Five things that have North Texas talking: DART’s Jesus Rodriguez drove a 40-foot bus better than 39 others to win the title; most Texas water utilities don’t meet conservation standards, report found; working dogs are sniffing out a common nuisance for lake-goers; and more.
There’s an international competition for bus driving — the International Bus Roadeo. And last Sunday in Charlotte, North Carolina at the 41st annual event, DART won big. Drivers and mechanics from Dallas Area Rapid Transit won the Grand Champion Award, which recognizes the public transit system with the highest combined bus operator and maintenance team score, according to a press release.
The driver that helped bring home the title was Jesus Rodriguez, who’s been behind the wheel since April 1997, said Mark Ball, media representative for DART. Rodriguez beat 39 other drivers in the 40-foot bus competition, “the ultimate test of a bus operator’s driving skills,” according to the release. His first-place performance — judging stop, turning and avoiding obstacles — earned him cred as best driver in North America.
- Most water utilities in Texas need to improve their conservation efforts, according to the Texas Water Conservation Scorecard. The scorecard is the result of a recent review of more than 300 city utilities by the Texas Living Waters Project. As for major cities (more than 25,000 people) in North Texas, Fort Worth scored better than Dallas and Denton, but Frisco outdid all three, scoring 82 out of 100. According to the scorecard: “The City of Frisco has an enviably low rate of water loss in its distribution system, and it continues to make progress in reducing per capita water use. Residential water use, Frisco’s highest water use sector, would be a logical focus for conservation efforts.” So even if a city scored relatively well, the consortium of environmental groups that conducted the survey suggest further conversation improvements. Explore the project and read more from The Texas Tribune. [Texas Living Waters Project]
- The eastbound I-30 exit to Lamar (Exit 45B) will be closed tonight until the fall. The closure, which begins at 9 p.m., is part of the ongoing $800 million Dallas Horseshoe Project All traffic may take the exit to Cadiz/Griffin streets, the next available exit, to access Lamar. Here’s a map. Other shorter-term closures this weekend include various lanes of southbound I-35E between Riverfront Boulevard and Colorado Boulevard from 11 tonight to 6 a.m. Saturday. Also, the northbound I-35E direct connector to eastbound I-30 will be closed overnight starting Saturday at 11 p.m. to 10 a.m. Sunday. Traffic will be detoured to take exit to Woodall Rodgers Freeway and head east toward southbound U.S. 75/I-45 to access eastbound I-30. Confused? Here’s another map. [Dallas Horseshoe Project]
- For summer getaways, Dallas-Fort Worth has the cheapest travel costs and fewest hassles, according to a WalletHub study. The metroplex ranked sixth out of 80 U.S. destinations for summer travel measured by travel costs and hassles, local costs, attractions, weather conditions and activities. D-FW scored highest in travel costs and lowest in activities, however, the metro didn’t score below average in any category. Other Texas metros that ranked well — Houston (No. 9), Austin (No. 17), McAllen-Edinburg (No. 38), El Paso (No. 44) and San-Antonio-New Braunfels (No. 50). Read the methodology of the study. [WalletHub]
- Working dogs are helping to eradicate zebra mussels, an invasive aquatic species, as part of a larger campaign for boaters to protect Texas lakes. Zebra mussels can “clog water pipes, foul shorelines, damage boats, harm aquatic life and can cost taxpayers millions of dollars,” according to Texas Parks and Wildlife. The department is launching a campaign today urging boaters to “Clean, Drain and Dry” their boats to help prevent zebra mussels from infiltrating Texas bodies of water. For the launch, Working Dogs for Conservation will demonstrate how and where they can detect the invasive species on boats at Toyota Texas Fest in Frisco this weekend. [Texas Parks and Wildlife]