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Coin of the "Pedestrian Realm": The Very Latest Plans, Proposals and Suggestions from Downtown Dallas 360

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It was but a few days ago we looked at the notes from the January Downtown Dallas 360 meetings, during which stakeholders pushed for "catalytic projects" (The Statler! Crozier Tech!) and streetcars stretching for three miles in every direction and upscale retail outlets peddling unicorn fur sweaters. How retro that seems now: Last night MIG Inc., getting more than half a mil from the city to cook up the latest and greatest plan for downtown, posted the notes from three days' worth of meetings held just last week with city officials and other downtown denizens.

This go-round, transportation was a big player on the agenda -- specifically, streetcars and the downtown alignment and the need to "emphasize value to Convention Center, increase development potential [and] attract and increase access to residents." One thing mentioned in the meeting: Consider "the negative aspects" of Denver's 25-year-old 1.25-mile-long pedestrian and transit 16th Street Mall, which Dallas architect Paul Chapel recently called "a work of art." The tunnels too were again mentioned by stakeholders: "Need to phase out businesses in tunnels to 'populate' street-level retail space with existing and potential new tenants, but need to explore alternate revenue-generating uses for tunnel spaces."

Also uploaded last night: the latest 176-page planning-process update, which is full of "focus-area" maps; proposed and possible alignments for the D2; design guidelines for downtown living; talk of food carts and newsstands; and the suggestion of turning Ross, Pearl/Central, Griffin/Lamar, Elm, Commerce, Houston and Young into "district connectors." Sounds like we should get a reading group together -- or wait and see what Patrick Kennedy has to say about all this.

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