Police arrest suspect in Oak Lawn robberies

Dominique Trevun Thornton

Dallas police arrested one man and are still looking for another believed to have robbed eight people in Oak Lawn early Sunday.

Phuc Nguyen, 20, was arrested Sunday after his vehicle was linked to the description of the vehicle involved in the robberies, Sr. Cpl. Sherri Jeffrey said.

The other suspect, described as a light-skinned Hispanic male in his 20s with a thin build, has not been arrested.

Police responded to the first robbery at about 1:45 a.m. in the 3300 block of Crestview Drive. Six people were held up by two men with handguns as they were walking inside the apartment complex from the parking lot, according to the police report.

The two suspects approached them and held them at gunpoint before fleeing with their wallets and cellphones.

An hour later, a woman called police to report that two suspects with similar descriptions had stolen her purse in the 5100 block of Vandelia Street. Around the same time, two more people were robbed in the 3100 block of Hudnall Street. Two suspects demanded they give them all their property, according to the report.

No one was injured in the robberies.

Dallas police also arrested a suspect in connection to the robberies along Katy Trail last weekend. Dominique Trevun Thornton, 22, was arrested Saturday after he was stopped for speeding in Grand Prairie.

Thornton is one of two men police believe robbed a man and a woman near the Katy Trail in the early hours of May 13 and a man running on the trail around 6 a.m. Police have since increased patrols along the trail.

The second man police are searching for is described as a black male in his 20s.  He is 5’8” – 6’2” tall and weighs 150-160 pounds. The men were reportedly seen in a gray four-door sedan, which police think could be a Chrysler or Chevy Impala.

—  Dallasvoice

Dallas police increase patrols along Katy Trail after 3 weekend robberies

UPDATE: Dallas police believe the robberies are related to 11 similar robberies committed by the same people in the past. Four of them occurred near Katy Trail based on crime analysis. Below is the description of the two men:

  • The first suspect is described as a black male, approximately 20 to 30 years old.  He is 5’8 – 6’2 tall and weighs 150-160 pounds.  He has been armed with a blue steel semi-automatic handgun.
  • The second suspect is described as a black male, approximately 20 to 22 years old.  His is 5’8 -5’10 tall and weighs approximately 160 pounds.  He may have a gold tooth and moles near his eyes.  He has been armed with a silver colored semi-automatic handgun.
  • The suspect vehicle is gray/silver 4-door sedan.  The vehicle may be a Chrysler or Chevy Impala.

A man walking along Katy Trail near Fitzhugh Avenue. (Michael Stephens/Dallas Voice)

Dallas police are increasing patrols along the Katy Trail after three people were robbed at gunpoint in the area over the weekend.

Lt. Scott Walton sent out a statement Monday morning saying added patrols including more bicycle officers have been assigned to surrounding locations, and members of the Violent Crime Task Force will be in the area.

The first incident was reported on Saturday, when a 25-year-old man said he was approached by two males in a silver sedan around 11:30 p.m. in the 3700 block of Travis Street. The man was punched and threatened with a gun that was reportedly in one of the suspect’s jacket, according to the police report.

The victim was placed in a chokehold until he handed over his iPhone, credit cards and a small amount of cash in his possession before the suspects entered the backseat of the sedan and left.

A 28-year-old woman was held up at gunpoint in the early morning hours Sunday. She was robbed around 1:40 a.m. while leaving the Katy Trail Ice House in the 3100 block of Routh Street. The suspects escaped with her purse, iPhone and wallet.

Around 6:30 a.m. Sunday, a 34-year-old man was running on the trial when two black men described as approximately 25 years old approached him after entering through the gate at Blackburn Street, according to the report.

The suspects “sprinted” to catch up to the victim and pointed a pistol at his head until he handed over his iPhone. They left after making him lay down in the gravel.

In the police report, the man described his attackers as wearing all black. One had short hair, a gold tooth and possible moles near his eyes. The other was wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt with black shorts and had a his hair styled in an “afro.”

Lin Wang, president of LGBT running club Front Runners Dallas, said the about 10 to15 people meet at 8:30 a.m. on Saturdays for a group run. He sent out an email Sunday warning the group that if they run outside of the group run, they should run with someone else for safety.

The robberies on and near the trial will not affect the Saturday morning run, he said.

“The good thing is we always do a group run so we seldom run alone,” he said. “Besides that, what can we do? This is the trail we use because of the location and available parking.”

