CONFAB-2014-sponsors

The second volume of the Dallas Parks Foundation‘s revolutionary CONFAB 2014 is tomorrow at 7 p.m. in the Dallas City Performance Hall. This event, which bills itself as a conversation about public space, is actually so much more, and CandysDirt.com is proud to be one of the sponsors.

If you care about what kind of impact the hiking and biking trails, open space, and public amenities has on quality of life and property values, then this is the event for you.

Speakers at the event include:

Dr. Gail Thomas, President and Executive Officer, The Trinity Trust
Michael Hellmann, Assistant Director, Dallas Parks and Recreation Department
Robert W. Decherd, Chairman, The Belo Foundation
Daniel Huerta, Fair Park Executive General Director
Robbie Good, Owner, Bridge Studios
Brandon Hancock, Founder, Green Shoots Real Estate and Co-Founder, A New Dallas
Willis Winters, Director, Dallas Parks and Recreation Department

Seriously, that lineup should totally sell it for you if you’re not already sold. You can buy your tickets via Eventbrite, which are roughly $13. We hope to see you there!

I345Candace Carlisle at the Dallas Business Journal reports that one of the biggest commercial real estate groups in Dallas MAY spend $125,000 to explore the possible tear-down or re-development of Interstate 345.

Actually, Robert Wilonsky over at the Dallas Morning News reports the same thing.

That group would be the Texas Real Estate Council, or TREC.

The Real Estate Council is basically 95% of the top commercial real estate businesses in North Texas: developers, builders, brokers, attorneys, architects, investment bankers, accountants, finance and title professionals. TREC likes to strengthen and support the commercial real estate industry, and serve the community through government advocacy, education and professional leadership.

Candace says “the Real Estate Council of Dallas has been searching for its next big community-focused real estate project to invest in after helping fund Klyde Warren Park” — yeah, they got Klyde Warren park going, a winning number.

According to the TREC website, it’s a done deal. TREC has committed $125,000 to fund a study to look at the implications of the freeway either being repaired or going bye bye.

“We felt this was a good way that we can be engaged in the discussion and help a process that could determine the future of downtown Dallas,” Linda McMahon, president and CEO of The Real Estate Council, told the Dallas Business Journal.“We want to look at all options and not just tearing down the freeway. We want to look at what could possibly happen if it was either redesigned or removed.”

To explain: I-345 is a 1.4-mile elevated freeway connecting U.S. 75 to Interstate 30 and Interstate 45 on the east side of downtown Dallas. You have surely driven it, and maybe like me, been terribly confused by it. The freeway is a mess and needs major expensive work, and the Texas Department of Transportation needs to figure out whether they will band-aid it, or spend an aircraft carrier’s worth of money to rebuild it.

There are two young, active urban planners behind this: Patrick Kennedy and Brandon Hancock. In general, they hate Interstate 345 and they hate cars, think everyone ought to get off their butts and walk or bicycle. That’s what we all need to do, but I would like to know how we are supposed to do this in our Jimmy Choos and with no plastic bags for our groceries, just asking. I don’t know, I guess do like we do in NYC.  For the most part, they have some excellent points: highways are being de-constructed in other cities. And while not all of Dallas can be walkable, downtown Dallas can be, if we work on it. If we don’t live there, we can drive in and plop the car somewhere for the whole time. Since 2012 these two have been trying to get rid of the highway, as explained in their website for the plan,  A New Dallas.

Patrick Kennedy has, I think, some great points about what we could do with the land unearthed by tearing down the highway. He says the land could be freed up for development of, I guess, affordable housing — townhomes? apartments? condos? –and the development would better connect Deep Ellum to the Central Business District. Heavens knows we need affordable housing there, and I would love to see trees and grass instead of heat-sucking concrete.

Plus the overpass is just ugly. I guess we could recycle chunks of the old highway creatively, to create cool patios, fences, climbing walls.

Mark Lamster, the architecture critic of the Dallas Morning News, who thinks we need retail options lining the Arts District, agrees with the tear down guys.

Lamster says I-345 is “a noose that segregates the urban core from the rest of the city, suppressing its vitality and economic prospects.”

I don’t think it’s a noose, it’s just like one big huge concrete statute that blocks everything. Steve Blow at the Dallas Morning News thinks the whole debate is hogwash — “It’s about the silliest notion to come along in years,” he wrote.  Texas Department of Transportation seems to be ignoring the tear down movement, saying it will repair I-345, sustaining it for another 25 years. In other words, a facelift.

Mayor Mike Rawlings has gone on record as saying the plan deserves more consideration, a second look.

So. The Real Estate Council will take a look/see, and investigate whether having a freeway slice through the center of the city is the best and highest use, or what use it is, now and 50 years from now.

Could the land really be used more effectively? And where would the existing traffic, estimated at between 160,000 and 200,000 per day, go? What if you are driving south on 75 to get to Houston? North to get to Plano? And don’t reroute drivers to Northwest Highway: 80,000 cars per day and not even a freeway!

