Archive for November, 2011

Dallas Poll Finds Majority Would Reduce Car Lanes for Bikes

Posted by    |    November 22nd, 2011 at 5:15 am

The survey conducted by for the city of Dallas’ Complete Streets Initiative by polling experts at Collective Strength, INC, summarizes the bottom line: significant opportunity exists in Dallas to gain widespread public support for Complete Streets if safety, health and economic development benefits are also emphasized along with maintenance of existing streets.

Read more at Bike Friendly Oak Cliff

Privacy will be a focus in Frisco new development Richwoods

Posted by    |    November 21st, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Gated CommunityRichwoods future homeowners and their children can rest assured that they will have their privacy at any time. But it will be paid for.

Richwoods Development Frisco will pay approximately $2.5M in park fees to the City of Frisco in their agreement to make the community private. These funds can be used at the City’s discretion for parks outside the community.

At the groundbreaking last Thursday, the first payment was made to Mayor Maher Maso and earmarked for the City’s Parks and Recreation Department.

“Living in a community that is gated gives us the peace of mind when we go out of town or let our children play outside,” says Carolyn Rosser a resident of Starwood in Frisco. “We wouldn’t move to any new community unless it is gated. We are spoiled now.”

I personally have a 2 1/2 year old and agree with Carolyn. Even though the Frisco, Texas crime rate is one of the lowest in the nation, it does help parents relax about their children.

Richwoods will consist of 500-acres of a new master-planned community just north of the Sam Rayburn Tollway (SH 121) between Coit and Independence.

Get ready for another unbelievable new home community with all of the privacy you will need.

-Brad Holden is a Real Estate Expert in Frisco for Holden New Homes focusing primarily on Richwoods, Austin Ridge and Craig Ranch. Brad also has a Real Estate Channel on YouPlusDallas where both New Homes and Communities are featured.
Direct: (469) 733-2723 E-Mail:

Sylvan:Thirty Reimagined as Catalyst for Something Bigger

Posted by    |    November 14th, 2011 at 5:15 am

For friends on the Fort Worth Avenue Development Group, I put together a couple of concepts this week (on my own time/dime) to elaborate on my previously expressed opinion of the Sylvan:Thirty project and the West Dallas plan in general, found here. Where that was polemical, high on rhetoric if only to entertain myself syntactically, these concepts are more serious, dedicated to envisioning a plan that is viable from day 1, but also can lead to implementation of further phases, whether by the hands of the same developer or multiple parties.

As you’ll see, I’m only counting square footages of development within the “limits of construction” of the Sylvan Thirty property line. This is considered “Phase 1.” From there, I created two options, both of which I believe to be viable, that is if a parking garage works there. Since they’re already showing a garage, I chose to include one in each scheme. Furthermore, since a certain portion of the garage would be dedicated to retail, the public segment of the garage can be funded via TIF. In option A, I’m using the garage and connected density of 4-story stick residential over ground floor retail as the buffer from the highway.

Read more at CarFreeinBigD

The Design of Cities, Intelligent or Otherwise

Posted by    |    November 14th, 2011 at 5:15 am

Those of us who live in cities — more than half the world’s population, according to many recent estimates — experience them mainly at eye and street level. Each urban environment has its own character and can therefore seem more like the result of natural processes than of complex human intentions. A city develops organically, through the complex interplay of economics, biology and countless local, individual decisions, but also by means of planning on the part of architects, engineers and politicians.

The mingling of design and happenstance is, to some extent, the deep subject of “Urbanized,” Gary Hustwit’s fascinating, idea-packed new documentary. In this remarkably concise film — which could easily have sprawled to 15 hours on public television — Mr. Hustwit and his crew survey both the challenges and promises facing some of the world’s important cities. Their itinerary may not take them everywhere you want it to, but it also turns up some unexpected vistas along with familiar ones.

Read more at the NY Times

Money Secured for 3 Dallas ‘Signature’ Bridges

Posted by    |    November 14th, 2011 at 5:15 am

[More eye candy???  Is this the best use of $853 million]

Money from a variety of sources has been lined up to pay for all three new “signature” freeway bridges over the Dallas Trinity River, County Judge Clay Jenkins said Thursday.

The first bridge designed by famous Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava is under construction now to extend Woodall Rodgers Freeway over the river from downtown to West Dallas.

The next two will be replacements for the Interstate 30 and Interstate 35E bridges.

Earlier this year, Texas Department of Transportation officials said the I-30 and I-35E bridges urgently need to be rebuilt. Transportation officials said the replacements could not wait until money enough was available to make them more expensive “signature” bridges.

Read more at NBCDFW

Share your ideas on completing Dallas streets

Posted by    |    November 14th, 2011 at 5:15 am

If you’ve ever walked around Dallas, along the tightrope of a ridiculously narrow sidewalk or in the muck of a strip of battered ground where the sidewalk should be, with cars whizzing by dangerously close, and thought to yourself, “What’s wrong with this picture,” then we have the meeting for you.

City Hall will soon host the first of a series of workshops on its complete streets plan.

This is your chance to talk to City Hall about how streets should develop in the future.

Of course, as we’ve reported, several city council members want less talk and more action from the city.

Specifically, council members Scott Griggs and Angela Hunt have called for inexpensive additions of marked bike lanes on major streets like Fort Worth Avenue.