Wang, who lives near the trail, said he runs six days a week and fears he could be a target, especially for possible violence because he does not bring anything of value with him. He runs around 6:30 a.m. but got a late start Sunday, he said.

He cautioned runners to not bring any money or phones in addition to running in groups and watching for suspicious people on the trail. He said many runners use their iPhones because of a popular speed-tracking app, but said for serious runners to instead use a running watch.

—  Dallasvoice

Frontrunners announce first Dallas Pride Run

Miami has one. New York has one. So do Chicago and San Francisco. Even St. Louis. But Dallas will get its first LGBT-centered run this year. Community group Dallas Frontrunners have announced their inaugural Dallas Pride Run set for Sept. 16 as part of the festivities for the Pride parade weekend.

“There’s never been a Pride run in Dallas’ history so I’m quite proud of it,” Lin Wang said.

The 5K race will be set early in the morn so as not to interfere with people’s parade plans for later that afternoon, but also to hopefully sidestep the summer heat a bit. While organization is still under way to finalize specifics, the race is set to begin at Reverchon Park and via the Katy Trail toward the the Blackburn bridge and back. Dog owners can get in on the action as well with the Paws Pride Parade 1k walk which will head opposite of the run. Frontrunners has also secured the parking garage across the street for registrants.

Wang feels the run will add a different element to Pride festivities and maybe even attract a broader crowd of athletes to the mix. He’s even sent invitations to Frontrunner groups in other cities to participate.

“We’re expecting 300 to 500 people. By comparison, Los Angeles has had more than 400 participants the last three years,” he added.

While Frontrunners still irons out all the details (such as registration fees, t-shirts and logos) and populates its new website, they are putting out the call for volunteers. Wang says he thinks right now, they could use up to 30 volunteers. They are needed to man water stations, man the food station and work the registration and package pickup stations. Those interested in helping can sign up on the site.

The group has been working closely with AIDS Interfaith Network’s Travis Gasper as the event is set to benefit the organization.

“When FrontRunners approached us earlier this year we were excited for this opportunity. Dallas has two walks and a great cycling event to raise awareness of and funds for AIDS. Other big cities have runs around their pride events, so we thought, why not Dallas? We have an active running community, and look forward to recruiting runners from Dallas and the region for our inaugural Dallas Pride Run,” Gasper said. “Earlier this month we found out HIV infection rates rose in Dallas County for the first time in five years. Funds raised from the Dallas Pride Run will help prevent the spread of HIV in our community. Now is the time to refocus our community on prevention, and get some exercise doing it, which is something we can all be proud of!”

—  Rich Lopez

Feet don’t fail

Recently all but dead, Lin Wang helped Frontrunners catch its second wind

DFW Frontrunners members Steven, left, and Kevin, right, set the pace with new members like Moe, center, to powerwalk for fitness with the group when they meet every Saturday morning to hit the Katy Trail.

DFW Frontrunners members Steven, left, and Kevin, right, set the pace with new members like Moe, center, to powerwalk for fitness with the group when they meet every Saturday morning to hit the Katy Trail.

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer

When Lin Wang came to Dallas and thought about joining the DFW Frontrunners, he encountered a fizzled-out band of running enthusiasts with an expired website.

“I found an email to an old contact, but no one answered,” Wang says. “Then I learned from someone that it died out a few years ago.”

But Wang’s enthusiasm is infectious, and his spirit has helped bring the group back to life.

Frontrunners isn’t just a Dallas thing — it’s an international affiliation of LGBT running and walking clubs that first began 28 years ago in San Francisco. Wang had been an active member of both the Pittsburgh and New York City chapters, so when he moved to Dallas in the summer of 2010, he was surprised to find that in a city of its size, the group basically didn’t exist.

“I don’t know why it went away,” he says. “With all the other sports groups, there is such a demand for athletics in this large LGBT community.”

So he started the rebuilding.

DFW Frontrunners had been so out-of-date that the international association told him to just register the group as “new.” With the help of Julio Chong, the group changed its meeting place from White Rock Lake on Saturday mornings to a more central spot in Lee Park. For the group to succeed, Wang felt it needed to be closer in the ‘hood.

“Julio and I did this together,” Wang says. “We started small, but the biggest group we’ve had is about 15 members and we now have close to 20 active members.”

Wang recalls the decisions to have the first group meeting last June.

