I-30 is complete and is an absolutely horrible nightmare of a road

i-30I was shocked as I drove to Fort Worth this morning that construction is complete on I-30 west of Sylvan Avenue. After years of work, it’s done.

Really?

Getting to Fort Worth now takes almost twice as long as it did before construction.

What’s impossible to do now that was possible before I-30 was reconstructed was pick a lane and stay in that lane from Dallas to Fort Worth. On the new improved I-30, lanes come and go. Sometimes the highway is three lanes. Sometimes it’s five. The right lane keeps dropping off as exit lanes so traffic keeps merging over. Sometimes it’s the left lane that disappears.

And those lanes are narrow in some places. Cement barriers come right up to the edge of the left lane making them unsafe. The amount of paint from cars and trucks scraping the barriers is proof of that.

Most of the construction was for HOV lanes. Years of constructing HOV lanes that no one uses. Well, not no one. On my trip back from Fort Worth between noon and 12:30 p.m., the HOV lane was closed going to Dallas. But for about 10 miles the lane was open going toward Fort Worth. I counted eight cars in 10 miles using that lane.

Eight cars. Really?

Years of construction to accommodate eight cars? Lanes that charge tolls supposedly to pay for the construction aren’t open all the time? That’s the definition of stupidity.

The new I-30 is horrible. The HOV lanes need to be ripped out and the highway should be made into four open lanes in each direction from downtown Dallas to downtown Fort Worth. And the engineer who designed the road should never be allowed to work in Texas again.

—  David Taffet

VIDEO: Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade

—  David Taffet

Meeting to build what Oak Cliff wants, not what City Hall wants

deck-park

Rendering of the proposed deck park across from the entrance to the Dallas Zoo

A meeting on the proposed deck park over I-35E across from the Dallas Zoo will be held tonight (Tuesday, Sept. 20) at Hitt Auditorium inside Methodist Hospital, 1441 N. Beckley Ave. Parking is free and the free trolley that stops outside the hospital will be running.

According to the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League, “Dallas Park and Recreation invites the public to attend the second programming and visioning workshop on the proposed Southern Gateway Deck Park. Conceptual design alternatives will be presented for community input.”

Rather than giving an out-of-town developer all sorts of incentives to build a monstrosity of an apartment complex that will destroy Bishop Arts that some city leaders want to build, the deck park will enhance the neighborhood, link the zoo with Oak Cliff (it’s across the highway from Oak Cliff) and give the area a park that will enhance the quality of life.

If you’ve been to Bishop Arts lately and spoken to any of the store or restaurant owners, you’ll get an earful about how tearing down old buildings to make way for a six-story Oak Lawn-style apartment complex will destroy the neighborhood — just as those developments are destroying Oak Lawn. And wonder why the new trolley doesn’t actually go to Bishop Arts? It was a concession to the developer to stop at his (proposed) front door. If you take the trolley to Bishop Arts, it stops on Beckley Avenue, two blocks down a steep hill from the actual Bishop Arts District.

The meeting is open to anyone interested in building what people in Oak Cliff want rather than what a few people at City Hall want.

—  David Taffet

Brite displays new logo for Pride

Just in time for Tarrant County Pride (Oct. 1-2), Brite Divinity School has released a new logo:

brite

Now for the new slogan: “Not your father’s divinity school”? Or how about, “Take that Rev. Jeffress.” Or maybe: “Brite Divinity School — it’s not just for LGBT people, but anyone who’s open minded.”

—  David Taffet

PHOTOS: Festival in the Park

The festival in Reverchon Park ran from noon-7 p.m. The Family Pride Zone was inside the festival. And the two protesters that were left were kept a block away.

 

—  David Taffet

PHOTOS: Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade 3

Many entries commemorated the Pulse victims in Orlando. Look for Marriott’s Love Travels organization that held signs with the names of the victims.

—  David Taffet

PHOTOS: Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade 2

PHOTOS: Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade 1

 

—  David Taffet

PHOTOS: Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade 1

Some observations about the parade:

More floats than ever. Best looking Dallas parade ever.

Faux pas: Southwest Airlines was immediately followed by American Airlines.

Interesting: Walmart Pride participated but Chik-fil-A Pride didn’t. That’s a thing, right?

Dallas Police: Friendly. Enthusiastic. Had fun while keeping a careful eye on everything going on from rooftops to street. I spoke to a number of them and they’re the best. Parade participants made sure any officer who needed water got it. I saw lots of hugs for officers while they remained vigilant making sure we were safe. I’ve never seen a community and police force love and respect each other during a large event as much as I saw today.

