New Approach to Dallas Streets Moves Forward at City Hall

15 streets highlights in Complete Streets plan, but more could be added

A new approach to building public streets is moving forward at Dallas City Hall.

In a city built for cars, Complete Streets will make more room for people on foot and on bicycles.

The City Council Transportation Committee Monday saw the latest plans for improving 15 streets with the new approach.

"Some of it is connected to transit. Some of it is bikeways. Some is just expanded sidewalks that bring out restaurants on to the sidewalks," Councilwoman Linda Koop said.

The changes on those 15 streets would cost around $39 million, but some council members want more streets added to the list.

The concept has been discussed at Dallas City Hall for the past several years as city leaders focus on reviving older, in town neighborhoods, instead of just building new ones on the outskirts of the city.

"The conversation is really a good conversation," Koop said. "It’s how to move people from one place to the next, how to become more sustainable as an inner city."

One of the 15 on the list is Davis Street in Oak Cliff around the thriving Bishop Arts District.

Lisa and Leighton Durham, who live and work in that area, had to squeeze between bushes and a telephone pole to walk side by side on the narrow Davis Street sidewalk.

"We would love to have some hike and bike capability from here to there or just to get around the neighborhood, and we don't feel like we have that now, especially along Davis," Lisa Durham said.

Luis Ortiz has been riding his bicycle to work in the neighborhood lately.

"I live off of Illinois, so it's a good ride. I get to work and I’m energized. I'm pumped for the day."

Ortiz said adding bike lanes in the area would make his ride much safer.

"It sounds really good," he said.

In public meetings about Complete Streets around the city the past year, council members said some residents were not thrilled about sacrificing any street area that is used now to move cars faster, particularly drivers in North Dallas.

"I think that different parts of the city will embrace it and some won't," Koop said.

Plans for each of the projects vary depending on neighborhood issues and input.

Officials plan to include Complete Streets in a November Public Improvement Bond Referendum so voters can decide whether they want to pay for the new approach to building Dallas streets.

"I think that might be a great use of the money, especially if it helps the local businesses with foot traffic coming in and out," Leighton Durham said.

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