It seems, Dallasites, we have a habit of comparing ourselves to other cities in our bid to become “world class.” Whatever that means, amiright? Perhaps it’s time we start acknowledging all of the really cool stuff we have in our backyard, like our now award-winning SWA-designed Katy Trail, which was named “Best Public Place” by the North Texas District Council of the Urban Land Institute during the group’s “Impact” awards.
I mean, if it’s good enough for a huge group of urban planners and architects, it should be good enough for us, right? Well, it’s no Buffalo Bayou, a public place that Mark Lamster has lauded as a model for Dallas’ Trinity River and another SWA project, but it’s actually better because it links the more than 2,800 daily trail users through 20 diverse neighborhoods along its 3.5 miles, encourages alternative transportation uses, and weaves through 29 acres of wildlife habitat in our own central Dallas.
Buffalo Bayou who? Exactly.
“Katy Trail is a signature amenity for Dallasites, and a project we feel embodies the notion than landscape architecture can truly enhance communities and improve lives,” said Chuck McDaniel, managing principal of SWA in Dallas. “The ULI’s recently released Building Healthy Places report cited access to pedestrian paths and trails as a key component in how the real estate industry can improve health, so the award is doubly fitting.”
The Urban Land Institute’s March 19 event, which also honored projects in the categories of Innovation, Influence and The Next Big Idea, recognized Katy Trail’s contribution in helping to transform neighborhoods. Residents have not only adopted Katy Trail as a favorite public place, but the Dallas Morning News reports that developers cite a 25 percent premium for adjacent properties.
Of course, just wait until someone wants to put a tollroad next to it. (Just kidding!)