What Some Locals Want in a "Complete Street." (Hint: More Lights, Trees and Buried Utilities.)

MarkedUpCompleteStreetMap.JPG
One of dozens of marked-up maps accompanying the Complete Streets workshop wrap-ups
Speaking of "complete streets" ...

For many months now
City Hall's been trying to wrap its head around the Complete Streets concept in the hopes of finishing up a street-design manual and implementation how-to's by year's end. Which is why, beginning last fall, Sustainable Development began workshopping Complete Streets all over town, from the far north to Fair Park and points in between, inviting folks to see a few of those, you know, better blocks whilst offering their two cents about what's needed in their respective parts of town.

Last night a good Friend of Unfair Park sent word: The city has just posted the results of those meet-n-greets -- 15 total, each with its own multi-page wrap-up including charts and comments and marked-up aerial-view maps. Such as: In my part of the Great Northwest, folks want more streetlights on Royal Lane between Stemmons and Webb Chapel, its speed limit upped to 40 and more trails ... for starters. Meanwhile, along Henderson, folks wants trees, bike racks, trees, lights and trees. One thing everyone seems to want, across the board: "underground utilities."

Read all the wants and needs here. And while there, bookmark the page: "Conceptual designs for the pilot projects based on the community input received at the city-wide workshops will be posted on this website in March 2012."
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norahedward
norahedward

Excellent points. I can always count on finding thought provoking articles here. I think SME authors are some of the best about responding to comments on their articles. induction Street light fixture

Bigdsenorita
Bigdsenorita

This all reminds me of the toddler in the cart at Wal-Mart, arms outstretched and bawling, "But I WANT it." And harried mom pushing back a lock of hair off her forehead while saying "I'm sorry dear but we cant afford it."

At least Jason Roberts and his group went out and found (some other family's) money to jump start the trolley to nowhere. But seriously, folks, why do we embark on this ridiculous exercise of asking the kid in the cart to tell us what toys he wants when we simply cant afford them. Watch the list change dramatically when you ask the kid "and where do you suggest the money for that will come from? Your allowance?"

sizzler
sizzler

pretty sure George Kessler recommended burying the utility lines in Dallas about, oh, 100 years ago. If I recall he said they contributed to the city's "village-like appearance" hmmm

Livable Perspective
Livable Perspective

I found the page on the Park Lane corridor to be interesting. It's such a shame to have NorthPark and the Shops at Park Lane to be so close to a light rail station yet the pedestrian connections are a total failure. There are barely sidewalks at all and the street crossings are atrocious.

In an ideal scenario, the Park Lane rail station needs to be relocated a few hundred meters to the the other side of Park Lane with pedestrian access from both side of Park Lane and Greenville Avenue. There also needs to be a pedestrian friendly route to connect to NorthPark Blvd so that shoppers can walk seamlessly between all shopping areas on both sides of the expressway and the rail station. But again, the shopping center would need to be reconfigured and the costs for rail and road improvements would be something the city and DART would certainly not be thrilled to pay for.

But hey, maybe if The Shops at Park Lane continue to have weak patronage, they will take it upon themselves to make major infrastructure improvements with the current rail location. A well lit and attractive pedestrian bridge that connects directly to the rail station  to the Shops at Park Lane would go a long way and be the cheapest solution. 

Lora-x
Lora-x

Trees. Streets. Utilities. One of these three is not like the others.  

Guest
Guest

What's the benefit of having underground utilities?

I know having them above ground gives power companies an excuse for not providing power when the wind blows, but putting them underground doesn't necessarily actually solve the outage problem. So that seems like a lot of money just to take away a power company excuse.

Paul
Paul

 It's because electricity comes from the outlets in your house.  So why do we need all of these wires out in the air?

It costs significantly more to have high voltage distribution lines underground than up in the air.

Because more capital is required, guess what, ONCOR loves you for having to force them to add assets to the ratebase which they otherwise would not be able to.  In other words, this becomes a hidden tax on everybody because just a few people want this done.

And to think that when the first power lines were strung, there were celebrations in the streets.

Cliff Dweller
Cliff Dweller

 Well there's the "damn that's ugly" factor.  But there are more practical considerations too. 

When a sidewalk is four feet wide and a utility pole (or gas meter, or telephone box, you name it) eats up two feet of that, walkability goes out the window.  Then imagine somebody trying to get by there with a wheelchair. 

Utility poles cause a break in the pavement which inevitably fills up with weeds, trash and, in winter, provides a spot for freezing water to break up the concrete.

All kinds of utility installations provide wonderful canvas for taggers and bandit signs.

There are probably other things I'm forgetting. . .

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

...and utility poles stop speeding cars real good.

Bigdsenorita
Bigdsenorita

Even if you forgot something, you had me at the "damn that's ugly" factor.

LDR4
LDR4

Transit doesn't seem to be a high priority on any of the streets. I want to know if that is just a blanket issue or if it was specific to either the bus or train or even the trolley.

G_David
G_David

On Henderson I would settle for a street and sidewalks that don't look like they've been through an earthquake.  Bike racks would be nice, but as it stands now, you couldn't pay me enough to ride a bike down Henderson, day or night.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

San Antonio appears to have an active underground utility burying program:

Innovative Undergrounding: San Antonio, Texas

In 1993, the municipally-owned City Public Services in San Antonio, TX launched one of the most innovative undergrounding schemes in the country. Unlike some other programs, San Antonio's initiative costs consumers nothing, and gives the city complete political control over undergrounding. The city receives one percent of City Public Services's retail electric sales revenue to pay for utility burial and relocation. It is up to the city to determine how and where to spend the conversion fund. Because the fund is limited and does not pay for the relocation of other wire-based utilities, the city uses a nine-step process to select and implement projects, with priority on undergrounding in historic districts, public spaces, and scenic areas.

http://www.scenic.org/issues/u...

Paul
Paul

"The city receives one percent of City Public Services's retail electric sales revenue to pay for utility burial and relocation."

By definition that is a tax, since the revenue from the billpayers is being diverted to something else.How about Dallas using some of the fees that they collect for providing the public easement to bury the lines ... Oh wait minute that money is already being spent as part of the city's general revenue ... Oh Well ....

DuckDuckGoose
DuckDuckGoose

 Good idea, but since San Antonio's electricity model is different from Dallas' .. not a one-to-one match.

San Antonio is not taking part in the deregulation that Dallas (and most of the rest of Texas) is.  I guess Dallas could tax the electricity retailers individually, but be prepared for some interesting City Council meetings if that's the case.

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

Yep, unlike Dallas those people in San Antonio have a city-owned electric company that gives them good service, buried utilities and lower rates.  Maybe one day they too can become a world class city.

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