Patrick Kennedy, the professional urban designer behind Walkable Dallas-Fort Worth, likes what he sees in Mark Cuban's proposed Wonderview development near Kiest Boulevard and Southerland Avenue. Only, he writes, it doesn't exactly have "easy access to public transit," as it says in last month's briefing to the City Plan Commission: The closest light rail stop is the Illinois Station, which is a little more than a mile away.
But Kennedy sees that as a significant opportunity -- not simply to reshape 187 acres' worth of landscape, but to re-envision what a transit-oriented development is. Kennedy writes that Wonderview Properties LLC might want to consider creating an "urban circulator," defined by the Federal Transit Authority as "systems such as streetcars and rubber-tire trolley lines [that] provide a transportation option that connects urban destinations and fosters the redevelopment of urban spaces into walkable mixed use, high density environments."
Among his myriad suggestions:
Thinking long-term and looking at the broader context, Kiest Blvd has the potential for streetcar. Obviously, I am a big believer in the power of streetcars to revitalize areas within five miles of downtown. As all infrastructure unlocks value in new areas to some extent (at least the testing of value), streetcars were the catalyst for the now inner ring areas in the first place. They will again be the agents of change as we focus our contraction phase efforts (qualitative improvement of existing development aka infill) around transit, walkability, and infill.
Think about this, Kiest Blvd heading North merges with Cedar Crest Blvd before crossing the Trinity and becoming Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, which then runs directly to Fair Park. It might take 20, 30, or 50 years, but I would rename the entire portion of Kiest/Cedar Crest as MLK, start planning a streetcar linking Fair Park, Trinity River, and this new development (even to Kiest Station possibly) and be done with it.
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And, on a very related note, a Friend of Unfair Park sends word that Wonderview rep Joe Cavagnaro's little brother Gary played Engelberg in the original Bad News Bears. This project gets better all the time.