Safe streets

Safe streets

Where is all that RPO at?

With all the recent buzz about Resident Parking Only in Uptown and Bishop Arts, BD is promising to make a standalone website instead of a page on the BelmontNA website.

Tomorrow. I promise.

By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Safe streets
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Parking issues take down Fish City Grill @ Henderson


DALLAS — Fish City Grill on Henderson Avenue will close this weekend; its last day is Sunday. Owners Bill and Lovett Bayne announced its imminent closure via an email to customers.

"Our last day will be Sunday," said a Fish City employee. "We're one of the longest running restaurants in this strip, but it never became profitable enough."

[BD Note - FCG's valet parking costs upwards of $5 per car, more when bars in the same strip mall were running full. After a recent crackdown by the City, parking by the valets on empty grassy lots across the street was prohibited.]

Click here for the full story

By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Safe streets
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Oak Cliff Chamber hates 'easy' RPO process, wants Council Rep Jasso to stop it NOW!

UPDATE @ 10pm - CBS11 just posted a story about the Bishop Arts RPO. The property and business owners are having a meeting to figure out how to prevent a war. They have issued their terms of surrender to the residents: Give us your parking spaces so we can make money, and shut up about RPO! Commercial property owner David Spence is worried that if RPO is implemented without any dialog with the commercial interests, then he's going to lose his shirt. David, lean closer to the monitor so I can talk to you only - The parking spaces belong to the residents, capiche?? Details here.

When the first Resident Parking Only zone popped up in the Bishop Arts last week, the residents expected some kvetching by local businesses. And darn if Gloria's Restaurants Jose Fuentes did not get on the news that night and pontificate about how his customers (the ones not parking on his private complimentary [read: tips] lots) are afraid to walk a few blocks extra past the RPO streets. That kind of grousing is expected, and if anything only serves to provide more hot air to heat the restaurants. Even in Uptown, the RPO controversy is down to a low hum as the residents continue to organize for more streets to be protected.

But BD and others were surprised - okay, frigging amazed - to see how the Oak Cliff Chamber and local business and property owners reacted. Did they express any concern for the safety and well-being of their residential neighbors or the reasons they were so determined to have RPO protect their residential property? No. Did they ask for meetings so they could hear about the problems? No.

By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Safe streets
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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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