No real need to comment on the poor design – lack of ability to “address the street” of this new hotel in Downtown Dallas. Hard to believe that we would permit this type of development. At Griffin & Pacific
Posted by Bob Voelker | September 9th, 2013 at 12:48 pm
Posted by Bob Voelker | September 3rd, 2013 at 1:15 pm
Saw an infographic earlier today that said Melbourne Australia grew its city population from less than 800 in 1993 to over 100,000 today. Would love to know (time for some Google research) how they accomplished this incredible growth in city living in 20 short years.
From what I’ve heard, Downtown Dallas has approximately 8,000 residents, and I recently heard that our goal is 13,000 by 2020. Really, this is Dallas, and with our can do attitude and growing population base surely we can do better than that? Brings to mind the old adage, “if you don’t shoot for the stars, you’ll never reach them.” If Downtown Dallas grows at that projected rate, we’ll barely be keeping up with the growth of the remainder of DFW (a/k/a the suburbs). With changing demographics and focus on urban living across the US, we need to set our sights higher.
What if we set our goals in stages – 25,000 residents by 2025; 50,000 by 2035; and 100,000 by 2050???
Just think of (i) the obsolete or aging office buildings in the urban core that we could “redeploy” (in city speak, property tax value added); (ii) the street life we could create; (iii) the restaurants and clubs and grocery stores and retail stores needed to service these residents (“sales tax added”), etc. etc.
Of course, this goal does not happen on its own – there is no “build the buildings and they will come.” Before the focus on the structures, we need to focus on the environment at street level – what should we change to make Downtown more livable?
But then that’s a post for another day. For now let’s set audacious goals, then we can set about the tasks of realizing them.
Posted by Bob Voelker | August 31st, 2013 at 11:13 am
Remember the magazine games as kids – “circle what’s different about these two pictures?” For my urbanist friends, below are 6 pictures of Downtown Dallas street scenes (Main, Commerce and Elm — looking East & West from Akard) that tell a lot about why Main Street is a pleasant place to hang out, and why Commerce (one street to South) and Elm (one street to North) are not. Let me know what “differences” you see — which I’ll compile into a list of “what we need to do to fix Commerce and Elm Streets. After all, Dallas just can’t be a one street town ….. [Click on Images to Enlarge]
Main Street Looking East
Main Street Looking West
Commerce Street Looking East
Commerce Street Looking West
Elm Street Looking East
Elm Street Looking West
Posted by Bob Voelker | August 2nd, 2013 at 12:35 pm
Dallas Design District to get at least 4 new restaurants by 2015
Atlanta developer is buying Victory tract in Dallas for new residential high-rise
Why a Dallas developer wants to bring lofts, retail to Downtown Dallas
Large downtown Dallas site bought for South Asian museum
Trammell Crow Residential’s Oak Cliff Apartments with Dallas Skyline View
Dallas # 11 Aspirational City in US!!!
One Dallas tower NE corner McKinney/Routh restaurant/retail & 200 apartments 20 stories
Urban Vineyard Begins its Quest to Keep You Fed and Buzzed
Residences at the Stoneleigh nearing completion
Posted by Bob Voelker | July 28th, 2013 at 8:41 am
When Dallas built Klyde Warren Park (aka Woodall Rodgers Deck Park), Harwood became in essence a dead end street, terminating at the Park. Traffic (we automatically insert “cars” — which is sad) dropped dramatically, to the point where Harwood from Flora Street to the Park has become superfluous paving.
Klyde Warren has become one of the most popular destinations in downtown Dallas, beginning the process of knitting Uptown to Downtown and actually drawing people from the suburbs into Downtown, a concept that died with Deep Ellum & the West End in the early 90′s. The Park is the single most important piece of infrastructure we have built in Dallas in decades – sorry Santiago, but the Calatrava Bridge pales in comparison. The pedestrian (double entendre intended) has prevailed over the iconic – which will be a common theme in Dallas for the near future.
The success of Klyde Warren has led to calls to expand it — to cover over more of Woodall Rodgers — which is expensive. A much simpler and faster approach would be to go from “pavement to parks” — a New Urbanism concept of taking underutilized streets back into the public realm. We would in essence “L” Klyde Warren park south into Downtown along Harwood for a block, creating a simple at-grade park. Granted park visitors would have to cross the Woodall Rodgers access road, but part of the park already requires a street crossing — and this is actually acceptable for an urban park (pedestrians make great “speed bumps”, creating traffic calming in the area).
The benefit would be to bring Klyde Warren visitors one block further into downtown, taking them to the door of the world-class Nasher Sculpture garden, and with a little way-finding signage, head them toward Main Street Gardens, also on Harwood at Main Street, and to the restaurant/shopping/entertainment district that Main Street has become (thanks in large part to Tim Heddington and Forest City). With a little landscaping, a little lane narrowing and bike lanes along Harwood from Ross to Main, we could actually make this a pleasant walk/ride.
