Right on schedule, City Hall's Thoroughfare Committee next Thursday will finally get around to something that's been on Downtown Dallas's to-do list since '06: converting several downtown streets from one-way to two-way. The '06 bond program funded, among others, the overhauls of Akard from Pacific to Commerce; Federal from Field to Ervay; Field from Elm to Wood; and Patterson from Field to Akard. Those, at least, are the ones Tanya Brooks, senior transportation planner, will present to the committee on Thursday.
John Crawford, president of DSpot-ting Downtown Dallas, tells Unfair Park this morning that those changes "are part of our overall planning strategy to revitalize downtown," and that they're being worked into the Downtown Dallas 360 plan that, Crawford says, is now expected to be turned in by October of November, not summer's end as originally planned.
"Basically, a lot of has changed downtown, and a lot will continue to change, and we think it will provide a better ingress and egress traffic flow by changing that route," he says. "It's huge. Part of the overall reason for doing a strategic plan is the traffic flow in and out and through downtown, and as we integrate those with the proposed changes with DART as it relates to buses and trains, all of that is significant in terms of taking the footprint and traffic flow and building in other urban design changes around it. This is significant. This is something we're taking very seriously."
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He continues: "We've spent a lot of time and money on 360. We're not going through the motions. This is extremely important to downtown as it relates to traffic flow, urban design standards, the Main retail urban district, the future residential development. The list goes on and on. It's huge. I just hope once we get there people don't say, 'I wish we hadn't done that.'"
Well, why would they?
"With change, there's always confusion," says Crawford, laughing. "But we think it'll be a very progressive thing to do as we go forward. What downtown looks like today, wait five years, and it'll be significantly different. We're excited."
The July 1 meeting is just the beginning -- or, rather, the beginning of the beginning. The two-way alterations will need to go through, among others, the City Plan Commission and the city council. That process alone should take two, three months -- council's on summer vacay till August, after all.