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Urbanism

Analyzing What Dallas Can Do To Address Pedestrian Deaths

| 4 hours ago

In 2016, 678 pedestrians died in Texas. That’s a 21.5 percent jump since the year prior. According to data from the Governors Highway Safety Association, pedestrian deaths nationwide increased 27 percent from 2007 to 2016 while all other categories of traffic deaths plummeted by 14 percent. Cars have become safer. Our streets have not.

Texas accounted for about 10 percent of the nation’s 6,000 pedestrian deaths, and the state has three counties on the dubious, depressing list of the 10 where they are most common: Harris (128) and Dallas (84) and Bexar (68). So what can we do? I’d like to direct you to this essay from TheMap.io’s Robert Mundinger, who has been quietly doing the lord’s work in exploring urban issues on Medium. This post is about the Vision Zero initiative, a strategy with the goal of eliminating pedestrian traffic fatalities altogether. Cities that participate admit that these are preventable occurrences. The strategy encourages urban design that makes streets as easy as possible to navigate for drivers and pedestrians alike. The initiative gets support from the mayor, and brings together numerous city departments to focus on what can change to improve the outcomes. 

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Classical Music

With the End of Jaap van Zweden’s Reign Over the DSO Comes a World Premiere Beginning

| 4 hours ago

Conductor Jaap van Zweden’s last concerts with the DSO, running this weekend, feature Beethoven’s lush Ninth Symphony, hailed as the “ultimate” symphony. It’s the composer’s own ultimate symphony—as in, final. It’s the only choral symphony he composed. The Dallas Symphony Chorus will animate the fourth movement with a quartet of internationally acclaimed soloists including Matthias Goerne, a smooth baritone, and DSO artist in residence Michelle DeYoung, a warm, grounded mezzo.

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Commercial Real Estate

New Rangers Stadium Will Be ‘Ultimate Curation of Experience,’ Designer Says

| 7 hours ago

Last fall, we got our first good look of the Texas Rangers’ new Globe Life Field. The $1.1 billion stadium will have a seating capacity of 40,000 when it is completed in 2020. As the stadium, which is a public-private partnership between the city of Arlington and the Rangers, takes shape, we’re learning more details of what the interior of the ballpark will be like.

By increasing attention to food and beverage options, customer service, and interior design, the Rangers hope to make Globe Life Field—which will adjoin the new entertainment district called Texas Live!—stickier. “We’re trying to capture that group to come earlier and stay later as their source of entertainment,” says Loretta Fulvio, who runs the sports and entertainment interiors department at HKS. “People are paying a lot of money to see a game, and we need to keep this crowd entertained. … This will be the ultimate curation of experience.”

HKS is the same architecture firm behind the Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, the Vikings’ U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, and the Colts’ Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, among others. Here are some highlights from a recent conversation with Fulvio.

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Local News

Leading Off (5/25/18)

| 7 hours ago

Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Lupe Valdez Owes Back Taxes. She apparently owes $12,000 in property taxes on seven properties in two counties. She says she’s paying them back in installments, and apologized for forgetting to put one of the properties on her financial-disclosure report. Typos, she said.

Hearst Laid Off More Than a Dozen Journalists in San Antonio Yesterday. The Houston Chronicle, a Hearst paper, broke the Valdez story yesterday. Around the same time it was publishing, 14 journalists were laid off at its sister paper, The San Antonio Express News. This isn’t entirely local, but one of the layoffs was Peggy Fikac, one of the finest statehouse reporters in all of Texas. That impacts all of us. The news came the same day that the Census announced that San Antonio added more people last year than any other city in the country.

Summer Is Here. Apparently we’re staring down five straight triple digit days next week, starting Wednesday and lasting through Saturday. Afterwards, it will probably feel like less of a blast furnace, but we’ve only just begun.