Carrying the energy of Klyde Warren Park along Harwood to Main at the pedestrian level, outside of cars, getting people walking from Uptown to Downtown – now we are talking about iconic change in Dallas. This is an idea The Real Estate Council, Downtown Dallas, Inc., the City, the Arts District, etc. etc. should all get behind.
Posted by Bob Voelker | July 6th, 2013 at 7:52 am
The transformation of the image of a city by definition must occur in the minds of people, and people relate to a city at ground level. No amount of vertical starchitecture can change a city that has streets that function as highways, moving cars through the city at the highest speed possible. We relish streets where we feel comfortable lingering, stopping to look at details, in shop windows, at kids playing, at lovers holding hands, at groups of people interacting in a sidewalk cafe or street taco stand.
I’m a huge advocate for the future of downtown Dallas – there is a lot to see and do if you feel like lingering. Yet, as long as we insist on moving car traffic through the City at 45 MPH on 4-6 lane roads, we dramatically deter the desire to linger (you don’t see a lot of loitering around highways). Walk Main Street and you’ll see that we know how to create a great active (and economically prosperous) street, and then turn the corner on Akard (a short 5 blocks +/- from Ross to Main) and you’ll experience the antithesis — a 4 lane race track for 1/2 mile with literally every building front being dead space …. or go one block to Elm or Commerce (6 lanes in one direction with vacant or drastically underutilized storefronts).
It’s great to see that we are FINALLY working to change one-way streets back to two-way (see Three weeks from today, one-way Field Street in downtown Dallas will finally go both ways the whole way) … but we need the City’s engineering department to speed up this process. I would argue that we could do this much easier and more effectively (say “cheaper”) by just shutting down the stoplights and putting in 4-way stops — this would also “calm” traffic and allow pedestrians to move more freely (and make a visible statement that we value pedestrians in Downtown Dallas). If we do this right, we may actually pull more pedestrians from Klyde Warren Park into Downtown Dallas (how about some pedestrian wayfinding signs — “it’s a 5 minute walk to Main Street Gardens this way –>”). If we get more pedestrians, retailers will notice, apartment developers will pay attention, old core buildings increase in value, we get more tax revenue ….
Ask Jack Matthews (we did recently) what would be 1 best thing Downtown Dallas could do so that we would have 25,000 people living in the core by 2025 and he will tell you — change the one way streets back to two way.
If I could be Mayor Mike for a day, this would be my edict — in 2 years, every Downtown Dallas Street that can be 2 way will be and we will be known as “the most pedestrian friendly major city in the US.” And throw in more bike lanes while you at it.
Posted by Bob Voelker | May 14th, 2013 at 8:05 am
What do the following news stories have in common?
Dallas has an amazing skyline, to the point that at times we fixate on the vertical. Walking through downtown and looking up is at times breathtaking, with juxtaposed views of modern commercial office buildings, revitalized historic structures, recreational facilities, and worship centers. At the 20-foot-and-up level, it is hard to find a better city. From this vantage point, we can even call Dallas a “great city.”
Yet we have to be careful as we take in the view—as cars zoom by on Akard or Commerce or … take your pick of streets (Main Street being the exception), at 40 miles per hour. The view of Dallas from the pedestrian level, from 20 feet on down, is one of narrow sidewalks, treeless streets, and a lack of buffer between moving cars and children after school (yes, there are a lot of school children in downtown Dallas).
Posted by Bob Voelker | March 27th, 2013 at 1:36 pm
Downtown Dallas experienced unprecedented progress in 2012 with the completion of several marquee projects, as well as important under-the-radar residential developments that have the city poised for more growth, business and city leaders agreed on the Sunday, March 10, broadcast of the KRLD “Pulse of the City” roundtable.
In addition to 2012 completions of a signature Calatrava-designed bridge, the opening of the Perot Museum of Science & Nature, the City Performance Hall, and the Klyde Warren Park spanning the Woodall Rogers Freeway, millions of square feet of aging office buildings are being quietly transformed into hotel and residential space.
Posted by Bob Voelker | March 22nd, 2013 at 1:25 pm
Real estate brokers say that KPMG has picked developer Craig Hall’s planned Arts District office tower for its new location.
The race to build the next office tower in downtown Dallas has gotten a boost toward the starting line.
Posted by Bob Voelker | March 22nd, 2013 at 1:17 pm
Theresa O’Donnell, head of the city’s Sustainable Development department, calls the plan to rezone, redraw and completely redo 430 acres of North Dallas “the most exciting thing I’ve ever been involved in” during her decade at Dallas City Hall. The reason? “This is doable, it’s achievable, and all the stars are aligned.”
She’s referring specifically to the Valley View-Galleria Area Plan, a glimpse of which was presented this morning to the Dallas City Plan Commission and its Urban Design Committee, along with a small room jam-packed with North Dallas property owners and developers. But, as you’ll note below, it was just that — a glimpse, 12 PowerPoint pages consisting of time lines, conceptual renderings and such buzzwords and catchphrases as “pedestrian friendly, mixed use neighborhood,” “vibrant shopping and entertainment district” and “high density supported by a network of enhanced streets and open spaces.”