Pretty soon traffic will have the same stigma of low income housing: NOT IN MY HOOD!

I am glad we are giving this proposal a serious second look. But if we do tear down I 345, it should be done in conjunction with a “freshening” of downtown Dallas streets. End the one-way street madness, maybe even add some streets and side roads. Downtown Dallas streets are a schizophrenic mess for anyone who drives or attempts to walk much, that is, until you get to Klyde Warren Park. And that’s in the Arts District.

NORTHCENTRALEXPRESSWAYIs Dallas next?

Gosh, that’s almost a whole work week! According to a study performed by the National Traffic Scorecard, Austin, Texas is the fourth worst city for traffic wait times in the country. It’s even worse than New York City, holding strong at number 5.

We all know what a nightmare I-35 is at any given time of the day, and you might as well just stop somewhere for an hour or three if you hit I-35 anywhere near rush hour, anywhere near Austin.

There’s only one kind of good thing about this report: when we’re poor, we don’t drive so much.  Back in the recession, traffic did diminish a little but came back up on the rise in 2013 ‐

“congestion was up for 7 consecutive months from January through July 2013 indicating after 2012’s rollercoaster, a slowly improving economy. Austin racked up three extra hours of average traffic time per year from 2012, putting the city just below the traffic nightmares Los Angeles, Honolulu, and San Francisco in road wait times. “

Having been to all three cities, I can vouch: traffic is such a nightmare in San Francisco that it almost forces you to drive after 11 p.m. just to get anywhere.

Dallas is not on the top five list, at least not yet. But an interesting little take-away from this piece is that people are driving more everywhere!

  • Traffic is back on the rise in 2013, even in countries showing continued declines. Traffic congestion was up in six of the 15 countries analyzed: the U.S., UK, Ireland, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Italy compared to only one country in 2012 (Luxembourg). Traffic congestion was up in 105 of the 194 cities analyzed.

The ditch your car and walk-it thing is just not happening. Traffic congestion is increasing at three times the rate of employment. Why? Well, perhaps aging Baby Boomers with bad knees can’t hike like they used to, and millennials schlepping babies can’t carry them. And this is something we need to seriously keep in mind with all the talk about tearing down I-345, which I actually support seriously studying. Will removing a highway really make traffic disappear or “find other routes” when there is, in reality, more coming?

” As we reach the 5 year mark since the start of the global recession, people increasingly are moving to where the jobs are. With just over half of the world’s population lives in urban centers today, the UN predicts that 7 of every 10 people will be living in an urban center by 2050. Recently, Executive Chairman of the Ford Motor Company, Bill Ford Jr. said the number of vehicles on the word’s roads will grow from 1 billion today to 4 billion in the same period of time. With traffic congestion increasing at 3x the rate of employment, 10‐day long traffic jams like we’ve seen in China and the 2-3 hour daily commutes that are part of daily life for people in Sao Paolo Brazil today could become the reality for drivers in Europe and North America in the not so distant future. “

 

 

 

NORTHCENTRALEXPRESSWAYIs Dallas next?

Gosh, that’s almost a whole work week! According to a study performed by the National Traffic Scorecard, Austin, Texas is the fourth worst city for traffic wait times in the country. It’s even worse than New York City, holding strong at number 5.

We all know what a nightmare I-35 is at any given time of the day, and you might as well just stop somewhere for an hour or three if you hit I-35 anywhere near rush hour, anywhere near Austin.

There’s only one kind of good thing about this report: when we’re poor, we don’t drive so much.  Back in the recession, traffic did diminish a little but came back up on the rise in 2013 ‐

“congestion was up for 7 consecutive months from January through July 2013 indicating after 2012’s rollercoaster, a slowly improving economy. Austin racked up three extra hours of average traffic time per year from 2012, putting the city just below the traffic nightmares Los Angeles, Honolulu, and San Francisco in road wait times. “

Having been to all three cities, I can vouch: traffic is such a nightmare in San Francisco that it almost forces you to drive after 11 p.m. just to get anywhere.

Dallas is not on the top five list, at least not yet. But an interesting little take-away from this piece is that people are driving more everywhere!

  • Traffic is back on the rise in 2013, even in countries showing continued declines. Traffic congestion was up in six of the 15 countries analyzed: the U.S., UK, Ireland, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Italy compared to only one country in 2012 (Luxembourg). Traffic congestion was up in 105 of the 194 cities analyzed.

The ditch your car and walk-it thing is just not happening. Traffic congestion is increasing at three times the rate of employment. Why? Well, perhaps aging Baby Boomers with bad knees can’t hike like they used to, and millennials schlepping babies can’t carry them. And this is something we need to seriously keep in mind with all the talk about tearing down I-345, which I actually support seriously studying. Will removing a highway really make traffic disappear or “find other routes” when there is, in reality, more coming?

