New leadership is on the way at the Fort Worth Transportation Authority. The agency, also known as the T, has hired a new president - Paul Ballard, who since 2002 has been CEO of the Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority.
Ballard helped bring commuter rail to Nashville in 2006 - although the Music City Star has been criticized for a lack of ridership.
More recently, Ballard has pushed hard for a bus rapid transit line in Nashville, the Amp, but has faced fierce opposition to that $174 million plan.
In North Texas, Ballard's job No. 1 will be to get the proposed TEX Rail commuter line open by 2017 or shortly thereafter ... and to do that he and other supporters will have to find a way to persuade the Federal Transit Administration to provide several hundred million dollars in funding.
Ballard also will be asked to extend T bus service to areas of the city that have been traditionally ignored, including the far north side. And, he will be asked to form a closer relationship with Arlington, which turned to Dallas Area Rapid Transit instead of the T when it came time to launch a pilot bus service to the Trinity Railway Express CentrePort Station.
My colleague Andrea Ahles does a bang up job covering aviation, and since I'm so awesome at covering surface transportation (insert modesty here) she and I decided to put together a podcast we're calling Air Land & Sea. Here's a link to our first episode:
Our second episode is on its way soon. Andrea and I hope this is something we can do regularly, approximately every couple of weeks, as another way to keep you informed about what we're hearing in the wild world of transportation.
Suggestions and criticism are always welcome. Send me an email at [email protected] ...
Dallas has become a hoppin' place for New Year's Eve celebrations - and, for those who want to drink, there are ways to get there without climbing behind the wheel.
The Trinity Railway Express will operate on a regular schedule this evening, and will supplement those usual trains with additional trains running westbound. Those additional trains will begin leaving Dallas 20 minutes after the fireworks end in Big D.
All transit services offered by the TRE and Fort Worth Transportation Authority (the T) will be closed Tuesday in observance of New Year's Day.
Pedestrians and cyclists now have a new, beautiful way to get over the Trinity River, connecting Trinity Park and Trails to downtown Fort Worth. The new Phyllis J. Tilley Memorial Bridge formally opens Saturday. The organization Streams and Valleys will host a ribbon-cutting at 10 a.m. at the bridge, which is near Forest Park Boulevard and the West Lancaster Avenue automobile bridge.
A picnic with live music, air boat rides and other entertainment will follow the event. For ticket information, call 817-916-0006.
The arch-supporter, stress-ribbon bridge is 364 feet long. It was designed by Freese and Nichols Inc. and Boston architect Miguel Rosales, according to a city newsletter.
The project totaled about $3 million, including federal grants administered by the Texas Department of Transportation, Fort Worth and $200,000 in private donations from Streams and Valleys.
Last week I covered the International Transport Forum in Leipzig, Germany. It's a truly multimodal city, and I'll have a story coming out on that soon (hopefully this weekend). Meanwhile, I thought I'd share some of the video I took while I was there. I'll post these as quickly I can get them edited.
This first one shows a ride on Leipzig's tram, from the Congress Center where the forum was held back to the city's old downtown, or Zentrum.
Since Leipzig is the home of composer J.S. Bach, I put a little music bed on there, too.
A quarter-century ago, the Texas Department of Transportation launched its now famous "Don't Mess With Texas" campaign to reduce littering. That phrase is now universally understood, not only in references to trash, but any circumstance of accomplishment or bravado involving someone from the Lone Star State.
Longhorns win the college football championship? Don't Mess With Texas.
Rangers pitcher Nolan Ryan slugs it out with a White Sox player who foolishly charges the mound? Don't Mess With Texas.
You get the idea.
Anyway, what started as a simple campaign became a huge part of pop culture. It "went viral" -- to borrow a phrase from the Internet age -- before viral was cool.
The transportation department is celebrating its 25th anniversary by asking you which Don't Mess With Texas campaign advertisement you liked best.
My personal favorite is the very first one -- a 1986 piece featuring the late, great guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan. But don't let my opinion color your own preferences. There are tons of memorable ads by artists such as Willie Nelson, Little Joe y La Familia, LeAnn Rimes and (probably my second fave) the Cowboy Poet.
Update: Just watched a bunch more of 'em, and another of my all-time favorites is the one with Dallas Cowboys greats Too Tall Jones and Randy White. That's a classic!