Friday, April 16, 2010

Ode to Texas Stadium, Was Road to Texas Stadium

Greg Lindsay at Fast Company profiles the demise of Texas Stadium and the City of Irving's desire to replace it with TOD. If you follow either of us on twitter, you might have seen the 140-character interaction we had on the subject last Friday.

I worked on the initial "dreaming" scenarios some time ago (linked here where the only remnants are the little watercolor icons to the right of the page), before the recent computer-generated renderings were produced. I'll admit. I didn't know what I was doing back then as a young whipper snapper. Because of my early involvement though, I felt the need to be as impartial and objective (and unfortunately non-colorful) as possible with my responses.

The salient 'graphs from his piece, which is quite good (except that I wouldn't say downtown Dallas is the most walkable in the region, but rather uptown Dallas):
Before a single plot of land was sold, he ordered the dredging of lakes and canals, stocked them with gondolas, and ran a monorail overhead. "It is Disney World for the affluent," Texas Monthly reported in the 1980s. "In fact, when executives from Disney World visited the development a few years ago, one of them commented that it was a shame ol’ Walt couldn’t have lived to see the real thing." Las Colinas is what you get when you let CEOs and their site selection committees design a city. (ed: Have truer words ever hit the interwebs?)

What’s most interesting about Irving’s plans to added density in its last undeveloped corner is the tacit admission that Las Colinas’s gold-plated office parks and single-family homes are no longer enough. "The piece that has always been missing from Las Colinas is the human density that’s missing on weekends and at nights," says Gast. The reason for adding that piece is an eminently practical one -- it’s what those corporate tenants, their workers and developers all want. Irving is embracing transit-oriented development because it thinks it can make money doing it.

And therein lies the complications...Not helping is the possibility of major funding cutbacks at DART, including the possibility the Orange line won’t run all the way to the airport anytime soon. And the final bit of potentially wishful thinking is the notion that a stadium site at the convergence of three freeways – the so-called “Diamond Interchange” – can ever be converted into a Millennium Park, especially when TxDOT is leasing the site for 10 years to carry out freeway expansion.

I'll leave that for you dear reader. Have a great weekend all.