What began as a transportation project to save lives and bring more unity to a neighborhood has turned sour due to an increasing number of homeless camps and vagrants in the area.
The term “Dead Man’s Curve” is generally used in the transportation industry to label a bend or curve in the road at which numerous lives have been lost due to accidents and crashes. There are many such areas known colloquially throughout the United States.
The abrupt turn of the raised roadway long divided a south Dallas neighborhood, but a $104 million plan to raze the current structure and build a slower-speed, ground-level boulevard was meant to end the loss of life and bring the community closer together.
State transportation department spokesman Alice Rios Shaw said that many different departments and leaders have worked together to “bring this to fruition.”
Rios Shaw also said the new boulevard “will feature monuments, bike paths, and wide sidewalks, all of this with the community and that neighborhood in mind.”
However, as phase one of the work has been completed, homeless camps and vagrants have begun to take up residence around the area.
A resident nearby named Michael Murphy told NBC 5, “We got people who walk the street 24 hours, seven days a week, hollering, screaming.”
“They’re not friendly at all. They’re not approachable people,” Murphy remarked.
Another resident, James Price, told the television station, “We’re getting ready for our beautiful boulevard, and we have a homeless camp there. They [are] piling up trash and those kinds of things, and it really messes up the neighborhood.”
Residents report that the vagrants of the camp regularly panhandle and harass people attempting to go about their normal daily business.
Another resident, Janet Jackson, was direct in her criticism of the vagrants. She said, “They bring barbecue grills, and people park with their dogs, and it’s just this big party. It’s a nuisance for the neighborhood. It’s not good. It’s not safe.”
While the City of Dallas has failed to address homeless camps on public property, the homeless camp disrupting this neighborhood has been set up on private property. Neighborhood residents said they were told that this limits the City’s ability to respond.
The Dallas Express reached out without response to Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson’s office to inquire what city policy is on homeless camps and vagrants on private property and what Dallas residents can expect regarding how these issues are handled.
With over $100 million spent on this project — and even higher hopes — the homeless and vagrant situation has put a damper on an otherwise significant community development.
Expressing the sentiment of so many Dallas residents whose communities have been disrupted by vagrants, Jackson plainly stated, “They are aggressive. You can’t say a whole lot to them.”
“We just want to be a normal neighborhood,” she expressed.
The City of Dallas has recently struggled to successfully address the homeless and vagrant population in Dallas, and has had to deal with armed activists who have prevented services from reaching encampments.
In conversations with The Dallas Express, homeless people have expressed that Dallas “isn’t a bad city to be homeless in.”