Here comes the RPO train, whoo hoo, making another stop in Bishop Arts!

When we last visited those intrepid neighbors in Bishop Arts, they were just getting over the shock of losing their first Resident Parking Only zone. After weeks of pressure by Gloria's Jose Fuentes, the Oak Cliff Chamber and bitchy emails by David Spence (who claimed RPO was a racist, flood-causing freak of nature that had to be killed off), and with some assistance from Council Member Delia Jasso, the signs on 300 W. Nealy were unceremoniously removed by the City.

It's not a surprise at all. Kerry Elder, who is in charge of RPO installations, wimped out under the pressure of business owners thinking their customers have first dibs on residential parking spaces. He even admitted to one resident the media attention on RPO all over Dallas was making his job a little more difficult. Instead of going out to neighborhoods and promoting RPO as a way to save a street from crime, trash and noise, he's actively blocking every RPO application until the residents roll over and die.

What Elder did not expect was a well-organized and well-managed end-run around his desk right to the top of the department. In a meeting a last month between the leaders of Kidd Springs NA and Transportation Department leadership (people above the political fray level) it was clear that caving in to complaints from the business people who were worried about losing free parking spaces for their customers (their motto: Screw the residents, who cares about them?) was not going to happen anymore. The memos and claims that preceeded the meeting was so intense that it opened with a set of breathing exercises in order to calm everyone's inner parking space

Sources tell BD when Elder said in the meeting he was getting calls from Fuentes' attorney complaining about RPO, a boss two levels up told him (not sic)...

The next time that lawyer calls, tell him to call the City Attorney. Your job is not to listen to the lawyer, your job is to listen to the people who live on the street and make sure the RPO meets all the requirements. Period.

Elder was tongue-tied as he tried to explain why he revoked the first RPO (cough - Fuentes' lawyer - cough), was not going to issue another one in process (cough spit), and was using tons of stalling tactics to stop a third (hack cough spit up blood). That did not sit well with the manager, who cut him off quickly. The revoked RPO is under review, but since the reasons for revoking it and disapproving the next one were the same reasons used - without any success - to stop the just-installed RPO on the 5700 block of Vickery Blvd, they should be approved soon.

Which brings us to the third RPO application in the Bishop Arts area in less than six months. According to the neighbors on the street filing for the RPO, Elder was constantly moving the target for the resident who was collecting the petitions. One day it was not enough signatures (but don't ask how many, cuz we don't know), then it was not enough signatures for both sides of the street, and of course, how to deal with bars losing parking spaces for their customers. You get the idea.

That's when the NA folks said, Enough, we'll take care of this. So that Saturday, a few NA leaders (with BD helping on the paperwork) were out on the street collecting more signatures, verifying the property maps, and making sure all the I's were dotted and the T's were crossed. The petitions, signed by 95% of the residents and property owners, were filed a few days later. Elder approved the RPO zone with only a little bit of whimpering. It took another month for the signs to be installed, but they were finally posted on Thursday afternoon.

Before BD reveals the street, look at this photo. Here we are on a Friday at noon and there are already orange cones standing on many of the parking spaces. These people value their parking spaces and don't want bar/restaurant people parking in them. They are working class people, many working shifts and they have no problem running your ass over if it is in their parking space. Kinda reminded BD of snow days in Philadelphia, when neighbors would put shopping carts in freshly shoveled parking spaces to claim ownership. BD's been on this street a number of times - no matter the day or hour, those cones are always out on the street. Yes, it's that bad.

It's important to note the presence of a large bar (yeah, it serves food, but really folks, it's a bar) on the corner at the end of the block (past the white truck). For months, they have a big noisy band playing every Friday and Saturday evening until closing time. No matter how many times the neighbors have called the police, they would not come out and cite the bar for noise violations. That bad attitude changed after the NA folks gave her a lesson in how to get attention at the DPD substation (reach down, grab, do not let go, repeat). Hopefully the noise citations will start being written hot and heavy very soon.

Now to reveal the newest RPO.

Allow BD to introduce RPO Zone #35, which protects both sides of the 600 block of North Madison Avenue, between Davis Boulevard and Neely Avenues. The restrictions are in force between 6pm and 2am Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. That will probably change in a few months as more RPO zones are added (BD knows of several petitions in process as we speak). Like Lowest Greenville, the RPO at the center of the hurricane generates more RPO on the fringes.


View Larger Map
By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Safe streets