Street Maintenance Boost in New Dallas Budget

A doctor tells City Council Members bad streets hurt her patients in ambulances

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Much needed help is on the way for bad Dallas streets in a new budget approved by the Dallas City Council Thursday.

The $150 million figure is about twice what the entire Dallas Public Works department had in the previous budget.

The vote after months of budget discussions came after a doctor told members Thursday how potholes hurt her patients on the way to the Dallas VA hospital.

An example of bad streets around that Oak Cliff neighborhood is Marfa Avenue.

The street is nothing like the South Texas tourist town with a mystic reputation.  Neighbors said a trip on Marfa Avenue is downright dangerous.

“I feel that it is. It chews your cars up, mess with your brakes and your tires and your lights in your car,” said Marfa Avenue resident Rose Hill.

She and neighbor Grace White said they were not surprised to hear what VA Doctor Katie Jarvis told the city council about injuries to her paralyzed veteran patients traveling over the potholes.

“I've had a few patients recently tell me that the stretcher inside the ambulance actually came up off of the floor of the ambulance and hit the back of the ambulance,” Jarvis said. “I want to do everything I can and I'm sure you do, to prevent harm in our veteran population.”

City Council Members said they were pleased to vote for the higher street maintenance spending.

“We know that's just as much of an issue as public safety for our constituents, at least it is for mine,” Councilman Chad West said.

But the new budget will only keep city-wide street conditions from declining even worse than they are now, and provide very little overall improvement.

“A band-aid fix to a problem we've got to really get serious and do surgery on,” Councilman Adam Bazaldua said.

Better than just repair, Marfa Avenue is due for a complete $1.2 million reconstruction with 2017 bond money. But it’s not due for completion until 2024.

“Way overdue,” said neighbor Grace White. “It's a lot of clean-up we need around here, too.”

Neighbors and city leaders have been promoting basic city services to help attract more new homes in the area, like those that have been constructed recently on what were vacant lots around Marfa Avenue.

“The basics first, the streets,” White said.

The neighbors said the mystical time on Marfa Avenue will be when the street is fixed.

The $150 million budgeted for Dallas street maintenance is a small fraction of the $583 million the Dallas Police Department will receive.

Grace White said police have work to do in the neighborhood too with drug dealers who’ve taken root there.

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