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Aug 03, 2008

Comments

DK

Chicago, Boston, and New York really aren't models for a Dallas revival. They've always been "cool" in one way shape or another. Dallas needs a hook like Denver's Coors Field. That's cool. Bars are too. A bus with funny ears isn't. (And neither are convention center hotels or homeless shelters, which seems to be the only city investment in downtown lately.)

Norman Alston

"For every complex, difficult problem, there is a simple, easy solution....and it is wrong." - H.L. Mencken

An unforeseen advantage of declining DMN readership is that fewer people will read Ms. Greene's ill-considered drivel about Downtown. Adding "vibrancy" has been a priority with many, including the City, for more than a decade. There have been mis-steps and failures, but never a lack of agreement on this issue. I am still optimistic and see many signs that point to a full recovery from the depths of the late 80's, but not the way the DMN article suggests.

For starters, closing Main Street is a failed planning technique of the 1960's. Many streets closed around the country during that time have been re-opened since. More parks? Is she unaware of Main Street Gardens, now under construction, and the other inside-the-freeway parks that are planned downtown? We had a really good idea about a Central Park kind of space immediately adjacent to Downtown until we voted to drop a highway in the middle of it. I don't see tearing down even more buildings as the appropriate response. If you don't want to subsidize developers with "wads of cash", then why do you want to take buildings off of the tax rolls? Oh, and tearing down buildings is decidedly not "green". I'm not convinced rent subsidies are needed because I'm not aware that occupancy rates are a problem. "Things to do" remains the stickiest problem. While I still believe this will happen, the success of nearby Uptown and Victory and the troubles with Deep Ellum have slowed progress Downtown.

The one thing we do agree on is the advantage of a circulator transit system, let's just do something a little more "hip" and a little less cheesy than pink buses with bunny ears. Been there, done that.

Downtown Dallas is the victim of a "perfect storm" of trends in planning, transportation, architecture, real estate, economics, local demographics and popular culture. This storm lasted 30 years. It's going to take real thought and a little more time to finish cleaning up the mess.

JKR

I agree Chicago is really not a good comparision.

I'm not really for closing down Main - especially for that long during the day. I could see closing Lower McKinney on the weekends for a Barcelona-like "Las Ramblas" experience. As far as parks - why do they have to go over the top with places like the park between Old City Hall and The Mercantile? It's taking too long and too much money. If they aren't going to put in underground parking, why not just plant grass and trees around the perimiter? That's all we need.

They should use the money saved from the park to rehablitate the Statler/Hilton - Grand for reduced rental to Dallas teachers, police and firemen, along with students going to the college programs downtown - including the proposed new law school to be housed in Old City Hall.

Makes a lot more sense then spending $500 million of taxpayer money for an uneeded hotel. They should use a bit of that money to connect the convention center to Union Station and the Hyatt Regency with a new plan for Reunion -- now about revamping it to compete with Nokia Theater? Or are we shackled under the AAC agreement?

JKR

* perimeter

bill holston

My wife and I stayed downtown this w/end for anniversary. We had an exceptional meal at the Dallas Fish Market. Then we went to Club Dada, where there was a 5 band showcase, all really good local acts. There were over 600 people at a two set show at Dada Friday. Deep Ellum is not dead.

We need more music downtown. City Tavern is a cool new venue, always has a crowd and local acts play there. Same is true with Pearl. We need more of that. Parking could be better. We need free and convenient parking. This would increase traffic downtown. I was struck with the lack of a local coffee shop downtown. Wouldn't a a good book store coffee shop. encourage people to hang out on Sunday?

Went for a walk saturday morning, early. I was struck by what a nice spot the old Pioneer cemetery is. Really pretty fountain, but it's got trash. The Cemetery is a quiet oasis. Huge oaks, on a hill, perhaps more could be made of that. By the way, it's a great place to walk, because the buildings keep things shaded until around 8 or so.

How about encouraging fountains where kids could cool off in the summer. Keep them clean and turn the fountains on.

Put on free shows at trainstops.


Also, how about observation decks or tours of the Architectural wonders downtown, such as a walking tour of architecture?

Alex

Accessibility is the key. You want to make the area as accessible as possible, this means keep the streets and the old buildings. But it should be accessible to people first, cars second to be an urban neighborhood instead of a stopping point for bedroom community commuters.

Narrow the streets by widening the sidewalks, change zoning to allow the old buildings to become whatever the local creative class desires.

Also remember, lower Manhattan isn't much of a neighborhood or a mixed use destination-- Midtown is; The Loop isn't a neighborhood, the Gold Coast is; Downtown Dallas isn't a neighborhood, Uptown is. NYC and Chicago are working towards mixed use central business districts, but Dallas shouldn't kill itself to create something that even the nation's most dense cities don't have. Encouraging dense and walkable development in the areas adjacent to Downtown would be a much smarter investment by our city.

Mark

A big, but impossible, aide would be to close the undergound tunnels. During the day, downtown often looks deserted, except for the scary bums. In fact there are thousands of underground mole-people. I used to walk the 3 blocks from my car to my office in a series of skyways and underground tunnels. I liked it because it kept me out of the rain and heat, but it makes the street look oddly vacant. And in all of those other cities, downtown parks have just become havens for bums, so that won't help either. Other than $5 a gallon gas, I really don't see that anything will help.

james

Wow there are a lot of defeatist attitudes here.

Dallas

I personally think this is going to happen anyways. Dallas has done some very good things recently, I'm actually very proud of Dallas right now. Sure the Bunny Busses is a questionable idea, but there are lots of good ideas that will really help. I think closing off a street would be a fine idea. Dallas doesn't really have a '6th Street' or 'Little Five Points' area right now, and it could. I am also 100% for the return of the Trolly Car. I didn't know that was another one of Hunts babies. I would love to Ride the Trolly from down town to the Bishop Arts District in Oak Cliff or to the Trinity Park. That would be pretty fun I think.

sunnyB

Haven't been in town too long, but I love that we are concerned about this topic. I think we can certainly improve upon the transportation, something Dallas is currently working on. Yes, let's widen the sidewalks, close a lane for bicycles or express buses. Let's open some more unique bakeries and coffee shops. Let's just make it easier to get downtown -- people will come :) also, i had no idea that there were loads of tunnels downtown - we should keep those too so people can stay out of the sun! C'mon Dallas, we can do this!

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