Dallas Applies The Brakes On New Bike Lane Rules | KERA News

Dallas Applies The Brakes On New Bike Lane Rules

Oct 10, 2012

Updated: Five stories that have North Texas talking: cyclists finding their place on Dallas roads, UT and affirmative action, the true stories of regular people.

Our intrepid BJ Austin summoned all her courage yesterday and rode down the middle of Main Street. On her bike. She qualifies as a “vulnerable road user” in Dallas’ new shared-bike-lane strategy, and that sounds about right given North Texans’ love of four-wheel behemoths.

BJ was trying out the city’s new rules to protect the two-wheeled types. (Don’t throw batteries, OK?) Dallas knows it’s time: In May, Bicycling magazine named this the worst city for bicyclists in the country. Ian Dille, a former resident of North Texas, wrote the article, and Robert Wilonsky had him elaborate on the ranking in a May interview for the Dallas Morning News’ City Hall blog.

Updated, 10:15 a.m.: Council members this morning decided to send the rules for the city’s new shared bike lanes back to the Public Safety and Quality of Life committees for tweaking. The proposals being considered:

  • Adding pedi-cabs to the bike ordinance
  • Adding a required distance between bikes and cars (probably 3 to 6 feet)
  • Adding bike rider responsibilities into the ordinance
  • Adding a bike lane etiquette education campaign

The council will vote after both committees recommend the changes.

-- Lyndsay Knecht

Longhorns Hit The High Court In Affirmative Action Case

The University of Texas is on a big stage today, as the Supreme Court hears arguments on affirmative action in higher education. Among those who’ll testify is Abigail Fisher, a white woman who says UT rejected her because of her race.

Lawyers for the university argue that her grades weren’t good enough and that UT’s scoring system for applicants allows for appropriate diversity. NPR’s Nina Totenberg breaks this down in an explainer for Morning Edition.

Feelings on this issue are complex, as you can imagine. Just this month, the University of Mississippi celebrated the 50th anniversary of its integration. Even a triumph over discrimination yielded mixed feelings: Ole Miss’ first black student, James Meredith, shared complicated emotions with NPR’s Debbie Elliott about marking the day. Though he wasn’t rejected, he says, scores of hopefuls before him were.

-- Lyndsay Knecht

Got A Story Worth Telling Strangers? Submit To Oral Fixation

Do friends depend on you for compelling true-life  monologues at dinner parties? Are you an essayist crunching on a personal story? Do you want to share a significant experience but have absolutely no experience with writing or public speaking? If you answered yes to any of those, you’d fit right in with storytellers that have made the Oral Fixation series.

Producer, editor, and creator Nicole Stewart is taking submissions for this season’s first original show. And last night at the MAC, seven of last season’s best stories were told. To really explain how diverse and interesting the project is: The story that actually made me cry was a vignette with a nightstand as protagonist, and the teller submitted it under the “One Night Stand” prompt.

The theme for the next show, Nov. 6, is “Baby Steps.” Suggestions: formative ballet memories, infant stepsiblings, accidents on narrow stairwells. You’re welcome.

-- Lyndsay Knecht

To Bee Or Not To Bee: Dallas Celebs Strut Their Spelling Stuff

Dallas celebs who love Latin roots and silent consonants converge on the just-opened Dallas City Performance Hall today at 6 p.m. They’ll compete in a spelling bee to benefit Reading Partners.

It’s a program that offers one-on-one volunteer tutoring and mentoring to students in 10 low-income neighborhood schools. 

Celebrity spellers include Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Good Morning Texas host Amy Vanderoef, and DISD chief talent officer Charles Glover. 

I’ll be on stage, too — braving very tough competition in an effort to avenge my disappointing finish in the Newsday Long Island Spelling Bee of 1983. By the way, my losing word was “rhombus”.

You can find more details on the work of Reading Partners and ticket information for tonight’s event here.

-- Krys Boyd

Relieving Stress: Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Smash Stuff

Personally, I find solace in video games. Ain't nothing like blowing up a few aliens with friends to help you forget about a bad day. There’s some science backing that up, too.

But if all you want is to let loose and recreate that scene from the movie Office Space (where they completely destroy the infamous 'PC LOAD LETTER' printer) the Dallas-based Anger Room provides a place to do it safely.

From the operation’s website:

"The Anger Room facility is a place where you can let your hair down, gear up and destroy real-life mocked rooms that simulate an actual workplace, living area or kitchen. Complete with dummies, mannequins, TVs, tables and many, many more breakable items."

The actual room you destroy stuff in is replete with hole-pocked walls and a thick viewing window, backed by a safety attendant observing your every destructive motion. Sessions can cost anywhere from $25 to $75, depending on the amount of time you spend destroying things. The 'Anger Room' provides everything from the various tools needed to smash stuff to the required safety gear and supervision.

They’ll even record your session for later amusement and/or the eventual posting to YouTube. Check out this AP video on the program:

We’d be remiss in our duties if we didn’t suggest seeking professional help for serious problems. The Anger Room notes that it’s there for “entertainment purposes only.”

KERA's Sam Baker recently conducted an interview on other natural ways to prevent stress.

-- Justin Martin