Big Dallas Street Projects in the Slow Lane

Riverfront Boulevard funding approved Wednesday after many years of delay

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Dallas Riverfront Boulevard, which received $19 million Wednesday from the city council for a reconstruction project, is an example of the big Dallas road jobs stuck in the slow lane.

Reworking the old boulevard into what Dallas now calls a “complete street” was promised well over 10 years ago.

Instead of just a roadway, a complete street has wide sidewalks and bike lanes.

Industrial Boulevard was renamed Riverfront in 2009 to improve the neighborhood image. A modern new street was part of that plan to support new development on large vacant tracts of land along the street that are zoned for high-rise buildings.

Commercial Realtor Marcus Wood has watched the years of delay on Riverfront Boulevard improvements.

He said railroads and drainage systems that cross the old street are part of the challenge.

“There are so many entities, so many hurdles that have to be jumped. And it involves Dallas Water Utilities, stormwater property, public works. It involves Dallas County. It involves UP Railroad,” Wood said.

A water garden attraction and a high-speed rail station are planned along the road. Existing traffic at the Dallas County criminal court complex depends on Riverfront Boulevard, which is also a relief route for parallel downtown freeways.

The Dallas City Council last month received a report on 32 complete street projects planned since 2016. Only 12 have been finished.  Riverfront is not even on that list yet since funding was only approved Wednesday.

“We're going to look back in years and say wow, riverfront boulevard reconstruction, that was what we needed to make downtown complete,” Wood said.

Many of the complete street projects are backed with public improvement bond money approved by Dallas voters many years ago.

The $19 million approved Wednesday comes from several sources for a Riverfront Boulevard upgrade from Cadiz to Continental. A segment at the north end of that area was completed several years ago. The segment to the south from Cadiz to Corinth has not yet been funded.

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