To the surprise of almost no one, the “Neighborhood Protection Plan” beginning to take shape seems to be increasingly controversial.

The plan is supposed to address neighborhood traffic congestion. While its present configuration has drawn the support of many in Greenland Hills, especially from the neighborhood association leadership and those who live along McCommas and Monticello, others in Greenland Hills have taken on opposing stance.

Concern also is growing in other neighborhoods as far east as White Rock Lake. In fact, some disgruntled Greenland Hills residents have even gone door to door in their neighborhood and other neighborhoods to try to coalesce with opponents.

The thrust of the opposition is that the current plan, by trying to drastically reduce traffic or close streets in the “M Streets” area (specifically Monticello and McCommas), will increase traffic by 25 percent on Mockingbird and Henderson.

Moreover, when the traffic is squeezed one place, many fear it will just go somewhere else – namely through the other neighborhoods.

This debate is not a new one. In fact, it is practically a rerun of the last time the East Dallas traffic issued was studied. Now, word is that neighborhoods as close as Vickery Place and Lower Greenville and as far away as Swiss Avenue and Lakewood are looking askance at the proposal.

The City Council, due to questions raised by the Dallas Fire Department about fire truck access and probably due to the growing controversy, delayed its briefing on the issue until April 4 and the public hearing until April 10.

Some have even speculated that the consultants handling the project – knowing that the Fire Department would oppose the street closings, which in turn could well be the kiss of death as far as the Council is concerned – saw the process as a way to let McCommas and Monticello residents vent their frustrations while knowing the result would be different from that proposed.

As we all know, seasoned bureaucrats are masters of the “good cop – bad cop” routine as a method of subtly influencing the outcome of an “open” process.

I’m sure there’ll be more to report in next month’s column.

Dallas Plan Moved Forward

On a happier note, the Dallas Plan staff will brief the Council April 4 on what the group is calling its “Action ‘96” proposals. This annual update of the Dallas Plan long-range capital improvement strategy for the City is based on an extensive series of community meetings to gain citizen input.

Of particular interest to East Dallas residents, the Dallas Plan calls for continuation of White Rock Lake improvements, with dredging to begin in 1997, and possibly turning the old White Rock Pump Station into an environmental education center. The plan will call for more and better code enforcement and continued emphasis on community policing, as well.

Also on the “Action ‘96” agenda is support for housing improvements inside Loop 12, with an emphasis on home repair assistance, home ownership, support and infill housing, as well as a continued push for the accelerating pace of Loop 12 “intown” residential development.

Junius Heights Rematch?

Something may be going on in Junius Heights – again.

City staff recently mailed out a copy of the 1994 Junius Heights Planned Development District ordinance to interested neighborhood residents and others.

Sending out a copy of an existing PD ordinance to neighborhood activists on the City’s contract list is sometimes a prelude to periodic review of the PD ordinance.

Readers of this column will remember the pitched battle Junius Heights efore the ordinance was adopted in 1994.

Is this the rematch? Stay tuned.

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