Aerial Mosquito Spraying Update: Rest of Dallas Sprayed Tonight

Just received this update from City of Dallas staff:

The West Nile Virus spraying program continues:

  • The rest of the City that was not sprayed last night will be sprayed tonight
  • Last night’s spraying was cut short due to rain
  • Because rain is threatening once again tonight, operations will begin at 9:00 p.m.
  • If everything goes as planned, tonight’s spraying will complete the FIRST application for the WHOLE city
  • TWO applications will be required
  • The SECOND application will be conducted two days after the FIRST application to kill the adult mosquitoes missed on the first spray as well as those mosquitoes that hatch within the two days

Aerial Spraying Report for Thursday, August 16:

  • Two airplanes loaded with Duet pesticide initiated spraying at 10 p.m. Spraying was estimated to be completed by 2 a.m., but suspended at midnight due to inclement weather. Area scheduled but not sprayed is approximately 1/2 mile west of Jupiter Rd and Buckner Blvd east to the City Limit
  • Pre-spray mosquito traps were placed by Clarke Mosquito Control (State’s contractor), County and City. Samples were to be collected by noon on Friday and results will be assessed to determine need for follow-up applications.

Aerial Mosquito Spraying to Begin Tonight

Tonight, August 16 starting at 10 p.m., parts of Dallas will receive aerial mosquito spraying in response to the West Nile virus outbreak.   The mayor made this decision yesterday pursuant to his emergency powers, and the council did not vote on the matter.

The area to be sprayed tonight includes all of East Dallas north of I-30, Downtown, Uptown, Turtle Creek, the Park Cities, and Oak Lawn neighborhoods (see map, below).  During the aerial spraying, avoid being outside, close windows and consider keeping pets inside while spraying occurs.  Additional information can be found on the city’s website.  Please pass on this information to your neighbors.

For people concerned about exposure during aerial spraying, health officials suggest the following precautions:

  • Minimize exposure. Avoid being outside, close windows and consider keeping pets inside while spraying occurs.
  • If skin or clothes are exposed, wash them with soap and water.
  • Rinse homegrown fruits and vegetables with water as a general precautionary measure.
  • Cover small ornamental fish ponds.
  • Because the chemical breaks down quickly in sunlight and water, no special precautions are suggested for outdoor swimming areas.

The pesticide product is called Duet, which is labeled and approved by the EPA for use in outdoor and residential areas. The active ingredients are in the same chemical family as products currently being used for ground spraying in the Dallas area. The product will be applied at very low dosages – less than an ounce per acre – by small, twin- engine aircrafts flying at approximately 300 feet above ground overnight.

As always, the first line of defense to prevent infection of the West Nile Virus is to avoid getting bitten in the first place. We urge citizens to be proactive by employing the 4-Ds of personal prevention:

DEET – use insect repellents that contain DEET, or any other EPA approved insect repellent

DRESS – Wear long, loose and light-colored clothing outside during dusk and dawn hours.

DRAIN – Remove all areas of standing water. Change water in wading pools, pet dishes and birdbaths several times a week.

DUSK/DAWN – Protect yourself during dusk and dawn hours.

Moving Forward on the Trinity Park

What a great day for the City of Dallas!

Since 1998, when voters approved the Trinity River Corridor Project, Dallas residents have looked forward to the day that they would see the immense greenspace between our levees transformed into an incredible urban park.

We are excited to announce that that vision will finally become a reality.

Last summer, Councilmember Scott Griggs and I met up at the Trinity Overlook and walked down the length of the Trinity Floodway.  We talked about how amazing it would be to create trails along the Trinity River that would draw people to this hidden gem in the heart of our city.  

Hike and bike trails have proven incredibly popular in Dallas.  Visit the Katy Trail on a beautiful day and you’ll find it packed with cyclists and joggers and baby strollers and skaters and walkers.  There is clearly an overwhelming demand for urban trails in Dallas.

So when city staff informed us three weeks ago that the city had an additional $42m available in the upcoming 2012 bond program, and each council district and the mayor would have the opportunity to program $2.8m towards bond projects, we saw the perfect opportunity to finally move forward on the Trinity Park.

