Thursday, September 19, 2013
5 dead parking lots sucking the life out of downtown Dallas
Check out PARK(ing) Day this Friday, where parking lots will be turned into parks.
Flickr user Clearly Ambiguous
DALLAS I enjoy walking through downtown Dallas on weekends. I’m used to the weekday bustle of office workers, cars and the occasional StreetZine vendor, and it’s nice to experience the calm of a Saturday morning along Main Street, as hotel employees power-wash their entrance or a lost soul asks me where to find something fun to do downtown. (I send them to Klyde Warren Park and the Dallas Museum of Art most of the time.) But as much as I enjoy these walks, there are parts of downtown that are so lifeless and repulsive that Satan himself would be moved to do something to fix it.
They all have one thing in common: They happen to be surface parking lots -- dead zones that were once filled with buildings razed for a tower that never materialized. They are places made for cars and not people.
In honor of PARK(ing) Day – a community event where parking spaces along Main Street will be temporarily transformed into parks on Friday, September 20 – here are my list of the 5 surface parking lots sucking the life out of downtown Dallas:
1. Ross and Harwood, in the Dallas Arts District (map)
Klyde Warren Park has set the Arts District on fire (OK, that tower did too), so why is there a giant empty space on Ross Avenue between Harwood and Olive streets? This scorched asphalt no-man's land would be perfect for apartments on top of much-needed downtown retail.
2. Corbin Street, near Woodall Rodgers and Field Street (map)
Set to become a 100-story tower in the 1980s, this site has sat empty since then. It was recently purchased to house a South Asian museum by 2018. We'll all be dead by then.
3. Live Oak Street, beteween Harwood and St. Paul streets (map)
This beauty is actually owned by the city of Dallas, and the plan is to plant a trapezoid-shaped park sometime in the distant future. Meantime, the city collects parking revenue and provides an (un)pretty respite for cars.
4. Field Street at San Jacinto (map)
Partly owned by oilman Tim Headington, this moonscape is a collection of parking lots surrounding the intersection of Field and San Jacinto streets. You can forget about walking from the Arts District to the West End without passing through this post-apocalyptic urban dystopia.
5. Parking lots "near Ellum" (map)
Before Central Expressway, there was the Houston & Texas Central Railway (central tracks), and Deep Ellum was a lot closer to downtown than it is now. Today, between Harwood and the freeway, there are four parking lots that do nothing except remind you that you’re in hell.
If you're tired of ugly parking lots like me, come out to PARK(ing) Day Friday, September 20. The event aims to get people thinking, moving and talking about Dallas as an urban space, and it brings people together into the very neighborhood that could use a little more green. The temporary parks which pop up in parking spaces will return to their usual duties by day's end on Friday.
This year, PARK(ing) Day occurs in more than 35 countries on September 20.Follow @jesteban78
Jorge Esteban is an advertising professional and event chair of last June’s CONFAB: A Dallas Parks Foundation Conversation.