The Same Company That Redid the Statler Has Started Work on the Cabana. Centurion American plans to sink $230 million into the redo of the 56-year-old Cabana Motor Hotel. When it’s done, there will be 262 rooms with restaurants and a 140,000 square-foot apartment tower. The hotel sits on Lower Stemmons between downtown and the Design District. It was built by the same architect who designed Caeser’s Palace and Circus Circus in Las Vegas.

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Sports

Cowboys Receiver Terrance Williams Sure Seems Sauced

| 1 day ago

Oof.

About a week after Terrance Williams, the Cowboys’ top receiver, released a statement through his attorney that, no, he wasn’t intoxicated that morning when he was arrested for public intoxication, and, yeah sure, he was driving that wrecked Lamborghini, but, again, he wasn’t drinking and it was—he swears—another driver’s fault, the Frisco Police Department goes and releases bodycam footage from that night. And it doesn’t look good for the NFL player’s statement, which argued that the whole thing is a misunderstanding and that he is ripe for vindication.

Let’s take a look, via The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which first reported the May 19 arrest. 

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Urbanism

New Census Population Data Shows a Return to Cities

| 1 day ago

People are returning to cities, and the Census has the population data to prove it.

Even Fort Worth, the city that lacks a diverse tax base and is thought to be an afterthought for many corporate relocations, added more people between 2016 and 2017 than all but three other American cities. The kicker: Dallas was one of those. We added 18,935 people, more than anywhere but Phoenix and San Antonio.

But while the total increases are encouraging, the growth rates still follow the narrative we’ve heard again and again in the past five or so years. The suburbs are far outpacing the region’s biggest cities. Fort Worth increased its population by 2.18 percent. Dallas jumped by 1.4 percent. Frisco, on the other hand, is the fastest-growing city in the country. It leaped forward 8.2 percent, adding 13,470 people to get to a total of 177,286.

Still: the gross increases highlight the return to cities. Frisco is the only suburb to rank among the top 10 U.S. cities in total population increase. San Antonio, Phoenix, Dallas, Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Seattle, Charlotte, and Columbus all added between 24,000 and 15,000 people. Then came Frisco at 13,470, followed by more cities: Atlanta, San Diego, Austin, Jacksonville.

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Urbanism

Will ‘East Quarter’ Moniker Stick?

| 1 day ago

Downtown Dallas is hot! It’s where it’s at. It’s happening. And everyone wants to claim a corner of it. We learned last week about the East Quarter. And the DMN is super pumped about AT&T’s planned Discovery District. But will people actually use these names? In thinking about that question, a design-minded FrontBurnervian points us to this buildingcommunityWORKSHOP (horrible name) article about the identities of downtown neighborhoods. You might know that we once had a neighborhood called Frogtown, a red-light district. But did you know we once had a place called Stringtown? How about Boggy Bayou? It’s worth a read, especially if you spend any time in what I affectionally call The 75201. Or, you know, also The 75202.

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Leading Off

Leading Off (5/24/18)

| 1 day ago

City Hall Will Pay $15.5 Million to Have School Crossing Guards. Yesterday, the Council approved a $15.5 million contract for three years for All City Management Services Inc., which will run the crossing-guard program.

McKinney Councilman Apologizes for Alleging Racial Profiling. The McKinney City Council voted 6-0 yesterday to approve a resolution that expressed disapproval of how Councilman La’Shadion Shemwell handled a traffic stop earlier this month, when he accused a white police officer of racial profiling for pulling him over for an alleged speeding violation. Shemwell brought forward the motion to censure himself. It doesn’t remove him from office and there is no added punishment.

Frisco Student Faces Felony Charge for Threats. A 14-year-old student was taken into custody after authorities suspected the student made a terroristic threat yesterday against Cobb Middle School. The kid could get two to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Body Found in White Rock Creek Identified. The body found earlier this month was identified as 39-year-old Eric Hall, but the medical examiner’s office hasn’t released an official cause of death. Hall, who went by Nicole, was described as a pioneer in Texas’ black transgender community. A vigil is being planned for Saturday.