We allocated all of our combined $5.6m towards the construction of floodway maintenance roads along the Trinity River that can also serve as hike and bike trails.  The mayor joined us, contributing half a million dollars, and shared our enthusiasm about moving forward on the Trinity Park.  

With over six million dollars, we will be able to build a 4.5 mile, winding, 16 foot wide concrete road down in the floor of the floodway, stretching from the Sylvan Bridge to the Santa Fe Trestle in Moore Park. (To put this in perspective, the Katy Trail is 3.75 miles long.) Only occasionally will maintenance vehicles use this road, and it will be closed to public vehicles. The rest of the time, it can be used as a hike and bike trail.

One of the most important aspects of this project is the linkages it will create between north and south Dallas.  This project will connect the Trinity Strand Trail, the Katy Trail, the Continental pedestrian bridge, Coombs Creek Trail, Eloise Lundy Park, and the Santa Fe Trail.

The next step is for voters to approve the 2012 Bond Program in November (this project will be part of the Streets Proposition). If that passes, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gives us the go ahead, the project could be finished as early as mid-2014.

Today is the first step towards a dream so many of us have had, for so long, for the Trinity River:  To transform this beautiful natural asset into a great urban park.  Despite our different perspectives on the Trinity Toll Road, we all agree that it’s time to move forward on a Trinity Park we can enjoy today.

Budget Townhall Meetings for District 14

I will be holding two townhall meetings to discuss the City Manager’s proposed budget for 2012-13 (our fiscal year starts in October).  I hope you’ll join me and let your neighbors know.

Thursday, August 23
6:30 – 8pm
Arlington Hall in Lee Park

Tuesday, August 28
6:30 – 8pm
St. Thomas Aquinas, Drama Room (joint meeting with Councilmember Sheffie Kadane)

Map of Dallas’ Spraying for West Nile Virus

There have been two deaths from the West Nile virus so far in Dallas.  Here’s a map of the areas the City of Dallas has sprayed this year for West Nile (still working on the map).  I’ll keep this map updated.

The elderly are particularly susceptible.  Here are some prevention tips from the City of Dallas website:

How can I reduce my risk of getting West Nile Virus?
Preventing mosquito bites is the best way to avoid getting the West Nile Virus. Remember the Four Ds: Drain, Dusk/Dawn, Dress and DEET.

DRAIN standing water in your yard and neighborhood. Standing water can be found in swimming pools that are not kept clean, ponds, pet watering dishes, birdbaths, potted plants, old tires, empty containers, toys and clogged rain gutters.

DUSK/DAWN are the times of day you should stay indoors when mosquitoes are most active.

DRESS in long-sleeved shirts and wear pants when you are outside. Spray thin clothing with insect repellent.

DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) is an ingredient to look for in your insect repellent.

TXDOT Data: Project Pegasus Superior to Trinity Toll Road

Two months ago, we received revelatory information from TxDOT about the Trinity Toll Road:  Project Pegasus — the transportation project that will rebuild and add capacity to Lower Stemmons, the Canyon, and the Mixmaster/Horseshoe — could be constructed without the Trinity Toll Road.

Given today’s reality of limited transportation dollars, it is doubtful that both the Trinity Toll Road and Project Pegasus will both be funded anytime in the near future.  We will be lucky if we are able to construct one of these projects.  With this in mind, the question is, which project should be built first?

Councilmembers Sandy Greyson, Scott Griggs, and I sought to answer this question, and a month ago, we requested very specific data from TxDOT to compare the projects. We asked for data for five build scenarios: Current Conditions (2010) and four future conditions – No Build, Both Built, Trinity Only, and Pegasus Only. We requested that all responses be based on previously produced documents and that no new data be created (in an attempt to avoid data manipulation).

Mayor Rawlings passed on our request to TxDOT.  Afterwards, it was announced that the NTTA and the Regional Transportation Council — both staunch Trinity Toll Road advocates — would “assist” TxDOT in gathering the data.

We received the underlying data earlier this week and began to thoroughly analyze it.

