City Council District 14
A Letter from Councilmember Angela Hunt
Earlier this year, I was honored to have been selected as an American Marshall Memorial Fellow. The Fellowship gives 50 young American leaders the opportunity to travel to Europe and meet with a range of policymakers and prominent members of the business, government, political, and non-profit communities. In October, I spent 3 ½ weeks in Europe (at no taxpayer expense), focusing on municipal issues and evaluating best practices in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Serbia, and Denmark.
In Italy, I met with the former mayor of Turin who brought the 2006 Winter Olympics to his city. He ensured that the Olympic Games were not merely a two-week sporting event designed to generate short-term economic benefits, but rather a catalyst for long-term, transformational infrastructure improvements to Turin, especially in the area of transportation. Turin’s most impressive infrastructure improvement was the relocation of a wide, commercial rail line that had divided Turin for decades. The rail line was relocated underground, replaced by a beautiful boulevard that knit the city back together. As part of a pedestrian makeover, inner-city plazas that had been given over to cars as through-streets and parking lots were reclaimed as “Areas Pedonale” – lively pedestrian-only zones with underground parking beneath. Turin’s leaders also expanded the region’s on-street light rail to re-connect the city and reduce automobile congestion.
Dallas can adopt many of Turin’s transportation improvements, starting with a streetcar system that will connect downtown’s burgeoning archipelago of activity: the Arts District, Victory, Farmers Market, the Convention Center, the West End, and Deep Ellum. We can also continue to improve the pedestrian experience throughout the heart of our city by creating wide, unobstructed sidewalks.
In Copenhagen, Denmark I witnessed their remarkable bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, with more bicycles than vehicles on the streets during rush-hour. Their bicycle lanes are much more than stripes on existing roadways: they are wide, grade-separated routes that provide cyclists access to the entire city, while protecting them from dangerous interactions with automobiles. This model will serve Dallas well as we expand the Katy Trail into Downtown Dallas and beyond.
Germany also provided some inspired examples for our city. In Lübeck, I visited a state-of-the-art biomechanical waste disposal facility, where they use mechanical sorting and anaerobic digestion to generate electricity and divert about 75% of waste from their landfill. As Dallas continues to expand its recycling program, we must now look to create facilities such as this to further reduce our non-recycled waste, extend the life of our landfill, and recapture energy.
I am proud to have represented Dallas abroad, but more importantly, excited to bring back some practical ideas to improve our city. As always, I welcome your input. If you need assistance with city issues, or want to share your comments or suggestions with me, please contact me at (214) 670-5415 or email@example.com.