And I can compare. Last year I was at Houston Pride. Not a single smile. They weren’t there to answer a question and not one that I encountered on the entire parade route wanted to be there. Believe me. There weren’t hugs with Houston police.

 

 

—  David Taffet

PHOTOS: Teen Pride

Teen Pride took place at Oak Lawn United Methodist Church on Saturday, Sept. 17. Four protesters stood outside the fence. The woman in the red long sleeve shirt was ticketed the night before for spraying pepper spray in the face of a man leaving BJ’s.

During Teen Pride, after hours of screaming obscenities at the youth attending the event, one of the protesters was arrested after disobeying orders from a Dallas Police officer. That left only two protesters to show up at the Pride festival on Sunday — and police kept them a block away from the park.

—  David Taffet

Help in creating healthy behavior

Resource Center’s new counseling program growing quickly, director says

martin-scott2

 

DAVID TAFFET  |  Senior Staff Writer

Officials with Resource Center’s new Behavioral Health Program this week said the program builds on the agency’s existing counseling program, expanding it beyond what’s been offered in the past.

“We’re seeing greater need than in the past,” said Program Director Scott Martin, explaining the neeed for the new service,

The new program handles clients with greater counseling needs than in the past, Martin said, including substance abuse, depression and transgender issues.

The original program, which continues to operate, is a partnership between the center and Southern Methodist University. Because interns provide the counseling, that program primarily works with clients dealing with issues that require shorter-term sessions.

Martin said he has been surprised by the number of calls that have come in since the clinic opened at Resource Center’s new building on Cedar Springs Road in July. He said he’s received quite a few calls from parents whose children are transgender, and that he’s been pleasantly surprised that those parents have been supportive and were simply calling to get their teens the help they need.

Quite a few other calls have been from corporate human resource departments seeking drug or alcohol counseling for their employees. Again, Martin said, he’s been pleasantly surprised that HR officials calling for help aren’t asking about the sexual orientation of their employees. The Behavioral Health Program is not restricted to LGBT clients, Martin noted, adding that among the first people to access the new service have been several straight clients.

Martin sees his program as a hub in Resource Center’s web of programming. While he said there are a number of other fine counselors in the community and other quality counseling centers, like the ones operated by Texas Health Resources where Martin worked before joining Resource Center, his program has a distinct advantage: clients have easy and immediate access to the center’s other support services and programs.

When a teen comes for counseling on trans or coming out issues, for example, Martin can supplement his counseling sessions by introducing the client to Youth First. Those with addiction problems might benefit by attending the meth recovery group that meets several times a week at the center. Those considering transitioning may want to talk to and interact with people who are in different stages along the way in that process.

“I can walk them over to GEAR,” Martin said, of his transgender clients. And the center’s Nelson Tebedo Clinic offers hormone treatment under the care of local physicians.

Even though there’s been no public announcement of the new program, and no publicity around it, Martin said the program has been so successful since its July opening that two more staff members will be added in October.

In addition, space in the old community center building will be renovated with additional counseling rooms, so two more positions can be added this winter.

Martin said the Behavioral Counseling Program is also connecting Resource Center with other agencies throughout Dallas. The center is working closely with the Cohen Veterans Network, which provides mental health care for veterans at locations in five cities at no cost. Locally, it opened a clinic in Addison this year.

Martin said the Addison clinic is partnering with Resource Center to use the center as its LGBT specialist.

The Behavioral Health Program begins its intake process with a free assessment session. The program runs with a fee for service and most major insurance is accepted.

In the assessment, Martin said, he discusses options. He’ll transfer someone who needs detox before counseling or who is suicidal to the proper treatment hospital. Or he’ll look for an alternative for someone whose insurance won’t cover his counseling program.

As the program continues to grow, Martin said he continues to be surprised by the variety of clients accessing the service. He said he expected relationship problems to be one of the major issues his staff would face. Gay men, he said, tend to request a gay male counselor, probably because they expect to discuss sexual issues are are more comfortable talking about that with someone with similar experiences.

He said it’s interesting that since the marriage equality decision, he’s seen an increase in same-sex couples have coming forward to ask for help with their relationships.

“Since we’re more validated,” he said, “we have more permission to ask for help.”

To schedule a free assessment with Resource Center’s Behavioral Health Program, call 214-393-3640.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2016.

 

—  David Taffet