“It was a horrible time to begin because of the summer,” he laughs, recalling the sweltering heat of 2011’s record-breaking season.“ But we had to prove this was not a dead organization. We welcome anyone who wants to join us.”

With a diverse group including some straight members, Frontrunners meets at the Robert E. Lee statue and then proceeds to the Katy Trail. Groups can then walk or run in their preferred direction, eventually meeting back at the statue. Then it’s off to breakfast.

Like any gay sports organization, Frontrunners also pushes the socializing aspect of a club. Fellowship is a booster among those working on their fitness levels. Local activist Latisha McDaniel has met some of her personal goals as a member along with broadening her circle of friends.

“[Frontrunners has] been a great experience and has really increased my love of running,” she says. “It has given me a new jump start and a good way to meet new people.”

McDaniel even improved her fitness level. She started with the walking group, but has graduated to running and even surprised herself with her abilities.

“I’ve participated in two races since joining and about to run in another one,” she says. “I did a few races in college but haven’t really done anything since moving to Dallas.”

“We’re not gonna scare people away who like walking,” Wang adds. “We always make sure one person walks so others feel fine to join in.”

Wang intends for Frontrunners to be much more than the weekly meetup. He’s used Facebook and Twitter to get the word out on the group and to entice online members to join them in person. He has had the group participate as volunteers for the White Rock Marathon as a water station team and expect to repeat that this year. He also wants to push the group into hosting Dallas’ first Pride race.

We’re focusing hard on doing the first-ever event,” he says. “St. Louis has one and we think that it could be an integral part of our Pride festival. It would be a different way to have and witness a different Pride involvement. And we’d like to tie it in to an organization and the race can be a viable fundraiser.”

Although Wang would like to accomplish all this in 2012, it’s more realistic to expect everything in place by Dallas Pride 2013. In the meantime, the group hopes to expand membership and enjoy the health and fellowship that accompanies it. And for now, you can join without paying membership dues.

“We’re in the process of becoming a nonprofit and so we may have to charge in the future,” he admits. “but we expect it would be very minimal. We don’t want to push anyone away.” The only running away he wants to see is on the trail.

For more information, visit Frontrunners Dallas.org or meet up with them Saturday mornings at 8:30 a.m. under the statue at Lee Park.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 17, 2012.

—  Michael Stephens

Omni sensual

New hotel’s artwork is as much a draw as its location

Omni

‘THUNDERHEAD’ | Gay artist Ted Kincaid’s largest-ever work dominates the new Omni Hotel’s lobby. He’s one of a number of local artists represented throughout the facility. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

“Did you see the gay clouds?” Jeff West asks.
Of course, the clouds themselves aren’t gay — they are, at most, bi-cumulus — but West (who works with Matthews Southwest, the lead developer of the new Omni Hotel in Downtown Dallas) knows that many gay art fans will know just what he’s talking about: The massive, distinctive digital wisps that are instantly identifiable as the work of Ted Kincaid.

Thunderhead 1111 is Kincaid’s largest work to date, and it dominates the lobby of the Omni — a great testament to the inclusion of local artists throughout the property.

Art, in fact, is a key aspect in the design of the hotel; the halls are decorated with unique pieces, as are the individual rooms. In most instances, pieces are for sale. It’s probably a natural progression from being able to buy a hotel robe or slippers, but still a nice one.

Especially because of the Omni’s attention to detail. Meeting rooms in the hotel are named after Dallas neighborhoods and landmarks (enjoy a conference in the Katy Trail room, a reception in the Oak Cliff), and the artwork reflects that, from photos of Deep Ellum to abstract paintings of Bishop Arts.

The building itself is dazzling as well, from the LED lights that decorate the exterior (but do not flood into the rooms) to the graceful lines in the Texas Spice restaurant. You can’t call it a museum, but the Omni is a gallery of a kind, and worth a tour even if you aren’t from out of town.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 2, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Local briefs • 10.14.11

RCD hosts ‘The 5 Factor’

Resource Center Dallas, in partnership with Dallas Modern Luxury, presents the third annual “The 5 Factor” event on Thursday, Oct. 20, at eM the venue by Marc, 1500 Dragon St. in Dallas.

“The 5 Factor” event recognizes five of Dallas’ finest in areas such as cuisine, fashion, media and literature.

