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Quick Wins, Bold Ideas, Talking Points Abound at Downtown Dallas 360 Plan Roll-Out

Downtown Dallas, Inc. President John Crawford conjures a vision of bright lights and walkable streets in the heart of Dallas.
Downtown Dallas, Inc. President John Crawford conjures a vision of bright lights and walkable streets in the heart of Dallas.
Photos by Patrick Michels

Today, of course, as we mentioned over the weekend, marks a fair-sized milestone in the city's rich and storied tradition of urban plan unveilings, with a two-part ceremonial drop of the Downtown Dallas 360 plan.

In keeping with the public-private partnership-ness of the whole thing, the good folks at MIG, Dianiel Iacofano and Chris Beynon, presented the plan first to the City Council this morning (thrill to the PDF slideshow of the plan here), then to a collection of downtown business big-shots at the Fairmont for Downtown Dallas Inc.'s annual meeting and State of Downtown talk, over a lunch of herb-roasted chicken with smoked mashed potatoes. (The ones with the rosemary demi glace.)

A year in the making, and much previewed at City Hall already, the plan envisions lots of "glass box" kiosks and fancy lighting downtown, narrower streets at intersections, and retail rising Lazarus-like from the tunnels. The plan's even got an ESPNZone knockoff down by South Side on Lamar. More highlights follow after the jump.

Chief urban planning mullah Daniel Iacofano scores quick wins with the bold ideas in the Downtown Dallas 360 plan.
Chief urban planning mullah Daniel Iacofano scores quick wins with the bold ideas in the Downtown Dallas 360 plan.

Orbiting the podium with a mic in his hand, Iacofano warmed up the crowd with some encouraging news for everyone who wishes Dallas was a little more like Vancouver: "You're well on your way, with the vision of the Trinity Corridor," he said.

Putting the plan together, he said, they drew inspiration from the intersecting grids Dallas was built on, as well as "the seamless tapestry of districts" we've already got in some early evolutionary stages.

Iacofano also liked features like the Woodall Rodgers Deck Park The Park, to help blur the boundaries of the downtown loop, to help us "think about the loop as something that eventually disappears."

Iacofano said the council had been particularly enthusiastic this morning about the glass-box retail kiosks in the plan, which opened the possibilities for "quick wins" like the smell of popcorn popping and nuts roasting, the sorts of smells people fondly remember from busy downtowns they've known.

Beynon took over for the flashiest part of the presentation, a series of downtown snapshots -- views of Union Station, South Side on Lamar and the intersection of Main and Akard Streets -- that slowly morph from their present-day looks into a better lit and more walkable future view.

Crawford, who introduced the 360 plan with a quick look at the last decade of progress milestones downtown -- like today's celebration of the Nasher Sculpture Center's millionth visitor -- closed things out by assuring the room that there's a full schedule in place to turn the plan into action. "It's certainly achievable," Crawford said. "It's not a plan that's gonna sit on the shelf gathering dust."

The whole deal seemed to leave with a measured sort of optimism nicely wrapped up in a comment from a guy behind me on the elevator: "It may take 40 years instead of 20 years, but that's OK. The children'll enjoy it."


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