DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – If you’re planning to head to Deep Ellum this weekend, look for some changes meant to improve safety and reduce traffic. That’s because anyone who visits Deep Ellum on a weekend night knows congestion in an understatement.
“There’s people wandering around the streets going, ‘Where’s my Uber?,’ and they have to stop in the middle of the road and cut off other traffic,” says Cari Croninger, a frequent visitor to Deep Ellum.
“Everyone is trying to park. Everybody’s trying to get to their places they have to be. There’s backed up traffic pretty bad,” says Dallas Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Adam Medrano.
Starting Thursday, a pilot program could change that. Uber or Lyft drivers will have five designated drop-off and pick-up zones throughout Deep Ellum. Organizers says no one should have to walk more than three blocks to find a ride.
“We feel like we’ve done the necessary research to make sure these zones are in great places, convenient places and safe places for people to pick up and drop off with the rideshare,” says Phillip Honore of The Deep Ellum Foundation.
He says solving the problem was a public safety need for the well-being of visitors like Croninger.
“I think that’ll be very safe, because a lot of people will be in that area. They don’t have to walk alone through alleyways or something,” Croninger says.
As well as in case of emergency.
“If something major would have happened on Main, Commerce, Elm, especially Elm, there’s no way that the police or firefighters could have gotten to them to help them,” says Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Medrano.
The pilot program will last six months. Medrano says other local entertainment districts are considering adopting it as well if it works.
In terms of enforcement, Uber and Lyft drivers will have a 30 day grace period. After that, Dallas Police could issue them a citation if they don’t comply.