Vote On Controversial Preston Center Skybridge Delayed

The Preston Center skybridge that would connect the shopping center's aging city-owned garage to a potential Tom Thumb remains but a twinkle in developer Harlan Crow's eye. The Dallas City Council agreed Wednesday to delay a final vote on the bridge until at least November, heeding the request of council member Jennifer Gates, whose district includes Preston Center.

The bridge is a minor skirmish in a battle over the future of property near the intersection of Preston Road and Northwest Highway. High-end developers see it as ripe for more density. Homeowners in pricey Preston Hollow and the Park Cities don't.

The vote to delay giving the bridge a thumbs up or down came after a heated public hearing featuring former Mayor Laura Miller (against the bridge) and former reporter and current PR specialist Sarah Dodd (for the bridge). Essentially, Miller and homeowners worry that the bridge, or more specifically its accompanying grocery store, would create chaos and traffic congestion. Anyone who's driven down Northwest Highway during rush hour — roughly 6:30 a.m. till forever — knows the area already has plenty of both. Miller's also said that adding the skybridge now will discourage fixing or replacing the overtaxed, two-story garage.

Council member Philip Kingston wanted the skybridge vote delayed even further than November, until the Preston Center Task Force made its recommendations for the long-in-the-tooth shopping center, but was told that could take up to 14 months. The deal to bring in the Tom Thumb could be dead by then, Gates said.

Dwaine Caraway provided, in his last council meeting, one last dose of comic relief.

"I hope it's coming, and I hope you have reusable bags," he said of the Tom Thumb.

Caraway said he wished his district had problems like Gates'. (He didn't say it, but we will: rich people problems.)

“I wish I had a skybridge from Rudy’s Chicken to the Fiesta food store,” he said.

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