Dallas City Hall wants more control over marathons, runs, walks




Posted on August 6, 2012 at 6:47 PM

DALLAS - The growing number of marathons, charity walks and fun runs have run into some headwinds at Dallas City Hall.

New guidelines are coming to try and control just where the events, ranging from a few dozen to 25,000, can go. The city staff briefed the city council's Economic Development Committee Monday.

The marathons, fun runs and walks took off at fast pace the past six years, increasing by almost two-thirds.

They impact downtown on Sundays, with the First Baptist Church alone affected by six events per year. Dallas City Council member Sheffie Kadane has heard the complaints.

"They can't even get to the services, that the runs are so long and so extensive, they take so much time, they'll get up and they can't get through the crowds," Kadane said.

Under current rules, events must notify churches of their routes 30 days prior, with a list of alternate ways around the event. The new guidelines prevent frequent street closures, with none allowed 10 days before or after an event.

The guidelines aim to contain smaller events at White Rock Lake and keep them out of adjacent neighborhoods, according to Ron King, executive director of the Dallas Convention Center, which oversees special events.

"Really what we're looking at, we targeted the runs of 1,000 people and under, trying to get some of those off the streets and back within the park," King said.

But some council members question if the guidelines limit too much activity. Especially on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, which can only be closed four times a year for events with average attendance over 6,000. And there's a $5,000 charge.

Council member Jerry Allen didn't entirely like what he heard.

"And I did have concerns that we might be a little bit too stringent, and make it too hard for all of our citizens to enjoy the amenities that Dallas has to offer," he said.

The guidelines become effective October 1.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com