This three day window focused primarily on two topics – Transit and the Public Realm. Centering on each of these topics, roll-up-your-sleeves work sessions were held with City, DART and DOWNTOWNDALLAS staff as well as volunteer stakeholder groups with particular expertise in those areas. A full debrief will be posted soon on the 360 web site, but a few top-line take aways:
An idea was put forth to create a series of “Quick Wins” in the final plan. These are initiatives that will be related to long-term strategies, but can be implemented quickly, at low-cost, and will have a big effect. As an example, on Broadway in New York clusters of inexpensive, movable furniture were placed in areas of the public realm as a social test – an “urban beach”. Wildly successful, people gathered – playing games, lounging, enjoying a latte…finding a “place” amidst the chaos of Times Square. So Jim and I have already decided DOWNTOWNDALLAS will be purchasing some patio furniture in the near future.
- Transformative projects as well as Catalyst areas of development have begun to take shape. These will be further analyzed by economists and developers, then tested during future meetings with the public, stakeholders and City officials.
- Transit. Transit. Transit. The DART second alignment and the overall streetcar plan are critical in the development of 360. Coordination is underway between all groups involved in the decision-making process for these two projects.
- Diversifying the Downtown housing mix was also hot on the agenda – affordable housing, product type and location – ensuring we continue to build a critical mass of Downtown residents.
- Activating parks, open space and the overall public realm is another key component in 360. Related strategies will likely include: the creation of Design Guidelines and/or Standards that relate specifically to the brand and environment of each of Downtown’s 13 Districts; maintenance and animation plans for existing and new public spaces (ala DOWNTOWNDALLAS’ management agreement with Park & Rec for Main Street Garden and six other parks Downtown); the coordination of streetscape plans; coordination of boulevard improvements, bike routes and trails….just to name a few!
Again, more detail on these and other topics will be posted at www.downtowndallas360.com in the coming week. Stay tuned!