Help Friend of Unfair Park Fund, Finish "Comprehensive Map" of Downtown Tunnels

Categories: Development
ThanksGivingSquareConcourse.jpg
Photos by Noah Jeppson
The Thanks-Giving Square Concourse
Add City Manager Mary Suhm to the list of folks lined up to bury the so-called Dallas Pedestrian Network, otherwise known as the downtown tunnels. But two days ago she told the DSpotters that those inhabiting the maze of passageways beneath the downtown skyscrapers ain't nothing but "a community of moles."

SanJacintoStreetTunnel.jpg
San Jacinto Street Tunnel at First Baptist
But Friend of Unfair Park Noah Jeppson is undeterred: He sends word that he's taken to Kickstarter in order to raise a meager $1,200 so he can design and ultimately distribute a comprehensive map of the tunnels. As evidenced by his cache of photos of the tunnels, he's been working on it for years: In '09 Jeppson, a designer by trade, produced the starting-point you see on his Kickstarter page -- a map, though "basic," that nevertheless "included an important detail never appearing on previous maps: access points and accessibility." But that alone, says Jeppson, isn't enough. Hence, this email I received from Noah Thursday night:
After guiding lost tourists and downtown workers in the Dallas Pedestrian Network/Tunnels I'm designing a comprehensive map of the system. The map will clearly show connections and (more importantly) access points to the network. The goal is to help promote cross-patronage of all downtown businesses and mitigate the problem of poor wayfinding design. Using Kickstarter will help me print and distribute the maps to locations throughout downtown.
He's $80 toward his goal, with 29 days to go. Which means, John Crawford, all you'll need to kick in is $1,120. Boom. Done.

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25 comments
Joycelynn3
Joycelynn3

I remember back in its hay day in the 80's I did lots of travelling in the tunnels.  I would park in one of the garages and then take the tunnel to work at ARCO to avoid the weather.  The  in back down again at lunch to either shop or grab lunch.  It was then like a city underground.  I miss the tunnel like it used to be.  Now there isnt that much need for it since Downtown Dallas is virtully dead unless you are looking for someplace to eat.  Our city council would rather build a park on the north side of downtown where it is virtually to get to at lunch time.  Our city council doesnt have the slightest idea on how to bring people downtown.  Can we say West End?  That used to be a pretty hot place but now it is pretty D.O.A. too.  Even DART is no winner.  Everytime you turn around they want more and more money.  And do you know where the money goes when you get a ticket for not having a tickett to ride.  It goes to our wonderful city.  DART only gets $5 of it.  It is no wonder they want more money.  Dart needs to take care of what they have now instead of building more.  Too many times the train has had no AC or the doors dont work or they dont run at all due to wind or ice.  I have moved from one Dallas problem to another.  Short story long ---- Dallas is all messed up and dont care.

THerealarod
THerealarod

Talk about ignorance. The tunnels are not the problem. The effort and dollars required to fill the tunnels with concrete - it isn't going to fix the problem anyway. The tunnels are the straw man. Leave them alone, they are an asset. Focus your energy on street level retail but don't drive business away from downtown. Geez.

EastDallasResident
EastDallasResident

I'd like to see Mary Suhm emerge from the concrete jungle over there in City Hall and walk across the pavement to get some lunch in the West End for a week this summer.  When she recovers from heatstroke and shinsplints maybe she'll have a better idea about what life is like on this side of the city.

shrubstex
shrubstex

In the summer I really like the option of air conditioning. The streets will still be empty in this auto oriented city in August. When the weather is nice I walk above ground. 

Downtown_worker
Downtown_worker

If the city would allow food trucks throughout ALL OF downtown, maybe they would directly compete with the tunnel food businesses and we could let the market decide who stays and who goes.

krozareq
krozareq

I think I will see them before the city shrews remove the tunnels. I still haven't been down there. According to Youtube I can hit pretty much any building on Main and then take the escalators down. Any suggestions on some lesser-known things about the tunnels?

heyheymama
heyheymama

Can anyone tell me where these underground businesses are? 

Have been in the tunnels many times during the workday, in the area from Fountain Place to a bit beyond T-giving Square, plus the connector to 1st Baptist.  Have never seen this crush of tourists/workers or these businesses forever mentioned. I might see 2-3 people on a good day.  There's one small knot of fast-food restaurants, the Dakota, a convenience store.  Am really scratching my head to think of more.  Am curious, now.

Mole
Mole

 Has Mary Suhm ever heard of the Atlanta Underground?