Read more at Dallas Morning News

Despite Availability of Capital, Commercial Real Estate Industry Facing Long Grind to Recovery

Posted by    |    November 14th, 2011 at 5:15 am

For 2012, U.S. real estate players must resign themselves to a slowing, grind-it-out economic recovery following a period of mostly sporadic growth, confined largely to a few real estate markets that offer the primary 24-hour transportation hubs with global access, according to respondents of the Emerging Trends in Real Estate® 2012 report, released today by PwC US and the Urban Land Institute

According to survey respondents, enduring economic doldrums and the absence of dynamic jobs generators are weighing on real estate markets. The hard reality is businesses have learned they can increase profits with less space – while people can’t afford bigger living spaces. While the nation’s lackluster employment outlook delays filling office space, the related drag in consumer spending compromises growth in retail and industrial occupancies and rents.

Read more at PRNewsWire

Rail~volution: Will New Americans Fuel Smart Growth or Suburbanism?

Posted by    |    November 12th, 2011 at 5:15 am


This year’s Rail-volution conference – the annual gathering of livability advocates, urban sustainability coordinators, and transit agency officials – kicked off with remarks by Chris Leinberger of the Brookings Institution and Manuel Pastor, who teaches demographics and ethnicity at the University of Southern California.

Leinberger noted that Hollywood does more consumer research than anyone else, and it portrays what audiences aspire to. So, we can see in the difference between TV shows of past decades and current shows the evolution of tastes in the U.S. Where we had I Love Lucy, Dick Van Dyke, and The Brady Bunch, all set in the suburbs, we now have Seinfeld, Friends, and Sex in the City – all set in cities.

Indeed, Leinberger often talks about the increased demand for urbanism, especially among young people, but he also noted the downsizing trend as baby boomers move out of big houses to smaller spaces in more walkable, urban neighborhoods. And he credited the trend of people having fewer children with the expansion of the demand for walkable urbanism: Only 25 percent of households have children now, as opposed to 50 percent in the 1950s. Singles and couples without children are the “target market” for walkable urbanism, he said, and that constituency is only growing.

At the same time, Manuel Pastor argued that the main catalysts of walkable urbanism in the future are going to be the people with the highest fertility rate in the nation, having the most children: Latinos. (Latina women have an average of three children each, while each white woman has an average of 2.1.)

Pastor said the age gap between whites and “non-white Hispanics” (Latinos) – the median age among whites is 41; among Latinos it’s 27 – is causing significant tension. The state with the largest age gap between whites and Latinos is Arizona, which notoriously passed (what was then) the country’s most repressive anti-immigrant law last year. The gap is also responsible for low leveels of per capital spending on education, since older whites “don’t see themselves” in the younger generation using the schools. And good urban schools are key to keeping families in cities as their children grow up.

Even with their big families and many children, Latinos prefer to live in cities, Pastor said.

Read remainder of the story at

Is gentrification always bad for revitalizing neighborhoods?

Posted by    |    November 12th, 2011 at 5:15 am

I undertake today’s topic with more than a little trepidation, since it is by its nature emotionally and, not infrequently, racially charged.  The title is deliberately chosen but somewhat rhetorical, since the answer ultimately depends on one’s definition.

Most urban thinkers agree that the massive abandonment and resulting disinvestment of large areas of our cities by the (largely white) middle class, beginning in the 1960s and only now beginning to be reversed in many places, was terrible for cities, for populations left behind, and for the environment.  But many residents whose families remained through those years of disinvestment and until the present day are understandably fearful that addressing these problems by bringing new residents and economic activity into their neighborhoods will only benefit the newcomers while disadvantaging the existing community.  The biggest fear is that current residents will be displaced to make room for redevelopment.

There is a political dimension, too, as African-American and other nonwhite populations gained a majority of the voting power in many districts and cities after whites left.  If the whites return, minorities’ ability to influence civic affairs and protect interests of importance may be diminished.  (Sometimes lost in the equation is that the diminution of the proportion and influence of African-Americans in central cities is due not only to white return but also to middle-class “black flight” in recent years to suburbs perceived to be safer and with better schools.)

Elections now can be won or lost on these issues ….

Read more at New Urban Networks

Striving to be “Just Really Good” – Lessons for Dallas via Portland

Posted by    |    November 12th, 2011 at 5:15 am

Portland makes very few lists of Great World Cities, but it is a really good city in many ways – and without commentary, maybe there are some things Downtown Dallas could learn from this list of items that caught my eye in a recent trip to Downtown Portland:

  1. More food trucks in surface lots than cars (Food Trucks!!!) and permanent food kiosks on the street
  2. Amazingly few surface lots, which are not needed when you have great mass transit, parallel parking on every street (slows traffic down) and people walking, bicycling and skateboarding and not driving. If you need a car, grab a ZipCar.
  3. People of all ages, all hours weekdays and weekends
  4. One way streets (maybe they are OK) – and no more than 2 moving car lanes on each street
  5. The homeless are treated with respect – there is actually homeless transitional housing that says “SRO” (single room occupancy) on its sign
  6. Coffee Coffee Coffee everywhere (must be the cool weather – ahhhh)
  7. People on the streets at 6AM on a Saturday!!! (getting coffee & Voodoo Doughnuts – nothing quite like oreo cookies & peanut butter on a donut)
  8. New buildings built on top of historical buildings (novel)
  9. Blues clubs, bars, restaurants & shopping galore
  10. Lots of downtown parks (giant chess boards)
  11. Very few overweight people and very little smoking (does all the walking and biking promote this? but see Voodoo Doughnuts above)
  12. Keep Portland Weird – and I was wondering where all the Goth kids went

Pictures are worth ….