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Local News

After Successful Heart Transplant, Dallas ISD Trustee’s Daughter Is Having Her Chest Closed

| 2 days ago

This afternoon, 3-month-old Olivia Solis, daughter to Dallas ISD trustee Miguel Solis and his wife Jacqueline Nortman, is undergoing surgery to close her chest. On Monday evening, Olivia was wheeled into a surgical suite at Children’s Medical Center for a heart transplant, an incredibly rare procedure for a child her age. Minutes after midnight on Tuesday, her new heart began beating inside her chest.

“The transplant was a big day,” Miguel says. “It was one where it could have easily been her last day or the start of a new life. And luckily she came out of the surgery stable. Hopefully, she’ll have her chest closed and there won’t be any issues. It’s a long journey forward.”

Children’s is one of just two transplant centers in the state that offer the procedure for patients as young as Olivia; the other is Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. Olivia is one of three Texas children one year of age or younger who has had a heart transplant this year. Last year, Children’s did seven and Texas Children’s performed five, according to the United Network of Organ Sharing, which tracks transplant data throughout the country. The procedure has a one-year survival rate of 87.4 percent, which dips to 83.9 percent after three years, and 75 percent after five.

Olivia’s situation was dire. She was diagnosed with a critical congenital heart defect days after her birth. Home has been the hospital; much of that time has been spent in intensive care. Her parents always sleep in her room. She was placed on the transplant list almost immediately, and the doctors guessed right when they told Solis and Nortman the average time for a heart to arrive: three months.

“We’re lucky we caught it,” Solis says, speaking of the heart defect. “We could’ve taken her home and she could’ve passed away there.”

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Nightlife

Vinty, the Absolute Worst Place in Deep Ellum, Is No More

| 2 days ago

It faced some stiff competition, but Vinty, a godforsaken club on Elm Street, was the worst place in Deep Ellum. That reputation was forged by the club’s habit of making Facebook jokes about domestic violence and its atmosphere of chest-thumping chaos and violence, which spilled out into the street enough that the Dallas Police Department asked the City Plan Commission to deny the club’s request to have its special use permit renewed:

The Dallas Police Department believes renewing the establishment’s permit would not contribute, enhance, or promote the welfare of the area. Police responses to this location exceeds 20 for 2017; therefore, the police department believes the SUP renewal will be detrimental to the public health, safety, and wellbeing of Deep Ellum. Specifically, there have been numerous incidents of major disturbances, disorderly conduct, and public intoxication, all of which are strong indicators that the business owners of Vinty Club are not engaging in responsible management of their premises.

All polite police speak for “this place sucks, please banish it.” The City Plan Commission agreed, and so did the City Council, rejecting the club’s appeal this afternoon. Good riddance.

The question now is what will take its spot as the worst club and/or bar in Deep Ellum? Punk Society, which has a name and matching decor that make my eyes involuntarily roll so hard I think one of them is now stuck looking at the back of my head, is a contender. But my vote goes to the place where bottle-service orders are delivered by scantily clad women hoisted in pinebox derby litters carried by men in flashing neon facemasks. Real last days of Rome stuff there.

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Local News

Dallas County Growing Older, More Diverse

| 2 days ago

The Pew Research Center just put out a survey looking at the widening political and demographic gap separating residents of the country’s urban and rural areas. Its most surprising finding, however, may be just how much urban, suburban, and rural Americans have in common, united in their avoidance of neighbors, their lack of attachment to their community, and their belief that they are misunderstood by people who live in different settings.

Also this week, Pew mapped the changing demographics of the country on a county level to see how population shifts are playing out locally. Since 2000, the population of Dallas County has gotten bigger, a little older, and significantly less white: in 2016 the nonwhite share of the population was 69 percent, compared to just 56 percent in 2000.

 

Here’s how other North Texas counties compared:

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