You’re the North Texas Tollway Authority, so I get that you’re unlikely to walk a lot to clear your head. But as a minimal driver, I get plenty of walk/think time in.

I was re-reminded recently of your debacle in trying to put a useless tollway down the Trinity River – an automotive Schlitterbahn if you will. As I recall, no one seemed to want it except those who were building it and raking a profit from its operation. Not your finest hour.

But the other shoe no one really talks about is the fact that you were planning to mortgage your soul of tollways and their future revenue generation to secure the funds to pay for it (the part state and fed wouldn’t cough-up).  As I recall hearing, NTTA uses existing tollways and future tolls as “collateral” for more toll roads.  Fine, nothing unusual there.

But that “soul” seems to still be mortgageable. I have a better idea than sending it down a river.

When I think of the petroleum industry, I see them scrambling to ditch “oil” for the less burn-y “energy” just like another greasy business woke up one day as KFC. Both realized they were too narrowly defining themselves in unsustainable language. It’s time for NTTA to broaden its horizons too by replacing “tollway” with “transportation”.

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The street-level experience provided by the Novel Bishop Arts building is unlike anything else that developers are creating, with fancy brick patterns and quirky-yet-functional bike racks.

With all the new development around the Bishop Arts District, there’s some steep competition coming online in the apartment market.

From the get-go, Crescent Communities has worked hard to set themselves apart. I remember sitting in Rob Shearer’s living room probably two years ago with a handful of other neighborhood residents, to meet with Michael Blackwell, Managing Director at Crescent Communities, and discuss their proposed project.

Unlike some developers in the North Oak Cliff area, Crescent Communities came out of the gate with more community support than expected. They brought in longtime Oak Cliff resident Andrew Howard of Team Better Block to consult on design and look into creative tenanting, then he built them the coolest Christmas Tree you’ve ever seen in a real estate development.

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas-inspired Christmas tree at Novel Bishop Arts. (Installation and photo by Andrew Howard)

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You’ll want for nothing in this perfectly situated, three-story townhome inside the gated and secure Uptown development of Cascada.

When Phillip Murrell told me he had a new listing, of course I was intrigued. This go-getting Dave Perry-Miller agent has been representing some amazing properties lately, so I had to know what was going to be hitting MLS soon. Murrell offered me a chance to tour his latest, but only proffered a single photo of the property — the foyer. 

And let me say that a single photo of the gorgeous entryway was all it took to get me on my way to 3338 Blackburn Ave., our High Caliber Home of the Week presented by Lisa Peters of Caliber Home Loans. If you love luxurious urban living in one of the best locations in all of Dallas, then you, like me, will probably be hooked on this home from the very start. 

The foyer of 3338 Blackburn Ave. offers a dramatic geometric floor fashioned of Bardiglio marble.

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We knew this day was coming. The day we’d see new construction of high-density, mixed-use projects all over North Oak Cliff. We rezoned less than a year ago to allow the growth we knew was coming, and hopefully have some control over how it transpires.

So here we are, faced with a developer wanting to listen to the community and do a ‘good’ project. Enter: Matt Segrest and Wade Johns of Dallas-based Alamo Manhattan. They’re developing the proposed Bishop Arts Gateway project, three 5-story buildings along Zang Blvd at Davis St and Seventh St. They say they’re in it for the long term, and that they cut their teeth developing in Portland and Seattle so they understand Streetcars and well-built neighborhoods. So they called a meeting with the neighborhood Thursday to get our input.

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It’s all a bit ironic if you think about it – a meeting of past gentrifiers to talk about future gentrification. Granted, not all of us at the meeting moved to O.C. from somewhere else. A couple attendees had a tenure longer than a few decades. The rest of us moved here after the police station storefront opened and closed on Bishop, after the city spent over a million dollars to build great sidewalks and plant trees, after the Texas Theatre and The Kessler were restored…

So what are we really talking about here? The changing character of a neighborhood and its people. The issue isn’t unique to Bishop Arts though, and it’s not going away anytime soon. Some call it gentrification (that dirty word), others progress.

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Blue-Walkable Places Ad-CNU-smallest

The Congress for the New Urbanism’s 23rd annual Congress (CNU 23), is in Dallas-Fort Worth this week, today through Saturday. CNU is the nation’s leading organization promoting walkable, mixed-use neighborhood development; sustainable communities; and healthier living conditions.



This year’s theme, “Meeting the Demand for Walkability,” was coined after learning that 68 percent of D/FW residents of all ages want to live in a walkable neighborhood at some point in their life, yet only 4 percent of the Dallas market and 1.5 percent of the greater D/FW market offer a home in a walkable area. The idea isn’t that Uptown is for everyone, but that the demand for Uptown is so high because the supply is so low. (You see the opportunity here — great walkable neighborhoods all over DFW.)

If this piques your interest, there are a few ways you can join the conversation for free. Jump to find out more

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MCKinney Ave Bar

By Grant Bynum
Special Contributor

If you are a native of the Dallas area, you’ve probably heard about how desirable it is to live in the Uptown Dallas area.  When professionals are checking out a move to Dallas, Uptown always gets in the conversation, and typically at the top of the list!  If you are thinking about a move here from out of town, or you are local and want to see what the fuss is about, then read this quick summary of Uptown Dallas. After reading this, you may know more than most natives of Dallas, and even some Uptown residents!

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The Cedars

The Cedars is quickly transforming into an urban hot spot, with 11 new real estate developments in the pipeline. But how will this neighborhood just south of downtown Dallas work to capitalize on this energy?

One of Dallas’ huge strengths is its neighborhoods, and one of the most unique is downtown. Make that Downtown with a capital D. With its walkable blocks, great density, and mix of classic and modern architecture, Downtown is similar to the nearby Uptown neighborhood. But at Wednesday night’s community roundtable hosted by the Dallas Homeowners League, Downtown was commiserating and collaborating with Deep Ellum, the Cedars and the Farmers Market neighborhoods. Why so glum? All are trying to poke their heads up as residential nirvanas for a new style of living.

As Peter Simek, last night’s roundtable moderator, put it, all areas “suffered the effects of de-economization of the core in the 60s, and are now coming into their own.”

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Uptown Then and Now

For the longest time, the story of how Uptown came to be successful centered around greedy developers wanting to build towers and condos for only those who could afford it. But Patrick Kennedy of “Car Free in Big D” paints a much more nuanced picture of how Dallas’ most walkable neighborhood came about.

Jump for an excerpt.

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