Wednesday, April 1, 2009

You Talkin' to Me?

Well, this writer from the local Dallas magazine The Advocate interviewed me regarding what to do with a typical Dallas neighborhood center, particularly in this case the Preston-Royal intersection:
In Kennedy’s vision, you won’t need a car because you’ll live in the center or nearby. And if you don’t need a car, the center won’t need as much parking, not only lowering construction costs, but making room for amenities like parks. And if people spend time on the street — walking, window shopping, eating lunch in the park — the center becomes a more desirable place to live.
Hey, that's me! And below is an aerial bird's eye of the site, although I approached the interview as hypothetical as the exercise was:



To clarify, that doesn't mean the car is a thing of the past. What it means is densifying these neighborhood centers that are fast becoming obsolete, improving the experience of the retail and the quality of life for the neighborhoods adjacent that this center now provides all of the life support systems for.

After skimming the article, it doesn't appear that any of my talk of transit made the dialog. The first thing I mentioned in the interview, was that with $100 mill and entitlements to this site, I would take half of the loot and then run a two-mile modern street car along Royal Lane between the tollway and 75/DART red line station at either Walnut Hill or Lovers Lane. Which is sort of a prerequisite before ditching the car entirely, making the entire above statement sound stupid without.

I still prefer what I wrote about it retail and this site here in Rise and Shine Old Retail:
This exact same phenomenon is occurring currently with malls. The biggest and best are densifying with residential and office uses, accessing public transit, and adding amenitized, outdoor public spaces. They are becoming both more people friendly AND more business friendly. Those less fortunate (if you happen to sympathize with the plight of a particular mall) are finding life as something else, if not being scraped altogether.

This "pruning" will leave blighted "gray fields." In Dallas, this pretty much means the retail clusters that are organized on the original 1-mile super-grid, with single family neighborhoods in between will have to find a new manner of existence.