This year’s “5 Factor” honorees are journalist and award-winning author Jenny Block; Emmy Award-winning journalist Ron Corning, who recently joined WFAA Channel 8 as the host of News 8 Daybreak; Dallas restaurant owner Monica Greene of Monica’s Aca Y Alla in Deep Ellum and BEE in Oak Cliff, who recently began providing commentary on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars for WFAA; award-winning fashion designer Prashi Shah who created her own label, Prashe, and recently opened a showroom in Dallas’ Design District; and Bronwen Weber, executive chef and general manager of Frosted Art Bakery and Studio in Dallas who is perhaps best known to many for her appearances on television’s Food Network Challenge programs.

The evening will be hosted by Angela Betasso, with state Rep. Eric L. Johnson and his wife as co-chairs and last year’s honorees serving as the honorary host committee.

General admission is $50 per person, available online at The5Factor.org. Proceeds benefit the programs and services of Resource Center Dallas.

…………………………….

GLAAD holds ‘Get Amped’ 5K

The local chapter of GLAAD presents Get Amped, a 5K run/walk on the Katy Trail on Thursday, Oct. 20, in conjunction with similar chapter events around the country.
Check-in begins at 5:30 p.m. at the American Airlines Center.

The starting gun goes off at 7 p.m. The celebration takes place at the finish line, also at the arena, at 9 p.m.

An after-party takes place at 9:30 p.m. at the Round-Up Saloon.

Each runner has a goal of raising $250. The money raised will benefit the national organization.

……………………………

VNA holds Service of Remembrance

The Visiting Nurse Association will host a Service of Remembrance on Sunday, Nov. 6, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Preston Hollow United Methodist Church, 6315 Walnut Hill Lane in Dallas.

The event is open to the public and will feature special music, readings and the opportunity to light a memorial candle.

Attendees of all faiths are welcome to attend the service.

For more information call Sue Rafferty, bereavement coordinator with the Visiting Nurse Association, at 214-689-2922

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 14, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Bike vs. Bike

09.23.11-Cover-B

Jed Billings in Fort Worth, left, David Smith on Cedar Springs, right

Which is the best city for cyclists: Big D or Cowtown? Both cities have plans in place now to create safer, more convenient options for riders

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

This weekend, Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS riders can decide for themselves which city is more bike-friendly — Dallas or Fort Worth — as the fundraising cyclists ride through Cowtown on Saturday, and Big D on Sunday (see separate story, New Routes, LSRFA).

Both cities have bike plans in place to increase bicycling for fun and fitness and to encourage two-wheel transportation as a viable means of commuting. But which city’s plan is the best?

The Dallas advantage in bike commuting is DART. Both cities have buses equipped with bike racks, and the Trinity River Express, the train running between the two, also welcomes bikes on board.

But the new center section on each DART train car eliminates the stairs and has hooks for hanging bikes.

Plus, the bike trails in Dallas are accessible from DART stations.

The Katy Trail begins across the parking lot from Victory Station. Fair Park Station is blocks from the new Sante Fe Trail. White Rock Station is adjacent to the White Rock Trail, and Forest Lane Station is right next to the Cottonwood Trail.

But on the other side of the Metroplex, Fort Worth has the extensive and interconnected Trinity Trails in its favor. The trails are named, of course, for the river and its forks, along which much of the 40-mile trail system runs.

Lone Star Ride will use 22 miles of the trail system on Saturday, the first day of the event.

Both cities have developed bike plans to make cycling a transportation alternative. The plans include a variety of ways to make the streets more bike-friendly.

Dallas

In Dallas, the plan includes creating bike lanes, cycletracks, shared lane markings, climbing lanes and paved shoulders that crisscross the city.

Some bike lanes will share a lane with a bus. Cycletracks are dedicated lanes separated from traffic with curbs or other barriers.

Dallas plans 840 miles of on-street bike lanes, with another 255 miles of off-street trails.

“That doesn’t include the trail network,” said Max Kalhammer, project manager of the Dallas plan.

Plans are to connect the Katy Trail and Sante Fe Trail through downtown Dallas with a lane over the Jefferson Street Viaduct to link the Bishop Arts District. That plan should be implemented by 2014.

The next phase involves a network of lanes within a three-mile radius of light rail stations. The full plan should take 10 years to implement, according to Kalhammer.

Fort Worth

The Fort Worth bike plan is simpler, with just two types of bike lanes — shared and dedicated — but no less aggressive.

City of Fort Worth Senior Planner Julia McCleeary said the Fort Worth plan extends more than 1,000 miles, but that includes expected future development and will take 30 to 40 years to fully implement. Currently, the city has 14.1 dedicated bike lanes and 30 miles of shared bike routes.

