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In Downtown Dallas, Central Expressway Inches Closer to Going Both Ways

After disappearing for a little while, the Central Expressway expansion in downtown is back on the Dallas City Council's radar. Angela Hunt had a few concerns back in January and got the item off the council's agenda hours before it was going to a vote, but at 2 p.m. the council's Transportation and Environment Committee gets yet another look at the realignment that'll still wind up knocking down one of Dallas's oldest buildings, the former Preston Loan Building on Elm Street.

For those who've forgotten the point of this do-over -- which should run at least $17 million in 2006 bond money -- it's meant to "simplify circulation in the city's center, Main Street, and Farmers Market." Central's set to get all kinds of expanded: the four-lane, one-way stretch from Commerce Street to Pacific Avenue will become a six-lane, two-way "boulevard"; the Pearl Expressway-Central Expressway connection gets adiosed; while Pearl also goes both ways, among other alterations.

And the dreary, rusty John W. Carpenter Plaza -- which the city guesstimated in 2006 needs at least $3.6 million in "rehabilitation/restoration" -- goes from three pieces of land totaling almost four acres to a single tract of five as it's transformed into the "future connection to the envisioned Emerald Bracelet." Oh, right -- the Emerald Bracelet. Given the location, though, shouldn't that be the Pearl Necklace?

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