Monday, October 22, 2012

Floyd Branch, RIP

What do you call it when a creek is buried? A loss? A shame? A crime against nature? None of those, at least from the City of Richardson's viewpoint. How about a drainage improvement? A possibility of future development? That's what the City of Richardson is calling it as they bury the Floyd Branch Creek in exchange for a new right turn lane.

Construction is set to begin in November on drainage improvements within the Floyd Branch Watershed, which collects drainage from 2.6 square miles in south central Richardson and eventually flows to White Rock Lake.

The improvements include the installation of a new right turn lane along westbound Main Street from Interurban Street to the US-75 northbound frontage road and construction of a new bridge over Floyd Branch Creek at West Phillips Street. The bulk of the work will be to install an underground concrete drainage system through portions of downtown Richardson north and south of Main Street between US 75 and the DART rail line.
In addition to improving the decades-old drainage system, improving drainage system deficiencies will also allow for the possibility of future development since current conditions have been a costly deterrent to redevelopment along the City's Main Street and Central Expressway corridors.

After the jump, why this is all so damned depressing.

I'm reminded of the huge concrete culverts that disappear under the ground just south of Plano's Collin Creek Mall. Follow along. Bury the creek itself. Build a big mall where the creek used to flow. Name it Collin Creek Mall. Build an artificial waterway inside the mall. Then, if that's not enough, to top off the irony, bury even the artificial waterway, too, a decade or two later, to make room for a Starbucks kiosk.

Congratulations, Richardson. By burying the Floyd Branch Creek, you are catching up to 1980s Plano. You probably won't have to wait 30 years like Plano did to discover that today's shoppers prefer more natural shopping districts like Watters Creek in Allen, which features "a large creekside village green, interactive public art, a variety of retail options, restaurants featuring al fresco dining and water views, and office space and residential lofts."

Richardson is barely started on gathering resident inputs on Main Street redevelopment and they're already killing the one natural feature that Richardson's old downtown has. Ready, fire, aim! But it's always been ignored and abused. Pave it over, add yet another traffic lane through the heart of it, then ask what residents want to see built on top of the grave. Good luck with that.

1 comment:

Mark Steger said...

According to the April 26, 2013, edition of "Week in Review":

"The project will improve drainage in the Floyd Branch Watershed, which collects drainage from 2.6 square miles in south central Richardson and eventually flows to White Rock Lake. The project will add capacity to the area’s drainage system by adding new underground drainage pipes north and south of Main Street between US-75 and the DART rail line. No existing open channels will be enclosed."

Note that last sentence. My bad. I had assumed that it was the ditch along Texas Street that was being buried. Apparently not. I would have preferred something be done to restore the natural drainage, but I'll accept the commitment not to enclose any existing open channels. Hold our ground.