Over the next six months, another eight miles will be added.

Residents seem to be responding to the new lanes.

“I left work Friday and within five minutes saw three cyclists,” McCleeary said. “Wow. You wouldn’t have seen that before.”

She said that Fort Worth is the first city in Texas to pass a safe passing ordinance: Cars need to leave three feet between themselves and anyone vulnerable, including bike riders, horseback riders or the handicapped. Commercial vehicles must clear by six feet.

“We also passed a bike parking zoning ordinance,” she said. “Developers must install racks according to specs.”

Striping downtown streets was done with a Department of Energy grant. McCleeary said that when a street is repaved and must be restriped anyway, the cost of adding the bike lane is minimal.

Coming soon

“[In Dallas] none of the on-street lanes have been implemented yet,” Kalhammer said, but he added that the first lane should be opened soon. He said that will be on Mary Cliff Road in Oak Cliff, in conjunction with some road reconstruction.

The next project will be Bishop Street, which will have dedicated bike lanes.

The Dallas bike project includes destination signs that point in a direction with a distance to the destination. Those replace the current bike route signs that point down a street but usually go nowhere.

McCleeary said she would like to see standardized bike lane marking between cities to minimize driver confusion and promote safety. Kalhammer said he thought the markings will be similar enough to not confuse riders.

Dallas would like to see many more people using bikes as part of their intermodal commute to work.

Fort Worth’s goal is to triple the number of bike commuters, decrease bicycle-related crashes by 10 percent and earn the Bicycle Friendly Community designation given by the League of American Bicyclists.

Where do we rank?

Currently, the “bike friendly” designation hasonly been awarded to smaller cities — Steamboat Springs, Col., Burlington, Vt., and Santa Fe, N.M. are typical examples.

In Boulder, Colo, more than 95 percent of city streets have bike lanes. One Texas city was recognized by the group this year for the first time — The Woodlands — and another — College Station — received an honorable mention.

According to the census, of the top 50 cities, Portland is the No. 1 biking city in the United States with as much as 9 percent of commuters using bikes in some neighborhoods and 3.5 percent citywide.

San Francisco, which ranks fifth, has one of the densest populations in the United States and counts about 40,000 people commuting regularly by bike.

Even more — possibly 75,000 people — get around in New York City by bike.

With .02 percent of commuters using bikes, Dallas ranked 41st and Fort Worth 42nd. But those census figures were released in 2007, before either city instituted their current bike plans. DART added its bike-friendly trains and buses with bike racks just last year and the census undercounts intermodal bike riders by listing them as public-transit users.

Of course, even the bike-friendliest cities in the United States rank far behind many European cities.

In Amsterdam, the world’s top biking city, 40 percent of traffic moves by bicycle. Centraal Station, the Dutch city’s main train station, has parking for 7,000 bikes.

Trondheim, Norway became one of Europe’s top bike riding cities by tackling its hilly topography with bike lifts along some of the city’s steepest streets. That sounds like a great idea for the hills that climb into Oak Cliff.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 23, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

There’s no place like home

With the Mavs’ victory and the Super Bowl, all eyes are on Dallas lately. But many locals don’t know just what Uptown has to offer

CLANG CLANG CLANG WENT THE … | Uptown’s trolley service has a history and plans for expansion. Best of all, it’s free. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

Every year, when they bring in travel journalists from all over the world to promote Dallas as a gay destination, the Tavern Guild shows them everything the city has to offer a visitor. (See sidebar.) Just this week, all eyes were on Victory Park as the Mavericks won their first NBA championship title. In other words, lots of people from outside have had Uptown Dallas on the brain.
So let me ask: Where, exactly, is Uptown?

There’s a lot even Dallas natives don’t know about the Oak Lawn-adjacent neighborhood. And that’s something the local association is trying to change.

Uptown, officially, is just a single square mile, bordered roughly to the south by Woodall Rodgers Freeway, to the west by the Katy Trail, to the east by North Central Expressway and to the north by Haskell Street. But they’ve packed a ton of stuff in that district: Five hotels, all pretty high end (the Stoneleigh, the Ritz-Carlton, the Crescent Court, Zaza and the Hotel St. Germain); 90 bars and restaurants; three live theaters … and tons of gay folks, of course.

Uptown didn’t used to be “up;” it used to be “low.” When the plans were drafted in the 1980s for construction on the Crescent, the area was described as “Lower Oak Lawn,” which is how many in the gayborhood still see it. But Uptown has some attractions unique to it.

