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Brilliant Idea: Let’s Install Fans and Misters Along All Downtown Dallas Sidewalks

When I write that this idea is “brilliant,” I do so without any consideration for the financial cost it would entail. I do so as a person who routinely treks across wide-open swaths of concrete throughout downtown Dallas and am not entirely fond of roasting.

The proprietor of the Urbanophile blog was in town for the recent New Cities Summit, and I’ve just now had a chance to look at his after-action report on his visit. First he opined that Dallas is in the midst of a transition from juvenile mega-sprawl enthusiast to mature and sophisticated urban environment. We’re young (major city-wise), so it’s understandable that we’re not as well-designed as an aging city like Chicago, he says. My favorite bit from his initial post pinpoints exactly what’s always bugged me about Large Marge:

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TxDOT Now Says It Could Cost $242 Million To Repair I-345

TxDOT has long been using $100 million as the cost of repairing I-345, all while consistently nudging the amount it would take to tear it down further north, to where it is now — around $1.9 billion. How long have they been using $100 million? Since 2005. According to spokesperson Michelle Raglon, that number comes from a study that only analyzed “a handful of segments of 345.” Why is that a big deal? There are 165 segments. That is a lot more than a handful, and those are eight-year-old cost estimates.

In other words: it’s not just hogwash. It’s practically ancient hogwash.

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Poll: How Do You Pick Your North Texas Hometown?

By now you’ve likely pored over our Best Suburbs rankings, wherein we’ve given you a bunch of factors by which you can compare 63 North Texas towns, plus Dallas. You may have also taken our “Which Dallas Suburb Is Right For You?” quiz.

So what we’d like to know now is which of the factors we’ve used to evaluate the quality of these various municipalities weighs most heavily for you when you’re deciding where you should live.

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It Looks Like Trammell Crow Will Shove Another Sam’s Club Down Dallas’ Throat

Here we are, during a week that brought all of the country’s mayors to Dallas, when the city played host to a bunch of talking heads yammering on about how cars are evil, green is good, and yadda yadda, and Dallas’ plan commission flashes the green light for the development of a big box development in the heart of its urban core. It kind of puts all the urban envisioning and future of Dallas stuff in perspective. How did this happen?

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The Dallas Morning News Updates ‘Tipping Points’ for 2014

The DMN has launched a new comprehensive report on the state of the city, billed as an update of its 2004 Tipping Points special section. Making reference to J. Erik Jonsson’s Goals for Dallas program, which was launched 50 years ago this year, Mark Lamster offers some context for the new project in an introductory essay:

Mayor Mike Rawlings leads a city at a time of immense private prosperity offset by sweeping poverty, a city of newly erected architectural marvels set amid a crumbling public infrastructure too extensive for it to cost-effectively maintain. No city has a greater untapped natural resource than the Trinity River corridor, yet we threaten to pave much of it over in the name of convenience. Downtown languishes and rebounds, seemingly at once. Our patterns of consumption – of land, of water, of energy – are pushing beyond our capacities to sustain them. As a public, we are physically and figuratively divided.

Confronted by these challenges, we might well ponder the same questions Jonsson posed to Dallasites decades ago. What are our goals, and how do we achieve them? What exactly do we want Dallas to be?

I have only started to dig into the report. Consider it a little weekend reading and a primer ahead of next week’s New Cities Summit, when Dallas hosts a global discussion about the future of cities.

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Be Glad Klyde Warren Park Is There to Enjoy—Or Ignore

One of my earliest observations about Klyde Warren Park was remarking upon how over-programmed the place was. Did we really need to fill every minute with activities? Yoga, boot camps, a small library of reading material, board games, a putting green, music, a restaurant — why couldn’t the park focus on being a nice place to just sit and be?

