just how significant that growth will be as compared to the rest of the country and to better understand the underlying factors of population change: birth rate, death rate, and migration.

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Ask John Neely Bryan: Where Should Dallasites Relocate After the Zombie Apocalypse?

Question: If Dallasites were forced to move to another big city out of state (due to the zombie apocalypse, the End of Times, or more reasonably, a job change), what major city would they want to move to? What other major city is most like Dallas? — Ashley M.

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What a ‘Lost’ 1967 Film Can Teach Us About How To Build Dallas’ Future

Yesterday evening the Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects screened a lost film about Dallas entitled “The Walls Are Rising.” Originally produced in 1967 by the AIA, the film attempts to diagnose the city’s urban ills and suggests solutions. At the time of its production, it was screened all over Dallas to community groups and other organizations, and covered extensively in the Dallas Morning News. Nearly 50 years later, interest in the unearthed film is still strong. The event drew a crowd that approached 200 people to the seventh floor of the Sixth Floor Museum, an oddly appropriate setting for a film intimately tied to the civic reaction to the aftermath of the JFK assassination.

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Friday Afternoon Time Kill: Interactive Urban Decay

If you’re looking for a way to squander the next couple hours or so of late Friday productivity, I have an idea for you. Head over to the University of Oklahoma’s Institute for Quality Communities’ blog where they have put together a tool to help visualize 60 years of urban decay in Texas and Oklahoma. An interactive image slider graphic, not unlike the one we use in our “Ghosts of Dallas” series, allows you to toggle back and forth between aerial photographs taken 60 or so years apart of the city centers of Houston, Fort Worth, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Tulsa, and Oklahoma City. You can see in an instant how an era driven by new highways, new parking codes and lots, new building styles like the skyscraper, housing projects, and public facilities like convention centers dramatically — and rather quickly — transformed the American urban landscape. It’s interesting, but a bit depressing — another reason to look forward to happy hour.

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Leading Off (1/16/15)

South Dallas Residents Don’t Want New Toll Lanes. Wait, I thought opposing the construction of new pay-to-play roads was classist and racist and that folks south of Interstate 30 are clamoring for the opportunity to pay to drive their cars to points north? Then why were those who showed up to a Tuesday meeting at Methodist Dallas Medical Center to discuss the proposed Southern Gateway project — redoing Interstate 35E south of Colorado Boulevard — so upset about the idea to include managed toll lanes in the plans? Listen to this:

“We don’t want this. We don’t want these tollways here. Not in Oak Cliff,” said Juanita Lozano, drawing an “amen” and applause from the crowd.

And this:

“You’re creating a system where people with means can zip from one end of this area to the other while they wave at the rest of us on the sidelines,” said Michael Amonett.

And how about this?

“Where will you get the additional land you need?” asked Alicia Quintans, who lives near I-35E and observes its daily traffic flow.

“There’s maybe two hours of the day when traffic is jumbled up on I-35,” she said, “and I don’t understand why we’re building these toll lanes for two hours of the day.”

Oil Boom Headed For Bust? We’re all still enjoying the cheap gasoline, but as prices have dropped, drilling budgets have been slashed and industry layoffs have begun. Concern of a sustained downturn is growing.

Hipster Wedding Chapel Denied by City. The owners of the Bows and Arrows floral shop were fixing up an East Dallas mansion to host weddings, but their request to rezone the home for that purpose was denied last week by the Plan Commission.

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News Flash: There Is Too Much Parking in American Cities

Next time you hear someone complaining about trying to find parking in Bishop Arts, pass them this story. It is a report on a new report released yesterday that shows that cities in the United States greatly oversupply parking. How much? Well, in the 27 districts studied, researches found that:

The oversupply ranged from 6 percent up to 253 percent across the study areas (below, the highest over-suppliers). And in the nine areas that had believed parking to be scarce, the oversupply ranged from 6 percent to 82 percent.

The key here is in many of the oversupplied area, the general perception was that parking was scare. I think Eric Jaffe, who writes about the report for City Lab, nails it with his lead:

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Forget Highways. Here’s What Development in Southern Dallas Should Look Like

Late last week, Dallas Morning News editorial board member Rodger Jones penned a post about highways and development that I’ve been trying to ignore. After all, people like Wylie H. and Patrick Kennedy do a good job taking apart Jones’ argument in the comments. But the piece reminded me of a particular development not unrelated to a highway that I’ve been looking for an excuse to write about for some time. And so, I’ve founded my excuse.

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Poll: Where Is Dallas?

Last night’s arrival of the national spotlight on our area, thanks to the first official college football national title game out in Arlington, plus the recent downtown highway debates that have centered on whether what’s good for the region is necessarily good for the city of Dallas, raise again the question of how best to brand ourselves to the outside world.

So where do we live?

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