It was 2010 when developer Dave Spence sat down with hipster-vist Jason Roberts at Cafe Brazil to hash out exactly what to do with the stretch of Bishop Avenue between Colorado Boulevard and Davis Street. The road's four lanes acted as a kind of moat, which clashed their shared ideal of pedestrian- and bike-friendly infrastructure.
Spence's initial idea was essentially to build a median, but that was scrapped because of cost and because the short stretch that had already been built in front of Cafe Brazil served as little more than something else for cars to drive over.
Roberts suggested turning it into Dallas' first complete street by widening the sidewalks, putting in bike lanes, and narrowing the roadway. There was money for the project left over from the 2006 bond package, so that's what they decided to do.
Bishop Avenue narrowly missed being first -- that honor belongs to Mary Cliff Road next to Rosemont Elementary, which got a buffered bike lane two months ago -- but two years and $3.7 million later, it's officially complete.
Mayor Mike Rawlings presided over a ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning to mark the occasion. He was joined by City Councilwoman Delia Jasso, who steered the project through city bureaucracy, and a few dozen other council members, community leaders and city staff.
"This was kind of the culmination of all that (work)," Roberts said this afternoon. "I'm also kind of surprised to finally see it" actually happen.
The new, improved Bishop Avenue has two lanes of traffic, with a center turn lane and bike lanes running along either side. Brick crosswalks intersect the road at several spots. Parallel parking is available along the sidewalk.
"This is a prime example of what a living street is," Jasso said at this morning's ceremony, according to Roy Appleton's report in the Morning News.
Roberts agrees. Traffic is slower, and the street feels more pedestrian-friendly. The new landscaping and light posts also provide a nice touch. "I think it's the best-looking street in town now."