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Richard Patterson’s Jaguar Is Dead

If you’ve been around this blog or our magazine for any length of time, then you’re familiar with the name Richard Patterson. He’s a British painter of some renown. Every so often, we trick him into writing something for us. Perhaps you recall what he had to say about the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. More recently, last summer, he wrote a piece for the magazine about a religious experience he had at a Fort Worth Jaguar dealership. Correction: he didn’t write that story for the magazine; he just sent along an email, to keep us apprised of what was going on in his life, and then we decided the email needed to be published. Richard is something of a Jaguar nut. He drives a 1994 XJS. Or, rather, he drove a 1994 XJS. Last week, someone plowed into his car, totaling it. I thought you might enjoy the obituary he wrote for his dearly departed car:

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Poll: Development Around White Rock Lake?

In the June issue of D Magazine, Eric Celeste writes about the not-in-my-backyard attitude many East Dallas residents have about development around White Rock Lake. In discussing the debate over a proposed restaurant on Boy Scout Hill:

Given the area’s liberalism and strong sense of place, it’s understandable that lake-area residents protect White Rock as if it’s theirs and theirs alone. In 1986, it was the Arboretum that wanted to build a restaurant on the lake. Rejected! In 2005, a 25-story high-rise was proposed. Denied! The next year, developers floated the idea of turning a well-known building at the lake’s northeast corner, Big Thicket, into a restaurant. Not in my house! A parking lot at Winfrey Point (swatted into the stands) and even a floating boathouse for a rowing team (okay, but we’re not happy about it!) were dismissed for being environmentally insensitive plans of callous developers who didn’t understand the specialness of the lake.

The problem: with the Boy Scout Hill restaurant, that wasn’t the case. Burgin and Kopf were sincere and worked hard to address residents’ fears.

Their proposal was withdrawn, but it’s certain not to be the last such debate. Are residents of East Dallas standing in way of potentially great new places around the lake?

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Dallas Is the 13th-Smartest (Read: Best) City in the World

The IESE Business School in Spain has released its annual ranking of the world’s “smartest cities.” The Cities in Motion Index is the result of researchers studying 135 cities based on 50 indicators along 10 dimensions: governance, public management, urban planning, technology, environment, international outreach, social cohesion, mobility and transportation, human capital, and economy. The categories are explained in more detail here.

For the fourth straight year, Dallas is No. 13. We trail only New York, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia among American cities. Tokyo was the big winner, also for the fourth straight year. And “smartest” is really just the researchers’ way of shying away from what they really mean. They don’t want to seem like they’re attempting to make a definitive judgment on the comparative quality of each of these places, but they are. They mean these as the “best” cities on Earth.

IESE has a nifty interactive map where you can dive in to see how each city ranks in each of the dimensions and compare how the cities charted. Here’s Dallas:

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New York Times Credits Katy Trail For Uptown’s Success

All the news that’s fit to print includes an article on Dallas’ own Katy Trail, which the Times paints as a significant driver in the boom in Uptown’s real estate:

Along with a 21-year-old public improvement district and zoning that encouraged residential development, the trail’s construction and improvements over nearly two decades have helped transform Uptown from a blighted empty expanse into what many consider to be the only true “live, work, play” urban neighborhood in a city known for suburban sprawl.

I know, I know. You knew all of that already, but it’s nice to see those coastal elites take notice.

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Poll: What Should Dallas Do About Interstate 345?

You’ve read the argument made in the May issue of D Magazine, that Interstate 345 — the connector road between U.S. Highway 75 and interstates 30 and 45 with a stranglehold on the east side of downtown — ought to be removed.

And you’ve read much of the case made here on FrontBurner: Highways are bleeding Dallas of its people, that removal could long-term decrease South Dallas commute times, that the city has lost its jobs to the suburbs, that 345 isn’t always the best option for drivers anyway, that changes are needed to close the North vs. South gap, and that tearing down the road isn’t going to suddenly leave 200,000 drivers with no place else to go. There was more, but I’ll leave it at that.

So what do you think?

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