Garland Road Visions and Better Blocks Built
Going on four years now, residents and stakeholders along and near Garland Road -- at least, the stretch of Texas State Highway 78 between Interstate 635 and where it splits into Gaston and E. Grand Avenues past the Arboretum -- have been shaping their Garland Road Vision . The point, the purpose of the plan : to transform a rich but weary stretch of street into something cohesive and vibrant -- "The Wilshire Blvd. of Dallas," in the words of one resident who attended one of the handful of public hearings on the plan in the last year. Among the suggestions: multistory mixed-use near the Spillway, an observation deck over the rail yard at Santa Anna, bike trails and sidewalk cafes, streetcars and trees.
The idea began with a council member (Gary Griffith, who, in '06, formed the Garland Road Vision Advisory Committee) and received the city council's blessing on 2008 , when it approved $120,000 in North Central Texas Council of Governments funding for the study (on top of $30,000 in private donations), but has so far been fomenting away from City Hall. That process ends today: The council's Quality of Life Committee will discuss the Garland Road Corridor Vision Study at its noon meeting , one of many stops along Marilla before heading to the City Plan Commission late this year and the council early next (tentatively). But who'll pay for its implementation, you ask? The answer: "Once the study is complete and adopted by the City of Dallas, it should improve the opportunity for various resultant projects to be funded by future bond programs."
Or, they could always plant a few trees, at least temporarily, without City Hall's what-for just to see how it looks, a la Oak Cliff's Better Block 2. Speaking of: Jason Roberts, the organizer behind the concept, provides his own recap over on Go Oak Cliff this morning -- along with the message that, look, anyone can do this, City Hall be damned: "Our city needs to refocus its priorities and think about what it is that people really want in a community. For the price of a single Calatrava bridge, we could have built a thousand Better Blocks...and made them permanent."
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