Urbanism in the Metroplex
April 22, 2010 12:28 PM   Subscribe

A Better Block. For a weekend, local urbanism advocates in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas transformed a block into a complete street. Reactions from city officials have been positive. Also: photos from the event and associated Art Crawl, and a deeper look at the event and what it means.
posted by kmz (16 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Nice to see that the white people are catching up to a normal weekend on my inner city block.
posted by fuq at 12:36 PM on April 22, 2010

Non-snarkily, it's good to see a small town catching up with NYC. That's good for the country.
posted by fuq at 12:39 PM on April 22, 2010

I love stuff like this. Having covered city commission/zoning board in a small town, I've learned a lot about the engineering of traffic calming.

Basically, anything that makes drivers uncomfortable (on-street parking, two-lane two-way, trees and curbside plantings, self-alleviating visual obstructions, narrow streets, tight curbs, roundabouts, etc) is good for pedestrians.

But because it makes drivers uncomfortable, people tend to think it's unsafe, and it gets voted down.
posted by toodleydoodley at 12:41 PM on April 22, 2010 [4 favorites]

Tragically, they still live in Dallas.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 12:49 PM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

Item IDK if you mean me or fuq, but I said small town because that's the extent of my civic journalism experience. but I have observed traffic engineering on a variety of scales and I'm in favor of anything that makes cities more walkable. I live in Florida, for example, which isn't.
posted by toodleydoodley at 1:56 PM on April 22, 2010

Dallas is by no means walkable

sure - based on my experience, I'd challenge whether it's even driveable!
posted by toodleydoodley at 2:05 PM on April 22, 2010

Dallas isn't as bad as the rest of the area locals make it out to be. It's just a lot worse than any of the fairly major cities around it. *coughfortworthdentoncough*
posted by cmoj at 2:25 PM on April 22, 2010

Comparing Dallas and Denton really isn't fair.
posted by nosila at 3:03 PM on April 22, 2010

Hey I'm excited about this. This is a good thing. I like Dallas. I like what these people are doing. Like my city Houston, there are wonderful pockets of neat places and people. The thing about the younger cities over here in the middle are that they are constantly changing. We are part of a living breathing beast of a developing place. We can sit around and complain or ignore it or take an active stab at determining a new direction for the city to go in which these people are doing. Oak Cliff is all kinds of fun. Good job Dallasites!
posted by dog food sugar at 3:10 PM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oak Cliff of course, is also historically known as the last address of Lee Harvey Oswald (his rooming house was at 1026 N. Beckley -- the place looks remarkably the same as it did in 1963)
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 9:16 PM on April 22, 2010

Man, they've been trying to gentrify that hood forever! And all the hippies and the well meaning progressives (not to mention the low income natives) better be lucky that Oak Cliff is never going to be truly "cool" while its still a "dry" area. The second that anything resembling a decent nightlife -which means drinking and a decent show- comes to that area, its gonna be adios locals y hola douchebags. Now even as someone who's been chased out of a couple of neighborhoods by encroaching gentrification I can still appreciate the experience of a cool neighborhood before things go to shit for anyone making less than 50,000 a year there. But the older I get, the more my sympathies begin to be with the original, mostly ethnic original inhabitants of the neighborhoods who are almost always eventually priced out. And the interest and support of city officials for projects of this sort (though mainly focused on the arts) is generally the kiss of death for anything resembling an affordable neighborhood. And lets never forget its proximity to downtown. Thats prime real estate there and any long term changes for the better probably wont be for the benefit of the people who live there now. And that includes the hippies.
posted by jake1 at 10:01 PM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

As a bike-girl, as well as a former Dallas resident now living in extremely bike-unfriendly OKC, this makes me happy. Even if it is still dry. Boo, dry counties.
posted by the_royal_we at 10:08 PM on April 22, 2010

Please tell us all what's so tragic about it.

You'd have to live in Fort Worth to undertand, Item. ;-)

I think this is movement is still very much in its infancy. I expect it to take the better part of a generation before Complete Streets geti mplemented to the extent that it changes life for any significant number of people. I can see where it will create and grow Urban Villages like Oak Cliff, the Magnolia area here in Fort Worth, etc. But just because the payoff isn't immediate doesn't mean we shouldn't start doing this. Ya gotta start somewhere.

...and yeah, fuq, Dallas is 3rd largest city in the U.S. I suppose that means that anything other than NYC is a "small town."
posted by Doohickie at 7:48 AM on April 23, 2010

Oh hey! On the "photos" link above if you click through to photo 8 in the series, there's one of my best friends in the world, Mary Cherry (she's the redhead on the far left). She's a gogo dancer for the Lolli Dollies/Lollipop Shoppe parties. I can't tell you how exciting it is to see the Lollies here on Metafilter!

As a matter of fact, if any Dallas MeFites are looking for something fun to do, Lollipop Shoppe has something going once a month. It's mostly 60s, 70s and 80s glam rock, classics, disco and funk, but they also just did a party with a Rolling Stones cover band that was crazy packed and I saw people in their mid-60s dancing with their grandkids there.

I feel compelled to also link to 48nights, a project in the OC that has raised thousands and thousands of dollars for charity. In fact, one of the newest international volunteers added to their rotating chef roster includes Princess Diana's personal chef. When I ate there recently with the beau, we had an amazing dinner that included fried scorpion. They are raising approximately a thousand dollars a night... I guess this is the "gentrification" that jake1 is against.

So, you know, all you guys making Dallas out to be a sprawling hickville should probably come for a visit and let us blow your minds with the hidden cultural treasures here.

My last random walk through the train tracks of east Dallas led me to a sound that I thought seemed out of place... rounded the corner and what did I see? A natural waterfall. Yeah. I found a small waterfall in my neighborhood. IN DALLAS.

Dallas is not what people think it is; it's whatever you choose to put into it. Too many people barely scratch the surface here and throw their hands up in frustration and run away.

How are things EVER going to be different if you don't dig your heels in and try to change things yourself? I hate the Dallas stereotype as much as anybody else does that lives here. And for that reason, I'll never move off to some liberal, artsy enclave where everybody shares my same mindset. The only way to have a successful revolution is to start slowly, gain the respect of the people who can finance your dreams, influence local politics by using grassroots efforts like the ones in this post and GET LOTS OF PRESS.

Keep doing your thing, OC!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:37 AM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

The metro area link should point to here.
posted by Uncle at 9:58 AM on April 23, 2010

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