City, Developer Will Finish Making Your Walk Down Lamar Street Suck Less Right After it Pays this Cable Bill

Categories: City Hall

Thanks to the city and Matthews Southwest, the walk here sucks less than it used to.
You have always been able to walk from the site of the Convention Center Hotel over to, say, police headquarters, but why would you? That stretch of Lamar Street has never been particularly inviting to non-motorized transport, but some long-delayed street improvements designed to make the stroll less daunting are nearing completion.

Back in 2000, the North Central Texas Council of Governments awarded a grant to cover 80 percent of the $5.7 million effort to make you want to walk and bike down Lamar Street, with the city and developer Matthews Southwest splitting the rest. It's taken a long 12 years -- the city blames funding complications and design changes for delays -- but the City Council's Economic Development Committee learned a this morning that the project is almost complete.

There's a catch, of course. The construction bids from AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and Oncor for burying their lines came in at $415,660 over budget. To make up for the shortfall, the city will need to kick in $207,830 through the Cedars TIF district, with a match coming from Matthews Southwest.

Committee members weren't particularly thrilled with the cost overruns but recommended approval of the payment. They were in a buoyant mood, after all, having just been informed that more than $5 million in NCTCOG grants approved in 2010 are finally entering the phase where the city and developers, who, for the most part are providing the matching funds, will actually see the money.

Funded projects include fund $2.2 million in pedestrian improvements at the Omni DART station; $1.8 million for the Zang triangle; $1.2 mil for the area around Atmos Lofts; and $1.2 mil for improvements around St. Paul and Commerce Street.

"With regard to the COG grants, you have probably heard the agonized cries of development community because it has been an agonizing process to get the grants funded," said assistant city manager Ryan Evans.

But better late than never, right?

"The city is getting somewhere between $5 million or $6 million in grants," said Councilwoman Ann Margolin. "That's a good thing. I think that should be mentioned."

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Matthew Gunter
Matthew Gunter

Uptown? You're about a century behind East Dallas in wanting services. Enjoy the wait. North Dallas pays for their elections, so that is who they take care of. You must be new to this city.

Branden Helms
Branden Helms

I was wondering the same. Do you mean the undecided D2 rail line will get $2.2 million for the option that is $2-300 million more than the DART-preferred option or the current Convention Center Station?

S Aten
S Aten

Where is there a DART station at the OMNI?

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

You think the man-made rapids on the Trinity are fun, try crossing Lamar during a hard rain.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Meanwhile, back in Uptown, the City fails to provide any sidewalks whatsoever between Turtle Creek Park and the Uptown neighborhood.  As a result, pedestrians are forced to take their lives into their own hands, walking in the travel lanes of four-lane thoroughfares to access the park. If a pedestrian is feeling particularly "bold", he or she can try to cross McKinney Ave. in the 1/2 mile long stretch between Allen & Fairmount-- where Mary Suhm has failed to make any meaningful provision at all for residents/visitors to cross the street. Same goes for Henderson Ave., east of Central Expressway.

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