A week from Thursday youâre invited to Dallas City Hall for the Dallas Complete Streets Open House, where you can weigh in on the design manual we sneak-peeked a while back, get some idea of how the city intends to make the theoretical tangible and eyeball some âpreliminary conceptual designs,â per the invite. Or â¦
For those who prefer a more hands-on approach, Jason Roberts, Andrew Howard and the Better Block-builders will be on Knox Street that same day temporarily transforming a short stretch of concrete into âKnox Strasse,â so named for the Euro streets theyâre attempting to emulate by laying down two lanes of cycle tracks that will separate bicyclists from motorists on the heavily trafficked road.
âThey asked us to look at Knox and see how we could put down bicycle infrastructure,â Roberts says. âAnd we said, âWhy donât you do it more like European cities, where thereâs a two-lane bike lane on one side of the street?â On the south side of the street, where Restoration Hardware is, thatâs where the parking is. And on the north side, thereâs no parking. So weâll change the road to three lanes, like Davis, and take the far outside lane and make it a two-lane cycle track with a buffer and link it to the Katy Trail.â
The cycle track will run from the Katy Trail to McKinney Avenue â" though initially Roberts had hoped to take it way past N. Central Expressway, to serve âas a corridor to and from East Dallas.â
Thereâs a Complete Streets briefing Thursday morning in front of the Thoroughfare Committee, and the cityâs long been promising to test-drive Complete Streets along Knox; as Peer Chacko, assistant director for long-range planning at Dallas City Hall, told us last month, âthereâs a public improvement district there, and theyâre eager to pay for it, and thatâs something we obviously want to jump all over.â Bringing in Better Block, though, adds a twist â" because in the past, Roberts and Co. have focused on bringing life back to dead retail spots. Knox, of course, is full up in that regard.
Nevertheless, says Roberts, they are partnering with La Grange on a beer garden, âand we want to create a coffee stand that fronts the Katy Trail. Weâre also talking about working with bike retail there â" rent a bike while youâre on the Katy Trail. And we want to turn some parking spaces into outdoor cafe spots.â His only concern: getting this up and running in such a short amount of time.
âBut this is cool for us,â Roberts says. âWe saw the plans initially, and it didnât look like a good, solid bike-lane plan. It was just painted bike lanes without much separation between cars. This was the chance for us to change it, to show how it cold be more European. This copies infrastructure we saw in Munich, so weâre marrying those ideas to the street here. You see this on the West Coast and East Coast, and itâs an awesome opportunity. Itâs already a pedestrian district, and traditional bike lanes wont be impactful. But if we make it work, they could put it in the final plan.â
Unless our Steve Brownâs right about Knoxâs future, in which case, the end is near.
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