” As we reach the 5 year mark since the start of the global recession, people increasingly are moving to where the jobs are. With just over half of the world’s population lives in urban centers today, the UN predicts that 7 of every 10 people will be living in an urban center by 2050. Recently, Executive Chairman of the Ford Motor Company, Bill Ford Jr. said the number of vehicles on the word’s roads will grow from 1 billion today to 4 billion in the same period of time. With traffic congestion increasing at 3x the rate of employment, 10‐day long traffic jams like we’ve seen in China and the 2-3 hour daily commutes that are part of daily life for people in Sao Paolo Brazil today could become the reality for drivers in Europe and North America in the not so distant future. “

 

 

 

2205 Canton 129 Front

 

I have always loved these townhomes, which were among the first to go up in the Farmers Market area before the residential building boom this neighborhood has recently experienced. They are the first homes you can spot if you take Canton downtown on your morning commute, and they’re just past Bark Park Central, another favorite Farmers Market/Deep Ellum spot.

These townhomes go on the market so rarely, and they are often in excellent condition. Unit 129 at 2205 Canton is no exception. This gorgeous two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath townhome is warm and open, with faux finishes and cabinetry that evokes sunny Italian villas, with views of the Farmers Market and downtown. It’s marketed by Clay Stapp + Co. Realtors Rick Robles and Amy Galley for $389,000.

2205 Canton 129 Living 2205 Canton 129 dining 2205 Canton 129 kitchen

With almost 2,200 square feet, not including the rooftop deck that faces downtown with phenomenal nighttime views, this home is a fantastic spot for urban-inclined folks who want to downsize and take advantage of the incredible culture growing in this area.

Something to think about: If Mayor Rawlings and the folks behind “A New Dallas” are successful, the value of these townhomes are going to go up like crazy. Why? Because Interstate 345, the crumbling interchange for I-30, US 75, and Woodall Rogers, will be demolished under the plan, resulting in more street-level traffic and more density in the area. This overpass is practically right next door.

But if you want real selling points, this development has everything, including three pools, a basketball court, a gym, and a media room, so you’ll want for nothing. HOA fees are $123 a month, not bad considering the amenities and location. This development was built in 2001, too, so it benefits from being already established. 2205 Canton 129 master loft 2205 Canton 129 Master loft to stairs 2205 Canton 129 Master bath

I love the master suite, and the great curtain the owners have installed to help screen some of the light that pours in through the two-story windows. It’s a loft-style layout, which means you’ve got plenty of space, but thanks to the curtain, you’ve got privacy, too.

The master bath is a five-piece number with dual vanities and plush accommodations, including a jetted tub. I usually like more understated bathrooms, but there’s something about the romance of the paint and tile that just hooks me and doesn’t let me go.

Of course, what’s not to love about the rooftop deck. Both open and intimate, this space was meant for a nightcap with your spouse or lover, just admiring the views of downtown. Nothing could be more perfect, right?

2205 Canton 129 rooftop deck 2205 Canton 129 rooftop view

A New Dallas

As you’ve no doubt heard, there’s a movement afoot to tear down Highway 345 — a stretch of elevated asphalt that spans from Deep Ellum and north to Woodall Rogers Freeway. Doing so, proponents claim, will connect the east side of the city center to downtown and create a more walkable environment.

I’m all for more walkable neighborhoods, especially in our urban core, but I do want to know how we can make this work when projections show that the population of Dallas will double in a matter of a few decades, putting strain on our housing inventory and transportation infrastructure. Basically, just tearing down a highway isn’t going to cut it.

The Vision

We should be thinking about density with a more connected mass transit system, and I think that’s the main selling point for demolishing the highway. Not only will it bring a slower thoroughfare through downtown, but it will also create more real estate that can be developed into mixed-use buildings, as well as offering a hub for bringing back the streetcar to downtown Dallas (and yes, we should definitely bring streetcars back). We’ll need massive reinvestment in transportation and infrastructure to make it work, but where will the money come from?

What do you think of the plan?

 

 

A New Dallas

As you’ve no doubt heard, there’s a movement afoot to tear down Highway 345 — a stretch of elevated asphalt that spans from Deep Ellum and north to Woodall Rogers Freeway. Doing so, proponents claim, will connect the east side of the city center to downtown and create a more walkable environment.

I’m all for more walkable neighborhoods, especially in our urban core, but I do want to know how we can make this work when projections show that the population of Dallas will double in a matter of a few decades, putting strain on our housing inventory and transportation infrastructure. Basically, just tearing down a highway isn’t going to cut it.

The Vision

We should be thinking about density with a more connected mass transit system, and I think that’s the main selling point for demolishing the highway. Not only will it bring a slower thoroughfare through downtown, but it will also create more real estate that can be developed into mixed-use buildings, as well as offering a hub for bringing back the streetcar to downtown Dallas (and yes, we should definitely bring streetcars back). We’ll need massive reinvestment in transportation and infrastructure to make it work, but where will the money come from?

What do you think of the plan?