TxDOT’s data shows that Project Pegasus is superior to the Trinity Toll Road in every metric – it moves more cars, faster, with less congestion, for less money:

Project Pegasus Only Trinity Toll Road Only
Add’l Cars Moved 126,033 to 260,900* 100,000 to 142,000
Average Speed 35 mph 30 mph
Level of Service D-F on Lower Stemmons

F on Horseshoe

F on Canyon

F on Lower Stemmons

F on Horseshoe

F on Canyon

D-E on Trinity Toll Road

Congestion Hours 44,917 67,982
Lane Miles at Level of Service “F” 46% 49%
Cost $602 M to $1.2 B** $1.47 B

But you wouldn’t know that Pegasus is the superior project by reading TxDOT’s accompanying narrative and the two charts that purport to “summarize” the back-up data. The narrative and summary charts conclude that the Toll Road is the better project.  The summary and charts are misleading, inaccurate, and they don’t reflect the conclusions of the underlying data.

Here are the major problems with TxDOT’s narrative and summary charts:

  1. Their fundamental flaw is using the wrong build scenario to draw their conclusions. They use the “Both Built” scenario instead of comparing “Trinity Only” to “Pegasus Only.”  The Both Built scenario reduces the impact of Project Pegasus since some of the cars are traveling on the Trinity.
  2. They compare the roads’ hypothetical capacity instead of the actual traffic that the roads are projected to carry. This inflates the Trinity’s impact because its capacity exceeds the actual traffic it will carry.
  3. They are inconsistent in their methodology for determining additional capacity of each road.  To calculate how much additional capacity the whole system will have if both components – Trinity and Pegasus – are built, they take the SUM of the components:  Trinity + Pegasus = Total System Capacity.  BUT, to calculate how much additional capacity will be created by the Pegasus System, they AVERAGE the components:  Lower Stemmons + Horseshoe + Canyon / 3 = Total Pegasus System Capacity.  That significantly reduces the impact of Pegasus since the average is less than the sum.
  4. Lastly, when they calculate the overall cost of each project, they inflate the cost of Pegasus by including the already-funded Horseshoe project. This makes the Trinity appear cheaper by comparison.

When we use the proper scenarios (Trinity Only vs. Pegasus Only), use real traffic data, and a consistent methodology for determining added capacity/traffic, TxDOT’s own data indicates that Pegasus comes out ahead in every metric. That’s what makes TxDOT’s contradictory conclusions — and the mayor’s reliance on those conclusions — so troubling.

Deciding which project to build will impact Dallas’ transportation system for decades to come.  It is far too important a decision to be based upon faulty, internally inconsistent, and biased information.  For that reason, we ask the mayor to join us in calling for an independent analysis of TxDOT’s data.

__________________________________________________

*We calculated the added traffic of Project Pegasus using both methodologies used by TXDOT: For the low end, we averaged all three components; for the high end, we added the components (we excluded the Horseshoe to avoid duplicating cars already counted on Lower Stemmons and the Canyon).

**$1.2 B if the remainder of Project Pegasus is built (Canyon and all of Lower Stemmons from I-30 to 183); $602 M if only the Canyon and Lowest Stemmons (I-30 to Dallas North Tollway) are built.

Call 311 Before Putting Out Storm Debris to Avoid Code Ticket

The Sanitation department and the Code Compliance department have declared an official storm damage collection for brush and bulk garbage. Through July 9, you can avoid a code citation if you call 311 ahead of time and let them know you plan to put out storm-related brush/debris earlier than your normal collection week. If you call ahead of time, you won’t be issued a citation. Be sure to get a “Service Request Number” from the 311 operator for confirmation.

From the Sanitation and Code Departments:

Residents may call to request permission to place their storm related brush/debris out earlier than their normal collection week. In order for them to NOT receive a citation from Code Compliance, they must call 311 and operators must use the Storm Brush Debris SR to refer these requests to the appropriate Sanitation collection district for action. Code Compliance officers should also be able to query on this SR type before they issue citations to anyone who may have set out items early. IF there is a Storm Brush Debris SR for the address, the compliance officers will NOT issue a citation.

THESE INSTRUCTIONS REMAINS VALID THROUGH JULY 9.