Into Downtown's Tunnels, A Horror Story

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From time to time we've revisited the damage done to downtown Dallas by Montreal urban planner Vincent Ponte, who proposed in the June 1968 issue of Esquire that downtown Dallas bury its businesses underground -- a decision then-Dallas Mayor Laura Miller referred to in The New York Times in '05 as "the worst urban planning decision that Dallas has ever made." The Downtown Dallas 360 plan intends, somehow, to rectify that.

The harrowing, beautifully done YouPlusDallas video you see above -- recommended this morning by several Friends of Unfair Park -- tunnels into the back story of the tunnels with the help of UCR Realty's Jack Gosnell, who helped convince Forest City to redo the Merc and is leading the charge to bring downtown retail back into the daylight. Turns out, Gosnell was there with Ponte sold the city on digging downtown's grave, and he says that had Neimans not survived all by its lonesome, "we would be nowhere today."

Says Gosnell, Dallas is now "a family with an eccentric cousin living in a basement," but how do we deal with that cousin "in a thoughtful, compassionate and fair way"? Gosnell has no answer to that question, at least not at the moment. "Car-Free" Kennedy says he has some forthcoming.

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Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.