Public safety

Public safety issues in and around Lower Greenville

Finding Get Smart at Lowest Greenville WalMart

The process of turning the Lowest Greenville Whole Foods into a Neighborhood WalMart is beginning to look more like Get Smart than a corporate action.

For months, the CBRE folks managing the lease have refused to say who, if anyone, was leasing the space that has been empty for nearly three years. Since last July, teams of people have been scurrying all over the building. Last November, the announcement of the new tenant was postponed while the T's were crossed. But behind the scenes, WalMart filed nearly 130 pages of sitemaps just after Thanksgiving, which neighbors found (and published) in early February. Still, absolute complete radio silence from CBRE. WalMart issued polite denials, claiming - We're still looking at this and other properties.

By Avi S. Adelman under Public safety , Lower Greenville
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Now we know why Gloria's is scared of Bishop Arts RPO... ka-ching!

After years of dealing with bar owners on Lowest Greenville Avenue, BD has learned one thing - It's all about the money. The average bar owner on the strip would pay $35/sf or more plus insurance plus repairs, his patrons would pay $20 or more to park, and the drinks would be expensive, unless you were a $30,000 millionaire. The bar owners hated it when BD would post their TABC mixed bev sales reports. Despite the fact these were public records, they claimed it was an invasion of their privacy. One went so far as to say the posting of the reports was a declaration of war on the bars. And we can see how well they managed, eh?

Even Gloria's business neighbors are fighting to keep their parking for their customers. This photo was shot Sunday afternoon, but BD understands it has been in use for the last month.

It's not all happy parking in Bishop Arts. This sign was posted at the entrance to the 611 Bishop strip (Cafe Brazil, Fitness Anytime, etc)

So while BD was looking at the fight against RPO in the Bishop Arts area, a BA resident asked him to dig into the sales numbers for Gloria's Restaurant, the biggest and so far shiniest bar on the street. During the rezoning process a few years ago, the residents were promised, Gloria's won't move (a mile) up the street. Not gonna happen. Well it did happen, and they opened up in an old firehouse (and BD will admit it's a beautiful building when he was in it last night).

Gloria's employees parking on Neely Street prompted the residents to buy an RPO for their block. Even though Gloria's now owns the medical center on the south side of the street, with plans to move their corporate office into the location and provide more employee parking, the residents were not about to wait on another promise.

BD pulled up the reports not just for this location, but all others under the Gloria's flag. We are posting them without comment, but you can whistle at the numbers in the privacy of your home. Mixed bev sales reports are not confidential, and there's nothing illegal about posting them here.

At the end of the sales reports, BD has included a summary of Gloria's major TABC violations, resulting in nearly $9,000 in penalties paid to the TABC in the past ten years. And some interesting City Council campaign contributions by some of the property owners who oppose Resident Parking Only.

By Avi S. Adelman under Public safety , Legal issues
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And how far do those St Patrick's Day parking restrictions go this year???

As if you did not have enough to plan for in March, it's almost time for BD's favorite Jewish holiday - St. Patrick's Day. Yeah, I know the parade may not happen, but that just means more people getting drunker earlier in the day, but what are pagan holidays for? And it's another unholy trinity since SPD falls on a Saturday this year.

But before you and your neighbors start drinking on Friday night, pay attention to the No Parking signs you will see planted in the ground starting Thursday night. The City just posted the official map of where all the signs go, and you can see it after the jump.

By Avi S. Adelman under Public safety , Lower Greenville
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Bishop Arts is the new Lowest Greenville, now that they have RPO!

Back in 2010, the City Council approved major changes in land-use in and around the Bishop Arts area of Oak Cliff. This was needed in order to make OC go from urban cool to uber-restaurant and business cool. According to the DMN story -

Crafted from a property owner-funded study and city planning staff review, the proposal allows for mixed-use, higher density, pedestrian-friendly residential development in portions of the target area, protects some older structures and improves their prospects for redevelopment by easing parking restrictions.

"It would be a bold step," Commissioner Mike Anglin said after making a motion for approval. "It's a breathtaking vision of what north Oak Cliff can become."

Not all agreed. Some residents have raised concerns that intense development, particularly the allowance of four- and five-story buildings in some areas, would degrade neighborhoods, change the area's feel and flavor, and overload its streets. Some have said the proposal was too complex and difficult to understand.

And Thursday, opponents urged the plan commission to delay a vote. "We're here to ask you to give more time," said Pam Conley, representing the Kidd Springs Neighborhood Association, who asked for more meetings with city staff and creation of an ad hoc committee to further study the matter. "This is very important to us."

A few weeks later, BD happened to be at City Hall when the City Council, in what must have been a record time of just under 15 minutes to discuss and vote, approved the changes. On exiting the council chambers, one Oak Cliff resident came up to BD and said, with a sad look in her eyes -

I guess Bishop Arts is the next Lowest Greenville, eh?

After some consideration, BD believed this could not happen. The Bishop Arts is full of tiny streets, has no parking lots to speak of, and was in a dry area. But the big difference was in the attitude of many of the property owners, some of whom BD later met during the Mayor's campaign. The majority of them lived in or near the area, had deep-seated pride in its development, and were not above offering low rents or even investing in new business concepts while making sure crap did not move in. Compare that to Lowest Greenville property owners charging $30 per sf (or more), overpriced parking and Resident Parking Only, and of course all we had was crap.

Then two things happened - Lowest Greenville was rezoned out of existence as we know it, and the 2010 wet/dry vote.

That meant bars, not restaurants, would be able to operate in Bishop Arts without serving food in places that would never have thunk to do it. Old houses and fire stations were renovated into bars and restaurant overnight, putting a strain on the few parking lots in the area. And of course, the cool factor was attracting more people (BD included) to frequent places like Eno's Pizza, Cafe Brazil and Tillman's. Events like the Mardi Gras parade and the Wine Walk brought even more people in.

Parking was becoming the new gorilla in the room, and the area residents were getting tired of losing their streets to drunk patrons and crowds. Can you guess where this is heading? Do you need a photograph to help you?

By Avi S. Adelman under Public safety , Safe streets
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Sunday, bloody Sunday..

BD participated in the City's Community Emergency Response Team training session the past two weekends at the Dallas Fire/Rescue Training Center out on Dolphin Road. If you want to be part of a growing and exciting volunteer service opportunity, this group should be on your list.

After 16 hours of classroom training, 50+ students participated in a disaster simulation exercise with almost 30 more volunteers decked out in their bloodiest going to church clothes on Sunday morning. The girls in this photo are Puppettes #3 (left) and #2 (right) with one of their friends (center).

We went to Wendy's on Upper Greenville after the exercise for lunch. The other patrons had no sense of humor, however, and pretty soon we had the center tables to ourselves.

You can see more disaster simulation exercises photos on BD's flickr page. If you are interested in helping build a CERT unit in the Lowest Greenville area, send a note to BD here.

By Avi S. Adelman under Public safety , Safe streets
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