Not the least of these is the McKinney Avenue Trolley system, which circles Uptown before crossing over the Woodall canyon and dead-ending on St. Paul Street between the Dallas Museum of Art and the Fairmont Hotel. That’ll change soon; plans are underway to extend the end of the line and make it a true loop. That should add to the 390,000 riders who hopped one of the three trolleys in 2010. And best of all, they rode them for free.

If you haven’t ridden the trolley yet, it merits your time. Because they are antiques, these are not cookie-cutter light rail trains but variously sized, one-of-a-kind streetcars loaded with history. One of the cars is 101 years old; one has distinctly European styling; they come from as far away as Australia, and run on tracks that won’t need to be repaired for decades.

One trolley trip can take you from right next to Stephan Pyles Restaurant back up McKinney Avenue, where you can grab a cocktail at Sambuca and an appetizer from Fearing’s across the street; up toward State-Thomas, which hides some hip bars like The Nodding Donkey; and past the West Village where Cork has a variety of wines. And you’re just a few paces from the Cityplace DART stop, so you don’t have to drive home after indulging.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 17, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

DPD officers won’t clean up horses’ poop

The horses may be pretty to look at, and their presence is a sign of spring, but not everyone is thrilled to see mounted DPD officers in the area of the Katy Trail this year.

Earlier today the proprietor of the 7-11 on Fitzhugh told me the horses make a mess in his parking lot, and the officers refuse to clean it up, leaving him to do their dirty work.

As you can see in the above photo, two mounted officers were hanging out in the 7-11 parking lot earlier today, and not surprisingly, one of the horses dropped a deuce in a parking space. I watched the officers leave without cleaning it up.

“If anyone else did that they’d get a ticket,” the 7-11 proprietor told me. “Just because they’re police doesn’t mean they should be able to do whatever they want.”

It’s unclear why the police horses aren’t equipped with bags that catch their poop, but they’re not. Budget cutbacks?

In any case, this is clearly horseshit! Just wait till some queen from one of the nearby gay bars steps in that stuff. Then you’re really gonna have a problem.

—  John Wright

Help Troy Aikman make the Katy Trail safer

In the wake of the tragic death of jogger Lauren Huddleston, who suffered fatal head injuries when she was struck by a bicyclist, Friends of the Katy Trail is kicking off a Safety Awareness Drive with the help of former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman. Aikman will be on the trail from 5 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, and hey, maybe this will be a good opportunity to show off your purple. From the Friends:

Friends of the Katy Trail will ask Trail users to sign a pledge stating how they will use the Trail safely. The Safety Awareness Drive kicks off Oct. 20 with Troy Aikman and lasts all weekend!

If you want to help with the Safety Awareness Drive, please contact Ashleigh Falk at Ashleigh@KatyTrailDallas.org. Volunteers will ask people to sign the safety pledge and distribute tips for safe use of the Trail. They also will take new or renewed memberships in the Friends of the Katy Trail. We need volunteers on Oct. 23 and 24. at various points on the Trail.

Friends of the Katy Trail and Dallas city officials met last week and are working on a plan to address safety concerns, which will be released no later than Thanksgiving. City Councilwoman Angela Hunt reports in an e-mail:

Last week, I met with city staff and Friends of the Katy Trail board members to discuss ways to make the trail safer in response to Lauren Huddleston’s tragic death. We will have a plan to address trail safety for all users within 45 days.

Last month’s unveiling of Dallas’ Bike Plan was a great success, with over 200 people attending the meeting at City Hall. Please take a look at the draft maps and give us your input.

The updated bike plan will help us address overcrowding on the Katy Trail by providing alternatives for cyclists. Right now, many cyclists feel that off-street trails are the only safe place to ride. As we develop safe on-street facilities like separated bike paths and well-marked bike lanes, as envisioned by the bike plan, cyclists will have more options and we can take some of the pressure off our trails.

UPDATE: Moments after we posted this, yet another accident was reported on the Katy Trail. The Dallas Police Department says a bicyclist was struck by a vehicle at about noon on Monday:

According to witness, a bicyclist stopped at stop sign at Harvard Street and Cole Avenue and then proceeded to cross Cole Avenue, when she was lightly struck by a vehicle traveling on Cole Street with no stop sign. The bicyclist was transported to Baylor with minor injuries.

—  John Wright