After a burst of amazing growth in Downtown Dallas the past few years, city leaders got their first look Monday at a new plan to manage up to 50,000 more downtown residents, bringing more traffic and development.
Resident Ryan Burris, who moved to a Commerce Street apartment over the summer, said he has already seen a change in his new neighborhood.
"There’s so much traffic. Yes, better in a way that it’s coming back to life now," Burris said. "Before when I used to come downtown, there was no life here. It looked like a ghost town just a couple years ago. And now with people walking around, there’s a more urban lifestyle now."
Responding to that situation, the private business organization Downtown Dallas Inc (DDI) prepared the so called "360 Plan."
The new plan presented to a Dallas City Council Committee Monday is an update of the original 2011 plan which forecast 10,000 downtown residents.
“We had some lofty goals, to get to that 10,000 number, to bring more retail, bring more restaurants and bring more street life,” DDI President and CEO Kourtny Garrett said.
There are now 11,000 downtown residents with more high-rise apartments just getting ready to accept hundreds more.
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The new plan forecasts 20,000 more residents downtown and 50,000 more in neighborhoods within 2.5 miles of the city center within the next five years.
“So, there’s a lot of momentum still to continue, which is why we are revisiting the plan, to make sure that we are steering that development in the right way,” Garrett said.
City Council Member Philip Kingston, who represents Downtown Dallas, praised the plan for shifting away from just planning for more cars.
“It responds to more people, not with more cars, but with more alternative forms of transportation,” Kingston said.
Bicycles, mass transit and street car development are in the plan.
It envisions several more deck parks to connect the central business district with surrounding neighborhoods like the one over Woodall Rodgers Freeway that joins Downtown Dallas with Uptown Dallas.
A proposed high-speed rail station for service to Houston is included on the plan.
"Imagine we’re getting another, basically, Love Field Airport, in downtown,” Garrett said.
Burris said the plans are needed to keep pace with what is happening already.
“Downtowns are coming back, I think, nationwide, and I think Dallas has done a good job so far,” he said.
The Dallas City Council is due to vote on the new 360 Plan on Dec. 13.