Dallas City Council chambers were not as packed as expected on Sept. 11, 2019, as PD-15 came up on the agenda.

  • Dallas City Council unanimously passed city staff’s plan for PD-15, which compromised on height, topping out at 240 feet.
  • Some small changes were made to the plan.

The general wisdom is that any city council vote requiring a supermajority due to opposition will be a nail-biter. And while certainly many a nail was chewed to the quick, it was all for naught. After blissfully little speech-a-fying on both sides, Dallas City Council voted unanimously to pass city staff’s sorta plan for 240-foot heights on Northwest Highway – instead of the full cherry-on-top 310-foot heights Plan Commission had passed one vote shy of unanimously.

Will this result in affordable housing? Unlikely. And that’s a pity.

Councilmember Jennifer Gates listed a slew of minor tinkers to the staff recommendation that I’ll have to get to later (I can’t write as fast as she can rattle off). But generally, it’s 240-feet across Northwest Highway and 96-feet behind. Assuming a 10-foot ceiling height, that’s essentially 21-stories and eight-stories.

While some in the neighborhood might say it’s too much, I will say it’s a heck of a lot less than was proposed decades ago. And it’s a bit sad to live in a future that’s less bold than yesterday.

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Last night. Council Member Jennifer Gates held the second public meeting about what to do with the dilapidated Preston Center parking garage. Since the first meeting back in September, consultants from Houston-based Walker Consultants have been busy scoping out concepts based on the Preston Road Area Plan (a bright spot in a dismal plan).  The plan outlined a completely underground parking garage with 1,600 parking spaces (double today’s garage) and a public park on top at ground level.  Think Klyde Warren but instead of Woodall Rodgers underneath, it would be a garage.  You may also recall that the surrounding landowners unanimously poo-poo that plan (put a pin in that).

The parking lot itself is 3.15 acres – 137,332 square feet – and 800 parking spaces on two above-ground levels. This … space … in the middle of an area zoned for high density. Understand just how rare that is. Klyde Warren had to cover a highway to get its space and here we are with a molding parking garage that could be so very much more. Like I said, very, very, rare.

Now, burying so much parking isn’t on the same planet as “cheap,” but it’s the right thing to do. It’s worth saving up for. It’s worth sacrificing for.

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Parking Study Title 1

Dear Chosen Consultant,

I saw that NCTCOG (North Central Texas Council of Governments) issued an RFP (Request for Proposal) for a combined $400,000 study on the viability of parking structures in four areas of the Metroplex.

  1. Northwest Highway at Preston Road (Preston Center West)
  2. IH 635 East of Galleria (Dallas Midtown)
  3. Dallas Medical District (Southwest Medical District)
  4. “Option 4” (Downtown Arlington, which may be changed or eliminated)

While I’m sure 2, 3, 4 are worthwhile projects, I have specific knowledge surrounding “1,” the proposed underground garage at the center (in so many ways) of Preston Center West. In fact, were NCTCOG to have issued separate RFPs, I’d have thrown my hat in to study the Preston Center garage.

Having spent two years attending and reporting on task force meetings along with researching area traffic flow and roadway optimization … even publishing a traffic plan nearly two years ago … I am uniquely qualified to understand the requirements and history of this project.  Add-in a 25-year career developing research and the resulting planning for global corporations and governments, and I’m da man for you!

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