Did we lose a lane on Dallas Street? Up until recently, Dallas Street from Louisiana to Travis had five lanes, now it has four. In place of the far right lane, there are concrete platforms for METRO passengers to embark on to/disembark from buses at the end of each block, and trees dividing parking spaces.
The Hyatt Regency Hotel has quite a few private buses that load/unload passengers on that side of the building. When a private tour bus and a METRO bus were both trying to make pick-ups there, it could get a little crowded. Now METRO stays in lane number four, while the private buses park in lane number five.
The platform built at the end of the block makes sure that passengers won’t have to cross a lane of traffic or in front of a parked bus to catch METRO. But did we lose a lane in the process? Surely, we need more lanes, not less, in the downtown area.
“It was a project initiated by the downtown district,” City Council Member James G. Rodriguez tells Hair Balls. “They were trying to create a connection corridor, for the Doubletree, Hyatt, Marriott, the new Pavilions and the George R. Brown. In talking to METRO and the city folks, the right lane was never a through-traffic lane; it was already designated for loading/unloading and METRO bus stops. The Downtown District just added landscaping to improve the aesthetics of the street.”
But METRO used lane five to load and unload passengers, and now they use lane four. That sounds like the loss of a lane to us. “Really?” says Rodriguez. “I haven’t seen that, but I’ll look into it and contact them as to why they’re doing that.”
We think it was designed that way, but we’ll wait for Council Member Rodriguez to get back to us on that.
In the mean time, should we expect anymore street beautification, a/k/a lane losses?
“I have not been briefed on any others,” says Rodriguez. “I think they wanted to complete this one and see how it went.”
So do we.
— Olivia Flores Alvarez