DART chair gets request for partner benefits at Orange Line opening parade

Posted on 30 Jul 2012 at 3:59pm

Fence is between the tracks rather than outside the tracks, yet using DART’s wide new sidewalk in Irving is illegal

Rafael McDonnell, Resource Center Dallas’ communications and advocacy manager, approached DART board chair John Carter Danish to talk about adding domestic partner benefits including insurance coverage after the Orange Line opening parade on July 28.

“DART should revisit the issue,” McDonnell said.

A former employee petitioned DART recently for partner benefits. He retired for health reasons and his husband is still a DART employee.

He said Danish’s reaction was to thank him for bringing the issue to his attention. Although he was noncommittal, Danish was an early backer of adding nondiscrimination protections for the transgender community saying, “It was the right thing to do.”

As chair of the DART board, Danish can add items to the agenda. McDonnell recommends contacting all board members about support for adding benefits, but to contact Danish separately, urging him to add the item to the agenda for the Aug. 14 meeting. The address is DART Office of Board Support, P.O. Box 660163, Dallas, Texas 75266-7200.

McDonnell said that members of the community should attend the DART meeting whether or not the issue appears on the agenda and they may speak during the open comment period. The Aug 14 meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at DART headquarters, 1401 Akard St.

While we’re sort of on the subject of the Orange Line, here are two comments:

First, if DART plans another parade in December when the Beltline Road station opens, hire Irving resident David Berryman to plan a better parade. While he couldn’t have done anything about the heat, the parade wouldn’t have been so, well, crappy. Berryman coordinates the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade.

Second, the Orange Line through Las Colinas is an accident waiting to happen. The crossings are all without railroad arms and at many crossings also without traffic lights. Or even signs that you’re driving across active railroad tracks.

That’s not all — the tracks are set in the middle of a new, beautifully bricked sidewalk. DART is calling it their private right-of-way. They are claiming there are signs warning pedestrians to keep off. And they are serious. Using this sidewalk, I mean DART right-of-way, could earn a jogger a $500 fine. And I walked the length of the sidewalk, I mean DART right-of-way, and saw NO signs warning pedestrians to keep off.

If DART really wanted people to stay off the tracks, were interested in safety and wasn’t just planning to add to their operating budget by issuing tickets, DART would have placed the fence that runs BETWEEN the tracks OUTSIDE the tracks to just keep people off their property.

So walk in the middle of the street (because there are no sidewalks here) and avoid the wrath of DART.

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