Sunday, June 26, 2011 , Updated 12:30 p.m., June 27, 2011
UPDATEDx2: Photos: Ross Avenue in Dallas transformed into “better boulevard”
For five hours on Sunday, Ross Avenue was a whole new street.
DALLAS As the saying goes, if you build it they will come. And they did.
Crews of volunteers in Dallas started at 7 a.m. Sunday -- some with no sleep the night before -- to get ready for the Better Boulevard on Ross Avenue in Dallas on Sunday afternoon. The several-hour event provided a makeover to one Dallas street in an effort to show how small, inexpensive improvements can make a big difference to pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Spearheaded by the city, Team Better Block, and several other groups, the newly adopted Dallas Bike Plan served as inspiration for volunteers to explore green ways to calm traffic and bring more pedestrians to a busy urban area.
In Deep Ellum, the "Ross Ramblas Market" was created to look like a popular street in Barcelona called Las Ramblas. Other improvements were temporary bike lanes, a Dumpster pool, and sidewalk cafes. The teams involved completed the work in 72 hours, with the hope to invigorate vacant spaces along Ross Avenue.
Below are some "before" shots.
UPDATED: It was terribly hot on Sunday afternoon, but that didn't seem to dampen the spirits of the volunteers. One of the biggest improvements was a section of Ross Avenue between Arts Plaza and Routh Street, which was transformed from four vehicular lanes to two. The remaining two lanes were saved for artists, vendors, flower pots, and a piano, creating a great space for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The "Better Bus" near Three Sheets offered double decker rides. And of course, the return of the Dumpster pool was popular. Nearby was a bounce house and an inflatable water slide.
This likely won't be the last time we see a block of Dallas temporarily transformed for the better.
UPDATED: Check out the very quiet video posted of the Ross Ramblas Market, the street that converted several lanes of busy traffic into two vehicular lanes and a wide median. The video is the opposite of hustle-bustle -- perhaps the very point of showing what a Better Block project can do.