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

So Queen Mary Shun wants to close more businesses (those down in the underground tunnels) so that they can force pedestrians up into the 100 degree heat in the summer, and the freezing cold in the winter and into the down town traffic too?   Perhaps they (the city) needs to create a car free zone around city hall (maybe a block or two) so they can get off their (the city council and staff) asses and walk to and from city hall (this would include closing all near by parking as to make them walk).  No more driving thier cars into the under ground parking and a short walk to their offices.   Nope a good two to three block romp so they can burn off that excess fat they have acquired from sitting on their asses all day listening to each other blow hot air and bad ideas. It seems like when the city is not making bad decisions it’s goal is to close, or interfere, with as many businesses as possible.  I can not imaging a more ineptly run, over taxed, fee burdened, and hostel city than what our betters are tying to craft.  Oh and they can't control (or manage) theilr spending either. 

Montemalone
Montemalone

Okay, two birds...

Simply extend the tunnels west under the levee, connecting directly to the river.When it's nice out, easy access to the raging rapids on your lunch hour.When it's not so nice, the rapids can come to you!

Save a billion dollars on concreting the levee.

Just send me a check.

You're welcome.

Andrew
Andrew

A friend and I set about many months ago to explore the tunnel network. We started off a bit confused, so I asked a security guard how to enter the tunnels. She looked at me like I was asking for directions to Fangorn Forest.

Howard
Howard

A couple of years ago, I think I recall there being a Starbucks and Taco Bell somewhere underground in the network -- but admittedly I'm not sure if my memory about this is correct, if I have mis-remembered or just dreamed this. The tunnels, and businesses and denizens that are supposed to exist down there, have taken on an otherworldly, mythical aura.

Stacy
Stacy

 have u??? Cause last I checked the Atlanta underground WASN'T a maze of 10ft by 10ft underground TUNNELS but basically the 1st level of several buildings and streets several blocks wide when they raised the city by 1 story....

Texaspainter
Texaspainter

yeah but that city has character and history and charm and cool things to look at and..............

Snookie Pie
Snookie Pie

 I've never been on the same side of an issue with Mary Suhm before.

But, in this case, I agree wholeheartedly with her.

Those businesses will not close.  They will move.And, then the appearance of activity will be above ground in lobbies and storefronts and that will attract more activity and more businesses.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

"Perhaps they (the city) needs to create a car free zone around city hall (maybe a block or two)"-- Actually, Queen Mary did that a few months back--- but it only applies to ordinary citizens without a "hookup."  City employees, council members, favored lobbyists, and crony capitalists still can avail themselves of the underground, weather protected garage.

heyheymama
heyheymama

Looked at Jeppson's pix on Flicker and recognized nearly every location.  Note the lack of people and businesses.  Of course, I don't  know if he deliberately chose to document mostly empty hallways.  Regardless, that's as deserted as I've always found the tunnels/skywalks to be.  If someone can find this supposedly thriving underground utopia that's stealing foot traffic from above, please post the location.

Steven Bavec
Steven Bavec

You really mean characters....When you are looking up at the architecture (and there are some cool buildings) just be certain to keep your hand on your wallet. Underground is a hell hole dude. panhandlers and thugs everywhere. It is just the street raised up from the original and is very dark and deary. The original back in the 70s was awesome but now a crime scene.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

Where will they (the tunnel businesses) move to?   Will they stay down town or just move out of the area (down town or Dallas proper) altogether?   Seems like existing businesses above ground would be put at an advantage against the ESTABLISHED tunnel based businesses that have be been forced to move.   I would also assume that those who travel the tunnels do come to the street level anyway.  In fact I imagine that they (the pedestrians) most likely are employed in the buildings that intersect with the tunnel system too.  So what about sky bridges/walkways?   They too allow you to avoid street level (and weather) so by the same logic they too should be closed and the pedestrians forced out to the street.   Perhaps they should remove the proposed sky bridge between the soon to be open tax payer owned convention center hotel and the convention center too.   After all we want the appearance of activity. And what about the tax base?  What about the tax subsidies/abatements that are granted to the area to revitalizing down town?   With yet another budget shortfall it would seem to me that the city would want to keep any ESTABLISHED tax paying  business to be able to get that extra revenue so they (the city staff and council) can squander it too. Finally it seems to me that the appearance of activity is a poor substitution for the actual thing.   That is part of the problem of the city-they are so obsessed with appearances rather than fact.   It’s like saying that because you have a faux suspension bridge over a normally dry river bed that it will change it into a docile version of the Mississippi 

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

I am thinking of them (city staff and council) specifically,   Why should they have special treatment (Oh I forgot they are privileged because they were elected) above the people who elected them.   Besides all of those horses around the shoe need to loose some lb's.  

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